Trip Number: 13680A
Staff: John Blaustein
- Hike a wider variety of Dolomite trails throughout the region
- Encounter geographic wonders along the way
- Partake in foods of the region and enjoy the spectrum of accommodations
in the region
- All accommodations along the route
- All meals during the course of the trip
- On-trip transportation
The Dolomites of Northern Italy are a crossroads of geology and culture. The
dramatic vertical spires of dolomitic limestone and volcanic formations are
in stark contrast to the surrounding landscape of green meadows and occasional
monotone flat rock. The Italian, Tyrolean, and Ladin influences intersect in
this mountainous region. Whether meandering across lush meadows or traversing
along rock paths, we will encounter scenic vistas at every turn. The usual warmth
of the people we encounter makes this a memorable trip. Our route offers family-run
hotels, larger hotels, and mountain retreats.
Our path takes us across much of the eastern Dolomites, beginning with the
Tyrolean-influence of Val Gardina; proceeding through the Ladin region of Val
Badia and finishing with the Italian region of Cortina, the latter the site
of the 1956 Olympics. In addition to the warmth of the people and scenery we
encounter, there is a good chance we will encounter ibex, chamois, and perhaps
even marmots along the way. Our hikes are always with day packs, carrying cameras,
raingear, snacks and often lunches to a hotel destination that has received
the bulk of our clothing. These packs will weigh approximately 10 pounds. On
two of our hikes, we will be carrying a change of clothes and toiletries, as
we will be staying in mountain retreats that are not accessible by taxi. Packs
these days should weigh approximately 15 pounds. The following day will find
us in a hotel in possession of all of our taxied gear.
Photo: John Blaustein
Day 1: Our trip begins with an evening meeting in our hotel
in Bolzano/Bozen, named in both Italian and German respectively. The meeting
will outline important information about the trip. We will go to dinner together
after the meeting, our first meal of the trip.
Day 2: This day finds us touring the Archaeological museum
to visit Otzi, the man found in the local mountain aged at 5300 years. This
afternoon we will be transported to the town of Kastelruth/Castelrotto, where
we check into a hotel for the evening.
Day 3: Transportation to the meadow of the Alpe Suise is followed
by a lift ride to the beginning of our hike. We climb across the Naturpark Sclern
to our lunch break. Continuing south, we finish our hike at our first mountain
retreat. (Route: 5 miles. Elevation gain: 2,630 feet. Elevation loss: 1,830
Day 4: Leaving our retreat, we head south with the Rosen Garten
range to our west. A lift ride down to a resort base requires a bus ride to
our hotel in Canazai. (Route: 5 miles. Elevation gain: 770 feet. Elevation loss:
Day 5: We take a taxi after breakfast through some of the
most scenic areas in the Dolomites, including the Passo Pordoi. From here, a
cable car takes us to the beginning of today’s hike. Our hike up Piz Boe,
the highest point of our hike at 10,250 feet, includes a short stretch of bouldering
near the top of the hike. The downhill hike, steep in places, ends with a cable
car ride 2,000 feet down to Corvara in the Ladin district of Val Badia. (Route:
7.5 miles. Elevation gain: 1,000 feet. Elevation loss: 3,300 feet.)
Day 6: Today's hike takes us into the Kreuzkofel group and
the Fanes-Sennes Nature Preserve, traveling through fields of stark gray-white
rocks reminiscent of a moonscape. We finish the day at a remote Ladin retreat
without our luggage, which will be delivered to the next night’s stay
in Cortina. (Route: 5.5 miles. Elevation gain: 3,000 feet. Elevation loss: 1,600
Photo: John Blaustein
Day 7: Departing from the retreat takes us up a wide pass
before descending thru the woods to the outskirts of Cortina. A highlight of
this hike is a passage behind a waterfall. We will be transported to Cortina
by bus at the end of today’s hike. A relatively early arrival should afford
us an opportunity to explore Cortina. (Route: 8.5 miles. Elevation gain: 3,000
feet. Elevation loss: 3,700 feet.)
Day 8: We begin this day with a cable car ride up to Rifugio
Faloria, the beginning of our hike to Lago di Misurina, a small town on the
shores of a scenic lake. We traverse the side of Mount Cristallo, while enjoying
views of the Cadini Group to the east. (Route: 7 miles. Elevation gain: 1,000
feet. Elevation loss: 1,600 feet.)
