August 28-September 8, 2017

Status FULL
Travel Dates August 29-September 9, 2017
Cost $1755
Description This is one of the greatest mountain hikes in the world. For 140 kilometers over eleven days, it passes through some of the most beautiful parts of the Dolomites such as the Lago di Braies, the Cortina Dolomites, the Pelmo and the Civetta. This trek is stupendous, other worldly, a trip of a lifetime and surprisingly easy relative to the extraordinary terrain it crosses. It does have some challenging ascents and descents but all on excellent trails. It can be described as a “fairly strenuous alpine walk but not especially difficult.” We will carry light packs as we stay in hotels and mountain refuges where we will take all our meals. Dinners and breakfasts are included in the price of the trip. We will be able to take breaks and have lunch along the trail in a hotel or refuge, no bag or trail lunches on this trip, only great Italian food. During the trip you will be introduced to the cuisine of South Tirol and Belluno provinces. The trip ends in the medieval and Renaissance town of Belluno where each of us will receive a medal from the Italians for having made this unforgettable eleven day journey. You may also use the opportunity to visit Venice, Verona or Bolzano before or after the hike. “This is the best hike I have ever done or will ever do.” – A 2015 trip participant.

Level of Difficulty: The route rates as Strenuous for any single day but is rated Very Strenuous because of the cumulative eleven days .The trails are often steep and rocky and you need to be nimble and coordinated. Because the trip passes through high exposed alpine terrain very exposed to bad weather, you must be able to hike at the average times indicated in the itinerary. This is a safety requirement. You should be able to orient yourself with a map and compass during the hike. You also must manage pack weight to be less than 12 pounds (A gear and equipment list will be sent on sign-up.) These are requirements for your safety and the safety and success of the group.

Included Room and board, half pension for the entire trek Booklet for refuge stamps
Not Included
  • Showers are usually included in the price of room and board but some huts make a supplementary charge
  • Air fare and transport to and from the trip Lunches
  • Tips for hotel and hut-workers
  • Trail food and snacks and beverages
  • Local bus fare to Belluno not included
  • Note on Gratuities: The hut and hotel workers on the trip are season workers with no benefits and no job security. Every day we will give two euros each as a gratuity to the staff.
  • Note on budgeting extra not included costs: Trail food and lunch and snacks and beverages cost is estimated at 25 euros a day including the gratuities. You could easily spend more on beverages.
Payment Policy A deposit of $600.00 is due at the time of registration. The remaining balance of $1175.00 is due no later than March 1, 2017. The trip assumes double occupancy in rooms. If it is not possible to provide you with a roommate, you may have to pay a single supplement. If you prefer your own room, you will have to pay a supplement. Some refuges will not be able to put us all in double or single rooms and we will have to adjust accordingly.
Cancellation Policy If you need to cancel the trip at any time a $100 ADK registration is non-refundable. The balance of the deposit is fully refundable up to March 1, 2017. After March 1, 2017 no refunds are possible unless your space can be filled from a waiting list.
Accommodations and Meals
Trip Insurance Trip insurance is highly recommended.
Daily Itinerary

Day One: Tuesday, August 29, 2017

You should arrive in time for the evening meal in this first class hotel on the beautiful lake of Braies, in German, Pragser Wildsee (1494m)encircled by spectacular peaks. You may feel as if you had suddenly become a character in the Magic Mountain or Last Year at Marienbad. This art nouveau hotel was for some time in the sixties, the world headquarters of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the spiritual director of the Beatles. We will have a first trip meeting at 6PM downstairs in the hotel.
(One option is to arrive a day or two early at the hotel.)

