Dolomites 2011

About Alta Via 1

Alta Via 1 starts at Lago di Braies and ends at Dobiacco. It took us
ten days. But it’s possible to do it in a shorter time or a longer
time. There are a lot of Rifugies on the way , often you can choose to
do a short or a longer day. There are also some alternatives on the
way that you might want to do. We walked down to Cortina on the fourth
day to buy some food and get some money, which took us an extra half

It’s a beautiful trail, you are really spoiled with spectacular views.
There are many people wandering the tracks and in the Rifuges, some of
them are walking Alta Via 1, some of them are doing shorter hikes,
others are climbing, some are day tourists and even germans walking
from Munich to Venice. We were there in the end of July and the
beginning of August, which of course is the most popular period.

It’s not easy to camp, although we met some people who did. Most
people stay at the Rifuges and take the half pension. We slept in the
Rifuges but we also had food with us. We thought the breakfast was
expensive and not worth the price and usually it was only white bread
with jam. We did our own breakfast most of the time. The dinner at the
Rifuges was quite good, pasta, polenta, knödel, Apfelstrudel and
Tiramisu… We also choice to do our own cooking although we didn’t
always have a chose, we had to eat at some places in order to get a
bed. We had to bring all the food we cooked and the gas with us, it’s
not possible to buy food on the way except for maybe bread and

In the beginning we didn’t book the Rifuges but realized after a long
day walking in heavy rain arriving at a full Rifuge, it’s a good idea
to do so, usually it’s enough to call the night before.

In most places we could drink the water from the tap, and in some
places there was drinkable water in the tracks. We only had to buy
water once. The coffee and the beer is great! At most of the Rifuges
you can get espresso and cappuccino. They have Italian Frost and
german Weissbier. The wine is okay and very cheap.

The guidebook we brought was Dolomites Trecking- Alta Via 1: Alta Via 2; second edition 2005 by Henry Stedman. Publisher: Trailblazer Publications. It was ok. However we met a italian man Paulo Cervigni on our way and he is writing a new guidebook that will come out 2012
in english. The map we used was Tabacco 031, 03, 025, 024.

The Dolomites: Day 1

Lago di Braies – Rifugio Sennes

Anna at the start of Alta Via 1, Lago de Braies

We arrived by bus from Dobiacco around 8.30 in the morning to the lake Lago de Braies where the Alta Via 1 trail starts. We were both very exited to get started. We were stunned by the beautiful landscape, the shiny green lake surrounded by the mountains. We walked along the see before we did a long climbing in a stony hill. Part of it was was quite steep and difficult, but there were chains to hold on to.


Climbing the first mountain, leaving the Lago de Braies behind us

The sun shined partly and it was hot. When we got close to the top it started drizzling .


The weather is changing

On the top ”Forcella Sora Forno” 2388m we looked down on a wonderful valley and we experienced the first panorama view of the trip. It began to rain more and we hurried down to Rifugio Biella.


Rif. Biella

We went inside for a coffee/tea and waited for the rain to pass by. When the rain stopped we went outside and had our first lunch of the trip.


Bread, tomatoes, ham and parmesan

The view was wonderful and we met some really nice people to talk to.


Stefano, Riccardo, Paolo and Anna outside Rif. Biella

Paulo is writing a new guidebook for the Alta Via one. Here he is telling us that he will walk all the way to Venice. Riccardo and Stefano, who are standing in the back, we get to know better in a few days.

We would have loved to stay in this lovely rifugio with the nice people but we found it to early in the day to stop. We walked for about one more hour , easy walk slightly downhill to Rif. Sennes. We arrived around 3 pm and took an Italian Forst (beer) in the sun on the porch.


Rif. Sennes, 2126 m, the first night sleep.

In the evening it rained really hard, but we managed to cook a delicious Thai Stew with couscous. Later on the sun started shining and this wonderful rainbow appeared! The rainbow is like a symbol for the weather we had for the whole trip, it was sun and rain every day and sometimes at the same time.


Rainbow at Rif. Sennes.

