Hikes

The Pyrenees 2010: Day 1

Cauterets – Graube

We woke up at Hotel Cesar in Cauterets France and went shopping for food. We also stopped by a nice sport store where Ýrr bought a knife and we saw some nice shoes we would have liked to buy but of course we couldn’t do that, we had everything we needed for a two weeks hike (more about those shoes later).  Our plan was to take a bus to Pont d Espagne but it turned out we would’ve had to wait for two hours which we didn’t have patience to do. We decided to hitchhike.  A guy picked us up and drove us to our destination even though it was a extra drive for him. The sun was shining and we started climbing up to La’c de Gaube, a beautiful lake and of course cold as ice.

 


Ýrr by Lac de Graube

We had lunch and rested for a while before we continued. The sun was shining and it was hot. The mountain we climbed was quite steep.

 

We arrived at Refuge des Outlettes de Graube (2151 m) around four thirty. We took a beer in the sun while waiting for the food. This gite was nice as the surroundings but the food was not really impressive. Dishwater soup as a starter, followed by a sausage casserole then cheese and finally lemon pudding. The cheese was good! the rest was eatable. After dinner we sat outside for a while and enjoyed the view. We were really tired and went to bed at nine o’clock .

 


Refuge des Outlettes de Graube

The Pyrenees 2009: Day 12

Lac d’Anglas – Arrens-Marsous

We took a slow morning, we didn’t feel like rushing away from this beautiful place. We said good bye to Frank and Herman, they where taking another route so this was the last good buy (at least what we thought it would be). It was a bit sad as we had became really good friends.

 

While the early morning past our calm camping-place slowly got more visitors. Mostly early day-hikers and some fisher-mans. It was time for us to leave. We packed our things and started our way down the mountain.

It was all most crowded with day-hikers on our way down. We have chosen a very popular place to sleep last night. Understandable.

 

On our way down we came by a farmer that sold some cheese, lovely as usual and we just had to buy some. We had some lunch and some refreshing foot-bath in the stream.

 

We soon reach a ski-resort where our plan was to end this day. But where both very eager to leave as soon as possible as it was a not a place we wanted to stay. And luckily it was early in the day so as soon as we had booked our train-tickets from Tarbe to Paris we continued on the next etap on GR10 towards Arrens-Marsous.

 

The climb up from the ski-resort was really thought as it was really hot. It wasn’t the best time of the day to do this climb. But there was nothing that could make us turn back so we continued.

After a few hours we reached the road. It started to be late in the afternoon and most of the trail would be on this road so we desided to hitch-hike the last part.

A your french non-english-speaking guy picked us up. He was very sweet and took us the whole way to the gite. The stills amaze us how nice everyone up here in the mountain have treated us. We believe they like hikers and that they are very proud of their mountains.

The gite was a very nice place to stay. We took a double room, with our own shower.

There was still time before dinner so we took a walk in the village. It felt bit sad, this was our last hiking-day for this time. But we soon became very happy as when we turn around a corner we bumped in to Herman and Frank. They had also changed their plan and we where all happy that we made the same plan to end in this village. It also turn out that they where staying at the same place as us, so we had a really nice dinner together.

Before going to bed we took a short walk through the village.

 

The Pyrenees 2009: Day 13

Arrens-Marsous

We had breakfast with our friends, and took a last good buy. But we think and hope that we will rejoin with the some day on a hike in some other mountains.

We decided to stay one more night before we left the mountain to head home.

 

 

We bought some goat cheese and Mediran wine and had a really nice lunch at the slop close to the swimingpool. After lunch we had some siesta.

 

In the afternoon we took a walk in the village and found a sanatorium with a church with a lot of strange but interesting decorations. We made some nice shoping to bring home with us, some wine, foix gra and cheese jam.

 

 

 

 

At the bar, we had a drink of Rikard before going back to the gite and having the last gite dinner. We meet some we had meet before but not talked to so much before, one women and two men from France Wales and England. They where really nice and they have meet once a year for a long time to hike in the mountains.

