Hike and climb your way along Via Ferrata of WWI, trekking on the Dolomites Alta Via high routes, exploring fascinating WWI ruins and history, and ascending a different challenging via ferrata each day.
Length: 8d / 7n
Start / Finish: Cortina d’Ampezzo/Alta Badia
Activity Level: Challenging
For well trained hikers in good and active physical health. Previous experiences in climbing are not mandatory, but a basic knowledge of mountaineering is advisable.
Group and Private Departures Available
This trip is available as a custom, private departure on dates of your choosing mid-December to mid-April, or as a group departure on set dates. View Group Departure Dates.
Private Trip Cost: From €2240 (per person, minimum 4 members)
High season supplement from July 20th to August 31st: surcharge of 5%
2014 Group Trip Departure Cost: €1990 (per person, minimum 4 members)
- Trip briefing upon arrival
- Logistics and map of the area
- Accommodations as noted in itinerary
- Meals as noted in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
- Local English speaking Professional UIAGM/IFMGA Mountain Guide
- Via ferrata equipment
- Lifts and cable cars in the area
- Transfers in the area
- Luggage transfer on day 4
- Italian VAT tax
Airport transfers available on request.
- Climb on via ferrata and hike the tunnels constructed during WWI, taking in breathtaking vistas while imagining the challenges of fighting in this vertical terrain
- Enjoy the welcoming hospitality of mountain rifugios, experiencing true mountaineer style
- Explore WWI ruins, transformed into open air museums paying homage to the challenges and loss of life during the conflict
- Breathe in pure air and experience a variety of spectacular landscapes in a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Imagine the Dolomites from 1915-1918. World War One raged across the peaks and valleys, with fighting between Austrian and Italian soldiers, oftentimes friends from a neighboring village. During the sad years that saw Italy face the German and Austro-Hungarian armies on the battle fields here, the soldiers, who lived along a war front that touched these high peaks tried to make their lives in the mountains as easy as possible. What the soldiers did in the Dolomites region (and not only here) is incredible and fascinating: long tunnels dug inside the mountains with dynamite and picks, suspension bridges across scary chasms, iron paths, refuges that literally hung on sheer cliffs… just to mention a few of the works that are still standing today. Some are remnants in their original state and some have been renovated and transformed into open air museums, for example the ones present on the following mountains: Lagazuoi, Marmolada, Tofane, and Col di Lana.
We firmly believe that the Vie Ferrate (iron paths) that have been opened just to increase the income of a Rifugio (mountain hut) have nothing to with the true spirit of mountaineering or the passion for the mountains. On the other hand, the ones opened by the soldiers, who needed to move safely in a dangerous environment, and that today are still practicable, often after some renovation, must be considered as silent witnesses of the most tragic and memorable events of World War I. This itinerary can make us stop and consider the horrors of all wars, while admiring a breath-taking panorama; the consciousness of what happened in this incredibly beautiful area can give a small contribution to the cause of Peace.
Day 1 ~ Arrive in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites
Arrive in Cortina d’Ampezzo (1,224m / 4,016') on your own and check into your hotel (private transfer available on request). Cortina d’Ampezzo is a charming alpine resort town surrounded by stunning peaks. Host to the 1956 Winter Olympics, Cortina enjoys a reputation for great skiing in winter, and in the summer attracts hikers and climbers who challenge the rocky faces of the nearby mountains.
In the afternoon, meet your UIAGM/IFMGA Professional Mountain Guide for a trip briefing and orientation, and to check-out the ferrata equipment you will use for your exciting days in the Dolomites.
… Hotel in Cortina d'Ampezzo (3-Star)
Day 2 ~ Via Ferrata Lipella
In the morning, transfer to Rifugio Dibona alle Tofane (2,083m / 6,834') from where you’ll begin your trek. From the Rifugio Ivano Dibona traverse beneath the imposing Tofana di Rozes to equipped steps that lead up to the Castelletto tunnel. This ferrata is reached through the characteristic ‘Galleria del Castelletto’ (2,459m / 8,067'). Ascend this tunnel, dug out by the Alpini soldiers during the First World War (a torch or a headlamp are necessary) then continue up numerous steps and a tiring ramp to reach the smaller peak (3,027m / 9,931'), where the ferrata ends. Follow the track to the summit and the cross.
After you've enjoyed the vistas, descend from here along the normal path on the north-west side of the Tofana and back to your hotel. (7-8 hours hiking ~8 km / 5 miles, and ascending a challenging 600m / 1,969' grade 4C via ferrata. Total 1,250m / 4,101' ascent, 645m / 2,116' descent.)
Day 3 ~ Via della Pace – Path of Peace
Today is the hardest day of the trip. After a hearty breakfast, depart your rifugio and head towards the descent in the deep Masarè valley. A steep and winding path will lead through the Cadin di Fanis group for about an hour, reaching the east face of Monte Cavallo. After 3 more hours, you will pass the saddle between the peaks Cima del Cavallo (2,912m / 9,554') and Cima del Casale (2,894m / 9,495') at 2,707 meters (8,881'). From here, you will head towards the peaks of Furcia Rossa where a well-constructed ferrata named “Via della Pace” (Path of Peace) leads to the peak of the Vallon Bianco (2,684m / 8,806'). You should be able to reach the peak in about 3 hours.
Take some time to enjoy the views, and then descend from here towards the Alpe di Fanes, and rejoin the Alta Via 1 on a grassy plain in order to reach the rifugio for the night (2,050m / 6,726'). (7-8 hours hiking ~17 km / 11 miles, ascending several 100-400m / 328'-1,312' challenging grade 1C & 2C via ferrata. Total 707m / 2,320' ascent, 1,237m / 4,058' descent.)
