Opening the Route: A Running Adventure Through the Italian Dolomites

Best of the Dolomites - Baion

View from Rifugio Baion.

Jason Schlarb - Matt Lowe - Jeremy Wolf

Jason Schlarb, Matt Lowe, and Jeremy Wolf.

Three “brothers” in the running community, Matt Lowe, Jeremy Wolf, and I, Jason Schlarb, are best friends that share a love for trail running, mountains, adventure and world travel. We have been exploring the mountains and outdoors together for the last 15 years covering three continents, from below sea level in Death Valley to 20,000 feet in the Bolivian Andes. This past June, we traveled to the Italian Dolomites for a five-day, point-to-point trail run together.

View from Refugio Auronzo

The view from Refugio Auronzo.

The Dolomites

As the Alps dip into Italy, the Dolomites boast some of the most unique, steep and jagged mountain peaks a trail runner could imagine. Verdant valleys separate the uniquely rugged and compact ranges of the Dolomite Mountains. The Dolomites have a vast, well-maintained and well-marked trail network that includes fantastic, full-service huts called “rifugios.” The rifugio network is designed to support the average day hiker, which means they are regularly spaced across the Dolomites, connecting these historic mountains, valleys and their trails. Nearly all routes through the Dolomites have more than ample rifugio stops which provide great lunch breaks, snacks, beer… and better yet, a place for dinner, a bed for the night and a hot breakfast.

Best of Dolomites - Rifugio Baion

Rifugio Baion

Italian rifugios are truly a slice of alpine heaven and are a worthy destination in and of themselves. Rifugios enable hikers, climbers and especially runners to thru-hike without the limitations of carrying food, sleeping equipment and clothing for staying outside at night in the high alpine. Privately owned, quaint, clean and full of character and culture, these rifugios are located on the saddles of mountain ridges, nestled in beautiful alpine valleys and on the sides of mountains in some of the most scenic terrain imaginable.


Rifugios offer rooms of varying occupancies with rates that include delicious, home-cooked, three-course meals and an ample, runner-sized breakfast. Of course there is grappa (sometimes distilled on site), wine, liquor and beer for purchase as well.

Rifugio rates ranged between 35 to 49 Euro (45 to 64 USD) for lodging, dinner, dessert and breakfast. The reasonable costs were unbelievable considering you are purchasing nightly accommodations in such remote, mountainous locations. The rifugio network made traveling great distances with only a running pack through spectacular mountains (priceless) surprisingly affordable. While the three of us all appreciate the serenity of pristine wilderness and self-supporting, rifugios made for a spectacular way to explore miles of trails while indulging in great food, high-alpine lodging and a culturally rich experience all while carrying a minimalist pack.

View from Alta Via 3 on Picco di Vallandro Durrenstein

The view from Alta Via 3 on Picco di Vallandro Durrenstein.

Planning

We decided early in our planning to run through the Dolomites without the help of a guide company. This decision maximized our flexibility on the trip while saving a lot of money by planning the bookings and transportation ourselves. While going at it alone added complexity, the resources available through the CAI (Club Alpino Italiano) and the knowledge and responsiveness of the rifugio staff made it all possible. The early-season timing of our run, June 10 through 14, however, provided some serious logistical challenges. Firstly, most rifugios do not open for the summer season until June 15. We did not know exactly which rifugios would be open until we arrived in the Dolomites, making advance route planning almost impossible. We quickly found the benefit of running in the early season: once we identified and arrived at an open rifugio, we often had it completely to ourselves, just the three of us and the rifugio owner. This was the exact opposite of what might be expected in July and August when advance reservations are recommended. By going during the early season, we inherited the huge challenge (and fun!) of traversing deep snow on the higher-elevation trails, in effect “opening” some of the routes for the season.