We had a drink with them and went late to bed, at 11, late at least when hiking in the mountain.

The next day our way back home started, we went to Tarbes and took the night train to Paris.

 

Trekking in Europe 2013

Summer 2013 we made our first really long mountain trek in Europe, starting from early June until early September 2013. We started the hike in Alsace and follow GR5 through the Jura mountains and the french Alps. At the Mediterranean Sea we had a small break for all most a week before continue our walk in the Italian alps follwing GTA (Grande Traversata delle Alpi).

Planed trekking route for our hike 2013, rough sketch
Note this is a very rough sketch of our route!

Finding the right tent!

There is so many things you have to consider while picking gear for your hike. As our next hike will last for four month you will have to consider some other things. You really need to find stable, reliable and strong gear.

One thing we have to find now is a suitable tent. Some of the requirements is that it has to be lightweight and at the same time both comfortable and withstand bad weather.

On internet you can find plenty of website and forums with reviews and discussions about gear for your hike.

The first tent we thought of was Stephenson’s Warmlite but at the moment I have second thoughts as I have read some reviews about it and it seems a bit small to sit two person at the same time.

We have before used a very light tarptent from tarptent.com. It is very nice but a bit uncomfortable as you can’t sit up straight inside it and you have to crawl out and in. For shorter hikes this works all right but for a long distance hike I think you should use a bit more comfortable one. It should also feel safe and cope with heavy weather with strong wind and rain.

I have been looking at some other tents from tarptent.com, Scarp 2 (ca 1,7 kg)and StratoSpire 2 (1,1 kg), Double Rainbow (1,2 kg). All of them seems really nice. StratoSpire 2 and Rainbow is much lighter then the Scarp 2, but they all seems comfortable, roomy and they have space also for your package. Double rainbow feels a bit smaller but two person can still sit up at the same time. My experience also tells me tarptens.com tents usually are very fast and easy to set up which is especially of importance if it is bad weather and when tired. All three also comes with a really nice price compare to many other lightweight tents.
Take a look at them on Youtube. StratoSpire , Double Rainbow , Scarp 2

I think I like Scarp 2 best for it’s comfort but it is a bit heavy compare to the other two. With some extra equipment this one also can be used in winter time but I guess it will be a bit heaver than 1,7 kg then.

If any tips or advice or thoughts on these tents or any other for that matter, please let us know.

 

Our new tent has arrived!

The tent we choosed to use for our hike is Scarp2 (tarptent.com). It is a bit heavy (1,6 kg) but we think it is worth it as it will give us the comfort we wish to have on our long-distance hike. Still it actually is a bit lighter than expected but probably after seamsealing all the seams this probably will add up to a total weight of 1.7 kg, according to the specifications found on their website.

We will soon test it in the field. Afterward we will post a review and some images here.

 

Our new tent, Scarp2 from Tarptent.com

About Alta Via 2

We made this hike in July, we got all kinds of weather and often on the same day. Sun, fog, rain, wind… it only snowed once. We were away 14 days but you can do it in much shorter time.

Alta via 2

Alta via duo

Alta Via 2 starts at Bressanone and ends at Feltre. We didn’t do the last two stages since we ran out of time, we had reasons to take some longer breaks during the hike. Our hike ended at Passo Cereda. Alta Via 2 is beautiful and in some places very spectacular. It’s the hardest hike I’ve done so far and to be honest, if I had read the guidebook and maps properly before I went on this trip I probably wouldn’t have gone. But fortunately I didn’t. Instead I surpassed myself big time, and I loved it!

I (Ýrr) went on this trip with my Icelandic friend Heiða. The guidebook says that everyone can do this hike but you should be en good shape and not suffer from vertigo. Well because of an accident Heiða was not in good shape and I suffer from vertigo. But we did it! Heiða (who has worked as a mountain guide in Iceland) really helped me through the steep parts with patience, she taught me some technique and in the beginning she took my backpack. But after a while I managed to do it myself. Day 11 was the toughest one.

