The Dolomites, Italy

Cortina d'Ampezzo Via Ferrata Hut Trek

World War history is plentiful in the region and the Via Ferrate routes and tunnels in the mountainside, especially around the 5 Torri and Lagazuoi region are all visited on this trek.

Taking advantage of the great network of mountain huts, Via Ferrate routes and easy access into the mountains this is a great trip for anyone wanting to start their alpine career. No previous climbing experience is needed but you do need to have a good level of fitness and endurance, a head for heights is useful and good mobility on rocky, uneven terrain are the only pre-requisites.

Day Itinerary

  • Travel to Cortina d'Ampezzo and meet your guides for the week. We deliver a detailed briefing on the week, safety, equipment and weather that evening in the hotel. Overnight in a hotel in the town.

  • We transfer by road to Passo Giau which is a 30min journey by car. Our aim for the day is to climb the Via Ferrete Ra Gusela, this is a great route to the summit of the Nuvolau at 2575m high. At the top is the Rifugio Nuvolau and on the col, 30 min lower, the wonderful Rifugio Averau where we will stay our first night. It time allows we can link to the Averau on the Via Ferrate of the same name. This peak is 2649m high. The views from both mountains to the 5 Torri are spectacular. The Via Ferrate is not technical and the day has about 5-6 hours of walking.  Overnight in the Rifugio Averau.

  • We leave the hut in the morning and walk to Passo Falzarego along well trodden footpaths. This should take around 2hrs. At the pass we can stop for a coffee before we begin the walk and climb of the Via Ferrate Truppe Alpine to the Rifugio Lagazuoi. The Ferrata is reasonably demanding and has a bit more exposure than the previous day. The climb will take about 6hrs at a steady pace with stops for food and photos.

    We reach the Rifugio Lagazuoi on the top of the mountain at 2835m. The Rifugio is in a spectacular setting where you can watch the sunset out on the terrace. Guido & Alma the guardians will make you feel very welcome. There is lots of world war history surrounding the Rifugio. Accommodation is in dormitory style rooms with some washing facilities.

  • We head out from the hut and walk to the Col dei Bos, from here we climb the Via Ferrate Lipella, this is a long route if followed all the way to the end, there is an opportunity to stop and walk to the Rifugio Dibona from about 3/4 of the way along if required.

    We stay overnight in the Rifugio Dibona which is located at the foot of the Tofana di Rozes at 2083m. This is a traditional Italian wood and stone building with dormitory style accommodation and wonderful Italian food don't miss out on their famous apple strudel!

  • Leaving the Rifugio in the morning we make the climb to the Rifugio Pomedes, this is in a magnificent setting overlooking the Cortina Valley at 2203m. The aim for today is the Via Ferrata Punta Anna followed by the Olivieri until we reach the top of the Tofana di Mezzo. The Punta Anna is almost entirely equipped with cables and follows the steep southern ridge up the mountain. The route is steep and exposed but offers a hugely satisfying route and finishes at the top of the Tofana di Mezzo which is the highest of the peaks of the Tofanas at 3244m.

    At the top we take the cable car down to Cortina and transfer to by road to the Rifugio Auronzo in the Tre Cime di Lavaredo area; this takes about 30 - 40 mins. From here we walk to the Rifugio Lavaredo which is where we overnight. The walk is around 30 mins on simple ground.

    The Rifugio was built in 1954 and is at 2344m right at the foot of the spectacular Tre Cime di Lavaredo mountains.

  • We leave the hut in the morning with the aim to climb the Via Ferrate Paterno. This usually takes around 6hrs with stops and we follow routes 101 and 104 traversing to the Rifugio Zsigmondy Comici. This route offers incredible views of the Tre Cime and surrounding mountains. The Via Ferrata is relatively straight forward.

    We overnight in the Rifugio Zsigmondy Comici. This is a comfortable hut set at 2224m with dormitory and small room accommodation, they serve traditional SudTirol food with a strong Italian influence.

