Book with confidence for 2021
(In the Pipeline) Pete at Refuge Plan Sec in the Vanoise

In the pipeline
Alpine Exploratory's plan for exploration 2021-22

We're on the move! Alpine Exploratory exists as a system for exploration, systematised yet thoroughly human. This is the Exploratory system. For the moment we apply ourselves to the Alps, Scandinavia and the UK. Here we sketch plans for our next 3 years.

The Exploratory system

2021 exploration

New routes
With 2020 disrupted we have put back to 2021 some of our exploration, and it will be a fantastic year. We plan to walk the Alta Via 2 in the Italian Dolomites and the Wicklow Way in Ireland. We will take a first look at the Lofoten islands in Norway and the Tour of the Jungfrau Region in Switzerland. In 2021 we'll also be walking in a wholly new Alpine area (to be announced soon).

New variants
In 2021 we will also be adding new options on existing hikes. Principally these are on the Adlerweg and on the Via Alpina Switzerland. On the Adlerweg we suspect that a new routing to the North of the Karwendelgebirge bypassing Innsbruck will give a rewarding, more mountainous and shorter trek. On the Via Alpina we will add the new routing between Lenk and the Rochers de Nayes, in the Western end of the trek.

Around the Alps by train!
New travel possibilities and new challenges! Or rather, a fabulous time to complete long-held travel ambitions, and one of ours has been to circle the Alps by train. What a lot of Europe we see in doing that. Completing our gaps, we will need to travel, all to the South:

Turin to Genoa: 2 hours by train
Genoa to Nice: 2 hours by train
Nice to Grenoble: 7 hours by train
Klagenfurt to Graz: 3.5 hours by train
Graz to Vienna: 2.5 hours by train
Milan to Verona: 2 hours by train
Verona to Venice: 1.5 hours by train

Look for our updates as we go along and our forthcoming page about this challenge. We love to set off to the cities and along the train tracks after a hike, and we love to advise on wider European approaches to the Alps.

Pete Ellis at Alpine Exploratory New trip: Alta Via 2
Italian Dolomites
Summer 2022 first season
Pete Ellis walking in 2021
We have wondered about the AV2 for a few years, loving the AV1 as we do. What else can we offer in the Dolomites? The key for us is that any route sticks to walking ground and does not require via ferrata, which can crop up in the Dolomites. We'll be going through the AV2 with a fine-tooth comb to make sure, but we think it might be a goer.. likely to be harder than the AV1 but quite brilliant.

A challenging AV2 ascent from Passo Gardena to Rif Pisciadu

Nicky Mount at Alpine ExploratoryPete Ellis at Alpine Exploratory New trip: Wicklow Way
Summer 2022 first season
Pete Ellis and Nicky Mount walking in 2021
We seek a broader coverage of the British Isles, indeed the entire rocky coastline of North West Europe, from Ireland to Norway via Scotland. We'll start in Ireland with the Wicklow Way near Dublin, then progress to the Kerry Way or Dingle Way.

The Slieve League sea cliffs of Donegal

Steph Ward at Alpine ExploratorySimon Stevens at Alpine Exploratory New trip: Lofoten islands
First season to be confirmed
Steph Ward and Simon Stevens walking in 2021
Our eyes are on the Lofoten islands in the North of Norway. Not every spectacular region is a natural fit for our thru-hiking approach, so here we might be trying day walks from bases. After the June 2021 Jotunheimen recce, Steph will visit Lofoten and report back.

Bodo's tiny airport, a start point for Lofoten

Pete Ellis at Alpine ExploratoryHannah G at Alpine Exploratory New trip: Tour of the Jungfrau Region
Swiss Bernese Oberland
Summer 2022 first season
Pete Ellis and Hannah G walking in 2021
Our Via Alpina: Bernese Oberland is a fabulous week; there is much more to see in the central part around Grindelwald, Wengen and Murren, and this new circuit will take us to various places missed. These include the Schynige Platte above Grindelwald, the valley South of Lauterbrunnen, and the higher hillsides towards the Grosse Scheidegg. We also have our eye on a Jungfrau to the Matterhorn trip, which would again adapt the Via Alpina but add - with transport - the Zermatt area at the end. In 2019 Allan started our exploration of the extra days that will make the TJR, and Pete and Hannah will wrap it up in 2021.

Murren from above; Eiger beyond

Hannah G at Alpine Exploratory New variant: Adlerweg
Austrian Tyrol
Summer 2021 first season
Simon Stevens walking in 2021
We'll trek through the Karwendel mountains just North of Innsbruck, with the aim of adding a more mountainous way across this central part of the Adlerweg. This will bypass the valley sections around Schwaz, Hall, Innsbruck and Zirl, and miss the Eppzirler scharte which is the trickiest col on the Adlerweg.

Approaching the Falkenhutte in the Karwendelgebirge

Simon Stevens at Alpine Exploratory New variant: Via Alpina Switzerland
Swiss Valais
Summer 2021 first season
Simon Stevens walking in 2021
To offer the full formal Via Alpina - which coincides with the Swiss National Route 1 - we'll walk 3 new stages from Gstaad to the Rochers de Nayes. It's a slightly different routing to the existing one via Col des Mosses. We might also check out the new first stage from Vaduz to Sargans. This will be an option to add before the main Via Alpina (formerly the Alpine Pass Route) starts in Sargans.

The train between Gstaad and Chateaux d'Oex

Steph Ward at Alpine Exploratory New trip: Alps
New Alpine destination TBC
Summer 2022 first season
Steph Ward walking in 2021
We have an ever-evolving list of potential Alpine areas and we are looking at a handful of areas for a new base. Some names on our list are the Maritime Alps, the Silvretta, the Engadine, the Lechtal and the Dachstein massif. Please watch this space.