Forc Baion

Forc Baion

This year’s European winter was unseasonably snowy, cold and unexpectedly long with some areas setting 60-year snowfall records. The snow created uncertainty on which routes we could run through the mountains, or what was even open. In the end, we essentially planned all but our first day on the fly. Talking before the trip to local guide companies and rifugios (initially not always an easy task given most had just closed with the end of the ski season) provided us with enough information to pick a starting location and get confirmation of at least a few open rifugios.

In the heart of the Dolomites, there are small roads through many of the valleys and a splattering of small mountain towns, which created all sorts of options for an exit point. Transportation from a small town via bus or taxi to a train station further north turned out to be very convenient. Our plan was simply to run the most fun, scenic and intense route possible, while averaging about 20 miles a day. The final day we would find transportation to Munich where we would toast to surviving and celebrate a successful trip. What we didn’t realize when we started our trip was that each of the five days we would be the first runners or hikers to actually travel through the route this season. Three out of the four nights we would be told that our intended route was impassible and closed. Hearing that our intended route was “closed” created stress, excitement and fortunately in the end, a sense of accomplishment. (I use the word “closed” in quotations because they weren’t officially closed for travel by an authority. Rather, they were not yet recommended for hiking or running due to snow.) More than once we would stumble into a rifugio for the night to be greeted with the statement, “you have opened the route.”

Best of Dolomites route map

Our route, color coded by day.

Day 1: Calazo to Rifugio Baion

We arrived on a bus from Venice into Calazo, the trip’s starting point, with only the basic gear, water and spending cash in our Ultimate Direction PB running packs to last us for the week. Our first task was to find an outdoor store that carried trail maps and hopefully some had information and advice on our proposed route. Advice was minimal and localized, allowing us insight into maybe five miles down our route, but thankfully they had a good map covering the area we wanted to travel. The shop owner was kind enough to call Rifugio Baion, where we would spend our first night, to let them know we were coming. At 4 pm on Monday, June 10, our run commenced.

evening beers

After a few wrong turns navigating through Calazo, we were climbing into the high alpine with huge smiles on our faces. Our first day was the shortest but, as we would find everyday, there was no lack of amazing trail running, views, some snow to negotiate and tons of climbing and descending. We were the only guests at Rifugio Baion, a small, family-owned-and-operated rifugio. We relaxed on the porch, had dinner and enjoyed some beer and a sampling of some of the 15 different grappas that were all made on site. Inside, we enjoyed a fire in the dining area while talking to our host about our next day’s plans and called ahead to let the next rifugio know we were coming.  Our first night was the only night our rifugio hosts didn’t try to put the kabosh on our alpine route selections for the next day, despite the fact that we were to climb and descend down one of the steepest and more dangerous passes on our trip.

10 miles; 5,000 feet of climbing

Monte Ciastellin

Decent near Monte Ciastellin.

Day 2: Rifugio Baion to Rifugio Auronzo

Our rifugio hosts were not interested in an early-morning breakfast, a trend we found at all the rifugios. Besides being a bit anxious and excited, a later-morning start was good. We left the rifugio at 9:30 and began backtracking a few miles to a trail that would take us over a pass and down into the next drainage. The pass was probably only 40 feet wide with tall spires and cliffs on each side. On the other side was a really steep chute I would much rather have skied than negotiated in my Hokas. Matt and Jeremy lead the descent by making small indents in the 55 to 65-degree slope carrying makeshift self-arresting rocks in their hands. A glissade would have been unbelievably fun and fast, but would have resulted in vaporized shorts and skin and landed us in the rocks with our bodies mangled. Luckily the descent was uneventful other than the unbelievable views in all directions. Down safely in the next valley, we crossed a road and found a rifugio on the other side still boarded up for winter, so we enjoyed a prepackaged lunch of sugary fuels as we made our way up the next drainage. The climb up the next drainage was long and constant and rewarded us with a majority of the day’s 7,000 feet of climbing by the time we made the ridge.