  • We head out from the hut to walk the Via Ferrete degli Alpini (the route of the Alpine Troops), this was created in the time of the great war and is located on what was one of the most fiercely contested boarders of the Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops. The Via Ferrata is straight forward and you can enjoy great views from the Busa di Dentro and Busa di Fuori. On reaching the famous Passo della Sentinella we walk down to Val Fiscalina.

    From here we transfer by taxi back to Cortina which takes just under an hour by road. We return to our hotel in Cortina for the night.

  • Disperse after breakfast.

A typical day would start around 6-7am with breakfast in the Rifugio then heading out to trek by 8-8.30am. Days vary in length but you can expect to be on your feet for 6-8 hours most days with stops for food and drink.

Packed lunches are taken from the hut each morning.

You would typically arrive at the Rigugio towards late afternoon where you can relax and enjoy the views. Dinner is usually served anytime from 6pm onwards. This is a 3-course evening meal of traditional Italian and SudTirol food. You can buy water, soft drinks, wine and beer in all the Refugio's.

Price includes 6 guided days, 2 nights half board hotel accommodation in Cortina (twin room sharing), 5 nights mountain hut accommodation with half board in either small rooms or dormitories, local transfers by taxi or bus.

The price does not include travel to and from Cortina (flights & transfers), lunches and drinks, any cost of lift passes, equipment hire and personal insurance.


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    • Base Layer Top and Bottoms - 1-2 thermal tops and 1 pair longjohns

    • 2 midweight fleece tops or 1 fleece and 1 lightweight duvet jacket - More thin layers is preferable to a fewer thick layers between your skin and the outer shell as it gives better heat retention and good flexibility

    • Lightweight trekking trousers

    • Walking shorts or pair of trousers with zip-off legs

    • Weather Layer Top - Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable jacket

    • Shirts - Long sleeved and short sleeved cotton or synthetic shirts

    • Lightweight over-trousers with long side zips

    • Sun hat and warm hat

    • Gloves - its important to have a pair of gloves for Via Ferrata which are durable and robust, half-finger gloves are a good option e.g. Black Diamond Crag Half-Finger Gloves Another option is to use some full or half fingered cycling gloves

    • A pair of warm waterproof gloves in the event of cold weather

    • Gaiters - Good fitting pair of ankle gaiters to keep socks and boots dry

    • 3-4 pairs of good quality socks

  • You will need a good hiking or lightweight mountaineering boot that can take either a strap-on or clip-on crampon.  Key features of a good hiking boot include vibram soles, reversed leather uppers (which protects the best site of the leather from scuffing and abrasion and improves durability and water resistance) and ankle flex and a higher cut which give control, mobility and support.

  • Essential items:

    • VF shock absorbers
    • Harness - sit harness with adjustable leg loops and large enough to be worn over all clothing layers
    • Helmet
    • Slings and karabiners

    The following items may be required depending on the conditions:

    • Ice Axe - general mountaineering axe – 55-70cms long depending on your height
    • Boot crampons with anti-balling plates

    All items can be hired from our guides.

    • A rucksack with the capacity of between 35 - 40 liters

    • Lightweight sleeping bag liner - now compulsory in all alpine mountain huts

    • Water bottle (at least 1 liter) or Thermos

    • Head torch spare with batteries

    • Penknife

    • Personal medications and first aid kit for blisters, sunburn and headaches (Note: Guides will have comprehensive first aid kits and are qualified in mountain first aid)

    • Adjustable trekking pole(s)

    • Sun Glasses, minimum category 3 for high altitude

    • Sunscreen and Lip Protection

    • Snack food - we advise you take some of your favourite hill snacks with you for each day to supplement food you can buy for lunches in the huts

    • Duffel bag - for gear not required on the trip. Will be left at first hotel and collected on return

    • Passport

    • Money - You will need some cash for food and drinks. There are ATMs in the towns plus most hotels, shops and restaurants will accept credit cards. Huts are also increasingly able to accept credit cards but many still only take cash (Euros or Swiss Francs depending on the trip)

