Title  Dolomites High Route
Status  FULL
Travel Dates  August 27-September 7, 2016
Cost  $1695
Description This is one of the greatest mountain hikes in the world. We traverse 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 begin with an adventure in time as we visit the capital of the south Tyrol, the beautiful city of Bolzano and its Otzi- Ice man museum. Then we proceed by rail to the start of our hike at the Lago di Braies .We will carry light packs as we stay in hotels and mountain refuges where we will take all our meals. On the hike, 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 this exceptional region of Italy.

How to get there

The Dolomites are in the Northeast corner of Italy on the border with Austria and Slovenia. The nearest big city and airport is Venice. Our trip is an excellent opportunity to visit Venice, but the airfares there are high and there is good access from Milan airport. Verona and Padua are within easy reach before or after our trip. Take the train from Milan or Venice to the city of Bolzano and our hotel, the Cappello di Fierro.

Note: 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.

Included All accommodations are included. For the hiking section, half pension, for Bolzano only breakfast Transport from Passo Duran to Agordo at end of trip.
Not Included
  • Showers are usually included in the price of room and board but some huts make a
  • supplementary charge. That is not included
  • Air fare and transport to and from the trip
  • Lunches, trail food and snacks and beverages
  • Dinners are not included in Bolzano
  • Transport from Bolzano to Lago di Braies on Day Three is not included and will be about 15 euros.
  • Rescue insurance is required. Compared to the overall cost of the trip, it is inexpensive. Recommended is the insurance you receive as a member of the Austrian Alpine Club, UK Section. www.AAC.uk
Payment Policy A deposit of $500 is due at the time of registration. The remaining balance of $1195 is due no later than March 1, 2016.
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, 2016. After March 1, 2016 no refunds are possible unless your space can be filled from a waiting list.
Accommodations and Meals
Trip Insurance Rescue insurance is required. Compared to the overall cost of the trip, it is inexpensive. Recommended is the insurance you receive as a member of the Austrian Alpine Club, UK Section. www.AAC.uk
Daily Itinerary

Day One: Saturday, August 27, 2016

After the intercontinental flight from the US and the rail journey from Venice or Milan airport, you will arrive Saturday afternoon or evening at the Capello di Fierro hotel in the town center and about two hundred yards walk from the rail station. We will meet at the hotel by seven and have dinner in town.

Dinner not included.

Day Two: Sunday, August 28, 2016

This is our recovery day from the long intercontinental flight and the taxi and train ride to Bolzano. After a leisurely breakfast (included), we can explore the city of Bolzano world famous for the Otzi, the Ice Man museum but full of churches, museums, cafes and restaurants. It is also well known for its elegant shopping and has one of the best and biggest outdoor stores in Europe. The local cuisine is exceptional. You are free to explore during the day. Our group will go out to a mutually agreed restaurant for dinner.

Dinner not included

Day Three: Monday August 29, 2016

After breakfast, we will catch a regional train to the village of Villabassa and then a local bus up to the start of our hike at Hotel Lago di Braies , in German, Pragser Wildsee Hotel, situated on a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by mountains. 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 most of the afternoon free for an optional hike around the lake.

Day Four: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

After a good breakfast, we set out around the lake and start a 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. (2h return.) We continue to the Rifugio Biella where we might stop for refreshments, but 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 Five: Wednesday, August 31, 2016

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.

Time: 4h30m Distance: 11.5.km Ascent: 630m Descent: 686m

Day Six: Thursday, September 1, 2016

The day starts out steeply 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 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 Laguazoi 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 Laguazoi (2573m), improbably perched on the top of the mountain.

Time: 5h30

Distance: 12km Ascent: 1150m Descent: 450m

Day Seven: Friday, September 2, 2016

We go back to the Forcella Languazoi and then traverse the mountain across the great valley of Travenazes, past the Forcella dei Bos. There are some short exposed sections .All around us are some of the most remarkable Dolomite peaks, the Tofane , the Rozes, the Cinque Torre. After we reach the Rifugio Dibona, we go down to a major road at Cianzope and then start up to the Cinque Torre group. From there we go up to a col and arrive at the Rifugio Averau, which has a reputation for the best food on the Alta Via 1.

Time: 4h30h Distance: 13km Ascent: 738m Descent: 1080m

Day Eight: Saturday, September 3, 2016

Here we can introduce a bit of excitement, we can go up to the Rifugio Nuvolau , spectacularly located like the Laguazoi on top of a mountain and then traverse a wonderful flat limestone plateau and descend off the mountain on easy cables and steep paths . It is exposed but brief with good foot holds as you hold on to the cable .This is as easy a section of cable assisted with cable trail as you can find in the Dolomites . If you wish to have a less exciting day, there is a direct path which goes directly from Rifugio Averau to our midday destination , Passo Giau. After a break for lunch or brunch at the albergo at the Passo Giau, we will continue up and over the alpine tundra. Overall, this is one of our best days of hiking as we first climb up to the top of Nuvolau mountain, traverse the limestone plateau, descend the cliff , cross the pass and then enter a gigantic grassy basin which we cross using two cols finally descending on the Rifugio Citta di Fiume(1917m). Facing us will be the great Mt Pelmo, also known as the Throne of the Gods. Pelmo will dominate our horizon for the next two days.

Time: 5h Distance: 13km Ascent: 584m Descent: 1050m

Day Nine: Sunday, September 4, 2016

We go under the great mountain wall of the Pelmo, emerge briefly onto a mountain road, cross the Passo Studanza and then start a climb up the mountainside passing the Malga Vescova, a working farm which offers meals and refreshments. After a steep climb on good graded trails, 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: 4h Distance: 9.3km

Ascent: 520m Descent: 300m

Day Ten: Monday, September 5, 2016

From Rifugio Coldai, we cross the mountain ridge 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 mountain valleys below and over three thousand feet of rock wall above. This is one of the finest days of our trek. We stop for the night at the Rifugio Vazzoler (1714m) around the corner of The Civetta to the South. This well managed welcoming hut also has an alpine flower garden and is located in a shady pine forest.

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

Day Eleven: Tuesday, September 6, 2016

We continue the traverse around the Civetta. 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 Cerestaio for lunch and then continue on to our nights destination, the Rifugio Sebastaio at the Passo Duran.(1601m) Despite the name , the rifugio is really an albergo or country hotel with a higher standard of accommodation.

Time: 4:30h Distance: 11km Ascent: 600m Descent: 719m

Day Twelve: Wednesday September 7, 2016

After breakfast, we go by taxi to the town of Agordo where there are buses every hour to the regional capital of Belluno about a half hour further on, which has good rail and bus connections to all points. Agordo is the end of our trip; we have done the heart of the Dolomites Alta Via One.

Notes Level of Difficulty: Strenuous Plus

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 full trail descriptions of the route, Google Alta Via 1 – Dolomiti and click for the English version of the guidebook. Also see the Cicerone guide, Trekking in the Dolomites by Gillian Price.

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

Registration Procedure 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
Trip Leader  Roman Laba