There are many things that can go wrong during an adventure. You never know what to expect, which is part of why some of us love to go out exploring. If all goes well, you had a great day. If it doesn’t, you probably have a good story to tell. Some stories, however, aren’t worth the risk you take. On a recent trip to the Bellunesi Dolomites in Italy, I ended up being in a situation, that I am not proud of. It took me a while to decide whether to publicly write about it or not. But in the end, everyone involved agreed on doing so, if only to prevent other people from doing the same mistake.
So here we go. A couple of things I have learned in the mountains:
1. Start your day early.
Or, if you don’t, shorten your tour accordingly. On the day we climbed Malga Vallazza, we had arrived in the mountains rather late and decided to turn around before we reached the actual peak.
2. Wear purple shorts. As often as you can.
Lutz is a pro at this and looks flawless every second.
3. Learn how to read maps.
By now, Lutz and I have gotten pretty good at interpreting dashed and dotted lines as well as altitude profiles. Sometimes we’ll look at a map for half an hour or more, to find a trail that could be rideable. And even then, there’s a good chance it’s not rideable at all.
4. Know your companions.
Do not invite anyone to come with you, before asking them about their experience in detail. Ask them about their gear and any fears they have. If someone shows up in a sweatshirt and sneakers, does not bring a rain jacket and tells you she usually hikes in flat landscapes and is afraid of heights: Do not bring them along. For their and your own safety.
Bring along strong and strong-minded people like these: