Translation of the 16th chapter of the Guide to the Western Alps by John Ball, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his first ascent of Mount Pelmo (1857).
Guida alle Alpi Orientali, di John Ball – Capitolo XVI
Edited by Ester Cason Angelini
Travels in the Western Alps (Chapter 16 of the guide), and thus travels in the Bellunese Dolomites which are taken into consideration in this guide, was completed by John Ball in several stages. In the year 1857 (last days of September, with description of Pelmo and Val di Zoldo), 1860 (ascent of Marmolada di Rocca), 1865 (Visit to Carniche-Giulie and the Brenta Dolomites, ascent of Cima Tosa), and 1867 (Feltrino and Primiero, ascent of Cima d’Asta). After the description of the lower Adige valley (section 57) and of the region of Recoaro (section 58), the author pauses to describe in detail the mountaineering routes and mountain walks in the Brenta Valley in section 59, which is brought again to the attention of readers of this Italian version, in itineraries pertaining to the Feltrino, in relation with Primiero, or through travels in Agordino from the present province of Trento by way of alpine passes.
This part of the guide offers the reader fantastic images together with precise information on many mountain groups and ranges, including the Pale di San Martino and the Vette Feltrine, in a time which proceeds the advent of modern tourism. After section 60 which goes into the region of Fassa and the Marmolada, much attention is given to the so called “region of Cadore” in section 61, which contains superb descriptions of the Ampezzo Dolomites, Sesto, and Cadore with Comelico and Zoldo, without leaving out the Cordevole and Tagliamento valleys. This work also contains on page 471, a map of particular interest for the province of Belluno, in which the name Dolomites appears for the first time on paper, after which the English writers J. Gilbert and G. Ch. Churchill dedicated an important volume to the Dolomites in 1864. This is the map entitled “The Dolomite Alps of South Tyrol” by the incisor Edward Weller, which appears on the cover and again on page 70.