Along the Alta Via 1 in six days: the route

The Alta Via 1 sign

The Alta Via 1 goes along here

The huts are booked, the route is confirmed! In 6 weeks we’ll be setting off from Lago di Braies for the Alta Via 1. Here’s the plan and some more info.

Our route

As we only have six days for our hiking trip, I’ve tried to compress the original route to get a bit more of the Alta Via in.

Day 1: Lago di Braies (1494m) – rifugio Pederu (1548m), 5hr 30min

The usual day 1 ends at rifugio Biella (2300m) after some 3 hrs of walking. We are going to press on for another 2hr 30min and descend to rifugio Pederu.

Rifugio Pederu (tel: 0039 0474 501 086) – book online

Day 2: rifugio Pederu (1548m) – rifugio Scotoni (1985m), 6 hr

Day 2 will be a hard day mostly spent walking up hill to Forcella del Lago (2486m). From there on we’ll descend to Lago di Lagazuoi and then to rifugio Scotoni (1985m), which lies slightly off the main Alta Via route.

Rifugio Scotoni (tel: 0039 0471 847 330) – email info@scotoni.it to book

See also: The complete beginner’s guide to staying in an alpine hut

Day 3: rifugio Scotoni (1985m) – rifugio Cinque Torri (2137m), 5hr 20min

From rifugio Scotoni, we’ll start uphill again to Forcella Lagazuoi (2573m). Depending on whether we choose to go via an aided stretch at Nuvolau or not, this could be the highest point of the trek. After Forcella Lagazuoi we’ll descend all the way to 1724m at Cianzope and will then start on the last push up to Cinque Torri (2137m).

Rifugio Cinque Torri (tel: 0039 0436 2902) – call to book

Day 4: rifugio Cinque Torri (2137m) – rifugio Citta di Fiume (1917m), 6hr 10mins/ 5hr

Before we set off on day 4 we will have to decide whether to tackle the aided stretch at Nuvolau. The Cicerone guide I have been using doesn’t state whether equipment is needed. Local knowledge at Cinque Torri will decide.

Once we get going, it will be either up to Nuvolau (2575m) and down the aided stretch to Passo Giau (2236m), or directly to Passo Giau via a path forking off the main AV route at rifugio Scoiattoli.

Update: the aided stretch at Nuvolau is a via ferrata and requires a via ferrata set.

See also: What is a via ferrata aka Klettersteig?

However we get there, from Passo Giau it will be relatively level until we descend a little bit to rifugio Citta di Fiume (1917m).

Rifugio Citta di Fiume  (tel: 0039 0437 720 268) – book online

Day 5: rifugio Citta di Fiume (1917m) – rifugio Coldai (2132m), 7hr/ 3hr 40min

Day 5 will be either the longest or the shortest day of the trek. Depending on the weather and the state of our legs, our options here are either to take the Sentiero Flaibani around the Pelmo massif via rifugio Venezia or walk directly to rifugio Coldai. The route via rifugio Venezia scrambles up Forcella Val d’Arcia (2476m) to great views of the Marmolada, Sella, Antelao and Spalti di Torro. However, it shouldn’t be attempted in bad weather.

See also: How scary really is Sentiero Flaibani?

If we end up taking the short route, there is also an option to press on past rifugio Coldai to rifugio Tissi (2hr) and provided accommodation is available there to potentially cover off a bit more of the Alta Via 1 the next day.

Rifugio Coldai (tel: 0039 0437 789 160) – call to book

Day 6: rifugio Coldai (2132m) – Listolade (701m), 5hr 45min

Day 6 should see us walk along the Civetta to rifugio Vazzoler (1715m). Past Vazzoler we will then turn down into the valley and walk to Listolade to catch a bus to Belluno.

If we take the direct route to rifugio Coldai on day 5 and manage to overnight at Tissi, we could attempt to walk all the way to rifugio Carestiato and then descend into the valley to Agordo. The whole day would then be 7hr 30min, which could well be a bit too much, though.

Dolomiti buses run from both Listolade and Agordo to Cortina or Belluno.