Rifugio Auronzo

Rifugio Auronzo

Halfway up the climb we could make out a small speck of a structure on the ridgeline of a snowy pass, Rifugio Auronzo, where we would stay for the night. It really is amazing where you can stay the night in the mountains of Italy. The trail disappeared under the snow on the last 1,000 feet of climbing. We powerhiked up to the ridge while watching Ibex run on the steep rock walls around us. Rifugio Auronzo boasted the most amazing views of any of the rifugios we stayed at or passed. Sitting on top of a pass at over 2,000 meters adjacent to the famous Tre Cime, Auronzo was just plain spectacular.

21 miles; 7,000 feet of climbing

Day 3: Rifugio Auronzo to Rifugio Vallandro

Tre Cime - drink

Taking a drink below the Tre Cime.

Day 3 started with a horseshoe circumnavigation of the Tre Cime, one of the most famous landmarks in the Dolomites with three enormous rock towers looking like they had been plucked straight from a Patagonia ad.  Running in the morning hours, we were able to scurry atop of the three-meter deep snow, which we were told the night before would be impassible. Prior to reaching the Tre Cime, we made a short climb to the pass, jogging past an earth-moving tractor burrowing through the deep, deep snow in attempts to clear the trail for the season.

Clearing the trail near Forc Lavaredo.

Clearing the trail near Forc Lavaredo.

Passing a group ski touring the snowfields while we were just in our running shoes was a pretty cool feeling as we made our way to the ridge. From the top of the pass, we made our longest and best glissade of the trip. Jeremy and I wore holes in our pants cruising down the snow, but it was certainly worth it. Matt took a more adventurous route, despite trying to be more cautious, which resulted in a half-hour, death-defying traverse over steep, rock-hard snow. On the far side of Matt’s traverse, Jeremy and I nervously enjoyed the show while taking video, just in case Matt made a mistake.

Down the valley we ran fast on the popular trail following a beautiful creek ending at a confluence to a river and Hotel Drei Zinnenblick at the base of the valley. At the hotel, we treated ourselves to a beer for lunch and a pretzel.  We continued on after lunch, climbing the adjacent valley wall on Alta Via 3. On the steep climb following Alta Via 3, we saw a gated entrance to caves and anchors hanging overhead for rock-climbing routes. Further up the trail, we traveled on an amazingly surreal assisted trail with a wooden staircase that seemed to float out alongside the cliff face, followed by a tunnel, then a series of trail and wooden walkways carved into the cliff face. The cave, bunker, and trail infrastructure littering our route were remnants from World War I, making this section of trail up the impossibly steep valley a unique and memorable experience.

Alpe di Vallandro Durrenstein Alpe

Alpe di Vallandro Durrenstein Alpe.

At the top of our climb, we reached Strudelkoofe Peak with possibly the best 360-degree views of the trip. Far across the valley we could see the Tre Cime where we slept the night before, also visible was our descent down to the valley that morning. A rolling jog down to Rifugio Lavaredo had us singing the “hills are alive with the sound of music” as the trail took us down into a lush, green, high-alpine valley in a sea of green grass and wildflowers. In this magic valley, we met mountain bikers and found two rifugios along with a luxury hotel with a swimming pool, spa and sauna. From this valley we split up, and I ran back up the valley and continued on to Alta Via 3 looping around a huge mountain with more assisted trail running and snow crossings. Jeremy and Matt had a sausage and beer while soaking in views of the huge red-hued Roda Rossa. Jeremy and Matt ran down the valley to Rifugio Vallandro, dropped gear and climbed an Angels Landing-like technical and exposed ridge extending out into the valley. The route was dotted with World War I tunnels that they explored with their headlamps.

Alta Via 3

Part of the Alta Via 3.

