The Dolomites Alta Via 1

The Dolomites Alta Via 1

The Trail: Approximately 140km in length. Approximate total elevation gain is 8000 meters.

The Trail: Approximately 140km in length. Approximate total elevation gain is 8000 meters.

The Huts: Open from June 20 through late September or early October, approximately €58 each night (with dinner and breakfast, no drinks)

Difficulty: Moderately strenuous, but thanks to huts, light packs are normal

Duration: Hiking 6 – 15 days, the classic itinerary is 12 days

The Trail
The Alta Via 1 is the premier long trail of the Dolomites, point to point with defined days. Get on the trail and go. Depending on variations, the trail is about 140 kilometers in length and passes through the heart of the Dolomites amongst it’s most famous and highest peaks; the Tofana, the Lagazuoi, Pelmo and of course the mighty Civetta.
For the visiting hiker, should they choose to do a journey over day trips, this is surely the choice to make. It allows the hiker to fully experience the Dolomites. With the exception of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the Alta Via 1 takes in the landmarks of the range, passing either amongst, below or within sight of all the Dolomite’s most dramatic areas.
The Trail is very well marked throughout, caution needs to be made when there are Alta Via 1 options, for example at the north end of Mont Pelmo where the trail goes both to the east or west sides. The East is the classic route.

The proper method of doing the trek is north to south. Beginning in the Sud Tirol at Lago di Braies, the trail winds its way through the Dolomites before ending in Belluno. Numerous huts are passed enroute allowing the hiker to modify the route and nights according to the chosen speed.

Classic Itinerary
1: From Lago di Bràies to Rifugio Biella
2: From Rifugio Biella to Rifugio Fanes (via the Rifugio Sénnes and Rifugio Pederü)
3: From Rifugio Fànes to the Rifugio Lagazuòi
4: From Rifugio Lagazuòi to the Rifugio Nuvolàu
5: From Rifugio Nuvolàu to the Rifugio Città Di Fiume
6: From Rifugio Città Di Fiume to the Rifugio Venezia
7: From Rifugio Venezia to the Rifugio Vazzolèr

Dinner and breakfast is included with each stay in the huts and day food may be purchased at any hut along the way.
Often, while hiking to your destination hut, you will pass another mid-route, be sure to time your arrival for lunch.
In planning your own itinerary via online resources, be sure to consider linking some of the days on the classic route. It is often possible to continue past the classic night’s huts to one not listed on the classic itinerary. In doing so, and if necessary, you will easily eliminate days.

8: From Rifugio Vazzolèr to the Rifugio Carestiato
9: From Rifugio Carestiato to the Rifugio Sommariva Al Pramperét
10: From Rifugio Sommariva to the Rifugio Pian De Fontana
11: From Rifugio Pian De Fontana to the Bivacco Del Màrmol or Rifugio Bianchet
12: From Bivacco del Màrmol to the Rifugio 7° Alpini, Case Bortòt and Belluno

This is only the recommended “classic” itinerary, there are countless variations taking in additional trails or other huts. But, one important thing to understand is that an itinerary should be planned for ahead of departure, and then stuck to.

The reason is that hut reservations MUST be made in advance, do not assume you may arrive and stay at any hut along the trail. The Alta Via 1 is extremely popular and as such the huts fill up. The month of August is particularly busy, so much so that it is not even recommended to attempt the Alta Via 1. The entire month of August is an Italian national holiday and hordes of them arrive to the Dolomites.

The best time to visit is late June – August 1, or early September through the closure of the huts in either late September or early October.

Many of the classic route huts along the route stay open until the first weekend of October, just for Alta Via 1 hikers, but be sure to confirm with the huts themselves. All phone numbers and contacts may be found for the individual huts online.

Remember, there is no reason to camp on this trek, nor is there reason to take much food beyond the first two days worth of day food.


Dinner and breakfast is included with each stay in the huts and day food may be purchased at any hut along the way.
Often, while hiking to your destination hut, you will pass another mid-route, be sure to time your arrival for lunch.
In planning your own itinerary via online resources, be sure to consider linking some of the days on the classic route. It is often possible to continue past the classic night’s huts to one not listed on the classic itinerary. In doing so, and if necessary, you will easily eliminate days.

The full legth of the Alta Via 1 is about 140km, divided by 12 days for the classic itinerary is only 12km (7.5 miles) a day. While the days are not easy, they are also not difficult, moderate is the norm and so more distance is easily added. When considering options, just be sure to confirm that your additional mileage is not also a major pass and that there is in fact an open and available hut.
One item we have been asked is in regards to the best section of the trail to do.