If you want to know how it all went, check out the trip report that I wrote when we got back from the 6 day trip:  A Forcella a day keeps the doctor away.

The rest of the Alta Via 1

That will be it for us. However, the usual Alta Via 1 goes on from rifugio Vazzoler:

Day 7: rifugio Vazzoler (1714m) – rifugio Carestiato (1839m), 3hr 20min

Day 8: rifugio Carestiato (1839m) – rifugio Pramperet (1857m), 4hr 2min

Day 9: rifugio Pramperet (1857m) – rifugio Pian de Fontana (1632m), 3hr

Day 10: rifugio Pian de Fontana (1632m) – La Pissa bus stop (448m), 3hr 45min

Maps

The last thing, aside from packing, that we’ll have to sort out before leaving will be maps. The following Tobacco 1 : 25,000 maps should do the trick:

  • 031 ‘Dolomiti di Braies’
  • 03 ‘Cortina d’Ampezzo e Dolomiti Ampezzane’
  • 025 ‘Dolomiti di Zoldo, Cadorine e Agordine’

Related posts

It’s your turn now. Are you planning a trek along the Alta Via 1, what’s your route going to be?

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23 comments

  1. Emelie · · Reply

    Hey Marketa,

    Me and my friend will copy your route in the end of August/ beginning of September. I am on my way of purchasing the maps and I just wonder if you need all the maps to cover the route?

    Thanks for this amazing and detailed post!

    All the best,

    Emelie

    1. Hi Emelie!

      Unfortunately, if you want to have the full route, you need all three. One of them only covers a small section, which you could make a copy of so that you don’t have to carry everything. However, as I have the maps away I’m not sure which one anymore 😦

      Enjoy the rest of your trip planning and have fun walking the av1!

      Marketa

  2. Nidia · · Reply

    Hello, I leave to Italy next week with my boyfriend. We want to hike Alta Via 1 between May 20 to 26/27. We will arrive in Italy and Drive up to Lago Di Braies where we will be staying in a hotel and leaving our car. From what we have researched it looks like the refugios will not be open yet. We are taking our backpacking gear, we both have experience with multi day treks. Our only concern and questions is if there will be a way for us to refill on water throughout the trek? If you have any information that would be great.

  3. Hello!
    I live in Portugal and want to do this hike in the end of Spring, in May. I havent done any long hikes before and want to go with my friend, self-guided. I wanted to know if it is possible to tent instead of sleeping in the huts during the hike?

    Thank you
    Jekaterina

    1. Hi Jekaterina!

      Thanks for reading the marmot post and please excuse my very tardy response!

      It is possible to wild camp instead of sleeping in huts. You just need to be a bit careful about where exactly you camp, set up late and leave your campsite early. It is generally frowned upon to camp close to rifugios. Wild camping is also a bit of a grey area; it’s not really allowed, so you could get some beef from hut wardens.

      Having said that given that you have never done a long distance hike and you are planning to hike in May, I’d advise against camping.

      May is a little bit early to do the hike in general. I would definitely leave it as late in May as possible. Even then you will encounter snow on the trail. Hiking early in May will nearly definitely mean that some sections of the route won’t be passable and you’ll have to find other routes, maybe even descend back into the valley.

      Having to carry a heavy pack with all your camping gear on snowy paths and potentially a lot longer day hikes will be less fun and could even get dangerous.

      If you’re considering camping to cut the accommodation budget then maybe consider carrying your own food and only paying for your bed at the huts. Sleeping usually isn’t that expensive. What does extend the budget is the half-board.

      If you want to camp for the experience, I’d recommend doing the av1 later in the year.

      Good luck with the rest of your trip planning!

      marketa

  4. FS1234 · · Reply

    Hi Marketa

    Could I ask for a bit of advice on the difficulty/scariness of your route (taking the main options)? I have hiked the full TMB and was not particularly scared by anything on that, but I have heard that parts of the AV1 can be very loose and exposed. Is there anything on your route that you would say was intimidating? I know everyone is different and it’s hard to guess someone else’s limits, but I can get a bit of vertigo in very exposed/skinny/loose situations. Does this shortened version miss some of the more hairy stuff?

