5 short via ferrata trips around Cortina

Climbing a via ferrata

On via ferrata… you better attach yourself to the iron rope

While I was in the Dolomites in August 2011, I wanted to try out one of the local specialties – a via ferrata. With no prior experience I was looking for a short and relatively easy trip that could be done before our Alta Via 1 trek.

Here are five easy to medium difficulty trips accessible from Cortina d’Ampezzo. I found all of them on Planetmountain, which has a Great via ferrata search function.

Averau sentiero attrezzato

  • Difficulty: easy – confidence builder for beginners
  • Duration: 1.5 – 2 hrs
  • Via ferrata height difference: 100m
  • Access: bus from Cortina to the Bain De Dones car park or Passo Giau
  • Trip report: I decided for this route and enjoyed the challenge despite the weather
  • This trip could be combined with Ferrata Ra Gusela
  • Full details

See also: What is a via ferrata aka Klettersteig?

Ferrata Ra Gusela

  • Difficulty: medium – excellent for training
  • Duration: 1.5 hrs
  • Via ferrata height difference: 350m
  • Access: bus from Cortina to Passo Giau
  • This via ferrata is part of the Alta Via 1
  • Full details

Via ferrata Giovanni Barbara

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Duration: 3.5 hrs
  • Via ferrata height difference: 100m
  • Access: by car via the Pian de Loa car park
  • The route follows the Rio Fanes and its waterfalls
  • Full details

Sentiero delle Scalette

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Duration: 2.5 – 4.5 hrs
  • Via ferrata height difference: 100m
  • Access: bus from Cortina
  • This is a short, but relatively exposed route
  • Full details

Via ferrata Formenton

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Duration: 4hrs
  • Via ferrata height difference: 220m
  • Access: via the Tofana cable car ‘Freccia nel cielo’ directly from Cortina
  • Great views over Cortina and the Ampezzane Dolomites
  • Full details

Via ferrata Marino Bianchi

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Duration: 4hrs
  • Via ferrata height difference: 240m
  • Access: Via the Sonforca chairlift at the SR48 (direction Passo Tre Croci) by car or on a bus from Cortina
  • The route leads to the summit of Cristallo di Mezzo (3,163m). Snow and ice can be encountered even in mid-summer
  • Full details

For more easy via ferrata trips in the Dolomites check out Notes on Adventure Travel in the Dolomites.

Renting via ferrata kit in Cortina

To be able to safely climb a via ferrata you need a special safety kit, which consists of a usual climbing harness, a via ferrata lanyard including two via ferrata carbines attached to the harness via a short rope and a special via ferrata energy absorber, and a helmet.

See also: Via ferrata gear: What is it?

There are a number of outdoor shops that rent via ferrata gear at Cortina. We used Snow Service Cortina opposite the bus station. A day’s rental of the full via ferrata kit was €15.

Related posts

And again, thanks to Pavel for his photos!



  1. shachar · · Reply


    maybe you can help cause all the other websites are in italian….:(
    My friend and I are 31 years old in a good shape but no VF experience.
    Do we need to have some basic trainning and knowledge before starting?
    I guess that we will have to do more then just renting the gear and see online how to use…
    Can you please reccomend how did you start VF? did you had some trainning ? lessons in cortina or a guide?

    Thank you very much for your help!!


    1. Hi Shachar,

      Thanks for stopping by on the marmot post.

      I was lucky that we had an experienced climber in our group when I went to the Dolomites. He showed us how to use the gear and move on a via ferrara. It is not difficult (provided you choose an easy route), but you should definitely get a bit of instruction from someone experienced to make sure you use the safety gear as you should.

      I’d recommend joining a guided beginners via ferrara trip to start.

      There are a few companies with English websites that offer this around Cortina. I’d try Googling a bit. You might have to click beyond the first results page, but you should be able to find something.

      Good luck with the trip planning!


  2. Marketa
    Thanks for taking the time with the blog.
    I am going to The Dolomites in September (2015) for the VF.
    I have the RockFax guide and I have been ploughing through that and it’s sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees. We only have a week (including travel) and you have enabled me to focus on a particular set of achievable objectives which is important as my son has no VF experience.
    Thanks again.

    1. Hi Paul!

      It’s a pleasure. I know what you mean, there are so many options. I’m glad this post has helped you to filter the selection.

      Good luck with the rest of the trip planning!


  3. becks · · Reply

    Hi – Thank you for all your blogs! Really useful. I would like to attempt some via ferrata trips this summer, however i’ve been told it’s not advisable to go alone, especially if you’ve never done it before (i.e. me). Do you have any inside knowledge of organised tours I could join, or hostels that may organise trips? Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Becks,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you like the marmot post.

      It is definitely not a good idea to do a via ferrata on your own. Unfortunately I don’t know any Alpine schools in Cortina, but I did a trip with an Austrian company last year that I would recommend. They are called Laserer Alpin (http://www.laserer-alpin.at) and also organise via ferrata trips to Italy.

      I hope you’ll find someone to go with!



  4. DIMITRI SAGIAS · · Reply

    very usefull and nice thanks

    1. Thanks. Glad you liked the post!

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