“What if we only have one week?”
In this case, beginning at Lago di Braies at ending at the Passo Duran is a 5 star trip, in other words, this is the section to not miss. A bit longer days, but still moderate.

Alternate 7 day Itinerary:
1: From Lago di Bràies to Rifugio Fodara
2: From Rifugio Fodara to Rifugio Lagazuoi
3: From Rifugio Lagazuoi to the Rifugio Nuvolàu
4: From Rifugio Nuvolàu to the Città Di Fiume
5: From Città Di Fiume to the Rifugio Venezia
6: From Rifugio Venezia to the Rifugio Vazzoler
7: From Rifugio Vazzoler to the Passo Duran

Maps
Maps are key for planning, the following list of 1:25.000 are recommended:
Casa Editrice Tabacco Maps
Map number 031 Braies
Map number 07 Alta Badia
Map number 03 Cortina
Map number 015 Pelmo Civetta
Map number 025 Zoldo Agordo
Map number 024 Dolomites Belluno Nevegal
From the US, we have had good luck ordering Int’l Maps from Stanfords in the UK.

Huts
The word “Hut” in Italian is “Rifugio”. On the maps you will see the abbreviation, “Rif.” There are also “Malga’s, some of which dot the map alongside the Alta Via 1. Malga’s are basically family run farms which may, or may not, serve food. Do not count on them being open.
For Americans, the Italian Huts will likely be remembered as much, or more, than the actual Dolomite landscape. They are remarkable in their service and comfort. The Dolomites make the journey along the Alta Via 1 amazing, but the huts cap the experience by making the overall experience quite remarkable.

What to Take
The Dolomites enjoy mostly fair and warm summer weather. However, like any mountain range, anything can happen. Be prepared for it all.
The high point of the tour is 2750 meters at the Lagazuoi Hut, and each day will include a pass at or near about 2200 meters.
Afternoon thunderstorms are the biggest concern, perhaps a bit of snow on the passes, and maybe an actual summer weather system to cause drizzle to a downpour throughout the day.
A good rain jacket, rain pants and a pack cover are mandatory items.
While not only providing fantastic meals and beds, the huts also allow for waiting out bad weather. Also, a pair of light hiking boots or even stiff soled trail running shoes are ideal.
Your pack should not weight more than 10-12 kg and a 25 Liter pack should be plenty. Fast & Light has an all new meaning here. You don’t have to skimp on what you carry because thanks to the huts, you just don’t need much …you can’t help but go light. And fast? Well, you’re psyched to keep moving to try the next meal. The beauty of Europe!
One other useful item are walking poles. The Dolomites are a rocky environment and the trails can be steep. Trekking poles allow taking some of the strain from the knees as well as helping to prevent rolled ankles.

Phoning
While not necessary, it is helpful to have a mobile phone for the trek. Should you choose to change your plans and need to call ahead to a hut, the mobile phone is helpful.

Getting To and From
The Dolomites do not have train service within the range itself. They are somewhat like an island of rugged, raw terrain within a very developed region. Around them is a train line, but within them only buses.

If one starts at Lago di Braies, the logical staging town is Dobbiaco, a small village in the Val Pusteria which marks the entry to the Cortina valley.
From Dobbiaco, buses run to Lago di Braies which is in itself a very popular tourist attraction for tour groups.
The somewhat tricky part is getting back to Dobbiaco.

From Belluno, it is possible to connect trains west and north back to Dobbiaco, or connecting buses via Cortina.
Some online research is highly recommended.

Transportation
This is one of the few places in Europe where a rental car will really make things much easier. Within the Dolomites themselves, there is no train service, only bus, and it is not readily available or efficient. You will spend too much time dealing with the bus system, waiting for connections, making connections and missing connections if you want to travel within the range. Of course if you arrive and do a point to point trail, or settle into one town to ride, then maybe it will not be a problem. But, having a car means freedom. This site assumes you have a car.

Reservations
Just about every hut has a website with phone number listed. Once you start planning, take note of those you may use and record their phone numbers.


Här är en bra sida att använda sig av för att planera sin vandring av Alta Via 1:
http://www1.dolomiti-altevie.it/inglese/altaVia/Home.asp?Body=dove

Här är en jätte fin sida gjord av Ýrr Jónasdóttir and Anna Kindvall där de delar med sig av sin Alta via 1 vandring 2011:
http://www.bergsvandring.se/category/hike/dolomiterna-2011-alta-via-1/

Bilder

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2015-06/dolomiterna-67.jpg
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