    • Small wash kit with quick drying towel

    • Alpine club card if you are a member of one

    • Book, diary, pen, playing cards - for afternoons/evenings in the hut

Dolomites Ski Touring 1.JPG

The Dolomites

View map

The Dolomites are a part of the Italian Alps. They are located in equal parts in the provinces of South Tyrol, Belluno and Trentino (all in northern Italy) and extend from the Adige river in the west to the Pieve valley (Pieve di Cadore) in the east. The northern and southern borders are defined by the Pustertal (valley of the Rienz) and the Valsugana.
The region is commonly divided into the Western and Eastern Dolomites, separated by a line following the Badia valley - Campolongo pass - Cordevole valley (Agordino) axis. The range includes more than forty glaciers.
The Dolomites are particularly renowned for climbing and the main centres include Auronzo, Cortina d'Ampezzo and San Martino di Castrozza.
The name "Dolomites" is derived from the famous French mineralogist Deodat de Dolomieu (1750 -1801) who was the first to describe the rock, Dolomite, a form of limestone which is responsible for the characteristic shapes of these great mountains.

Our top reasons for visiting the Dolomites:

  • Stunning mountain scenery combined with friendly Italian ambience
  • Skiing or climbing with Guido Candolini, our charismatic local Mountain Guide who leads many of our Dolomite adventures
  • Enjoying the sunset at the Rifugio Fanes or Rifugio Lagazuoi - mountain huts with a difference!
  • Excellent ski touring amongst the limestone towers
  • The Via Ferrate trails - 'iron ways' that are a relic of the wars between Austria and Italy and enable hikers to scale the steep exposed mountains in safety
  • Cortina d'Ampezzo is a beautiful old town in the heart of the Dolomites with plenty of history. It mixes traditional Italian charm with an Austrian influence from the SudTirol close by.

    The town has hosted the Winter Olympics in 1956 and continues to host many international sporting events, such as the famous FIS Women's downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane piste.

    The Dolomites offer wonderful alpine scenery with their stunning limestone towers and peaks, the valleys in the summer are lush and green and the mountainsides a wash with alpine flowers. The whole region is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has plenty of world war history as its located on the once fiercely contested Italian - Austro-Hungarian boarder.

  • Our guides can provide harness and Via Ferrate kit and helmet if you require them, there is a small hire fee for the week.

  • It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.

    For UK residents Ski Club Travel Insurance may be a suitable option.

    For more details and to purchase a policy online visit
    If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.

  • Our Via Ferrate trips are run by our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides. In this region we work with our Italian guide team of Guido and Massimo Candolini, Gianni Dorigo and Andrea Fusari who have grown up in these mountains.

    Trips are run on a maximum ratio of 1:5. Sometimes we run with 2 groups and 2 mountain guides.

  • In Cortina we usually stay in the Hotel da Beppe Sello a comfortable 3* hotel in a good location close to the centre of the town. They have comfortable ensuite bedrooms, bar and an excellent restaurant.

    The mountain Refugio's are either dormitory or small room accommodation, all have shared bathroom and shower facilities.

  • The hotel in Cortina serves breakfast and dinner. The mountain Refugio's serve breakfast and a good 3-course evening meal. Cuisine is usually a mixture of SudTirol (Austrian influenced) and Italian food. Wine, beer and soft drinks and bottled water are available to buy in the Refugio's. They can also supple sandwiches/packed lunch each day.

  • You do not need to have any previous climbing experience to join this trip but you do need to be an outdoors type of person. The week requires good fitness so you can walk up and downhill for 6-8 hours per day, the emphasis should be on stamina and endurance. It's useful to be a keen hill walker and be comfortable moving on varied terrain of alpine paths and rocky terrain.

    A head for heights is a good idea as some sections of the Ferrate will be exposed with a large drop on one or both sides.

    You need to have some upper-body strength so you can pull yourself up on the fixed cables and ladders. You also need to be able to carry a 30-35 liter rucksack with all your kit in it for the week.

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