Smiling after my first via farrata climbing, On our way to Rifugio Boe

Smiling after my first via farrata climbing

The conditions concerning rifuges and other things are similar to Alta Via 1. In some places there are alot of people, especially around Marmolada and some places are all nice and quiet. There are many of alternatives especially if you want to have some more excitement and don’t suffer from vertigo. There are a lot of rifuges so there is often a possibility to have longer or shorter days. We only slept in Rifugios, it’s not very common to sleep in a tent in the Dolomites, we met some people that had tent but they often came inside since it often rained in the nights. Most of the rifuges are placed on the tops and we often spent the night above 2000m. The food was good a mixture between the Italian and Austrian kitchen, often we could choose between pasta and knödel. Some times we made our own breakfast since the breakfast is often only white bread and jam and it’s expensive.

The guidebook we brought was Dolomites Trecking- Alta Via 1: Alta Via 2; second edition 2005 by Henry Stedman. Publisher: Trailblazer Publications. It was ok. However we met people who had Trecking in the Dolomites by Gillian Price. Publisher: Cicerone. I think I prefer that one.

The Dolomites 2012: Day 1

Bressanone – Rifugio Polse (2446m)

Me in the cable car

In the cable car on my way up!

We spent the night at Kassianeum Youth Hostel in Bressanone. A lovely place, we had our own clean and comfortably room and the staff was really nice and helpful. After breakfast we went to buy the maps and other stuff we needed. Around 12 o’clock we took a bus to St Andrea (961m) where there was a cable car that took us to Rif: Geisler.

We walked a little before we sat down to eat some lunch and to enjoy that we finally were up in the mountains and on our way.

The view from Rif. Polse

The view from Rif. Polse

We walked upwards for about a hour before we came to Rif Polse a big rifugio that has, as many rifuges in the Dolomites, much more visitors during the skiing season. We had a beer before dinner and in the evening we played Yatzee.

 

The Dolomites 2012: Day 2

Rifugio Polse – Rifugio Genova (2297m)

Outside the rifugio there was a horde of animals, cows, horses and sheep that made a lot of noise. We enjoyed them and it took a while passing them.

Heiða chased by a cow outside Rif. Polse

Heiða chased by a cow

We started by walking down through a forest, it was easy and comfortable walk. We met a guy from Germany Johannes on the way and he joined us. We stopped in a ravine for lunch but it was a short stop since it started to rain.

 

Heiða climbing between Rifugio Polse - Rifugio Genova

Heiða climbing

We walked upwards, in the beginning it rained really hard but after a while it fed. It was a beautiful forest with trees with big roots, the landscape reminded us of Lord of the Rings.

At the top we sat down on a bench before we started to walk down to Rif Genova. We arrived at 3 o’clock.

 

Rifugio Genova, Val Gardena

Rifugio Genova

People were sitting outside eating and chatting.

 

The porch og Rif. Genova, Val Gardena

The porch og Rif. Genova

We got our beds in a big room in a basement, we didn’t really like the room but there were no opportunities the rifugio was fully booked.

We had dinner with some people and we ended the night by playing cards with Judith and Roger from Wales and Johannes .

 

The Dolomites 2012: Day 3

Rifugio Genova – Rifugio Puez (2475m)

We made our own breakfast outside the rifugio before we started the walk of the day. It was a beautiful morning. We found ourselves above the clouds.

 

Above the clouds

Above the clouds

 

Through the clouds

Through the clouds

Heiða and Johannes taking a break

Heiða and Johannes taking a break

We made it to the top Forcella della Roa (2617m) before we headed down a little and sat down on the grass for lunch.