    1. Hi there!

      The AV1 is generally relatively easy with only few exposed sections. One of them is the via ferrata at Nuvolau, but that can be easily avoided. We did that on day 4. Sentiero Flaibani, which we did on day 5 also has some exposed and loose sections. You can easily avoid that too by sticking to the main Alta Via 1 route and hiking from Citta di Fiume directly to Palafavera. If you avoid these two sections you will definitely be fine.

      Good luck with the rest of the trip planning and enjoy the hike!

      Marketa

  5. josh gordon · · Reply

    Greetings! We are two folks, off to the Dolomites and Italy in general in a week. (!) We will not be doing the entire route- but the following casually paced plan. Dobbiaco, : Rif. Sennes, Laverella, Lagazuoi, Passo Giau, Citta de Fume ( via tunnel) , Sonino al Coldai. walk out to Aleghe the next day, bus back to Venice. should be fun! The trick is to pack lightly. As this is the second half of September, I have to be ready for the cold and wet. I can cram everything I want ( extra jacket and fleece pants) plus a mandolin, Haha! into a 40 L pack- but I know I will want some expansion room for lunches and water….So I am probably going to bring my super comfy 65L pack ( osprey) and just cinch everything down so I won’t be so embarrassed when I meet others going further, with some silly daypack!. The empty 65 L pack isn’t much heavier than an empty 40L Gregory… anyway, thanks for sharing your experiences!

    Cheers- Josh

    1. Hi Josh! Sounds like a great plan! Have fun in the Dolomites and Italy in general! M.

  6. Sven · · Reply

    Very useful blog
    We’re planning a trip in June for the Alta Via 1 in 8 days starting from Lago di Braies to Longarone. What is the average number of kilometres you did a day? And when were you leaving and arriving at a hut? Any info is useful for us. My dad and I don’t really know how much km’s you can do in one day. we’re experienced walkers (my dad is no hiker, I already did 2 hikingtrips)

    greetings
    Sven

    1. Hi Sven!

      Thanks for stopping by. I actually don’t know how many km we walked. I usually plan trips in the summer just with the elevation difference. 300m ascent (elevation) took us an hour with heavy packs. Most of the times we ended up being faster than the times in this post. I find 1000m of ascent and 1000m of descent are about the maximum I can do with a heavy pack in a day. That is pretty much what we did on day 5 of our AV1 hike.

      We tried leaving the hut at 8am every day (it didn’t always work 🙂 ) and were aiming to be at the next one before 6pm. Most of the time we arrived a lot earlier than that.

      I’d say that the AV1 is a relatively easy trek for experienced hikers. At least when it comes to the amount of walking.

      Good luck with the rest of your trip planning!

      marketa

  7. jayybird16 · · Reply

    Love your blog, very informative! I’m planning a solo trip to the Alta Via 1 this July 🙂 I’m just wondering what you did with your luggage? I will be bringing a larger rucksack as I will be travelling elsewhere after Italy, but I obviously do not want to carry it whilst hiking. So I’ll bring a small daypack.. just wondering if there are any services or luggage transfer/storage at the airport? THanks!!

    1. Hi Jay, great to hear you love my blog! Thank you. We were lucky with our luggage in that a couple of my friends drove to Cortina, so we could leave anything we didn’t want to carry in their cars. There should be some sort of left luggage service at the airport in Innsbruck or one of the bigger train stations. You could also try to leave your big pack in a hotel or B&B somewhere in the valley. I managed to do that when I walked the Tour des Combins. Good luck with the rest of the trip planning! marketa

  8. Thank you for this… I’m planning to do a similar condensed trip now this year, mostly for running from hut to hut, and your links and research are a great reference point for me to start planning the logistics for our group. I think we’ll only have 3-4 days. I look forward to reading up on this!

