What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
For me it has to be reaching the top of Monte Piano after an enjoyable and entertaining climb up. The splendour that greeted us was just incredible. I felt that I had arrived into another world, trodden on sacred ground and was left in awe of the surroundings. Carl explained things very well indeed and kept us safe and entertained along the way. It was a poignant moment when we stopped at a point on the way up where lay the graves of some fallen heros of the brutal action during the war. There were red sanctuary lamps beside each rough woodden cross, showing that they had not been forgotten where they had fallen , in that inhospitable spot. As we walked through the trenches and visited observation posts, Carl very knowledgably explained what had happened there. He brought us over to the little war museum on the mountain. It left me with a sense of just how savage and cruel the kind of fighting must have been for the soldiers of both sides.
What did you think of your group leader?
Carl was an excellent leader. Very approachable when you had a difficulty. He is well qualified and it was plain to see that he is a past master of mountaincraft. As a result, I felt very safe throughout the trip and had no worries. He was also very entertaining and it was like listening to David Attenborough as he spoke in quiet tones about some marmots that appeared in the vicinity. For his knowledge of the surroundings, its botany, geography and the manner he presented it, I would describe him as a scholar and a gentleman. The weather was not ideal the first two days but we got sound advice with regard to our gear and equipment, what to expect and what to do about it. Things came right after day two and Carl explained about how to cope with the heat and sun. Overall he proved himself to be a man for all seasons. I would go up any mountain with Carl. Next time it will be a grade C and I am even dreaming about a via ferrata.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Yes, regarding pace. Carl set an easy pace but some of the group appeared to lag behind splitting the group from time to time. I could hear them complain on two occasions that they felt that the pace was too fast for them. However I walked to the front and back of the group and made a point of checking their pace against the leader's and found it to be the same. All they had to do was follow Carls instructions when he asked them several times to walk directly behind him in front especially when setting off after each break. If you do that then it is you who will set the pace for the group. The leader is trained not to go any faster than the people behind him are going. Its also not a race to the top. I could hear him explain all of that that many times. You need to take heed of the leaders instructions and also not dally about after everyone has started off -unless of course you need a comfort stop.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Being an hotelier, Its always a good sign when you see the proprietors of an hotel taking a active interest in the welfare of their guests. We got a great welcome on arrival and personal send off when we left. They were evident throughout our stay. We ate really well every night at the Adler. Food was delicious and local. We even had a Tirolean night and had superb entertainment laid on. So thank you Christian and Helene for a wonderfull stay. And thank you Rosmary, Enzo, Tobias, Luciano and Alexander and to all the many others in the hotel who made things so enjoyable. Also Hire a bike from the hotel on your free day and cycle to Lego Dobiaco. The scenery is picture postcard stuff and the dedicated bike trails are first class and well signposted. By the way, water temperature in Lego Dobiacco is Brass Monkeys. The waitress at the restaurant there said that she worked in the place for 18 years and never saw anyone swimming in it. She did that day. Looks like I made History.