 

 Forcella della Roa (2617m)

Forcella della Roa (2617m)

Then we started climbing again. It became a little rocky and difficult and at the top it began to thunder. We sat down under a rock and waited patiently.

 

Thunder in the Dolomites, Val Gardena

Thunder

When it finally stopped we continued, which seemed like forever, before we reached Rifugio Puez.

 

Sheep outside Rif. Puez, Val Gardena

Sheep outside Rif. Puez

 

a sheep of the Dolomites, Val Gardena

The Royal sheep of the Dolomites

We had a typical Austrian dinner gulach and knödel for dinner. And then we played cards with our new friends. Roger taught us to play Bridge, which was fun but of course we got tired early, after a long and hard day.

 

The Dolomites 2012: Day 4

Rifugio Puez – Selva

We had breakfast in the morning sun.

 

Me making breakfast outside Rifugio Puez

Breakfast outside Rifugio Puez

We took it slowly in the sun climbing up to Passo Crespeina (2528m).

 

Looking down at Selva

Looking down at Selva

 

Looking down at clouds

Looking down at clouds

 

Looking back att Rifugio Puez

Looking back att Rifugio Puez

 

Passo Crespeina

Roger, Judith and Johannes at the top Passo Crespeina.

 

 Passo Crespeina

Heiða at the top Passo Crespeina

 

on the way to restaurant Jimmy

on the way to restaurant Jimmy

After about two hours walk we arrived to a restaurant Jimmy. We sat down, Heiða was really tired, her backpack was way to heavy (she had packed it of habit for the Icelandic mountains). We had a really difficult walk a head of us to Rif. Boe, the sun was still shining but the weather was changing. We decided to take a break. I realized that we were right in the middle of my skiing area, where I go skiing every winter. We decided to walk to Selva my ski town and send home some stuff from Heiðas backpack. I was really happy since we had the opportunity to visit Baita Panorama Hütte, one of my favorite spots in the world, a restaurant/bar I visit every day on my skiing vacation.

 

signs

follow the signs

 

Walking down Dantercepies

Walking down Dantercepies (I’m used to ski down this slope)

Panorama was different in the summer surrounded by green hills and it was all nice and quiet. We had a Prosecco at Panorama and got help from the lovely staff to book a room in Selva.

 

Panorama, Val Gardena

Panorama

We continued down the Danticheppi the hill I’ve skied down hundreds of times. Down to Selva and to the wonderful Garni Aghél where we got a big room with a big porch. We washed all our clothes and went out for Pizza.

 

Garni Aghel, Selva, Val Gardena

Garni Aghel, Selva

 

The Dolomites 2012: Day 5

Selva

We had a wonderful breakfast at the Garni. The weather was really bad, it rained and it was foggy. We decided to stay in Selva. We went to the post office and sent home 3 kg stuff from Heiðas backpack. Then we had lunch at Hotel Europa. The weather got better in the afternoon and I was sitting in the garden reading a book while Heiða went through the whole trip on the maps.

 

Heiða reading the maps at Garni Agheli

Heiða reading the maps at Garni Agheli

She realized something that I didn’t want to realize namely that we would have to pass many via ferratas climbing on wires. She persisted on buying me climbing gloves (for that I’ll always be grateful) and she went to the sport store. I went to the spa at the Garni, it was wonderful. We had dinner at La Bula really delicious home made pasta!

 

Selva Wolkstein by night

Selva Wolkstein by night

 

The Dolomites 2012: Day 6

Selva – Rifugio Cavazza / Pisciadu (2587m)

We took the Dantercepies cable car to the top and walked down to hotel Cir. We were a little unsure about the  weather, but after a cup of coffee we decided to continue. According to the map and the guidebook we were about to do the first via ferrata, I had been so nervous about this since the beginning of the trip. But we found a alternative way on the map. It was longer, but no via ferrata! We decided to take the alternative. I was so relieved! We walked along the mountainside towards Corvara, after about a hour we turned into a beautiful valley.