    1. Hi Brian,

      I’m glad to hear you find the info useful. I salute you for planning to run the AV1. That still puzzles me 🙂 Good luck with the planning and enjoy the trip!

      marketa

  9. Gus · · Reply

    Thanks for a very interesting description. I am planning to walk the Alta Via 1 this summer and I have been concerned about the timings given in Gillian Price’s book. Consequently, I was interested to see that you extended the stages and lived to tell the tale! I have a couple of questions that I would be grateful if you could answer:

    1. I will be travelling on my own. In many ways it would suit me not to book accommodation in advance as that would allow me to be more flexible with my stages. Based on your experience when you were there do you think that would be too risky? In short, were the rifugios very busy in August?

    2. Is there any set time for meals? It would be useful to know how late I could arrive at a rifugio and still get an evening meal. Also, is it possible to get breakfast early if I want to make a prompt start to the day?

    Thanks for your help. Do you have anything exciting planned for this year?

    Regards,

    Gus

    1. Hi Gus,

      Thanks for your comment! Good to hear you found the post useful.

      I’d generally say that the timings given in Gillian Price’s book are quite conservative. We were usually a little bit faster and I wouldn’t say we are particularly fast walkers.

      To your questions though:
      1. The rifugios (and the whole trail) were really busy in August last year. I imagine that’s how it is every August. I would definitely book if I was you. You can always call the next hut down the line if you are making good progress and want to change plans.

      2. There’s a general rule in the Dolomites that your booking is valid until 6pm on the day of arrival. After that rooms might be re-distributed to people waiting for vacancies at the hut. Hence, you should be there before 6. As far as I remember, dinners were usually served somewhere between 6 and 8; breakfast was generally 7 to 9. Everyone working at the rifugios was really friendly, so I’d imagine arranging earlier/ later meals should work. However, check with individual huts, some might be more flexible than others.

      I hope this helps. Good luck with the planning!

      Marketa

      1. Gus · ·

        Thank you for your prompt reply. I tend to be an early riser so its useful to know that I can get an early breakfast and be on my way by 8 am. It’s also very useful to know that I really need to arrive at my rifugio before 6 pm. I think that I would be aiming to finish my day’s walking at around 4 pm so that gives me a good ‘cushion’ should I be a bit slower than planned. I wonder if I could ask just one more question? How easy is it to charge mobile devices like iPods in the rifugios?

        Thanks again for your help.

        Regards,

        Gus

      2. Hi,

        All of the huts we stayed at had electricity. I don’t remember how exactly access to sockets worked, but I don’t remember charging my phone being a problem at all.

        M.

  10. nick · · Reply

    hi, i’m planning a very similar route fro july 2012 and want to get as much done in 4 days plus 2 half days. how was day 2 for you? i’m hoping we could go from Rif Biella to Scotoni in one day. do you think this would be too arduous? how did the timings work out for you?

    thanks for your post.

    regards

    Nick

    1. Hi Nick,

      Thanks for your comment. Our day 2 was a good day’s walking. In a way just right, not too easy or too strenuous and we managed to put in a couple of longer breaks as well. You can read more about it in the trip report.

      I think if you are relatively fit, you should be able to extend the day by adding the descent from Biella to Pederu. It will be quite a packed day that will probably leave you quite tired, but should be doable. I guess you’d need 7-8 hours to do it and won’t have time for any ice cold swimming like we did 🙂 But definitely go via Forcella del Lago – it was the highlight of the trip for us.

      If you end up not going to Nuvolau like we did and stay at Cinque Torri, I’d also consider extending the following day to Coldai. The walk from Cinque Torri to Citta di Fiume only took us 4 hours and was very easy.

      Good luck with the planning!

      Marketa

  11. Diane · · Reply

    Nice!!! Thanks for sharing. We are planning Sept 2012. Did you find a email address for rifugio Pramperet?

    Well happy venturing!

    1. Hi Diane,

      Thanks for your comment. Glad you liked to post. You can get more info (albeit in Italian) on Pramperet’s website. The email address seems to be info@rifugiosommarivaalpramperet.com.

      Good luck with the rest of the trip planning!

      Marketa

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