Evening dinner was the best of the trip at Rifugio Vallandro. Dinner was a saucy macaroni noodle followed by polenta, beef and green beans with panna cotta and finished with a raspberry and custard dessert. After two grappa shots and beer, we enjoyed hearing our most colorful and passionate protest from a rifugio host to not continue on our proposed route. Our host called the area’s emergency services… twice, to verify that our route was both closed and impassable. Our host then called a few other rifugios, verifying with them how bad our ideas were for running the next day. We were nearly convinced into taking a far less sexy route, but luckily by the end of the night we agreed, without letting our host know, that we would at least go and check things out on our original route through the high alpine.

30 miles; 8,000 feet of climbing

La Crodetta Gaisele

La Crodetta Gaisele

Day 4: Rifugio Vallandro to Rifugio Fanes

From Vallandro, we made our way up again to the snowy high alpine and all day we would travel around the massive Roda Rossa. The majority of our time today was spent in the snow, where we ascended to our highest point of over 8,000 feet and encountered our most technical snow traverses. Literally covered in snow, the assisted cables, ladders and bridges were of minimal use as we carefully picked, climbed and scrambled our way across the steep, craggy winter wonderland under sunny, warm skies. Unlike earlier days, we were not able to finish running over snow before the afternoon, which resulted in slower postholing and wet-snow conditions. After cutting through the toughest of the technical route yet, we passed two rifugios where we were greeted with the statement, “you have opened the route,” as we were the first to traverse the route for the season. Opening the route provided us with a sense of pride and accomplishment after being told that this route was impassable.

Rifugio Biella

Rifugio Biella

A bit tired but happy to be getting out of the snow, we stopped at Rifugio Biella to soak in the view and share some trail knowledge with a couple hikers eager for adventure. Stopping again further down the trail at Rifugio Sennes, we had our most lavish lunch of a sausage that we split, some veggies, and of course, big beers.

The second half of the day’s running was spent descending the steepest road any of us have seen before. Think of the steepest, windiest roads in San Francisco but in an alpine setting. After the descent, we climbed up a uniquely dry and scrubby New Mexico-like landscape to Rifugio Fanes. Day 4 brought us our deepest snow, our hottest weather and, at the end of the day, we were lucky enough to dive into a lake off a small cliff not far from the evening’s rifugio. That night we celebrated our big day with a liter of wine and beers all around.

23 miles; 6,000 feet of climbing

Via Ferrata Lucio Dalaiti

Via Ferrata Lucio Dalaiti

Day 5: Rifugio Fanes to Cortina

From Rifugio Fanes, we headed towards Cortina via Trail 10. After a pretty easy climb to the pass and a run through a few patches of snow in a lush forest, we were heading down a steep trail into a canyon. The night before we had discussed looking at Via Ferrata Lucio Dalaiti. Via Ferrata Lucio Dalaiti was one of the few Via Ferratas close to our route that wasn’t under serious snow pack. We could see an impressively deep slot canyon below and decided to give the route a go.

Via Ferrata Lucio Dalaiti

Via Ferrata Lucio Dalaiti

Immediately there was a cable on the wall with the trail under foot carved out of the cliff. We descended down keeping a hand usually on the cable as we jogged along and over bridges. The Via Ferrata lead to a roaring, 80-foot waterfall that crashed down into a too-small pool which created a loudly roaring whitewater and mist storm. To our surprise and amazement, the track literally cut behind the base of the roaring waterfall and continued around. After crossing behind the magic waterfall (and putting the waterproof camera to good use), we continued down to another even taller waterfall and narrow metal bridge where the force of the water created a wet, gusty wind that felt like we were crossing a two-foot-wide bridge in a hurricane over a Class IV rapid. We really were.

The crux of the Via Ferrata was a 60-plus-foot cliff wall with meandering metal ladder rungs and a cable drilled into the rock face. After some slight hesitation, we were on our way down while people below equipped with harnesses, climbing gear and helmets shook their heads. (While we aren’t the only ones who use less involved Alta Vias without protection, we DO NOT recommend doing so.)

After a steep, assisted climb, we were back on the main trail to Cortina. We followed a rolling trail that paralleled a huge river running through scenic meadows, forests and hills. From the hills, we could look down on the iconic ski town of Cortina. We ended our 92-mile voyage across the Italian Dolomites on the cobblestone streets lined with historic buildings, churches and designer clothing and ski shops at 11:00 a.m. We grabbed some food, rinsed off in the river and were in a taxi proudly admiring and pointing at the views of our epic passage across the Dolomites through the taxi windows.

13 miles; 4,000 feet of climbing

Vallone di Lavaredo

Vallone di Lavaredo

Munich

After our taxi ride, we jumped on a train for the long ride to Munich highlighted by a delicious meal of all of our remaining gels leftover or lost in the bottom of our packs. Once in Munich, we jogged from the train station to our hotel for showers. Grabbing a shower, dinner and a “rally bottle” for the evening, we were ready to celebrate out on the town in one of the world’s most renowned drinking cities… wearing our running gear. It was a bit overwhelming to be back in a bustling city center after such a long stint in the mountains. After some kebabs, we were drinking liter steins of beer at the legendary Hoffbrau House listening to “Oompah” music in the beer hall and soaking up all sorts of Germanic heritage and drinking history. A few liters later, we were on a search for 21st Century nightlife in the younger and trendier part of Munich where there are dance clubs and music. Walking into the first club, we were turned around because of our running clothes, then the next place and the next we had the same luck. One bouncer told us we were looking “too sporty.” Finally, we managed to half sneak into a nightclub where we finally enjoyed some good music and fun before returning back to the hotel in the early hours of Saturday.

Munich beer

Enjoying some beers at the Hoffbrau House.

In Conclusion

Trip Totals

Approximately 92 miles of running with 30,000-plus feet of climbing starting Monday at 4:00 p.m. and ending Friday at 11:00 a.m.

Success

Our run through the Italian Dolomites was a huge success. The trails, Alta Vias, Via Ferratas, rifugios and uniquely spectacular Dolomite Mountains all made for one of the best mountain-running experiences in the world. We already look forward to returning some day and running more of the Dolomites.

Equipment

We all three used Peter Bakwin (PB) Ultimate Direction packs. Our packs were certainly the most critical piece of equipment we had, and they delivered. After looking at all the other packs on the market, nothing came close to the quality, weight, accessibility and comfort of the PB packs. The UD PBs have tons of room for carrying items on the front of the pack and the room to carry a lot on the back of the pack while still being light and not bulky, making for a comfortable, low-bounce ride. Given how extremely light the packs were, we were curious if they would withstand the abuse of the adventure, which they did with style.

For our running shirts, we wore new prototype “S14” Arc’teryx t-shirts. All three of us agree that the tailored cut Arc’teryx shirts are the best-fitting, lightest and most durable (we sure tested that) t-shirts we have ever run in. We all three wore lightweight Ryders Eyewear polarized sunglasses which were lifesavers on our sunny, snow-filled runs through the alpine. Jeremy and I both wore Hoka Bondis and Injinji Performance 2.0 socks for the trip.

The basic gear we wore and carried in our pack: two t-shirts, one long sleeve, one running coat, two pairs of shorts, two pairs of Injinji socks, Buff/hat, gloves, running pants/tights, Ryders sunglasses, GPS watch, headlamp, camera, map, Vitargo/gels, Euros, credit card, toothbrush, sunscreen and some emergency medical supplies.

Dolomites gear

Next up…

Patagonia! This January we will be traveling to South America for more point-to-point mountain running through Patagonia.

Patagonia

Next up? Patagonia! Photo: Kendrick Callaway

Thanks again to our sponsors who help made our trip possible

  • Ultimate Direction
  • Arc’teryx
  • Ryders Eyewear
  • Hoka One One
  • Injinji

There are 47 comments

  1. jhb

    Looks like an amazing adventure by I couldn't help thinking 'why haven't you got and ice axe??!!!' when I saw the pictures of the snow

    1. Schlarb

      jhb,

      Yeah, an ice axe would have been great for a number of our ascents and descent. You can actually see Jeremy carrying a sharp rock in lieu of an axe in the video. Truth is that while the video and pictures highlight a lot of the high alpine, which was in the snow, a majority of our running was not in the snow and running with an axe would have been a pain.

