The Dolomites. The mountain range that many mountaineers dream of. Wild and unpredictable, pristine and beautiful, with the eastern Dolomites being a particularly attractive area—especially as they're less well-known than the western range. The Alta via no. 5, which is more difficult and challenging than the high routes 1-4, leads through particularly isolated areas in the Marmarole Group and the Antelao massive. It starts in the wonderful Sextener Dolomites and winds through diverse areas all the way to Pieve di Cadore.
The path, which is more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) long, is fairly demanding. A level of climbing know-how comparable to a three on the UIAA difficulty scale is most definitely required, as well as a ton of endurance. Helmets, via ferrata climbing gear and grödels (short grampones) are also compulsory, although you can skip the grödels if you go in summer and are sure that you'll encounter no snow. On the way, you’ll pass eleven Alpine huts and three bivouacs where you’ll be spending at least two of your nights. And don’t forget to bring plenty of water as well as food as there’ll be stretches where you won’t pass by a spring. Overall, be prepared. If the weather is in a good mood, you can hike the route in about eight days. We recommend planning in a few extra days, however, as you’re going to want to take your time. Your hiking trip in the Dolomites will be over before you know it—and you’ll already start planning your next adventure as you descend to Pieve di Cadore on the last day.
The first stage of your Dolomite adventure starts at the parking lot at the Fischleinboden. There you either park your car or if you arrive by public transport, the bus from Sesto will bring you here. Buses run between 15 June and 30 September.From here you hike to the head of the valley and up to the Zsigmondyhütte via the busy but beautiful hiking trail. You can also stay overnight but the Rifugio Carducci, just behind the Forcella Giralba, is more imposing, less frequented and therefore our clear favorite for the first night on the Dolomitenhöhenweg Nr. 5.
The short visit to the Sesto Dolomites ends today with a long, sometimes steep descent through the Val Giralba to over 1300 vertical meters deeper Val di Ansai. Such descents always hurt twice (not just the knees), because as you can already imagine, this means an almost as strong ascent to get back up in the mountains.After following the course of the stream in the valley for a while, it goes up to the other side of the valley to Monte Agudo. You could theoretically also use the lift, but since you have to warm up anyway for the next few days and have to be used to the backpack, you can also take the ascent on foot.The hut on the Monte Agudo is not particularly convincing from the outside because of its beauty but the hospitality and the excellent food make this blemish quickly forgotten.
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Today begins the crossing of the Marmarole Group. This part of the Dolomites is not the best known and therefore less crowded than the famous Sesto Dolomites. The area is no less beautiful, if not much more impressive, as you will soon discover. Up to today's destination, the Rifugio Chigiatto, the alpine character is still limited.You hike on good hiking trails across the meadows along the tree line of the southern and eastern slopes of the Marmarole group. An excellent view is almost never denied here. A wonderful high altitude route that will take you past Rifugio Ciareido and Rifugio Baion. Finally, a few rock passages are added, which are partly secured with rope but relatively easy to do.
This stage is one of the most demanding but at least as impressive. Today you will cross every terrain the Dolomites have to offer. From the rifugio you walk back a little way and it goes through the forest on free slopes, over grass and debris on clearly visible paths. Finally, you climb over pure rock, peppered with iron ladders and well insured. Once at the top you will have an incredible view over the Dolomites.Then it goes down to the Bivacco Tiziano. The descent and the way are not to be underestimated, because especially in bad visibility it is difficult to find the path. In good weather, however, you can also see the bivouac from afar.From the Biv. Titian continues on to the Musatti bivouac. If you're lucky, you'll even find ibexes here! The last section leads us away from the meadows to the bivouac. The view from your camp tonight will take your breath away.
The fifth stage is an incredibly great transition, but no less demanding than yesterday. On the "Strada Sanmarchi" climbs up to the 2nd degree of difficulty and many rope-mixed passages await you. A great experience of the Dolomites, which will be a great pleasure for skilful adventurers - but only recommended in good weather.First, the path leads up to the Forcella del Mescol and then always up to the Forcella Croda Rotta, from here you can already see the Corno del Doge in the west, which you will "climb" on a rock band the next day and on its eastern slope in the Val di Mezzo the Bivacco Voltolina can be found.There are still some exposed passages that require your courage but are usually well secured. At the foot of the Val di Mezzo, it is advisable to replenish your water supplies about 15 minutes south of the bivouac - or of course you will make another small walk to the spring later.
High mountains, how beautiful are you! Today is your last day in the Marmarole group. From the bivouac you go back northwards and climb left onto the Doge's Belt. The Cenga del Doge is a wonderfully lufitous rock band that guides you around the mountain. You have to overcome secured climbing sites up to the 3rd degree of difficulty. What a dream. Especially the view that always accompanies you.Then it goes through the beautiful Val di San Vito up to the Forcella Grande. While hiking on the eastern side of the Crono del Doge, on the opposite slope, on the other side of the valley, you can see the climbing tracks of the Dolomite Altitude Trail N4. 4 recognize. At the Forcella Grande, the two run together.From there it goes in hairpin bends on pebbly paths down to the Rifugio San Marco. Right hand the Sorapissgebirge, left the Marmarole, in front of you (in the distance) the 3168 meter high Monte Pelmo. What a sight.
From the Rifugio San Marco, it is not difficult on good trails to Rifugio Galassi, the Antelao always in view. From the Rifugio Galassi, however, it gets challenging again. Up via hiking trails, old snow remains and glacier smooth sanded plates you hike to the entrance to the via ferrata left of the wall. The trail is secured up to the ridge and it mainly rises above gullies and cracks.At the top you almost catch your breath. Three thousand meter peaks, glaciers, a via ferrata behind you, thousands of peaks as far as the eye can see, green valleys below you - and hopefully a blue sky above you. More mountain air does not work. Here you should stay a while and absorb all the power of the Dolomites.From the glacier plateau, it goes down over scree and suddenly on soft green alps - as if you had hopped into another climate zone. On leisurely hiking trails we go to Rifugio.
The last day. With a heavy heart but with unbelievable memories, you get ready for the more than 1,000 meters long descent. A small detour to the Col de la Cross is worthwhile and can also be built entangled.After Pieve it goes over easy trails, through quiet forests and finally over some asphalt. A real walk after the incredibly beautiful climbs of the last days.From Pieve, take the bus back to Sexten in Piazza Municipio. - Would not it be tempting to start the tour from there, right?