Monday, August 25, 2014

Exploring Italy's Via Ferrata



Guided tours rock! RW guides Daniel Sundqvist and Babsi Glanznig (behind the camera), took our Alpino Wunderbar guests on a Via Ferrata outside of Cortina, Italy. 


Via Ferrata literally means “iron road” in Italian, and many Via Ferrata have their roots in World War I when they were installed to aid troop movements across the rugged peaks of the Italian Dolomites.


Despite the name, a Via Ferrata is certainly not a "road." Via Ferrata are generally climbing routes with nothing more than a thin steel rope or a small iron step precariously bolted to the rock for safety.

What the Via Ferrata lack in walkability they more than make up for in scenery. The views from these high mountain "paths" are breathtaking. This particular segment crosses Monte Averau (2,649 meters), a tower-like mountain in the Averau-Nuvoleau mountain group of northern Italy's Dolomite range.


While the troops are long gone, the iron roads remain, and they offer an exhilarating way to explore some of the most rugged corners of the Alps. 

Note: Next Year's Alpino Wunderbar explores the three alpine villages of Chamonix, France, Courmayeur and Cogne, Italy. Will you join us? Please email us for more details

Photos: by Babsi Glanznig

Saturday, August 16, 2014

2015 Schedule Online | Book Early and Save!



Our new 2015 guided hiking tour schedule is online

We're proud to announce three new tours for 2015; Sicily, the Brenta Dolomites and the Alpino Vino Wunderbar. Wait? Didn't we offer the Alpino Vino Wunderbar last year? We sure did, but we're offering a new itinerary for 2015. The new trip visits the famous alpine resort villages of Chamonix, France, Courmayeur and Cogne, Italy.  

Wait, there's more! Book a trip between now and September 15th and we'll give you this year's price. This deal applies to guidedprivate, and self guided tours.

What if you're still working on dates for your private or self-guided tour? No problem! Just send us your deposit and let us know when you have your dates. We're happy to hold you a spot while you plan your itinerary. 

Let us plan your dream vacation! Just give us a call, or send us an email.

#BookEarlyAndSave

Friday, August 01, 2014

*NEW InstaParapluie by Terese



Introducing the new InstaParapluie by Terese. Just activate the onboard deployment system and VOILA! Within seconds, you’ll have effective protection from rain or sun.

Based on similar technology used by today’s popular avalanche airbag systems, the new InstaParapluie by Terese deploys instantly with the tug of a small cord. Never again will you suffer the indignity of a freak cloud burst, the mental exhaustion of a day-long drizzle, or the embarrassing sunburn that often accompanies an otherwise perfect day filled with UV rays. The InstaParalpluie by Terese has you covered.

Add a touch of class and versatility to your next day hike or long distance trek. Note: The InstaParapluie by Terese is not available in stores. Look for it on Kickstarter, and reserve yours today!

Image: Terese Broderick | Tour du Mont Blanc 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mid Summer (and Above the Clouds) in the Alps



There are basically three types of hiking in the Alps.

1. Hiking below tree line.
2. Hiking above tree line.
3. Hiking above the clouds. 

The first two categories are straightforward. Experiencing the third category, however, requires a special blend of weather, timing and geography. Fortunately for our guests, the last two weeks have been exceptional for getting above the clouds. 

In the first photo, our group of 14 hikers enjoyed ethereal views while descending the famous GR10 long distance hiking trail on our Pays Basque and Pyrénées Trek. The photo shows the stretch of trail between the Refuge Bayssellance and the village of Gavarnie, France in the Haute Pyrénées. Situated at 2,651 meters, the Refuge Bayssellance (our home for one night) is the highest hut in the Pyrénées. The time was 8:20 am when we shot this photo. 


In the second photo, Ryder-Walker trip leader Dave Gruss pauses above the Lunghinsee, a dramatically situated mountain lake in the Engadine region of eastern Switzerland. The Lunghinsee, (Lac de Lunghin in French) sits at 2,484 meters—just 300 meters shy of the summit of the Piz Lunghin (2,780 meters). The Piz Lunghin is a very popular climb on our Engadine Trek and Engadine Summit Series hikes. (Image by Mike Thurk.) 


The third photo puts the splendor of central Switzerland's Berner Oberland on center stage. Ryder-Walker trip leader Babsi Glanznig shot this photo of her guests on top of the Schilthorn (2,970 meters). In the distance you can see the famous Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks. The Schilthorn makes a nice addition to the Eiger Trail or any of our self-guided Berner Oberland hikes.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Superhuman in Austria or....?



Superhuman, or a master of quantum physics? Only Tucker, a recent guest on our Heart of Austria hiking tour, can explain how he appeared in two places at the same time.

Note: This image is not photoshopped.

Ryder-Walker guide Daniel Sundqvist shot this photo of Tucker on July 4th in the Alps above Hallstätt, Austria. According to Daniel, "I lined up my shot, pressed the button, and the next thing I knew, there were two Tuckers waving flags on my screen. Granted, Tucker is a fast hiker, so it is possible that he ran between both locations within a nano second. Or, he warped space time to work in his favor."

Either way, Tucker's pose with the American flag in the Austrian Alps made for a great Independence Day photo. We hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Scotland and England Photos: View At Your Own Risk



You've been warned.


Ryder-Walker guest Paul Loch recently returned from a self-guided Rob Roy Way and Cotswolds Way and he kindly shared these photos from his trip. One of his favorite memories: “The Famous Double Gloucester Cheese Race. While no longer sanctioned by authorities, it’s a real hoot!”

Paul wanted to see this race for a long time, and he finally made it this year.

What is the Gloucester Cheese Race? It’s an annual event where competitors race each other down a dangerously steep hill while chasing an 8-pound wheel of Double Gloucester Cheese.

Maybe that's too kind.

The Sports Gazette summarized the race this way; "twenty young men chasing a cheese off a cliff and tumbling 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to the hospital"—a more apt description.

The event takes place at Cooper’s Hill near Gloucester England and draws between five and ten thousand spectators each year. It’s total chaos and injuries are common. The cheese has been known to touch speeds of 70 mph! To date, no participant has actually caught the cheese.

It’s worth noting that pictures cannot, and will never, do this race justice. The hill is insanely steep. If Cooper's Hill had a ski lift, it would be labeled Double Black Diamond (experts only).

Feel like falling down the rabbit hole? Check out the following website. It’s the definitive source for cheese rolling in Gloucester, England. http://www.cheese-rolling.co.uk/

And don’t forget to check out Paul’s photos from his walk. Note: You'll have to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the images from the Cheese Roll.

Thanks Paul, for sharing these images!

Image by Paul Loch

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New Photos of Norway



Be sure to visit our Facebook page if you haven't done so already. We just posted new photos from our Norway hiking tour that finished today. Norway: The Islands of Loften offers a special outdoor experience. Unlike the majority of our inn-to-inn hiking tours, this multisport extravaganza offers hiking, scrambling and kayaking along Norway's scenic fjords. Click here to see the photos.

You can also see 85 more photos from last year's Norway hiking tour by clicking here.

All images by RW guide and adventure racer Staffan Björklund.