  2. Sarah Lavender Smith

    Terrific report and photos — thanks so much. You guys make quite a team. I was mildly surprised you didn't use trekking poles (which could be strapped to your pack's exterior when you didn't need them). Did you need to bring anything to purify the water, or did you just refill from streams?

    1. Schlarb

      Thanks Sarah!

      The three of us have spent a lot of time together in amazing places… life long friends indeed. Yeah, trekking poles would probably have made a lot of sense and the pack has a set up to cary them conveniently. I guess we are just classic Americans who don't use poles, next time.

      Water: with so many rifugios and using a water bladder in the pack, we didn't really need to worry about getting water. With that said, I personally kept my water bladder pretty empty and drank from the smaller high alpine streams and springs (nice and cold).

    1. Schlarb

      CDG,

      TBD… recommendations welcome! Might be chasing a few FKTs, doing a longer point-to-point with mule assist. Bottom line, more running, longer trip and tons of fun.

      1. Lstomsl

        Check out the route from bariloche,Arg to cochamo, chile through the cochamo valley if you want an adventure. The valley is on par with Yosemite.

        Also the route from Villa O'higgins, Chile to El Chalten, Argentina.

        And there are some good new trails in and around the new Patagonia National Park as well.

        You can still do the torres circuit. It's only 65 miles….

  3. Cheylon Ginyard

    AWESOME trip! I am new to ultra-running but nothing to this caliber…

    I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors and I never knew just how much I would LOVE running in and out of the woods on trails.

    Truly Inspirational! Have your best-friends with you on this trip and you all experiencing this together is a PHENOMENAL feeling!

    I look forward to your many adventures.

  4. Charlie Hunsberger

    Thanks for a recalling such a great trip! The Dolomites are high on my list, and you've made them higher!

  5. brandon

    Great trip report, great pics, absolutely amazing scenery. The ooohing and aaahing coming form my office was probably a bit weird but I couldn't help it while looking at your pics and reading your report. Curious about a couple things: What was your overall trip length? Did you fly in and spend some time before starting your run, or were you in and out in about a week? Any idea how busy the rifugios are during July and August? Just curious how much pre-planning would be involved during high season. Also, did all your gear fit in your PB pack the whole time? Must have, just surprised at the volume of the pack. Thanks again for the great report. I'm sure we all look forward to more from the three of you in future.

    1. Schlarb

      Brandon, we started Monday at 4pm and finished on 11am on Friday the 14th of June. Matt and Jeremy did some traveling in EU before, I came in the day before. Wish I/we could have spent more time (as always). You might want to lay out a route in advance and reserve during high season. Be conservative, as there are tons of options for side trips from most rifugios. We had MORE than enough room in the PB packs, they are awesome.

      1. brandon

        Thanks for replying. Any websites you'd suggest for trip planning? Maybe a site you used for booking, looking up rifugios, etc? I love the idea of destination running but have never looked into it. Thanks again.

  6. Bill Geist

    Jason,

    Nice write up. I am hooked on the Dolomites. Turns out I was climbing the Via Ferrata Lucio Dalaiti the Friday before you arrived. Small world.

  7. Karen Krout

    Jeremy, this is amazing!! I'm looking forward to seeing the video of your Patagonia trip. If I were your mother, I would be terrified to think of you going on some of these dangerous runs. I'm proud of your accomplishment and will forward this to my friends and family.

  8. Tyler Hartanov

    WOW! That looks amazing gentlemen. Great trip photos and history of the route. It reminds me a lot of Glacier. Hope all is well and look forward to seeing your results from Patagonia.