Day 4 ~ Lagazuoi Massif
After yesterday’s challenges, you’ll indulge a more relaxing itinerary hiking along the classic Alta Via 1 trail through the Alpe di Fanes Grande (no via ferrata today!). The high point is crossing over the saddle Forcella del Lago (2,486m / 8,156') to reach the Alpe di Lagazuoi, and on to the peak of the Lagazuoi Piccolo at 2,752 m (9,029'). Tonight you’ll enjoy staying at one of the highest rifugio in the Dolomites. Set atop Mount Lagazuoi (2,778m / 9,114'), a veritable castle of rock with spires and turrets, it holds the secrets of WWI in hidden military forts deep within. (5-6 hours hiking 12 km / 7 miles, 1,150m / 3,773' ascent, 450m / 1,476' descent.)
Day 5 ~ Sentiero D. Kaiserjager & Col di Lana
From the peak of Lagazuoi Piccolo, descend on the Cengia Martini “Sentiero D. Kaiserjager” on a well-equipped path, which arrives at Passo Valparola (2,168m / 7,113') in about an hour’s hiking. From here, continue towards Passo Sief (2,209m / 7,247'), and climb the peak of this not very high mountain (2,424m / 7,953). Cima Sief is connected to the peak of Col di Lana (2,452m / 8,045') through a wire-protected ridge. These two mountains were the scene of heavy fighting during WWI – Italian troops attempted to storm the peak a number of times, resulting in heavy losses, and the Italians later dubbed it “Col di Sangue” or “Blood Mountain.” From Col di Lana, descend to Livinallongo (1,470m / 4,823'), where you will spend the night at a hotel in town. (6-7 hours hiking ~13 km / 8 miles, 284m / 932' ascent , 1,576m / 5,171' descent.)
B,D… Hotel in Arabba (3-Star)
Day 6 ~ Via Ferrata delle Trincee
From Arabba, take the cable car to Porta Vescovo (2,478m / 8,130') where you will find the start point of the Via Ferrata delle Trincee. You will definitely need a head lamp for this one! The ferrata ends near Passo Padon (2,369m / 7,772'), where you will have a splendid view of the Marmolada Glacier, weather permitting. Descend to Passo Fedaia, (2,050m / 6,756'), and take the old cable car to your rifugio for the night (2,626m / 8,615'), at the foot of the Marmolada Glacier. (4-5 hours hiking ~7 km / 4 miles and ascending a difficult 300m / 984' grade 4B via ferrata. 109m / 358' hiking descent.)
Day 7 ~ Via Ferrata della Cresta Ovest Marmolada
Today’s route begins with a slight descent across glacial moraine. From here, climb onto the Marmolada Glacier and hike to just below Forcella Marmolada (2,896m / 9,501'), where the Via Ferrata della Cresta Ovest (west ridge) begins. After an hour and a half of climbing on this well protected but exposed route, you reach the summit of Marmolada – Punta Penìa (3,343m / 10,968') – the highest peak of the Dolomites. Crampons and ice axes are essential for today’s route – especially for the descent. You will be able to rent them at the rifugio in order to not have to carry them throughout the entire itinerary. (6 hours hiking 5 km / 3 miles and ascending a challenging 400m / 1,312' grade 4C via ferrata. Total 850m / 2,789' ascent and descent.)
In the afternoon, transfer to Cortina d’Ampezzo or Alta Badia for a celebratory dinner and your final night in the Dolomites!
B… Hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo (3-Star)
Day 8 ~ Depart
Breakfast and departure on your own (private transfer available on request).
Trip itinerary may vary based on weather conditions, fitness levels and abilities of participants, and/or the recommendations of your guide.
Want to learn more about our Hotels and B&Bs?
The Dolomites has a multi-faceted culture and history that is reflected in each village we visit, and we make sure to provide you with the most authentic experience of the region possible through the hotels and B&Bs we offer. Hotels and chalets are available in the larger villages, while agriturismos (working farms with accommodations similar to B&Bs) are more common in rural areas. And we always make sure you have access to inspired regional cuisine, and the best panoramas you can get in the Dolomites!
Want to learn more about our Mountain Inns & Rifugi?
Rifugi – or mountain huts in English – are the classic accommodation for hikers, climbers, mountaineers, and ski mountaineers in the Alps. Set in spectacular locations high in the Dolomites, rifugi are accessible only on foot (with a few exceptions that are reachable by car). These marvelous establishments are open primarily in the summer, with a select few in winter, and offer meals and sleeping facilities.
The Dolomite rifugi are considered the best in the Alps. While some are dormitory style with bunk beds, many meet the standard of a simple guest house with private rooms and en-suite bathrooms, and each has its own unique character and charm. Bedding and linens are provided, hot showers are available, and meals are served in common dining areas – like a small mountain inn set high in the mountains with the most incredible vistas in the Dolomites. Whether you’re hiking in summer or skiing in winter, an overnight rifugio stay is not to miss on a Dolomite holiday.
To learn even more about rifugi in the Dolomites, check out our Rifugios in the Dolomites article, and learn about one of the best ways to experience these incredible mountains!
Want to see the Dolomites in action?
Check out the high definition videos in our SUMMER VIDEO GALLERY!
Want to learn more about hiking in the Dolomites?
Check out our Tips for Hiking in the Dolomites article!
Want to know what type of weather you should expect on your trip?
Check out our Climate and Weather in the Dolomites article!
Want to learn what it’s like to stay in a rifugio before you visit?
Check out our Rifugios in the Dolomites article!
Want to learn more about via ferrata in the Dolomites?
Check out our Via Ferrata: Climbing the Iron Paths of the Dolomites article for the who, what, when, where, & why of climbing via ferrata!