Some of the world’s most famous action heroes have filmed scenes of derring-do in the Dolomite mountain range, part of the northern Italian Alps. From Bond to Stallone, they have flexed their muscles on these challenging slopes.
Today I am following in their macho footsteps – tackling a two-hour via ferrata climb up Col dei Bos (Hill of Cows), whose peak stands at 2559 metres. My guide is the nimble Mario, who has scaled Everest and K2, and was a climbing adviser on Stallone’s Cliffhanger, filmed here. (Mario remembers the Hollywood star as very short, unfeasibly muscle-bound and a bit of a scaredy-cat).
Via ferratas are fixed climbing routes created so that soldiers in the First World War could haul up supplies to tunnels and trenches. The limestone peaks and valleys around the region’s main town of Cortina d’Ampezzo formed a front between Italian and Austrian soldiers – the Italians eventually prevailed in 1917 and Cortina, formerly Austrian, became part of Italy. Many of the mountain dug-outs have been preserved as outdoor museums.