Dolomites Via Ferrata Light
The Perfect Experience in Introductory Via Ferratas
It’s hard to find a range more scenic and exhilarating than the Dolomites in Northern Italy. It’s the perfect place to have your first dip of challenges with this wonderful sport.
You have probably seen pictures of the Dolomites which left your breathless or quickened your pulse. Arguably the most beautiful European mountain range, the Dolomites are a dream of any mountain-lover and a place for repeated visits.
You know what the biggest problem is with this trip? That it’s impossible to figure out what to leave out of the 3-4 day itinerary. As far as scenery, accessability and climbing, you can only speak in superlatives of the Dolomites.
In order to figure out what to include in this short via ferrata itinerary, we put together an assembly of the most seasoned of our guides who have “eaten, drunk and slept” the Dolomites and had them vote for what to include for you here.
Check a nice selection of our pics here.
Further InfoThis is the perfect intro to via ferratas in the mountains where this sport was born. It's mostly easy stuff and intro to some more advanced sections, recommended to those new to the sport. Get some practical advice on via ferrata and safety tips here. If you are serious about via ferrata, check our other trips too. Want more technique and tips so you can continue climbing alone? Choose the Via Ferrata Course. For some more challenging ferratas, try Dolomites Deluxe or Lake Garda. If the date is not good for you, let us know - we're the most flexible team on Earth. :)
Is this trip for you?
Opinion of a client from 2012
“This trip is a short introduction into the Dolomites. Every day is new and slightly harder, but all of the routes are enthralling. I would recommend to anyone who love mountains.” – (Camilla from Norway)
Opinion of a client from 2013
“There is only one big problem with via ferrata – it’s addictive! :)” – (Maria from Spain)
Day 1: Meet-up in Cortina d’Ampezzo
Today, you meet your guide in the afternoon in Cortina at the pleasant B&B. After dinner, your guide gives you a short intro to the via ferrata experience – how to use your equipment and what are the basic safety instructions. Do take a stroll in downtown Cortina — you’ll love it — but go to bed early, as tomorrow is an early rise.
Day 2: Innerkofler and Forcelle, Monte Paterno (2,744 m), Torre di Toblin (2,617 m)
After breakfast, you get in the car and take a short trip to Auronzo Hut (2,320 m). Starting out on the trail, you admire the southern faces of the famous Tre Cime (Three Sisters) towers.
The hike to the start of the ferrata takes you to Lavaredo saddle, leading to Monte Paterno. If you’re up for it, you can keep going all the way to Torre di Toblin. Now, this is a remarkable spot because you get the best views of Tre Cime from here. Probably, it’s one of the best known mountain sights of the world! If you’re not open to this extra challenge, you can just sip a cold drink at Locatelli refuge.
The descent around the Holy Trinity will provide yet more stunning views — more than what most people have the fortune to experience over a lifetime.
Day 3: Ivano Dubona Via Ferrata, Marino Bianchi Ferrata, Cima di Mezzo (3154 m)
On your second Dolomite via ferrata, you approach the most widely televised spot of the Dolomites – the cable-bridge known from the movie Cliffhanger (starring ole’ Stallone). Today’s trip starts at 2,215 meters where you hop on a chairlift and take a ride to Lorenzi hut. With the ski lift, you will fly to 2,932 meters in just under 20 minutes, from where the Marino Bianchi ferrata takes on the Cime di Mezzo summit.
Once on the summit, you take the same route back to the refuge (Lorenzi). From here, you take a different route and reach the cable bridge. Time allowing, you may also take on the Cristallino d’Ampezzo summit with your guide. Reaching the top of the lift once again, you walk to the valley this time. Unless, of course, you whine, in which case your guide might just let you take the ski lift again… 🙂
Day 4: Giovanni Lipella via ferrata, Tofana di Rozes (3225 m)
On the last climbing day of your trip, you are taken to the most exhilirating and scenic ferratas of all. You make your way to Dibona refuge. From here, a trail takes you to the entrance of a cave, once used as a shelter for Austro-Hungarian and Italian soldiers in WWI. The path in the cave makes a 150-meter rise. Stepping out of the dark of the cave into the blinding sunshine is an experience in itself, but here you will be welcomed by yet another breathtaking view of the Dolomites.