Day Two: Wednesday, August 30, 2017

After a good breakfast, we set out around the lake and start an 800 some meter ascent to the Forcella Sora Forno where we enter the Parco Nationale di Cortina D’Ampezzo. We will soon be above timberline and everything will be bare rock with vast views to the north, east and south. There is an interesting and exposed variation here which goes up the steep ridge of Croda del Becco (2810m) with the help of cables. We continue to the Rifugio Biella where we might stop for refreshments, and then we continue on down over easy ground and wide paths and jeep roads to Rifugio Sennes. (2116m)
Time: 4h (Note: Times do not include breaks) Distance: 8.5km
Ascent: 870 m
Descent: 244m

Day Three: Thursday, August 31, 2017

The day starts out with a steep descent down good paths and jeep roads to the bottom of a steep valley with an excellent refuge and restaurant, Rifugio Pederu (1548m) where we will stop for lunch. Then we go up the valley to Rifugio Fanes at 2060m. At times, the trail is steep as it parallels a big stream, a rare sight in the Dolomites, and then enters a beautiful highland of Heidi type pasture.
There is a fine hike of about three hours above the hut to a pass if you wish to do more this day.
Time: 4h30m Distance: 11.5.km Ascent: 630m Descent: 686m

Day Four: Friday, September 1, 2017

The day starts out steeply (path11) as we climb up onto a vast mountain upland, the peaks on all sides begin to look much bigger, we pass several working dairy farms but then at a junction(path 20B) start up a long ascent up steep gullies to Forcella del Lago at 2486m, then we traverse onto an immense rocky slope and start another steep ascent which will take two hours to the Forcella Lagazuoi at 2573m. We will be in the midst of the Cortina Dolomites with outstanding summits on every side. In another 40 minutes, we arrive at our refuge for the night and the highest point on the Alta Via, the amazing Rifugio Lagazuoi (2573m), improbably perched on the top of the mountain.
If you wish to do more, there is an interesting descent of hundreds of meters into the WWI tunnels starting directly from the Refuge.
Time: 5h30
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 1150m
Descent: 450m

Day Five: Saturday, September 2, 2017

We go back to the Forcella Lagazuoi and then on path 401-402, traverse the mountain across the great valley of Travenazes, past the Forcella dei Bos. Continue downhill 50m to a second post also marked Forcella dei Bos. Just past this, we turn on path 404. Do not turn left onto 404 at the first post. Continue traversing scree covered slope to intersection with path 442 at base of a rock cliff. There are some short exposed sections. All around us are some of the most remarkable Dolomite peaks, the Tofane, the Rozes, and the Cinque Torre. After we reach the Rifugio Dibona, on path 442, we go down to a major road at Cianzope and then on path 439, start up to the Cinque Torri group and our destination for the day the Cinque Torri refuge.
Extra destinations this day could be to walk around the Cinque Torri towers or to walk up to the incredible Rifugio Nuvolau.
Time: 4 h Distance: 7km Ascent: 462m Descent: 1080m

Day Six: Sunday, September 3, 2017

We will go under the east face of the Nuvolau (path 443) over rough terrain in about two hours. We will pass an old stone wall marking the boundary of a land dispute between two

Alpine communes. After a break for lunch or brunch at the albergo at the Passo Giau, we will continue (path 436) up and over the alpine tundra. Overall this is one of our best days of hiking as we traverse under the Nuvolau to Passo Giau , cross the pass and then enter a high plateau which we cross using two cols. We pass the Malga Predera, a dairy farm turning on path 458 and finally descend on path 467 to Rifugio Citta di Fiume (1917m). The grassy high alpine basin was extensively used by Stone Age hunters and is the site of a notable discovery, the well preserved burial site of a hunter. We will take a short side trip to the burial site. Facing us will be the mighty Mt Pelmo, also known as the Throne of the Gods. It deserves the name. After a break at the Citta di Fiume refuge, we will traverse on path 472 under the great west wall of the Pelmo and then through some pine forests to our hotel for the night, the Passo Staulanza.
Time: 7h
Distance: 14km
Ascent: 584m
Descent: 1050

Day Seven: Monday, September 4, 2017

From the Passo Staulanza, we start a climb up the Civetta mountainside passing the Malga Vescova, a working farm which offers meals and refreshments. After a steep climb, path 561, on good graded trails, turning onto path 556, we arrive at our destination, the Rifugio Coldai, (2132m) located on the northern end of one of the most famous mountains in the Alps, the Civetta. Behind us, all day looms the towering Pelmo.
Time: 3h Distance: 7.3km
Ascent: 520m
Descent: 300m
This is a short day and some may wish to do an extra hike in the morning to ascend the shoulder of the Pelmo to the Rifiugio Venezia and return in about three hours. From the Coldai refuge , you could take a trail on the east side of the Civetts and return or go over the Forcella Coldai to an alpine lake on the west side.