  9. Kendrick Callaway

    If you're looking for a Patagonian running guide I'm your man, El Schlarbarino. I am debating heading down there around December for another 4-6 month trip :) I have lots of unfinished business (runs) down there. I also have TONS of ideas for big runs in Peru (best done in the months of June-August IMHO). That continent is a dream for big, rugged, isolated routes.

  10. Kristin Z

    this type of trip is EXACTLY why I keep my hands in ultras! nice work and awesome photos! thanks for the deets that make it easier for those of us not familiar with Italy to plan a trip!

  11. Schlarb

    Kristin, there is no better way to explore a new place than to be an Ultra runner! Yeah, not knowing how it all works was a bigger stress for us. I think just getting a good map(s) is the way to start. Transportation is pretty convenient in all of the alps (especially compared to the N.America).

  12. Rich

    Switzerland has a similar hut system, which costs about 65-80 CHF with half-pension. So about the same as the Italian huts, and also beer and wine are available. A major pleasure after a good day on the trails. I did three days of speedpacking to acclimate to altitude, and then a couple of rest days in town before a mountain race a couple of weeks ago. I could easily have carried on for a whole week as Jason and Co had done if I were not racing – it was simply a blast. (But it was great race prep.) Around the the Matterhorn, for example, there are a number of shorter or longer circuits. And it is an awesome view each day! The huts seemed to open during the end of June, and in early July at least sleeping space is not a problem.

    One packing I would add is sleeping sheets – this is required in the Swiss huts. Even a cheaper one weighs only 200 g, but there are lighter and smaller ones.

    The trail and hut system in the Alps are fantastic and highly recommended.

  13. Max Keith

    As Kendrick says we have LOTS and LOTS of rugged and isolated routes. I'm pretty sure you will enjoy patagonia.

    Dientes del Navarino and the O+W in Torres del Paine are the most famous one routes/FKT that we have down here, but there is plenty to be discover yet

    And Kendrick you have to come again for finishing what you left and maybe do more in the Andes…

    Saludos.

  14. Schlarb

    Rich, while it is in the picture of our equipment, I forgot to mention the silk sleeping "sack" or sheet. If you forget or don't have one, you can rent them at many of the huts (it is better to just buy one before hand though). Thanks for bringing this up!

    I have ski toured and used huts in Switzerland and the huts I visited were fantastic indeed! While not as high in altitude or as massive as the Swiss Alps, the Dolomites have the spectacular Via Ferrata/Assisted Trail systems and are also unique in their tightly packed formations with dramatic relief.

    Thanks Rich!

    1. Rich

      The Dolomites sound great, so thanks for the article. And away from the huts Italy is probably quite a bit cheaper than Switzerland!

      Just have to wait and see what race to do in the Alps next summer…

  15. Jason C

    Damn that video messed me up. Not sure how I'm supposed to survive the afternoon in clinic with visions of mountains and running behing waterfalls on my mind. You should seriously consider a NSFW tag…

    1. Schlarb

      I guess not being in an office for over a year, I had no idea what "NSFW" (a bit wild google search!). Sorry, but hopefully it will get you on a running adventure sooner!

      1. Jason C

        Heading up to Colorado this weekend for the three weeks leading up to Leadville. Toured the Cinque Terre last year and wish I had the time to explore the Dolomites. Definitely on the short list

  16. Clark

    Outta this world!

    I've skied the Dolomites several times but it was always evident the running had to be much better, obviously confirmed now!!!

  17. Markus

    Some really good choice of path there for your dolomites Reece.

    I like your Patagonia idea. I have ran there a couple of times. Go and check out the track of the 4 Refugios race. The course map gives you a good idea of the area and the opportunities. From there you can lengthen. Great region to run from refugio to refugio. Patagonia is incredible.

  18. Sheshboomer

    Very very cool. I am headed to the Dolomites June 11th-13th (2014) with my son. Do you know if there is a way to find out in advance which Rifugi are open by then?

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