The Dolomites: A walk to remember

Planning to conquer the Dolomiti senza Confini — the ‘Dolomites without Borders’ mountain trail? We take you through the stages of this formidable route.

By Dolomites Senza Confini
Published 18 Jun 2019, 13:07 BST
The ‘Dolomites without Borders’ mountain trail.
The ‘Dolomites without Borders’ mountain trail.
Photograph by Nicola Bombassei

The brooding peaks of the Italian Dolomites draw thousands of adventurous souls. But climbers have had their heads turned by a new trail, borne out of an idea to unite mountainscapes that were once the sites of bitter border disputes. The 67-mile route winds along military trails, taking in 12 via ferrata, 17 mountain refuges and two countries — that’s a couple of ticks off your travel tick-list in one hit. Here, we spotlight the trail’s nine stages:

Stage one
Berti to Rifugio Carducci

This is no walk in the park, but the payoff is a spectacular trek through wild, remote terrain and eye-popping views of Monte Giralba di Sotto. Climbing via ferrata Roghel and Cengia Gabriella takes skill, patience and buckets of strength. Distance: 4.5 miles Difficulty: Hard

Stage two
Rifugio Carducci to Three Peaks

Things mellow out a little near the new via ferrata Croda dei Toni, which links Rifugio Carducci with Bivacco de Toni. Those with a head for heights will enjoy the suspension bridges at the start and end of the path.
Distance: 10.4 miles Difficulty: Moderate

Stage three
Three Peaks to Rifugio Comici

This moderately tricky section weaves along the Three Peaks with steep, sharp ascents that’ll take your breath away. Here, you can retrace the steps of WW1 soldiers through a time-worn tunnel. Distance: 5 miles Difficulty: Moderate

Stage four
Rifugio Comici to Rifugio Rudi

Take time to soak up those views of endless skies, mountains and glassy pools. The path you’ll follow — Strada degli Alpini — is one of the Dolomites’ most famous, carved into the rock face by Alpini soldiers during WW1.
Distance: 5.5 miles Difficulty: Moderate

Stage five
Rifugio Rudi to Rifugio Berti

Prepare to challenge your calf muscles as you ascend Croda Rossa (9,633 ft), a route that’s a steely climb even for the pros. Once you’ve conquered the challenging climb, an evocative descent awaits along wartime-era paths — this is spine-tingling Italian history come to life.
Distance: 5.2 miles Difficulty: Moderate

Stage six
Rifugio Berti to Obstanserseehütte

This is the easiest section of the route, with no via ferrata and an abundance of natural beauty: shady forest paths leading to Monte Quaternà, meadows of wildflowers and backdrops of the South Tyrolean Dolomites.
Distance: 10.1 miles Difficulty: Moderate

Stage Seven of the ‘Dolomites without Borders’ mountain trail.
Photograph by Moreno Geremetta

Stage seven
Obstanserseehütte to Neue Porzehütte

You’ll need to refuel before taking on the demanding Ferrata del Monte Cavallino. Parts of the trail are shaded along these parts, and snow can linger here until July. Once you pull yourself up from the top rung, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Europe Cross, decorated with Austrian and Italian flags.
Distance: 7.8 miles Difficulty: Hard

Stage eight
Neue Porzehütte to Filmoor to Standschützenhütte

On this stretch you’ll mostly be trekking the Carnic trail, which follows the border of Italy and Austria. As you conquer via Ferrata del Camoscio and Corrado D’Ambros, soak up the pure Alpine views.
Distance: 4.7 miles Difficulty: Moderate

Stage nine
Filmoor to Standschützenhütte to Rifugio Lunelli
This should only be tackled by those with complex technical ability. The air up here in this tranquil eden is fresh, fragrant and sure to leave a spring in your step.
Distance: 12.7 miles  Difficulty: Hard

Getting there
The route can be accessed from several points in East Tyrol, Sesto and Belluno. When flying from the UK, it’s best to land in Innsbruck, Austria, or Verona, Italy and head from there.

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