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Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

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Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby avenu14 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:56 pm

Looking for advice if anyone has hiked the Alta Via 2, or has done any Via Ferrata's.

Curious if guides are required for Alta Via 2 - Via Ferrata Tridentina. With a lot of research I haven't been able to find much info. Most people use guides i suppose.

Curious about the most possible distance to cover.

I'm going at the end of June, hopefully. WIll this create issues with snow?

Also curious about transportation. Hope to get some insight on any of this, thanks!
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby Gangolf Haub » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:53 am

Had a look where it goes and since I've hiked many of the stages separately I can tell you you won't need a guide. There are some stages which only require 4 - 5 h so I guess you'd be able to do them in one day, Also , there are additional huts in between so that you should be able to remain flexible. As far as I can see AV 2 doesn't include ferratas but you get close to some and can do them as side trips (Pisciadu for instance).

End of June should be ok but that depends on the snow layer deposited during winter. Two years ago I was in the area end of June and still had snow, which quickly melted away during my one week stay. But you can have problems with northern access to saddles like Forca de la Roa. Bound to be icy if there's snow left.

However, I'm not sure about the availabilty of all the huts at end of June. Many are opening up at that time of the year only.

Can't say about transportation (I go by car myself) . There is bus service for all of the villages but this will be only few times a day.
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby mvs » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:01 am

My experience has been similar to Gangolf's, though years ago my wife and I hiked the 2-3 day section from the Groednerjoch to the north.

I would say that if you've done a rock climbing course then traveling the protected trail/ladders of Tridentina shouldn't be too difficult without a guide. I did it once alone in early June with significant snow on the ground in the upper stage, but late June should normally be fine. The worst that you'll see regarding snow might be small sections of trail up high where the snowpack didn't fully melt. But there will be tracks over it from other people.

You can usually take a bus to the start point...find the village closest to where you want to start walking, and the buses also stop at passes. Take a train from the airport to Bolzano or Bressanone (isn't that the start town of Alta Via 2?), and a bus from there.

The huts should be open by late June, but they just opened. mid-June most of them are closed.

You should have an amazing time!
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby fatdad » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:39 pm

My wife and I spent some time in the Dolomites on our honeymoon and had a great time but had difficulties getting around just by bus. I found the hours pretty sporadic and they did not stop at most trail heads, including the one for the Tridentina. We took the bus from Bolzano and ended up staying in Corvara, though any other nearby town (Arraba, etc.) would work just as well. We did manage to do the Gran Cir from Gardena Pass and wanted to do the Piz Boe (which are both rated 'a', the easiest) but the latter had too long of an approach since the ski lifts weren't open yet and we got a late start.

My suggestion would be to buy a via ferrata guide from Michael Chessler books, see what you want to climb and plan your stay from there. It's a big range with interesting stuff all around, particularly the old WWI entrenchments. Renting a car won't be that expensive (especially when compared to the price of airfare) and you will have way more flexibility in terms of your journeys. Make sure you buy a via ferrata cord in a bigger town like Bolzano too. We assumed they would have them in Corvara and they did not. We make due with slings and harnesses since we were both climbing 5.11s at the time, but the cords are definitely safer to use.

Also, we were there at the end of June and everything was still closed. We had good weather, though they told us that it usually rained alot more that time of year than July.
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby azimet » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:46 am

My wife and I hiked the Alta Via 2 south and returned north on the Alta Via 1 last September, the AV 2 doesn't have any full fledged via ferrata but there are exposed sections with cables and ladders however if you've done any rock climbing it's a piece of cake. Do not rent a car, getting to and from the trail heads is easy using public transport, we used the Cicerone guide which you can get on Amazon, and bought the appropriate maps from Standfords in London. It was an easy 10 day hike for us, but we carried camping gear so we didn't have to stay in huts. I've climbed skied and trekked in mountains all over the world and these are some of the most beautiful I've seen. Highly recommended.
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby matterhorn2003 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:50 pm

I did Alta Via 2 on my own in July 2003 to get fit for some hard Alpine climbs later that summer. Public transport is great. Fly to Verona and get a train to Bressanone. I broke the journey overnight for a hotel stop in Trento. Good trains on return from Feltre too. Just hunt the internet for info. I used Cicerone guides for the walk. Ten years ago it was Martin Collins's "High Level Walks in the Dolomites". This seems to have been replaced by Gillian Price's "Trekking in the Dolomites", which is just as good. I didn't book accommodation far in advance, I just 'phoned ahead each day to make sure something was available (It helps to be able to speak German or Italian). Use huts - don't camp - too much gear to carry if you are camping, and it's a tough walk in places so it's best to travel light. There are plenty of good huts. Huts are a bit more sparse on the latter two or three days, but the terrain is easier and you'll be well fit by then. I deliberately went off-route to find interesting Via Ferratas - the Tridentina is good, Marmolada West Ridge is better. Make sure you get good via ferrata guide books - finding the start of the Tridentina isn't entirely straightforward. It's worth building in a couple of extra days just in case you get exhausted or if the weather is against you. If you have to waste a day or two in Verona at the end that's no bad thing. I think June is too early in the season - there'll be late lying snow. Mid to end July is probably good. As for maps, the Tobacco 1:25000 series is great - the Cicerone guides will advise which maps best cover the route. Don't bother hiring a human guide - route finding is easy. Having said that, you need to be a bit savvy about reading a map and knowing where North is (if that's difficult for you it's probably best not to do the trek anyway!). Good Luck - it'll be a trip you remember for the rest of your life.
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby hanelly » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:29 pm

azimet wrote:My wife and I hiked the Alta Via 2 south and returned north on the Alta Via 1 last September, the AV 2 doesn't have any full fledged via ferrata but there are exposed sections with cables and ladders however if you've done any rock climbing it's a piece of cake. Do not rent a car, getting to and from the trail heads is easy using public transport, we used the Cicerone guide which you can get on Amazon, and bought the appropriate maps from Standfords in London. It was an easy 10 day hike for us, but we carried camping gear so we didn't have to stay in huts. I've climbed skied and trekked in mountains all over the world and these are some of the most beautiful I've seen. Highly recommended.