The cable car to the Dachstein glacier

In Sweden we will visit the towns Lulea and Gallivare to help our Kungsleden coverage, and we'll get to know Narvik better on the other side of the hills. In Scandinavia generally we seek transport links further North from Narvik, which means Norway, including the Lofoten approaches.

The aim in 2021 is to complete our train links a full 360 degrees around the Alps. Our ongoing French Alps coverage suggests that we should add routes from Grenoble to Nice and then from Nice to Turin. In Northern Italy we have travel urges to satisfy from Milan to Treviso and Venice. As part of our Alta Via 1 service we intend to see Verona and Vicenza, two Italian cities in between Milan and Venice on the plain of the Po.

The train links in Austria allow all kinds of cross-country adventure. To add to options post-Adlerweg or post-AV1 we plan to link Innsbruck and Salzburg to the smaller Austrian city of Klagenfurt. This will be a return to Klagenfurt after many years; on our first trip to Slovenia we entered by train through Klagenfurt and Villach. To the East of Ljubljana is Maribor, also curiously easy to reach from Graz in Austria. After a mountain hike, a medium-size city can be perfect as opposed to a huge one.

New for 2021

Out of the pipeline!
We are delighted to add 3 new trips for 2021:

Tour of the Vanoise, French Alps

(Pete Ellis and Rob Gale walked and Lucy Rushton and Hannah Wright developed)
In July 2019 Pete walked the Tour de Vanoise. This trek of 10 stages in the French Alps stays in several huts and passes through Pralognan, Modane, Val d'Isere and Tignes. Our earlier visits to the Vanoise, Summer and Winter, hinted at the landscape of this trek. Lucy ran a chalet in Val d'Isere in Winter 2015. Now we are thrilled to be offering the Vanoise for 2021.

Tour of the Vanoise

Looking back over Lac des Vaches in the Vanoise

Affric Kintail Way, Scotland

(Pete Ellis walked and Hannah G developed)
In 4 days from Drumnadrochit to Shiel Bridge, East to West, through Glen Affric - this is one of the newer routes in the Scottish Highlands and it takes on a bold area. The route necessitates a night in the Glen Affric youth hostel, sited alone with Munros all around. Both Hannah and Pete have walked the route and we are excited about this quick blast through the Highlands.

Affric Kintail Way

The Autumn colours of Glen Affric

Snowdonia Way, Wales

(Pete Ellis walked and Hannah Wright developed)
Alpine Exploratory leader Alex Kendall wrote the Cicerone guidebook to a new Snowdonia Way. We walked it and we liked it, and now we offer this exciting route in 8 stages. We have long sought to broaden our UK coverage into Wales and this is the route.

Snowdonia Way

Walking in the hills near Machynlleth

In practice 2021 is also the first season on our Kungsleden week. This is the long-distance trail in the North of Sweden. In April 2019, Ollie skiied from Abikso to Singi; in June 2019, Simon visited Kebnekaise and Singi; and in August 2019, Pete walked our full route from Abisko to Nikkaluokta and climbed both of Kebnekaise's peaks. Accommodation on the Kungsleden is similar to that on many Norwegian trails, in a mix of catered and self-catered cabins. We will start with the Northern section and use Kiruna as a base town.

New cities in our Travel Notes
Stockholm (Sweden)

Recces 2021

As distinct from these explorations of new areas, please see our separate page on recces: these are our regular updates on current trips:

Recces 2021

Ways to keep up to date

Photos from trips

After our research trips we make a page of photos, and this has become our blog.

Facebook for photos

Instagram for photos

Exploratory News

We send email newsletters each season with details of new explorations and new routes.

  Leaving the Alesjaure hut on the Kungsleden    Kungsleden: Kebnekaise

2022 exploration

Simon Stevens at Alpine Exploratory Norway
New Norwegian areas
Summer 2023 first season
Simon Stevens organising
As a third Norwegian area, allied to the Rondane and the Jotunheimen, we will look further at Oppdal as a base for trekking in the Dovrefjell national park. We are keen to trek the Hardangervida as well, starting from Finse, the highest point on the scenic Oslo-Bergen train line.

The station at Finse, start point for the Hardangervida

Simon Stevens at Alpine Exploratory Munich to Venice
German, Austrian and Italian Alps
Summer 2023 first season
Simon Stevens organising
2022 will be the time to link Innsbruck and Dobbiaco: one Austrian mountain city, one Austro-Italian mountain resort. Why the link? This is the Munchen-Venedig, or Munich to Venice. In Germany it's a big trek, a natural link over the mountains. The full Munich to Venice will be 4 weeks long, of which the third week is our existing AV1. The second week is this Innsbruck to Dobbiaco link. We have a route in mind and it combines with the Zillertal area outside Mayrhofen.

(Experience the crossing of the Alps a little faster by trekking our Alta Via 1 but flying into Munich and out of Venice. Take the train Munich to Dobbiaco, then trek the AV1, and take the bus Belluno to Venice.)

In the Zillertal at the Austro-Italian border

In the Scottish Highlands we continue to look beyond the better-known valleys to the quiet places. Among the team our knowledge of the Scottish hills (three Munro rounds, one Corbett round and counting) is making us think about our services off the beaten track.

We are close to a comprehensive coverage of the travel routes to our major treks... there are several viable routes to each one. The intention is to finalise these around 2022 having spread ourselves across the most important ways to every trek. For example, Turin is a good option for the TMB.

  The Wetterhorn and Schreckhorn above Grindelwald    Via Alpina


What has come out of the pipeline? We're running down the years from 2005 to the present:

Alpine Exploratory's History

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