Day Eight: Tuesday, September 5, 2017

From Rifugio Coldai, we cross the mountain ridge on path 560 and begin a spectacular day of hiking under the great west face of the Civetta. We will be on an enormous horizontal mountain balcony with three thousand feet down to the valleys below and over three thousand feet of rock wall above. This is one of the finest days of our trek. We will stop for a break at the Rifugio Tizzi perched facing the great wall face of the Civetta. We continue around the mountain to the south and stop for the night at the Rifugio Vazzoler. This well managed welcoming hut has an alpine flower garden and is located in a shady pine forest.

Time: 4h
Distance: 10km
Ascent: 380m
Descent: 800m

Day Nine: Wednesday, September 6, 2017

We continue the traverse around the Civetta. After an hour and a half we turn onto path 554. Enormous rock pinnacles tower above as we traverse under another mountain giant of the Dolomites, the Moiazza. After some stiff but short ascents and descents, we stop at the Rifugio Carestiato.
From the Carestiato, as an extra hike you could explore in the area of the Via Ferrata Constantini.
Time: 3:30h
Distance: 9km
Ascent: 600m
Descent: 480m

Day Ten: Thursday, September 7, 2017

From the Cerestiato, we continue under the stupendous Moiazza massif though woods and pastures to Passo Duran. After a break, we walk down the road for about twenty minutes and then head up (path 543) through lush forests to the Forcella Del Moschesin at 1940m.Then we traverse along the sides of the Schiara range to our destination, the Rifugio Pramperet at 1857 meters located in a beautiful open high meadow. We will now be in the Bellunese national park, the mountains will feel wilder, there will be more flowers and vegetation, the trail will become rougher and the numbers of hikers will drop off.
Time: 4h30 Distance: 13km Ascent: 550m Descent: 530m

Day Eleven: Friday, September 8, 2017

This may be the best day of hiking on our trek. In a savage environment, we cross over a mountain alpine upland (path 514) to a saddle at 2097 meters then go up a wide ridge with good steps but with drops on all sides to the Forcella de Zita Sud at 2395 meters. From here, we will walk up to the top of the Cima di Zita Sud at 2450 meters. This will be our unique summit for the trip. Then we will descend into what seems an impossibly steep mountain valley down a good trail for lunch at the Rifugio Pian di Fontana at 1632 meters. After lunch,(path 514) we go up and down yet again but now for the last time. In a spectacular conclusion to our trek, we go up to the Forcella La Varetta and then traverse along steep mountain sides to finally descend down to the Rifugio Blanchet at 1245 meters. (If the weather is not good, we would not be able to do this day’s hike but would descend down to a village from Rifugio Pramperet)
Time: 6h
Distance: 10km
Ascent: 970m
Descent: 1366m

Day Twelve: Saturday, September 9, 2017

It’s a fast two hours hike on a jeep road to the bus stop at La Pissa (448m) and another 20 minutes on the bus to arrive at the Belluno train and bus station. Our trek, this hike of a lifetime, will be over. We will go to the Tourist Office to present our trip booklets and receive our medals. Belluno has good train and bus connections to all points.

(I highly recommend you stay in Belluno, a very interesting and historic town for a day. You can stay at the hotel, AL Centro, very reasonable and in the old center of the city, about 32 euros single, 40 double. This would give you a chance to wash up and decompress from this challenging trip. Most participants have done this on previous trips)
Time: 2hh Distance: 5km Descent: 797m

Notes Level of Difficulty: Strenuous to Very Strenuous

For photos and videos of our route, you can look at the home pages of the rifugios or Google Alta Via 1-Dolomiti. The Rifugio Laguazoi home page has an extensive photo gallery.

For a recent account of Otzi, the Iceman, The Iceman Murder Mystery, PBS Nova DVD.

Registration Procedure To Register and for more information, an application and to sign up, contact the leader, Roman Laba, 22 Front Street, Schenectady, NY, 12305; 518-374-2586; RomanLaba@aol.com RomanLaba@aol.com
Trip Leader  Roman Laba