Not entirely hopeful that we would have time to attempt a second Dolomites high route we hadn’t planned or reserved anything for Alta Via 1. Having a copy of the GPX route downloaded to Gaia and a list of the more popular refuges was the extent of it. Whilst winging it turned out okay on AV2 it almost caused us a problem on this far more popular trail.

After completing AV2 in eight days we assumed another six for this easier route, covering far less kilometres and elevation gain. And so a couple of days out it became apparent that we should start looking at accommodation options – being early September the assumption that refuges wouldn’t be full wasn’t a good call.

We needed 5 nights and pretty much knew where we’d get to each day. After receiving a couple of ‘sorry, we’re full’ responses straight away the thought that we’d be finding something else to do was a concern! The good thing with this trail is that there appeared to be alternatives within short distances of our preferred refuges.

Dolomites Alta Via 1

Alta Via 1 Route we took from La Pissa to Lago di Braies

Alta Via 1 Day 1: La Pissa to Rifugio Bianchet

Distance: 6.64km, Ascent: 803m, Moving Time: 1h 48m
Total Distance: 6.64km, Total Ascent: 803m

Bus to La Pissa €4.50pp, 20 mins
Up staircase following steep trail – banged out quick ascent, then joined easy dirt road all the way to refuge. 45 mins faster than expected!
Should we have gone to Marmol and risked via Ferrata without gear?
Should we have walked all way from Belluno and stayed at 7 Alpini?
Long relaxing afternoon with plenty of time to kill

Alta Via 1 Day 2: Rifugio Bianchet to Rifugio Carestiato

Distance: 28.45km, Ascent: 2071m, Moving Time: 8h 46m
Total Distance: 35.09km, Total Ascent: 2874m

Looong day! 2.5 stages with over 2000m of up.
Some great trail, some gnarly, and some that just pissed us off
Final few kms, half on road, half on trail were demoralizing. That’s what comes after an easy day!
Best views stage of AV1 was too cloudy to appreciate
Wish we could have gotten to Pain dei Fontana the previous day making day 1 slightly longer and this day bearable
Stopped for coffee at Pramperet. Noticing rifuges are typically smaller and more rustic on AV1
Trails overall are def easier than AV2, instead of going over the mountains we now go around
Saw couple of chamois
People on this hike seem to be taking it more leisurely and more wary

Alta Via 1 Day 3: Rifugio Carestiato to Rifugio Coldai

Distance: 22.12km, Ascent: 1456m, Moving Time: 6h 27m
Total Distance: 57.21km, Total Ascent: 4330m

Nice sunset, just wish we were higher
Mellow traverse albeit rocky, something we’re still not happy about
Entire first stage only had 500m of ascent
Easy final gravel road to mid rifugio – great place to relax for a while, take in the views and grab drinks and strudel
Back to a grinding ascent, first on gravel road and then back onto trail. As is normal on AV1 the terrain has no exposure but more tougher underfoot
Took the alternate trail to rif Tissi for the epic views – pity we couldn’t have stayed the night!
Great place to enjoy a very late second breakfast
Following descent and ascent could have been somewhat avoided by the narrow looking traverse along foot of the mountains
As usual when you think you’re close there’s always another up!
Nice looking mountain lake to relax at whilst tucking into wrap with cheese, tomato, avo, sausage and sundried tomatoes
Not long later we arrived at nights refuge, with a perfect setting
Tomorrow has variant but the already long 9 hour planned day probably prevents us from taking it
Coldai another cool refuge, albeit busy and having to share tiny dorm with another 2 people

Alta Via 1 Day 4: Rifugio Coldai to Rifugio Averau

Distance: 23.84km, Ascent: 1344m, Moving Time: 6h 20m
Total Distance: 81.05km, Total Ascent: 5674m

Easiest stage 6 so far to Fiume, 70 mins faster than book says
Nice place to stop for mid morning drinks with potentially stella views of Pelmo. Still think we should have done the loop variant
Time to cover 15km with vertical km
Often looked like rain but never came
Terrain far better than previous making elevation gain feel easy. Descents were all comfortable without the crazy uneven rock gardens we were almost getting used to
Final incline to refuge was like AV2 terrain
Refuge really was like hotel, dorm providing clean white sheets and towels
Quick 153m jaunt up to Nuvolau summit, crap views – hope sunrise will be better!
Half board dinner best so far

Alta Via 1 Day 5: Rifugio Averau to Rifugio Fanes

Distance: 26.13km, Ascent: 1201m, Moving Time: 6h 46m
Total Distance: 107.18km, Total Ascent: 6875m

Time for a variant, only this one has a 1.1km tunnel up through the Lagazuoi mountain, gaining 230m in the process
Stage trail far less than the book 5 hours
Rocky to start but easy to Falzarego Pass then we had over 600m to the AV1 high point of 2752m
Looking forward to WW1 history between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian forces and the Galleria Lagazuoi
350m ascent on scree switchbacks before tunnel entrance – we took balcony path for a while with reminders of the war
Then the tunnel!!!
Turned out to be a breeze, almost entirely steep stairs with numerous side tunnels exiting the mountainside for light, supplies, etc
An hour later we popped out just below gondola and Rifugio
Quick tea break and we were off for stage 3, a mere 5:30 to Fanes
Scenery amazing today
Skirted small mountain lake before a steep switchback climb up to Forcella del Lago – looked like AV2 terrain but turned out mellow
Easy but long descent followed by almost 2 hours on old military road
Refuge impressive, once again with sheets and towels. Food okay, certainly not like Averau
Bart Bhutan book

Alta Via 1 Day 6: Rifugio Fanes to Lago di Braies

Distance: 21.50km, Ascent: 1005m, Moving Time: 5h 25m
Total Distance: 128.68km, Total Ascent: 7880m

Grand finale
Stage 2 our first grade 1 trail, meaning easy 13.5km to rif Biella – still 900m of up
Little too much shade for the early start
Arrived at rif Pederu 20 mins ahead of schedule, all downhill with 500m drop over 6km
Now for fun with continuous ascent to really nice looking rif Sennes and beyond to Biella
Epic mtn biking scenery
Terrain easy all way to final stage above Biella
900m drop to lake
At this point just want to be finished!
Metres went by, lake became closer, finally arriving at shoreline. Ankle hurt, scree sucked – we were almost done
Short walk along shoreline to fancy hotel and cold beers
Busy as expected on this amazingly scenic lake setting. Hoping on cool sunset or sunrise to finish remaining camera memory card

September 5th – September 10th 2021

Day 1: La Pissa to Rifugio Biancheto Pisciadù
€55 half board x2, €15.50 food/ drink bill ● Rifugio Bianchet

Total: €134.50

Day 2: Rifugio Bianchet to Rifugio Carestiato
€60 half board x2, €18.40 food/ drink bill ● Rifugio Carestiato, €4 coffee, tea

Total: €142.40

Day 3: Rifugio Carestiato to Rifugio Coldai
€62 half board x2, €30.40 food/ drink bill ● Rifugio Coldai, €11 coffee, tea, strudel

Total: €165.40

Day 4: Rifugio Coldai to Rifugio Averau
€78 half board x2, €22 food/ drink bill ● Rifugio Averau, €4.75 coffee, tea

Total: €178

Day 5: Rifugio Averau to Rifugio Fanes
€75 half board x2, €22.10 food/ drink bill ● Rifugio Fanes, €5 tea

Total: €177.10

Day 6: Rifugio Fanes to Lago di Braies
€5 coffee, tea

Total: €5

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