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From the bakehouse to the summit cross

In the night-time, he bakes bread. During the day, he packs his rucksack and sets off into the mountains. Helmuth Grünberger is a passionate baker and hiking guide all in one. For over ten years, he has been leading guided tourist-association hikes, taking Laion holidaymakers to the most beautiful places in the Dolomites.

Many can only dream of having his stamina and energy. Helmuth works nights in the bakery, comes home at eight o’clock in the morning and barely an hour later is already greeting participants on the hiking tour at the meeting point. The young man from Laion trained as a hiking guide, however, he takes tours alongside his actual job, which may well make him somewhat of an exception in South Tyrol.

“Exercise in the mountains is not work for me, it’s leisure time,” explains Helmuth. When he isn’t climbing a peak on foot, he’ll be leaping onto the seat of his bike or planning his next skiing tour. Nature gives him the energy that most others only get from sleeping.

It is the conviviality mixed with experiences of nature that makes working as a hiking guide so special.

Helmuth Grünberger

During the tours, participants can listen to fascinating facts and stories about the mountains, animals and plants. Helmuth could also recount amusing hiking experiences for hours. He once had an Italian couple come along on a trip around the Sasso Lungo. Just as the group crossed the Sasso Lungo wind gap, the soles of the man’s shoes started to come loose. “We looked back to see that his wife’s were also coming off. Luckily, I always have all manner of things in my rucksack, including fibreglass tape. We stuck them down like world champions and managed somehow to reach Monte Pana where the bus was.”

In spring and autumn, Helmuth accompanies the guests in Laion mainly on gourmet hikes involving a range of different tasting sessions. One of these is the Walther von der Vogelweide circular hiking tour where you can enjoy “Törggelen” in a rustic wine tavern.

In the summer, he takes participants higher up to the alpine pastures and the mountain peaks. The most adventurous hike in his programme is the long tour through the Wasserscharte (Furcia Mont da l’Ega). “Here, you need to be surefooted and some had to deal with getting up and down the steep and exposed paths,” says Helmuth. According to the hiking expert, you get the most beautiful view of the Dolomites on the hike from the Passo Gardena over the Cir plateau and the Crespeina plateau and along to the Puez Hut in the Puez-Odle Nature Park.

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