Via Ferrata Course in the Dolomites
A practical intro to via ferrata to get you started
Breathtaking scenery, picturesque routes, intensive training and Italian sunshine for 4 days. Learn the basic crafts of joyful and safe via ferratas so you become a confident and independent climber!
To make the most of your via ferrata experience, check our tips on equipment, safety, and route planning here. You’ll learn more about each on the course but it is worth tuning your mind to the practical course. 😉
Via ferratas are just awesome because you really don’t have to be a mountaineer, nor a rock-climber to reach wild peaks with jawdropping views. You only need some stamina, good company and a bit of the adventure-spirit to find yourself on the rocks of Cima di Mezzo or Garda Lake. Most of the time things go fine, but we bet you have some concerns. What if…
… I am not prepared to do via ferratas on my own?
… I strain my ankle and I can’t walk?
… those clouds mean danger?
… I can’t see a thing from the fog?
… I am not a safe partner? (And is my partner safe for me?)
This course is just the right start for you, as it will give you hands-on instructions to become a self-confident via ferrata climber who can’t wait to conquer the peaks of the Dolomites or Garda. You will learn techniques and tricks so you can continue this fantastic adventure on your own. Wanna take your family on via ferratas? Learn the basics so you all can climb safe.
Further InfoThis is the perfect induction into via ferratas right where this sport was born. It's mostly easy stuff and intro to some more advanced sections, recommended to those new to the sport. For some more challenging ferratas, try Dolomites Deluxe or Garda. If the date is not good for you, let us know. Remember, we're the most flexible team on Earth. :)
Is this trip for you?
Opinion of a client from 2014
“It is a very useful training course for everyone who wants to do ferratas on their own.” – (Zoltan Barna)
Day 1: Rock-climbing and rope technique
You meet your guide in Cortina at your pleasant B&B in the afternoon. After you get acquainted with your group, your guide introduces the main themes of the training. Today you focus on safety, belaying, rope technique and climbing skills, so you can get ready for your first ferrata.
Day 2: Via ferrata basics
As you are already eager to taste the via ferrata experience on your skin, your guide takes you to an easier route (A-B). You will get both theoretical and practical training about equipment, techniques, safety, weather conditions and routes. Your guide will instruct you not only about the basic via ferrata equipment, but he will also explain what else you should take with you and what you can leave home. Your guide will demonstrate in real situations how to use the gear, how to handle weather conditions and how to make sure you can pick the route of your level.
Day 3: Via ferrata technique
You will head to more advanced routes today, but the emphasis is still on learning and practicing, but so much on accomplishing as many routes as possible. You guide will make sure that the route fits your level and you feel safe. By the end of the day, you will get ideas how to tackle both mental and physical difficulties on your via ferratas, so you can become confident and independent.
Day 4: Going home
Normally, this would be your departure day, but the experience shows, people like to extend their stay because they feel they can’t get enough of the beautiful Dolomites. If you want, we can advice you about some more breathtaking and exhilirating routes around Cortina so you can test right away what you have learnt. 🙂
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 meteorology 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 equimpent hire, 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
- rucksack – 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
- warm hat
- 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
- trekking poles (recommended)
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. It costs 25-35 euro/night/person. If you want to save some money, you can sleep in a camping too. (10-12 euro/night/person)
We book everything for you, but you need to pay at the spot.
- 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.