The Alps are the highest and best known mountain range in Europe. From Alpine foothills to snow covered peaks above 4000 meters, it is a great destination for nature lovers of all levels, including hikers and runners. One of the best ways to discover Alps on foot is to follow Via Alpina, a marked network of long distance trails across the mountain range. It was created in 2000 by various organizations in eight Alpine countries with the aim of supporting sustainable development in remote mountain areas and promoting the Alpine cultures and cultural exchanges. There are 342 stages that cover a distance of over 5 000 kilometers.
Via Alpina is not a single trail. In fact, it consists of five long distance hiking trails, each named by a color:
With its 161 stages, the longest one is the Red Trail. It starts from Trieste in Italy and ends at Monaco (or vice versa) passing from the alpine regions of eight different countries in between (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia and Switzerland). The shortest one is the Green Trail, which mostly stays inside Switzerland.
Running any of the Via Alpina trails is an interesting and difficult feat itself. We would like to accomplish a little bit more than that. When you look at the map below, you will notice that the Yellow, Green and Blue Trails very roughly follow and intersect with the Red Trail. It is possible to start from Trieste or Monaco and return back to the same place, completing a loop of these four trails!
Well, that is the plan :-)
We are planning to complete the route in a self-sufficient manner, i.e. carrying our own equipment and food (as much as they fit in a 20 liters backpack) with minimal support. A typical day will be getting up early in the morning, running (or walking) until sun set (sometimes later) with short breaks in between. We will be mostly bivouacking at night and from time to time stay at mountain huts or lodgings when this is not possible. Time will tell, but it is likely to be a multi-leg project spanning a year or two.
You can click on ⊕ button to see the photos for a particular day.
In the summer of 2018, we completed the Yellow Trail. In the summer of 2019, we traversed the Blue Trail (almost). Other stages will be added to the calendar later. Simply contact us if you want to join!
I'm a software engineer with a PhD on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Currently, I work at Google Paris as a member of the Google Brain team. The city of lights is lovely city except that it is far from the hills and mountains :-(
Well, to start with, we are identical twins! We share the same passion of trail running, which started about 10 years ago with Anatolian Mountain Marathon in Turkey. Afterwards we participated (and still participating) to running events in a wide spectrum, including Tor des Geants / 4K (last four years), Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (finished UTMB three times and also CCC once), Lavaredo Ultra Trail, High Trail Vanoise, Trofeo Kima, Royal Sky Ultra, etc. We are simply amateur runners who enjoy being on the mountains, so nothing very spectacular performance wise, not very bad either. In these events, our motto is always the same: enjoy it as much as possible and try to finish. In our spare time, we also pass various routes together on our own (mostly for training purposes, but needless to say it is always great to be on the mountains).
Our interest in sports and love for the mountains dates back to university years and joining DKSK, the mountaineering and winter sports club at METU. DKSK plays an important role on where we currently are and how we approach things in general, we learned a lot there. Before switching to trail running, Sertan was a member of the nordic skiing and orienteering teams at university. Serkan did high altitude mountaineering and climbed several peaks higher than 5000 meters including two 8000'ers, Gasherbrum II in 2005 and Everest in 2006. Both were the first team expeditions from Turkey, organized by ORDOS, a mountaineering association founded by the graduates of DKSK.
Here are some ultra trails we have participated:
Do you want to company us while running the Alps? We will be happy to run and discover new places with friends!
If you are ready to walk ~40 km per day in Alpine terrain with a small backpack, please fill-in the form below to send us some information about yourself, the stage(s) you are interested in, and your suitable dates. You can find our planned dates for each stage in the Calendar section. Our dates are usually flexible, so we will do our best to arrange a common schedule.
We are not in search of any corporate sponsors for our project. We believe that it is better to have no strings attached and will try to cover the costs ourselves. If you want to offer us a drink, a meal or may be a night stay at lodgings/mountain huts on the path, please go ahead! (and thank you!)
A coffee or soft drink, or perhaps a bottle of (cold) beer from time to time :-)Donate 5 €
Nothing fancy, we love pasta and polenta!Donate 10 €
We are planning to bivouac as much as possible. That being said, sometimes it is unavoidable (or better) to stay under a roof.Donate 25 €
We are grateful to our friends at Ege Endustri for their support for summer 2019 events.
Do you have any questions about our project or simply want to write some encouraging words to us?
Just fill the form below!