Hi, we are looking into trekking Alta Via 2 in the summer. The information we can find so far seems to indicate that camping isn't allowed or possible except at campsites near towns. Just wondered as you have said you camped how easy it was to find places to stay. Ideally we would like to wild camp. Does the route allow you to do so? Cheers.
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby fabius.b » Sun Feb 22, 2015 4:02 pm

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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby mstort » Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:53 pm

Has anyone doing the via ferrata near the Alta Via 2 (tridentina/marmolada) rented the via ferrata equipment? (harness, helmet, via ferrata cord). We're trying to figure out how to rent on one end and return at the other end without having to transport ourselves back to Bressanone...not sure if this is possible. Thanks!
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby GoHikeAlps » Sat Oct 17, 2015 2:20 pm

You might find this useful, a post about my wife and I on Alta Via 2 last year:
http://gohikealps.com/2015/10/walking-dolomites-alta-via-2/

I don't think you need guides for this if you know what you're doing. We didn't go on the Via Ferratas but ended up using our VF gear for safety on the Sella Massif in a snow storm.
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby winterak » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:32 pm

Like others I'm looking for some advice on hiking and via ferratas in the area of the Alta Via 2 route. Is it reasonable to not make Refugio reservations while hiking or via ferrata in the area during Sept? We want to take advantage of laying over for bad weather or doing side trips that look interesting. We're a little concerned about being locked into a set itinerary. We will be a group of four or five. Is that too large of a group to expect to find lodging on a nightly basis without reservations? We are not picky and dorm type bunks work fine while we are out in the mountains.
Can we get by on very rudimentary Italian or German? We've all done some traveling in Italy without difficulty.
Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby rgg » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:50 pm

When I'm in the Dolomites by myself I rarely make a reservation because I want to be flexible. Only when I expect to arrive real late at a particular refugio, I call ahead early on the same day. If it's full (or closed), I change my plans. If I arrive without reservation and it's full, or I find the refugio closed, I just keep going - I've experienced both, but it's uncommon. However, in a group, certainly as large as five, showing up without reservation would be bad form. Even if there is plenty of room, the hut staff will appreciate to know in time that there will be five more for dinner.

In September I wouldn't worry about a refugio being full. It's pretty late in the season, and it's more likely that you find a refugio already closed than fully booked (unless there is some sort of special local occasion on the exact day that you want to stay there). By making reservations ahead of time, you automatically find out which refugios are indeed open.

As with any trip to the mountains, be ready to change your plans. Having a list of phone numbers for the refugios along or near your intended route is useful. First of all you can then cancel a reservation (or change the date) if you won't be able to make it as planned, and secondly you can call a different refugio if need be.

Some basic knowledge of Italan and German is useful, but you should have no problem getting by with rudimentary Italian or German only. My Italian is even worse than rudimentary, but I never have a real problem in the rifugios. If I'm in an area where most people speak Italian, I start by saying "buon giorno" and then ask if they understand English or German. Even when meeting Italians that know no foreign language at all that works out eventually.
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby winterak » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:02 pm

Rgg thanks for the reply. That helps a bunch.
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby winterak » Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:56 pm

One more question in terms of making reservations for our small group. How far in advance should we make them? Would it still be real poor form to call ahead the am of each day or should we schedule the whole trip out and make reservation this spring for September? Trying to build in some flexibility for our small group. Thanks in advance for your reply.
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Re: Alta Via 2 - Dolomites?

Postby rgg » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:07 pm

If I would be planning something like this with a small group in September, I would inquire about planned closing dates for the huts ahead of the trip. Since these dates might change, I wouldn't do this too early. August or even early September, shortly before heading out, are fine. Usually this information is on the site(s) of the hut, though if there is a late change in the date I wouldn't count on the web site being updated. You can also call or email them. Useful too are the local tourist info offices. If I'm already in an area and want to know something about certain huts, I often pop in and ask. If they don't have the answers already, they'll know best where to look it up or who to call.

If you are flexible, calling early in the morning is fine. Almost always they are happy to welcome more guests. Very occasionally a grumpy hut warden may say it would have been better if you had called earlier so there would have been more time to get supplies for dinner, but you'll still get your reservation. Then again, if you had indeed called earlier, he might have found another excuse to be grumpy - some humans simply are like that and hut wardens are human too. If they turn out to be closed, or have no room for you, simply change your plan for the day. You could go to a different hut somewhere along or near the same route, or you could change your route altogether.

Making reservations far ahead is only to be recommended for very busy huts. There are some of those in various places in the Alps, but In the Dolomites only the first two weeks of August are really busy, and even then few huts are fully booked solid. In the first week of August last summer, right in that busy period, I showed up unannounced at Rifugio Frara well in the afternoon. There was still plenty of room (I had shared accommodation, but at night there were only a few others to share it with). Nice refuge too, by the way.
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