Good night!


Day 2

Rifugio Sennes – Rifugio Fanes

In the morning outside the Rif. Sennes, cows and marmots are up

We woke up early in the morning, the sun was shining and we where eager to get started, We made our breakfast on the rifugo balcony and at 8.30 we were ready to begin our second day walk.


Ýrr is ready to go

The first part of the day we followed a beautiful path with pine threes and after some time we came to a small ”village” with a small chapel and the Rifuge Fodara Vedla (1980m).


Fodra Vedla 

We walked down a road, the view was beautiful but it was a quite boring walk. We met a lot of people coming up from the valley and Rifugio Pederü. When we got down we took some lunch outside Rif. Pederü before we started the climbing up on the other side of the valley.


Anna on the road on her way down to Rif. Pederü


 On our way up to Rif. Fanes

A few minutes before we reached Rif Fanes we came to a new Rifuge owned by a family, we decided to stay there, we don’t know the name of the place but it was really nice.


The Rifuge close by Rif Fanes.

It was still early in the day, we had our second lunch, walked around, and relaxed.


Anna reading 


Ýrr swinging

We cooked dinner at our rifuge, Risotto with mushrooms. It tasted delicious! After dinner we walked up to Rif. Fanes and had a glass of wine. We met a danish guy who we talked to for while and we talked to Paulo again, the man that is writing the guidebook, sadly it was the last time we saw him. We looked at the sunset before we went back to our rifuge and went to sleep at ten o’clock.


A mountain that reminded us of a dinosaur, here in the sunset.


Day 3

Rifugio Fanes – Rifugio Dibona

The Mountain Dinosaur early in the morning

Day 3 started with a lovely breakfast at the Rifuge. They served us a wonderful yogurt with honey and we where both happy as children and didn’t save much for the the other guests. We also got some nice homemade bread. We talked a little to two other guests from Rosenthal.

We where packed and ready to leave at 7.30. On our way up our first climb we met one German women with her 10 year old daughter (Regina and Marie). We chatted a bit with them, they where also following Alta Via 1. But unfortunately after this we lost them and we didn’t meet them until the end of our hike. But more about that later.


After 15 min climb we came up to a green valley with a lot of rocks and marmots.


The marmots are curious but it is hard to get a close photo of them.

We tried to get some nice images of the marmots, but that isn’t an easy task.


The glacier Marmolada

The view was always beautiful, but this day was something extra. We saw Marmolada, a glacier with the highest point of the Dolomites (3 400m) Ýrr was really enjoying it since she is used to look at it from the other side during the skiing season.



At the end of the valley we started to climb up towards a cleft in the mountain. It took us about twenty minutes to reach it and on the other side the cleft was really steep (but not difficult). At the bottom we could see the lake Lago di Lagazoui and we could with our eyes follow the alta via path all the way to the next rifuge, Rif Lagazoui. The stones on the ground were white and the cliff walls were red. It was breathtaking!


Ýrr on her way down in the cleft


With our new friends Riccardo and Stephano

After a short break we meet Riccardo and Stephano again and we continued the walk together with them. We started climbing again towards Rif. Lagazoui. When we got at the top we decided to continue for some more hours to Rif. Dibona.


Anna at the top taking picture of the wonderful view.

We were hungry but it started to rain a little so we decided to continue walking.


We walked down towards a new beautiful valley.



The rain stopped and the sun started to shine again. We took a nice lunch break. And then we continued down to Rif. Dibona. We hadn’t booked beds and we were a little nervous because it was Saturday night and a lot of the rifuges are full in the weekends. But everything went well and we had a really nice evening at the rifugio. We had Pasta, Polenta, Tiramisu and Apfelstrudel for dinner. After dinner we looked at the sunset and went to bed at 10 o’clock, tired and happy after a long and wonderful day of walking.


Waiting for dinner at Rif. Dibona


Day 4

Rif. Dibona – Rif. Nuvolau

We started the day with a really bad breakfast, dry bread with plastic packaged jam. That kind of breakfast was common at the rifuges so most of the time we made our own. But this morning we wanted to have breakfast with our friends as we had to say goodbye since we would take separate ways from now on.

