(1) Some thoughts on the planning of stages
With a little more flexibility in terms of time and/or for those of you readers of this blog, who want to follow our example and save a little more time, here are some ideas for combining or at least modifying one or the other stage.
Since the entire tour from Munich to Venice requires almost a complete year’s holiday „in one piece“, which I wanted to keep however for my wife Ines at least in part, we had cancelled the flat stages (3 days) from Munich to Obergries (approx. 6km north of Lenggries) as well as the three flat stages before Venice, i.e. the 3 days between Revine Lago and Jesolo, and bridged them by riding. We preferred to „invest“ the time gained, at least in part, in 2 rest days and some regeneration days at the very end, where we spent the rest days in Pfunders (South Tyrol) and in Masaré (on the lake of Alleghe) in wonderful weather.
If there was enough time, we would have liked to spend another day in the Inn Valley and another day in Revine and especially in the hills before Tarzo. Compared to the Rother guidebook, we also chose Ludwig Grassler’s original route from Belluno and thus cancelled the day on Col Visentin. For good weather conditions, we had prepared an approx. 2km longer compromise here, which would have led us from the small village of Valmorel directly up the magnificent ridge to Col delle Poiatte and from there further along the ridge path and Monte Cor down to the saddle to Col delle Femene. Due to poor visibility and intermittent light rain, however, we preferred to hike directly to Col delle Femene and the rifugio there, where we waited for Ines, who was coming upwards from Revine to meet us up there.
Because of the comparatively short stages (at least for us), we would modify the following stages somewhat in retrospect, taking into account the need for recreation and the attractiveness of the huts:
- To save time and make use of small bus transfers, it should be considered whether the descent stage from the Hallerangerhaus should only go as far as the start of Absam (at the Halltall entrance). From there you could avoid a long road section by taking the bus to the centre of Hall and changing bus here on to the cable-car station in Tulfes, in order to hike upward then the approx. 60 min. to the Glungezer Hut from the cable car mountain station (from summer 2021 this will also be the Tulfein-Alm again) on the same day. The disadvantage of this option would be that you would (unfortunately?) miss out civilisation and thus also a good restaurant in the „Inntal“ (i.e. the valley of river Inn).
- An optimisation compared to our route on the main ridge of the Alps would be, according to our experience and that of other hikers with whom we were able to exchange experiences on the way, in some cases for several days, if one did not hike from the very beautiful and comfortable Dominikushütte at the Schlegeisspeicher directly over the Pfitscherjoch to Stein, as we did, but from the Schlegeisspeicher, approx. 15min after the start at the hut, first walk uphill to the Olperer hut (approx. 1.5h more) and from there walk along the wonderful „Berliner Höhenweg“ to the Pfitscherjoch. Because of the otherwise very short stage to Stein (the first village in South Tyrol), this day’s stage is thus significantly upgraded.
- The stage from Pfunders via Niedervintl in the Pustertal to the Kreuzwiesenalm and the Lüsener Alm was done by bus from Pfunders to Niedervintl and in principle we would do it again. The reason for this is that this part of the route first leads along the main road for 4 km and then runs alongside the road for another 6 km, which is quite flat and unattractive.
- In retrospect, our stage from the Schlüterhütte to the Puezhütte (see also our stage blog) was clearly too short for us, despite the beautiful location of the Puezhütte. It could be „optimised“ significantly especially in view of the subsequent stage to the „Piz Boé“. If we were to do it again, we would probably (1)“include“ an ascent of Piz Duleda (right next to/above the Forcella Nives; +50min upwards) and (2)rather take a break/overnight stay on the Grödner Joch; all the more so as the Puezhütte also offered, in our view, the „fastest“ (or most unattractive – to put it kindly) breakfast (9min complete-time requirement) of all our stages.
- A further time saving could be achieved by combining the two stages from Piz Boé to Rifugio Viel dal Pan (2h 45min) and the tour to Alleghe (a good 5 hours hike). Although the Rifugio Viel dal Pan has a truly top location with its view of the „Marmolada“ and at the same time of Lake Fedaia and, moreover, can boast almost luxury facilities for a alpine hut (in Italian: „Rifugio„: double room with shower/WC, like in a hotel), the stage from Piz Boé is definitely just too short! Especially if you then also take the bus from Lake Fedaia for the further route to Alleghe (not possible for us on a Sunday) and in addition, as this year (2020), the most beautiful part of the route to Alleghe, i.e. the gorge of Sottoguda, cannot yet be hiked-through again due to its destruction in October 2018, it may make a lot of sense to combine the two stages.
(2) Internet and electricity supply
A power supply for charging batteries or smartphones, GPS devices, „ebook readers“ etc. is somehow possible in most huts nowadays. However, when planning and using the devices, you should keep in mind that there are often only central charging possibilities or also charging possibilities on aisle sockets. In a few cases (twice) there was even no possibility to charge devices at all. This is even more true if you plan to spend your nights in dormitory accommodation, as there are even fewer of the usually hotly-contested charging sockets here. As we were already aware of these problems, we had a small 20,000mAh power pack with us as a backup, with which we could always charge the battery capacities of our most important electronic devices „on the fly“ if necessary. After all experiences we can only highly recommend such a „backup“ for charging.
Similar to the electricity supply, the internet supply at (Alpine Club) huts is anything but self-evident and therefore difficult to predict (also depending on the network or provider). This statement applies both to possible WiFi offers as well as to mobile network availability (beyond an „edge“ (E = 2G) data connection), whereby a pure telephone connection is still far more frequently available. So you shouldn’t always rely on usable, fast internet, although conversely we never had to „hold out“ for more than one day without a data network.