From Father to Son


— text by Giacomo Frison (, photo by Marco Frison and Giacomo Frison, translated by Glorija Blazinsek / July 2017

Everything starts from a personal passion

Working on one’s own project is a beautiful thing. It takes perseverance, energy and fatigue, but it allows you to take off any whim and desire, as it’s you the one who decides everything.
So that this time I decide to share the experience with the person who introduced me to the great and magical world of mountains.
My dad would often carry me on his shoulder when I was a child and most of the times we were surrounded by the Dolomites, even if there were hikes with my mom in Val d’Aosta in La Thuile.
Some years later, my brother joined us and August has always been the synonymous of family, peaks, pasture, blueberries, games and ‘vertical adventure’.
Over time, my passion for the mountain became a project named Altripiani, a never ending research and work in progress.
Everything starts from a personal passion, but when you see that the idea is good, then there’s more to work than to dream up.
In a project like this you have to leave, to stop, to come back, to look back, to pack and unpack your backpack several times.

The spectacular ring inside the Friulian Dolomites Natural Park

This time we’ve been to the Friulian Dolomites, places I’ve already been to, but I’ve never traveled through the whole ring of the Park in one time.
Our itinerary takes place away from the crowded Dolomites and goes through the rugged, wild and beautiful valleys of the Pramaggiore, Monfalconi, Spalti di Toro and Cridola mountain groups.
We reach in total four mountain huts: Giaf, Flaiban - Pacherini, Pordenone and Padova.
In our ‘Altripiani style’ we went to meet and hear to the stories of the people who take care of those huts: among many difficulties, these people carry on important footholds between the forest and the rock, with so much passion.
The spectacular ring inside the Friulian Dolomites Natural Park offers a multitude of variations according to difficulty and commitment, it takes four or five days of trekking depending on your leg, the training and your experience.
There are also many panoramic alpine climbing to the peaks, one above all the Pramaggiore Mount at 2487m and afterwards the steep descent on the screes.
We've been lucky enough to trek during four sunny days, sometimes we complained because there was not a cloud to repair us from the scorching temperatures, even if it was only the middle of June, with few water in the streams, but with many encounters with chamois, ibex, marmots and some birds of prey.
The hut managers we visited are very hospitable people, lot of them are still at the trial stage due to the beginning of the season. The opening is never easy, there’s always something to work out.
Among the big problems, water seems to be the main one: when there’s water, there’s no sun for the solar panels and when there’s sun, there’s no water for the basic activities.

The tour of the saddles

A never ending challenge for these families, couples or friends that love nature and don’t give up.
My father and I have renamed our trail as ‘the tour of the saddles’. In fact, there are eight saddles in total, with the most funny names: Scodavacca, Urtisel, Brica, Inferno, Fantuina, La Sidon, Pramaggiore, Segnata. The mountain passes also have curious names: the pass of the Mus or Suola (In Italian these names have comic meanings as ‘hell’, ‘little kid’, ‘snout’, ‘sole’…).
The fourth day in front of the Campanile of Val Montana there was silence, no one around, neither on the mountain faces nor on the path.
Before closing the ring and returning to the Padova hut we stopped for a break to enjoy the beauty of this amphitheater of rocks. Instead of going through the classic Montanaia saddle, we preferred to take the 357 trail pointing at the Segnata saddle (‘segnata’ in Italian means ‘marked’).
But, to our surprise, we found out that the saddle was anything but marked! Both on the Friulian and Venetian sides, the path has suffered major damages and landslides and often there is none of it remained.
I think that only expert mountaineers, good at climbing even downhills on unstable supports and handholds, can pass through it easily. In three exposed points of the Venetian side, there are some bolts useful for a double rope rappel, or to belay your partner. While the blazes are often 4m high on the rill sides.
On the Tabacco map N°02 the path is dotted (•••), in order to avoid finding yourself in unpleasant situations, the best thing is to be careful and proceed cautiously. Take extra care on the 363A trail leading to La Sidon Alta saddle. This one should be equipped (+++), but at the moment the rocks are the one being anchored to the cables and not vice versa.
The whole trekking is generally not popular, we recommend it to all the hikers who want to trek a few days in peace, where fatigue is rewarded by the small daily achievements.

Alterra GTX and Alterra NBK GTX

Lately the evolution of footwear has often led to the preference of light and low shoes. But in our opinion, for this trek where you are often hiking on screes, a high boot is the best solution. My dad and I wore two AKU models: Alterra GTX and Alterra NBK GTX. The first one is a versatile trekking shoe designed for medium difficulty and duration trekking over mixed terrain. The second one is a model suitable for long treks over demanding terrain. Both of them have the asymmetric construction of the outsole with exclusive AKU ELICA technology which ensures excellent load distribution over the plantar surface and outstanding improvement of foot roll.
Feel free to make your own evaluations, in the meanwhile we recommend you to try them both!

Info: to download and print a detailed description of the trek we recommend you the following link

- rifugio Giaf (1400 m)
- rifugio Flaiban-Pacherini (1587 m)
- rifugio Pordenone (1249 m)
- rifugio Padova (1300 m)