Our plan for the day was to walk to Cortina and get some money and buy some more food. The walk took us about two hours through a forest and in the end we walked down green sloping fields that are used for skiing in the winter.


Walking down the ski slopes to Cortina

It felt strange to walk into a city, we quickly found some food and hurried to the bus station to find a bus that would take us back to the mountains as soon as possible.

The bus driver dropped us at a wrong place so we had to follow a different track to get to Alta Via 1. We lost the trail for a while and ended up at an overgrown forest path, but somehow we where convinced that we would find the right track somehow. After about a hour we found a track it was not the original Alta via 1 track but it would lead to the same destination according to our plan.

The first part was mainly forest. But as we came closer to the top the landscape opened up and the beautiful Dolomitian view appeared. We passed this big rock that was filled with climbers working their way to the top.


A beautiful rock filled with climbers

The last part up to Rif. Nuvolau was quite steep.


Yrr climbing up to Rif. Nuvolau


One of the 360° views from Rif. Nuvolau

Rif Nuvolau seemed to be a popular place for day tourists, we met a lot of people going down, seemed to be a big group of teenagers. But when we finally made it to the top (2575 m) it was around five o’clock and all the day tourists were gone, the place was nice and quiet, only some sleepovers were sitting outside looking at the panorama view.  We loved Nuvolau! it was just a beautiful place on the top of the mountain. It was simple, with no hot water and only cold rainwater to wash yourself with.


Rifugio Nuvalou

We got our beds in a small room that we shared with two girls from Holland Chris and Birgitte. We took a cold shower in the rain water. Tired, cold, clean and happy we sat down by the fire in the dining room with our room mates. We ate delicious pasta together and had a wonderful evening talking, playing Yatzee and giggling.


Yrr and Birgitte Yatzee arm wrestling  

We didn’t see the sunset that night it was to foggy, but we all agreed on getting up at six o’clock to see the sunrise.


Day 5

Rif. Nouvalou – Rif. Staulanza

Waking up at six o’clock to experience the sunrise seemed to be a great idea. It was so beautiful we almost got religious


The morning view outside our bedroom window

We made breakfast surrounded by the sunny mountaintops.


Making breakfast

We really enjoyed the early morning at this wonderful place. Ýrr did some yoga on the helicopter platform together with the girls that worked at the Rifuge.


Morning Yoga, welcoming the sun.

Taking the last look at the view 

We said goodbye to our Dutch friends and left around eight o’clock. The sun was shining and the view was clear. We walked down from the Rifuge and continued around the mountain enjoying the weather and the view.


Walking down to a new valley

We walked through a wonderful rocky landscape with a lot of remarkable rocks in different shapes. We had our second breakfast or early lunch around eleven o’clock.


A rock

Around two o’clock the weather started to change, it started raining. We were about to eat our lunch but we skipped it and continued walking. About an hour later we came to the Rifuge Cita di Fume, but unfortunately there were no free beds for us! The rain had stopped, we were hungry like dogs. We decided to cook some fresh pasta we had bought in Cortina. In the middle of the cooking process it started to rain again, quite hard but we finished the cooking in the rain. We ate the pasta and went inside to have a hot chocolate (that was more like hot chocolate pudding) while we were thinking of what to do. We decided to continue further down to Rif. Staulanza where we arrived around 5.30 pm really tired and wet.


The ski boots warmer, works as good in the summer as it does in the winter.

We didn’t really like Rif. Staulanza, it was by a road, quite big and more like a hotel than a Rif and the shower cost 4 euro. But we had some good food, Tagiatelli with deer.
The rain was poring down the whole night. We went to bed really tired and decided to take it easy the next day.



Day 7

Rifugio Coldai – Rifugio Vazzoler

We woke up at six o’clock when almost everybody in our room got up. There were a lot of climbers in a hurry to climb some mountaintops. We got up and made breakfast outside the rifuge, packed our stuff and were off around eight o’clock.


