During this week you'll enjoy a fantastic week climbing some of the best Via Ferrata in the Dolomites. Here are lots of different routes that we can follow during this week and the itinerary will depend on weather and ground conditions and also the preferences of the group.
Day 1: Arrive in Cortina D’Ampezzo (1224 m). Meet up with your guide and discuss the itinerary, conditions, equipment and objectives for the week. Dinner can be taken in one of the many restaurants in the town. For the first two nights, accommodation is in a guesthouse in Cortina to allow time to acclimatize gradually to the altitude.
Day 2: The day starts with a short transfer to Fiames (1293 m) and the ascent of the Via Ferrata "Strobel alla Punta Fiames" (2301 m) (easy/medium). Descend back to Fiames and take the short transfer back to Cortina. (Total duration: 5-6 hours). En-route your guide will give you a lesson on via ferrata climbing technique, safety and equipment use.
Day 3: We start with a 15-minute transfer to Rifugio Dibona (2083 m). With a small backpack we ascent the Via Ferrata "Olivieri a Punta Anna" (2731 m) (medium). The hike towards the Via Ferrata is on the panoramic Sentiero Attrezzato Astaldi which is also of great geological importance. From the peak we descend a Via Ferrata to Rifugio Giussani (2580 m), in the middle of the Tofane peaks, then back down to Rifugio Dibona where we will spend the night. (Total duration: 6 hours).
Day 4: After two "introduction" days, we start out for a full challenging day to climb one of the most beautiful peaks of the Dolomites. From the rifugio we head towards the south face of the Tofana di Rozes (3225 m); the trail runs along the base of the mountain westwards past the entrance of the Castelletto Tunnel. We go through the tunnel (torch needed) that was used by the Italian army in 1917 to blow up the peak of the Castelletto di Tofana where an Austrian Keiserjerger position was based. We then start to climb the West face of the giant Tofana di Rozes on the Via Ferrata "Giovanni Lipella" (medium). When we get to Punta Tre Dita (2694 m), if anyone is tired they can stop the climb – you’ve now been going about 4½ hours - and hike across to Rifugio Giussani on an easy footpath (30 min). For those continuing on, we reach the summit by following a narrow ridge where one can still find snow in early summer. We descend to Rifugio Giussani along the normal route and from there to Rifugio Lagazuoi on top of the Lagazuoi Piccolo (2752 m) by footpath. (Total duration: 8-9 hours).
Day 5: From Rifugio Lagazuoi we walk to the base of the Torre Fanis Sud (2980 m) where the Via Ferrata "Cesco Tomaselli (medium/difficult) begins. From the summit we descend along the Via Ferrata "Forcella Fanis" onto the Cadin di Fanis glacier. We then enter a First World War tunnel that leads us to the beginning of the Alta Via Fanis Luigi Veronesi that winds itself through the Fanis peaks to Cima Scotoni (2874 m). We descend Forcella del Lago (2486 m) and reach Rifugio Scotoni (1985 m) where we will spend the night. (Total duration: 8 hours).
Day 6: A less challenging day will give us a chance to recover and still climb a beautiful Via Ferrata. We leave Rifugio Scotoni and walk to Sarè (30 min) along the main road. A short bus ride will take us to Rifugio/Hotel Frara at the Passo Gardena where we can leave our bags and climb the Via Ferrata "Tridentina al Pisciadù"(medium). From the top of the route we return to our Rifugio via Val Setus. (Total duration: 5 hours).
Day 7: A 25 minute bus ride to Passo Sella and a 20 minute hike gets us to the base of the impressive West Face of Piz Selva (2941 m) where the Via Ferrata "Mesules" (difficult) begins. The first Via Ferrata of the Dolomites reaches the summit along a highly spectacular route. From the top we cross the lunar landscape of the Sella Group and descend the Val Mezdi to Corvara. Accommodation in a "Garnì" and typical Ladino dinner. (Total duration: 8 hours).
Day 8: Disperse after breakfast. Our Via Ferrata trips are led by Guido Candolini, an excellent local Italian UIAGM Mountain Guide who lives in the Dolomites all year. Guido speaks excellent English and will ensure your week is fun and rewarding and totally safe. The guide-client ratio for the Via Ferrata is 1:4.
Skills: This program is recommended for experienced walkers and hikers with a head for heights! No previous mountaineering or Via Ferrata experience is required.
Stamina: If you walk regularly and have a good level of fitness then you should have no problem undertaking the Via Ferrata week. On some days you will be walking and climbing (up and down) for up to 8-9 hours at altitude and so you will need to do some training to really enjoy the week. Aerobic fitness and leg strength are the key so when preparing for this trip nothing beats activities that increase your heart rate and build your aerobic levels e.g. running, cycling and swimming. Movement skills - agility, balance, flexibility - which allow you to walk easily over rough ground are also very relevant. If time permits try to include some yoga or pilates into your training schedule.
Accommodation and meals: We stay 3 nights in comfortable guesthouses and 4 nights in mountain lodges, known as rifugi. The rifugi in the Dolomites are like little guesthouses: very cosy and comfortable when compared to the rifugi in the Western Alps. However they are not hotels and the lack of privacy make this experience suitable for flexible and group oriented people! In some rifugi hot showers are available but cost extra.
Climate: The Dolomites generally has a very pleasant climate throughout the spring, summer and autumn with warm days and cool nights. During the day it is usually around 24 - 28°C.
Safety awareness and training: Adventurous activities in the mountains have their dangers. These can never be removed altogether but they can be minimized. Our aim is to provide you with a thrilling holiday directed with maximum attention to your safety and that of others. We don't just blindly get you to follow our experienced leaders. We give you the opportunity to learn mountain craft skills and understand about the hazards, how to minimize the risk, and how to cope with incidents should they happen.
Equipment: Our recommended kit list will be sent to you at the time of booking. Although conditions in the Dolomites in the summer are usually very pleasant you do need to be prepared for the unexpected and carry waterproofs and layers that are suitable for cold conditions. Standard climbing equipment is required: helmet, harness, appropriate footwear. We can supply the specialist via ferrata equipment (slings, carabiners, braking devices).
Note: The itinerary given here is therefore an example only and not necessarily the one we'll follow during the week.
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