Clueless hikers require $10k helicopter rescue after hiking the Dolomites in sandals

Helicopter flying over mountain range
The four Italian hikers ascended 2,000 meters wearing strappy sandals and shorts before realizing their mistake (Image credit: Getty)

Four Italian hikers required helicopter rescue from high up in the Dolomites this week after attempting to hike in sandals, fuelling public outcry. 

The group of two men and two women, aged in their 20s and 30s, plus a dog, had reportedly hiked to 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) above sea level in the mountains of Italy’s northern region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia when they ran into trouble. Better dressed for the beach than a mountain, they discovered their route was blocked by a landslide and realized their footwear was inadequate to cope with it.

Unable to continue, the Alpine Rescue Team rescued the group at the cost of around $10,000 (£8,000), and later posted a photo of the group dressed in hiking sandals and shorts. Local mountain rescue teams have said that the post-pandemic surge in hiking in the area has dramatically increased their callouts for unprepared hikers, urging walkers to get appropriate training and education before venturing into the mountains.


The Alpine Rescue Team rescued the group at the cost of around $10,000 (Image credit: Getty)

The Dolomites are a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, numbering 18 peaks in total which rise to above 3,000 meters (9,842 feet). Hiking sandals can be adequate for well-maintained trails, but are not appropriate for alpine conditions.

Even in summer, high altitude hiking requires proper footwear with good traction. You should always dress breathable, moisture-wicking hiking layers, carry sun protection and plenty of water and possess keen navigation skills. Hiking with a guide is highly recommended if you are inexperienced and wish to venture into high altitude zones. 

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.