Rifugio Coldai early in the morning

We were above the clouds and the sun was shining. Ýrrs eye was better at least she could use it with some help from sunglasses. We walked up to a beautiful lake.





We continued along the mountain, enjoying the view and the weather. We had our second breakfast in the grass.



Like often the landscape reminded us of the Wild West.



When we were getting close to the Rifuge we saw a sign that told us that if we did a 30 min extra walk to this farmers house called Malga Pelsa we could buy cheese and ham. Since we both love cheese there was no question about visiting this farmers house. We were so happy! A women and her daughter welcomed us and the woman let us taste the cheese and the ham. It was delicious!



We left the house with Käse und Späck in our bags and walked for about ten minutes before we sat down in the grass and had lunch. Happiness!
We were only 30 minutes from Rifuge Vazzoler and when we got there it was only two o’clock. We still had a lot of energy and wanted to walk further but we found the next rifuge a little to far away so we decided to stay. We got our own small room with a bunk bed.



We had a shower, washed our cloths and took a walk in the Alpine Garden outside the Rifuge. After looking at the Alpine flowers we sat down at a table and talked with two climbers from Poland for a while and played some cards before we cooked dinner Risotto with vegetables and ham. We also made some Bulgur for tomorrows lunch. After dinner we went inside and played some more cards, outside the rain had started to pour down, the thunder shook the rifuge and the lightning lighted up the dark sky.


Day 8

Riffugio Vazzoler – Passo Duran

We woke up at six o’clock and left the rifuge two hours later, it was raining and we thought this would become a wet day, but very soon the weather changed and it turned into a nice and sunny day. We walked the first part in zick-zack along the mountain and then down in ravines and up and down and up… The rocks in the ravines where white almost like snow.


Looking back on the zick-zack road down from the Rif. Vazzoler

We sat down in one ravine and ate some Bulgur.


Anna eating lunch and looking at the map



Ýrr is camouflage

We continued walking for a couple of hours before we came to Rifugio Carestiato. Some people were sitting outside relaxing and eating lunch. It was around one o’clock, the sun was shining and it was really hot. We sat down for a while and had some peanuts. We would have liked to stay at this rifuge but we found it to early to stop for the day.  We decided to continue to Rif. Passo Duran. This day we kept on meeting two nice French guys that we had a couple breaks with and spoke to. They were sleeping in a tent, they were actually the only ones we met that had brought a tent.


Chatting, drinking and washing.

We arrived at Rif. Passo Duran around three o’clock in the afternoon. We were a little disappointed though the guidebook was so happy about this place but is was stationed by a asphalt road.

Oh well, it turned out to be a nice place despite the asphalt. We got a room with six beds for ourselves with a little porch outside. We washed our cloths, sat  down outside and looked at all the bikers on motorbikes or bicycles that stopped by.


Anna sitting on our ”porch” at rif. Passo Duran

We ate really salty food Spagetti Carbonara and meatballs with polenta. We drank red wine and giggled through the night.


Day 9

Passo Duran – Rifugio Pian De Fotana

We got up at seven o’clock and made some breakfast on our ”porch”. We left an hour and half later, our plan was to walk a half stage to Rif. Sommariva al Pramperet.



We started out on the asphalt road, but it was only for a short while, soon we turned into the wood and some time later we were in the ”wild west”.



We came to an empty house with water source outside. There were some people sitting there eating and we did the same and of course we drank the cold and fresh water.

The sun was shining but around twelve the weather changed and the clouds started taking over the sky. We came to Rif. Sommariva around one o’clock and found it way to early to stop.



The weather was really unstable, it was fog and we saw nothing but some minutes later it was clear and then fog again…


Sun on one side and fog on the other

It stared to rain, but we didn’t let the weather stop us, we took us to the top!


Anna climbing to the top

The view from the top Forcella de Zita Sud (2451m) was of course beautiful, as always in the Dolomites, that part was never disappointing. We enjoyed being above 2000 m aware of this was the last time, from now on we would only go down.