You make your way through some ruins of a WWI fortress as you are inching towards one of the highest and most stunning summits of the Dolomites. It’s a tough climb here but well worth the effort.
Day 5: Depart for Home
That was it; your short intro of the Dolomites. 58% of our clients extend their stay and take on some of the more challenging ferratas of the area. If so, please let us know on the form below – your guide will stay with you and take you to the next level. We will not let you leave home without getting everything out of these mountains that you wish.
Equipment and Info
Geography and Info
The Dolomites are a mountain range located in northeastern Italy, and shared between the provinces of Belluno, South Tyrol and Trentino. One national park and many other regional parks are located in the Dolomites. In 2009, the Dolomites were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Via ferratas are strongly associated with the First World War, when several were built in the Dolomite mountain region of Italy to aid the movement of troops. However, many more have been developed in recent years, as their popularity has grown and the tourism benefits have become recognised. Now over 1,000 via ferratas exist in the area. The majority are found in the Alps, most notable in Italy and Austria.
This is an introductory climb and everyone leading a sporty lifestyle (ie: exercising 3 times a week for at least an hour, working up a sweat) can manage the climb. However, it is important that you arrive well rested.
Via ferrata trips can vary in length from short routes taking less than an hour, to long, demanding alpine routes covering significant distance and altitude (1,000 metres or more of ascent), and taking eight or more hours to complete.
In difficulty, a via ferrata can range from routes that are little more than paths, albeit in dramatic and exposed situations, to very steep and strenuous routes, overhanging in parts, which demand the strength — if not the technique — of serious rock climbing. Generally, via ferrata are done in ascent, although it is possible to descend them.
The summer months (from mid-July through September) have warm temperatures and plenty of sun – perfect for hiking, climbing and via ferrata! The average maximum temperature may reach some 25°C on the valley floors, but it can be as cold as 0-5°C at the summit.
Above 2,000-3,000 metres, it’s hard to predict the temperatures even a few days ahead.
If the weather forecast predicts a big, Europe-wide cold front with storms (ie: no chance of being able to climb), then we cancel the trip and postpone it to a later date, agreed on by everyone. Even if good weather is predicted, we can still run into a snowstorm, rain and fog.
For the sake of your safety and enjoyment, the guide will turn the group around on the summit bid. That means no summit. This is a decision you have to accept. There is no democracy on guided trips; the guide is responsible for the group’s safety, so (s)he makes the calls.
The price includes equipment hire (helmet, lanyard, harness), so you need not worry about technical gear. Of course, you may bring your own gear if you prefer, but regrettably, we can’t discount the price of the trip should you bring your own stuff.
What you do need to bring is good climbing boots broken in, so they won’t hurt your feet. Check here what we recommend.
Here is a list that may be helpful to get yourself organised before the trip:
- trekking socks
- backpack – 30-40 liters (here are some more specific tips on the ideal backpack)
- waterproof pants – make sure you treat them with water-repellent prior to your trip
- waterproof jacket/softshell – make sure you treat it with water-repellent prior to your trip
- two pairs of gloves (one preferably designed for via ferrata)
- bandana/cap against the sun
- sunscreen (min. factor 30) and lip balm
- 2 fleece sweaters/vest
- climbing boots
- sandals/running shoes for life in the valley
During your trip, you will stay in a nice guesthouse or B&B in Cortina (or around). Simple, but comfy 2-4 beded rooms, with shower and toilet will await you.
- you can buy warm food and drinks in the hostel/huts and there are heaps of great restaurants around Cortina
- you need to bring sandwiches/energy bars/candy bars for the climb
- bring a 1.5 litre bottle
In Cortina you will find many shops and restaurants. Cortina is not a cheap place, so if you plan to buy everything here, calculate with 20-50 euro for your daily meal.
Get some practical advice on Mountain Food so you maximize your performance – here.
You meet the team on the first day, at 6-7 PM in Cortina (or around) at your accommodation.
- Airport Bolzano (BZO), Italy – Approx. 140 km (2 hours driving) distance to Cortina
- Airport Venezia (VCE), Italy – Approx. 149 km (2 hours driving) distance to Cortina
No direct train connection. The nearest train station is Calalzo di Cadore, about 35 km away from Cortina. You can access Cortina comfortably from the Mestre train station in Venice, via the “Cortina Express” in about 2 hours.
If you need a hand with airplane tickets, let us know. We are happy to help you.