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Trekking in the Dolomites: Alta Via routes 1 and 2, with Alta Via routes 3-6 in outline Flexibound – May 15, 2011
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About the Author
After a degree in Anthropology and working in adult education, Gillian Price travelled through Asia and trekked the Himalaya. Eventually settling in Venice, she now works as a freelance travel writer. Gillian is steadily exploring all the mountain ranges and flatter parts of Italy, and has produced a series of outstanding guides for Cicerone. She is an active member of the Italian Alpine Club CAI and Mountain Wilderness.
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As the book mentions, you will need to bring cash (in Euro) to pay for food and lodging at the Rifugios (huts). If you need to exchange money, the best exchange rate in Italy (by far) is at the post office. We saved over a hundred Euro by exchanging U.S. dollars at the main post office in Venice (ask your hotel for directions).
The following update might help hikers who want to do the via ferrata variant described at the end of Alta Via 1 but do not want to carry a climbing harness for eight days. The author mentions that the alpine guide at Refugio 7 Alpini can provide via ferrata kit and expert accompaniment. That guide is no longer working. However, you can rent via ferrata kit from the alpine guide at Refugio San Sebastiano (passed in Stage 9) and drop it off at the end of the trip in Belluno.
If you are trying to decide whether to hike in the Dolomites, we highly recommend them. We have backpacked around the world (including impressive ranges in the Rockies, Sierras, Patagonia, Bolivia, Russia, and Central Asia) and we found the Dolomites to repeatedly offer some of the most spectacular vistas we have seen.
A few details:
The maps that are provided are ample for low-level planning, but I suspect some additional, larger maps will be needed to accurately navigate the trails.
The book is not particularly great about letting you know about some important details: do you need to arrive by a certain time for meals to be served (some rifugio require this, others don't)? Is water available along the trail?
There are frequent callouts in the book, but they don't seem to call out the components of the hike that are most important to a traveler. You need to read through each of the "chapters" to get the details necessary for planning.
This is absolutely a helpful resource, but there are a few drawbacks. I recommend visiting some websites in conjunction with the book when planning your trip. I am going in early October and will certainly update my review if there are any other significant discrepancies. Nevertheless, if you are trekking AV, you should probably buy this now.
You really see its value when you head into an area with less information available.
The maps are so-so; that is unfortunately the usual for Ciccerone.