World war 1 Haute-route - The Guided itinerary

This intinerary has been studied after long hiking and climbing around these places. It advances along part of the front line of WW1, between trenches and bunkers built by italian soldiers on one side and austro hungarians and germans on the other side, and it aims to link the historycal aspect with the beauty of the environment.

A local Mountain Guide will tell you many things about this incredible and absurd history. Moreover an exaustive book list is available.

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. This chic Venetian town also caters to the high society crowd, offering many year-round social activities, shopping, and fine dining.

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. Depending on when you arrive, you may have time for a hike or to explore the town of Cortina d’Ampezzo’s pedestrian walkway, the Corso Italia, lined with restaurants and cafes, antique shops, art galleries, and boutiques.

Day 2
Ferrata Lipella Tofana di Rozes

In the morning, transfer to Rifugio Dibona alle Tofane (2,083m / 6,834') from where you’ll begin your trek along the Alta Via 1. H

From the Rifugio Ivano Dibona take path no. 404 and 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’ (2459m / 8,067'). Ascend this tunnel, dug out by the Alpini soldiers during the First World War (torch necessary). The route then continues on the W/NW Face of the Tofana di Rozes up a long, winding ascent of alternating steep steps and ledges. At the fork (2680m / 8,793'), near the ‘Tre dita’, continue along the ledge to the right (Rifugio Giussani is reached by walking left), then continue up numerous steps and a tiring ramp to reach the smaller peak (3027m / 9,931'), where the ferrata ends. Follow the track to the summit and the cross.

From here you descend along the normal path on the north-west side of the Tofana, to your rifugio for tonight (2,580m / 8,465'). Along the way, it is possible to admire the spectacular Forcella Fontana Negra, at the foot of the peak Punta Giovannina, right in the heart of the Tofane massif. Watch your step as you descent, as there are occasional steep scree passages, and you are no longer clipped into a via ferrata wire to catch your fall! (7-8 hours hiking ~8km / 5 miles, and ascending a very 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 (Hiking & Via Ferrata)

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. You’ll walk amidst war trenches and huge stones, until you find a metal ladder “Scala Minighel” built during the war, which leads us to the bottom of the Travenanzes Valley (2,000m /6,562'). The Austrians and Italians were strategically positioned on either side of this valley throughout WWI; the Austrians to the northwest where you are headed, and the Italians to the southeast from where you just came.

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), that leads to the peak of the Vallon Bianco (2,684m / 8,806'). You should be able to reach the peak in about 3 hours. From here, descend 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 ~17km / 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
Alpe di Fanes Lagazuoi Massif (Hiking)

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 2752 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.

Depending on what time you arrive, you may have time to descend the wartime tunnel dug in the bowels of the mountain to Passo Falzarego, and return to the rifugio by cable car in time for a shower and dinner! (5-6 hours hiking 12km / 7 miles, 1,150m / 3,773' ascent – 450m / 1,476' descent.)

Day 5
Sentiero D. Kaiserjager & Col di Lana (Hiking)

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. (13+ km / 8+ miles hiking, 284m / 932' ascent – 1,576m / 5,171' descent.)

Day 6
Via Ferrata delle Trincee Marmolada Pian dei Fiacconi

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. (~7km / 4 miles hiking and ascending a difficult 300m / 984' grade 4B via ferrata. 109m / 358' hiking descent.)

Day 7
Via Ferrata della west ridge 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.

Descend hiking across the glacier back to your rifugio. Note that today’s climb begins and ends at the rifugio, so it is advisable to lighten your pack before you depart. Campons 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 5km / 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!

The author assumes no responsibility towards those who, using this information, will eventually have problems of any kind. The follow mountain routes is risky activities that presupposes the necessary technical skills, training and experience. The description is very simplified to let the enthusiast the opportunity to organize itself as it sees fit single days.