Eight days, almost 100 km on foot, from hut to hut, always at high altitude and immersed in the heart of Dolomites.
Three boys between 25 and 26 from Genoa united by the same passions: Nature, Mountains, Outdoors, Photography and above all Adventure.
So we decided to leave with only backpack on our shoulders and always on foot for a tour of the mountain huts immersed in the Dolomites. 98 km of walking at high altitude distributed between Saturday 18th and Saturday 25th July, passing every night in a different refuge.
Our adventure begins on the morning of Saturday 18 at Passo San Pellegrino (1918m asl).
On the first day we crossed the Cirelle Pass (2683m), following the Alta Via delle Dolomiti, to reach the Contrin Refuge (2016m) and we spent our first night there.
The next day we went towards Forcella Marmolada, and from there towards Punta Penia, the top of the Marmolada, at 3343 meters above sea level, through the fixed rope route of the West ridge. Once we arrived we spent the night there at the Capanna Punta Penia Refuge, the highest in the Dolomites, managed by the legendary Carlo Budel, with the good fortune of having been able to see a sunset, a sunrise and a starry sky that are difficult to forget .
The following day we descended from the north face, along the glacier, (another wonderful experience), to reach the Viel del Pan refuge (2432m), passing by Lake Fedaia and along the path of the same name Viel dal Pan, always part of the Alta Route of the Dolomites.
The following morning we went down to Passo Pordoi and then climbed up through the saddle of the same name on the Sella plateau, with its characteristic lunar landscape, and climbed up to the Capanna Fassa refuge, on Piz Boè at 3152 meters, and spent our fourth night here . Here too, luck was on our side and we witnessed a magnificent sunset and sunrise.
The next day we went down to the Pordoi Pass, but here we were forced to take the only (and obligatory) bus of the holiday, due to the badly served connections via the path between the two passes, and so as to avoid 13km of state road on foot, to reach Passo Sella, in the direction of Alpe di Siusi, the largest plateau in Europe: an almost surreal place, characterized by enormous green expanses and hills, interrupted only by small trees and wooden houses scattered here and there.
After 25 km of walking we finally reached Compatsch and we spent the night at the Piccolo Hotel Sciliar, the only hotel of our trip. Regenerated after the tiring day we set off again towards the Catinaccio, crossing the Alpe di Siusi again along other paths, then descending into the Val Duron and starting here the ascent towards the Catinaccio, precisely to the Antermoia Refuge (2497m), where we spent there at night, located next to Lake Antermoia, characterized by clear waters and overlooking the Marmolada. The following day we woke up in pouring rain, aiming at the Santner Pass Refuge (2734m), the last night of our trip. Along the path we stopped, dried up and warmed up at the Passo Principe Refuge, after which the rain stopped and we setted off again.
We thus reached the Santner Pass and the refuge of the same name, through a path for expert hikers, and passing through the Vajolet Towers. From the refuge there was a wonderful view: a sea of clouds at our feet, dominated only by the Latemar and the mountains of the Catinaccio group. The next day we descended to the Torri del Vajolet Refuge, and then we went up to the Coronelle Pass (2797m) and descended to the valley at the Costalunga Pass (1745m), in Val d’Ega.
Our adventure was finished, but with still a stage to reach: the fairytale Lake Carezza.
Three friends, almost 100km of walking, on foot and at high altitude; about 6000 meters of difference in height in ascent and as many in descent; just a backpack and a camera; immersed in the Dolomites, passing through the Val di Fassa, Val Duron, Val Gardena and Val d’Ega and as many passes, forks and paths.
It is fascinating to experience the world of refuges and hear the stories of those who manage them and really live the mountains. Excellent food and wonderful evenings with friends. The emotions arising in front of certain landscapes are very strong. The desire to return is great and we are already thinking about next year’s tour. Thanks again to all the people we met: you made our trip even more beautiful.
Andrea Merello, Jacopo Galliano e Andrea Polidori
The tour is a half-ring, starting at the San Pellegrino Pass and ending at the Costalunga Pass. We recommend that you reach the Costalunga Pass by car and leave your vehicle there in one of the numerous car parks, including the free Park Savoy.
To reach Punta Penia, the via ferrata starts from the Forcella Marmolada along the West Crest; mandatory helmet, via ferrata harness and two carabiners.
To descend from Punta Penia you cross the Marmolada glacier; crampons, ice ax and roping are mandatory. For those with little mountaineering experience, we strongly suggest relying on the experience of a mountain guide (for 2 days) who will allow you to use the equipment directly.
Avoid crossing the glacier during the hottest hours, and the via ferrata with the risk of a storm.
Inquire about the conditions before the ascent
The trails are very well marked. However, we recommend the use of a Tobacco Map (Val di Fassa), or a GPS. Some trails do not require a via ferrata harness, but they are in any case trails equipped for experts (EE), where minimal use of the hands is required. Beware of thunderstorms.
Technical mountain and layered clothing. Heavy material for the night at 3433m.
We recommend backpack weight no more than 10kg. Make the tour starting from the San Pellegrino Pass and end it at the Costalunga Pass due to some paths along the way.
Best period: from 15/6 to 15/9
All nights were organized in a refuge, with accommodation in private rooms or dormitories, with shared bathroom.
It is compulsory to bring a sleeping bag or sleeping bag and slippers for the overnight stay in the refuge.
You can exclude the night at Punta Penia from the itinerary: from the Contrin Refuge you can reach Lake Fedaia, through the Forcella Marmolada, and from here you can reach the Viel dal Pan Refuge.
Call the shelters in advance. In the high season they are often sold out. Find out about the various openings.
All the refuges offer the possibility of half board treatment (dinner + breakfast). For lunches, organize packed lunches or in the shelters along the way.
We recommend that you refill your water bottles every morning upon departure. The fountains are not very frequent along the paths; you can instead count on shelters.