 

Rocky valley above Corvara

Rocky valley

We really enjoyed this walk, this rocky valley. But it became more and more steep and we didn’t see the top. Suddenly there was like a wall in front of us, with wires! The map had fooled us, the only way up was through this via ferrata and it looked terrible if you ask me. Even Heiða became a little worried, but she is a tough girl and she went up! Then she came back, took my backpack and I took the wire. I was scarred as hell, but I took it really slowly with Heiða right behind me. I was happy for the gloves she bought me and for the rope and hook she had forced me to buy. The fact that I could hook me in wire made the whole thing doable. The thought that I wouldn’t fell down and die if something went wrong helped my from panicking. And I did it! I had outdone myself for the first time on this trip, it was satisfying.

 

me smiling after doing my first via ferrata

Smiling after my first via ferrata!

Heiða dancing in the mountains

Heiða dancing in the mountains

When we came to the Rifugio we had a big beer!

Rifugio Cavazza / Pisciadu

Rifugio Cavazza / Pisciadu

Me drinking beer outside the rifugio

Propably one of the best beers I’ve ever had!

It was Saturday night, and the rifugio was full of big groups on weekend trips. It was probably the most tiering night we had on this trip, but fortunately we got our own room to sleep in.

window view

A room with a view

The view from the rifuge was stunning! It was really worth the effort to come up here!

 

The Dolomites 2012: Day 7

Rifugio Cavazza/Piscadú – Rifugio Boe (2871m)

We woke up early as usual but it was raining really hard, we stayed in bed for a couple of more hours. It was ok since we were only doing a short day. When we left the rif. the rain had stopped but the fog came and went.

Me outside the rifugio

Me outside the rifugio

 

Heiða in the fog

Heiða in the fog

Pretty soon we came to the second via ferrata of the trip. This time the rocks were wet and slippery. I was terrified, but I did it! When we came up, it started to snow, but the snow melted away as soon as it touched the ground. We walked up a rocky ravine and when we came to the top the sun was shining. We sat down for some lunch, the fog came and we continued, the view came and went in the fog. For a moment we thought we were lost we didn’t see anything but suddenly the fog lifted and we realized we were standing right in front of the rifugio Boe!

We really liked this rifugio, it was one of the best on this trip!

In the evening when we where playing cards with an Italian couple it started to snow! This was a all weather day! 15th of July.

The Dolomites 2012: Day 8

Rifugio Boé – Rifugio Del Gigo

The sky was blue and the sun was shining when we woke up and the area was covered with snow. We had breakfast outside the rifugio before we left.

Heida eating porridge in the snow outside Rifugio Boe

porridge in the snow

 

Rifugio Boe

Rifugio Boe

It was slippery but beautiful!

me on slippery ground

Slippery

The view from rifugio Forcella

The view from rifugio Forcella

looking up at rifugio Forcella

looking up at rifugio Forcella

After about 45 min. we came to rifugio Forcella. We had a coffee at the rifugio before we started to walk down the steep slope down to Passo Pordoi.

The slope was full of people, we almost ran down the whole slope.

Passo Pordi is a skiing place with hotels and souvenir shops. We made a short stop at a restaurant wrote some postcards before we continued walking along Marmolada.

Marmolada

Marmolada

The view from Rifugio Del Gigio

The view from Rifugio Del Gigio

We were not alone, a lot of day tourists were on this trail. We had lunch at Rifugio Castigloni, it was crowded with people. I had some really tasty risotto. Then we continued down about 700m to Lago Di Fedaila. We didn’t feel like walking for two hours on a paved road so we decided to take the Dolomiti bus as the guide book recommended. We took the bus to Rifugio Del Gigio. We sat down on the porch in the sun. At this time it was hard to imagine that we had ate breakfast in snow!

We had really nice food at this rifugio, my new favorite dish Ravioli with pumpkin, delicious!

Mountainhikers