After Slovenia, the teams of the relay crossing by the French Mountain and Climbing Federation explored the massifs of four more countries: Italy, Austria, Germany and Liechtenstein, in the Dolomites, the Zillertal, the Wetterstein and the Rätikon!
From 25 June to 1 July, the second team put up its base camp at the Youth Hostel in Dobbiaco/ Toblach in the South Tyrol/ Alto Adige (mostly german-speaking). The Alpenverein Südtirol (Alpine club of South Tyrol) provided a warm welcome and useful advice, unfortunately, the common ascent of the Cima Grande of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo/ Drei Zinnen has to be cancelled due to the rain.
The participants nonetheless went back home with great memories of the ascents of the Paterno/ Paternkofel, the Cima di Mezzo of Cristallo, the Croda del Becco/ Sass dla Porta/ Seekofel and more, of numerous famous and less-known « via ferrata » of this massif which is the birthplace of this sports practice (granting equipment installed for military purpose during WWI a more positive second life)... and of course of stunning hikes along the Via Alpina stages.
The following week, a new team explored the Zillertal massif, just over the Austrian border a little further west. Alpine hikes between the huts overseeing Via Alpina, which here follows the valley ground: Greizer Hütte, Berliner Hütte, Olperer Hütte and Friesenberghaus – the latter, due to its particular history, aims at developing a role as International meeting centre against intolerance and hatred. Indeed the “Jewish hut” was erected around 1930 by the German Alpine Club of Berlin, which had seceded from the German-and-Austrian Alpine Club federation following the anti-Semitic exclusion policies followed by the latter since the beginning of the 20s. On the back of the chairs in the hut are engraved the names of members of the Alpine Club of Berlin, many of which were murdered during the Holocaust.
Finally, last week the relay was first in Germany then in Liechtenstein. The participants first walked Via Alpina stages R44-R46 and climbed on the way the highest mountain of the Bavarian Alps, the Zugspitze. Then, reinforced by a team from a further club they explored the Principality of Liechtenstein, whereby the programm again had to be revised due to the rain (cancellation of the crossing of the Drei Schwestern ridge). On the 14th of July the honorary President of the Liechtensteiner Alpenverein (Alpine Club of Liechtenstein) joined them to celebrate the French national day at the Gafadura hut. Finally, the group climbed the Naafkopf at the meeting point of the borders of Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
The adventure goes on this week in the Italian-Swiss massif of the Bernina, then in the Alps of Tessin and Valais before the final stretch through four French massifs in August.
All details to be found on www.ffme.fr/via-alpina!