At the top

We started to walk down, the weather was still unstable. We ate some bread and cheese in the grass and saw some marmots and deers. The hill was quite steep and we were tired. The ground was wet and slippery. We arrived at Rif. Pian De Fontana at five o’clock and at that time it was raining quite heavily.



Rif. Pian De Fontana

It was a nice Rifuge, we sat down in the dining room by the fire and relaxed . We talked to a group of single walkers that had been walking from Munich and were going all the way to Venice.  We ate pasta and gulash for dinner at the rifuge and after dinner the rain had stopped, we went outside looked at the wonderful view and the sunset. We slept in an attic that we shared with six other people, it was crowded but we slept good anyway, used to no comfort. Around 4 o’clock it started to rain really hard and it kept us all a wake until morning.



Day 10

Rifugio Pian De Fotana -La Pissa – Belluno

When the alarm went of it was still poring down outside, we slept for one more hour and then the rain had stopped. We got up and made breakfast outside the rifuge and said bye to everybody when they left.



We were the last ones to leave the place. We had to take an alternative track since the main track is a really difficult one and you need some climbing equipment. The track we chose led us to La Pissa down by the road and from there we were supposed to take a bus according to the guide book. We walked down most of the time. After a little more than two hours we came to Rif. Bianchet, we sat down outside were some of the people we had said bye to earlier this morning were sitting. We bought the first and the last Fanta of the trip. It tasted delicious, it’s unbelievable how good soda tastes in the mountains, it’s dangerously delicious. We made some soup with vegetables for lunch. We left with the hope that we would be able to catch a bus from La Pissa at one o’clock. We walked down a beautiful dirt road in a valley that looked a little different from the other valleys we had walked in.



We had started the day at 1632 m and we ended the walk of Alta Via one at La Pissa 453m.


Taking the last step of Alta Via 1 together

When we finally came down to the road we realized we had just missed the bus! We decided to hitchhike, we stood with our thumbs up in the air when a black Landrover with a couple and two dogs stopped and offered us a lift. They were not going all the way to Belluno but these nice people took us there anyway. When we were walking around the town looking for tourist information and a place to sleep, we ran into Renate and her daughter Mari the Germans we had met in the beginning of our trip.  They recommended this new Bed and Breakfast that were owned by the son of the owner of Rifugio Bianchet we had passed earlier up in the mountains. We walked there and got a really nice bedroom with nice view and it was new and fresh. Outside there was big porch. There were only three bedrooms at this place, Renate and Marie had one room, Jenny and John a couple from Wales we also had ran into in the mountains were also staying at this place. We all decided to go out together and have a pizza in the evening. It was a nice evening with a lot of talking about mountains and hiking.


At the pizza place with John, Anna, Renate, Marie and Jennie (Ýrr is busy taking this picture)

We all went to bed before ten o’clock as we were used to.


Day 13

Jesolo – Venice

We woke up and made some breakfast outside the tent before we packed our stuff and went to the ferry that took us to Venice. We were not able to walk further!


Venice from the ferry

We arrived in Venice at eleven o’clock.


Ýrr and Anna in Venice

Now we had three days to look at the Venice Art Biennale… but that is another story!


Collection of some flowers we saw in the Dolomites 2011

Potentilla nitida
– (sv: Glansfingerört)


Alpine Toadflax – Linaria alpina (SE: Alpsporre)


Einsel’s Columbine – Aquilegia eniseleana (SE: Klippakleja)


Rhaetian Alps poppy – Papaver rhaeticum (SE: Alpvallmo)


Some kind of Allium maybe Allium schoenoprasum (SE: gräslök)


In the family of Geranium






Blue Saxifrage – Saxifraga caesia (SE: Kuddbräcka)




Common houseleek –  Sempervivum tectorum (SE: Taklök)


Some kind of Larkspur we saw both yellow and blue/violett species – Delphinium (E: Riddarsporre)




Some kind of Dianthus (SE: Nejliksläktet)


(SE: Cyklamen)