Day 9: We begin the day with a bus trip to the highly recognizable
Tre Cimi de Lavaredo, a photogenic group of spires epitomizing the Dolomites.
We hike around these peaks and return to take transportation back to Bolzano
for our final dinner together. (Route: 6 miles. Elevation gain: 500 feet. Elevation
loss: 500 feet.)
Day 10: After breakfast, regrettably, our trip ends.
Bolzano/Bozen has a regional airport and can be reached by train from larger
airports in Milan, Venice, and Munich in four or five hours. Bus service is
also available. Travel details will be provided in subsequent communications
Passports, visas, and other travel documents are the responsibility of the
participant. It is suggested that your passport be active at least six months
past the end of the trip, a requirement in some countries. Travel insurance
will be supplied by the Club, but you should make sure that it is sufficient
for your needs. Arrival at least two days prior to the beginning of the trip
is strongly suggested to deal with jet lag and to provide flexibility in dealing
with the unfortunately too often occurrence of delayed luggage arrival. Suggestions
for things to do in the area will be provided in a subsequent newsletter.
Accommodations and Food
Photo: John Blaustein
Our accommodations will vary from three-star hotels in Castelrotto and Corvara
to family-run hotels, often occupied by hikers. Our accommodations to the hotels
will be double-occupancy without the possibility of single accommodations. The
leader will assign roommates by gender. It is worth noting: Italian beds frequently
consist of two twin mattresses on a single bed frame. The mattresses are made
up separately. We will ask for separate beds, but cannot guarantee them.
Arrangements in the rifugios are dormitory style -- varying from doubles (rare)
to large rooms to accommodate the entire group. Bathrooms are down the hall.
The size of a room will not be known prior to arrival. The rooms are the equivalent
of a two-star hotel.
Breakfast and generally dinners will be eaten at our lodgings. For those lodgings
that do not offer dinner, we will eat in a local restaurant. The group generally
eats all meals together. Breakfasts vary from simple continental-style buffets
of bread and coffee to more substantial German-style meals with cheese, meat,
yogurt, and fruit. Dinners will sometimes provide one or two choices, especially
in the mountain retreats. Full-service restaurants will provide greater options.
One is permitted to order from the standard menu. Vegetarian meals are unusual
in this region, but an effort is often made to accommodate these requests. First
rounds of beer and/or or wine are included in the trip price.
When possible, we will stop at huts for lunches, which generally consist of
pasta, soup, and sandwiches. The leader may ask assistance from participants
in the selection of lunches (cost included in trip price).
Our hike is a hut-to-hut experience in the mountains with a new hotel or hut
after each day’s trek. This hike is for experienced hikers who are able
to hike an average of about seven miles per day for consecutive days without
a rest day. The longest day will be 10 miles, with no more than a 3,300-foot
elevation gain or loss. Mileage and elevation gains and losses are listed in
the itinerary above, but may change based on weather, group abilities, lift
closures, etc. Cable cars are used to avoid steeper and possibly less interesting
sections of the hike.
Our terrain will be rocky, and in some places, very steep. Snow may be encountered.
No technical climbs will be encountered on our hike. We will generally start
out at above 5,000 feet and ascend no more than 3,000 feet to reach an elevation
of 8,000 feet, although the highest point on the hike is 10,250 feet. You will
hike with a day pack, which will include raingear, lunch, and personal items
on all but three days of the hike. On those days, you must also include toiletries
and a change of clothes for the extra day without luggage at the mountain retreats.
No sleeping bags will be required. Packs should weigh about 10 pounds without
the extra gear and 15 pounds with it.
Preparation for the trip should include a regimen of aerobic exercise for at
least three days per week. Ideally, hiking with your day pack and hiking boots
over hilly terrain is best. This is even more helpful if you can do this at
similar altitudes to our hike. Resistance training may be helpful, particularly
if hiking or the simulation of hiking in a gym is not available. The leader
will provide suggestions on conditioning programs at participant’s request.
Equipment and Clothing
Photo: John Blaustein
No special equipment is required. A day pack and medium-weight hiking boots
are essential. In addition to the hiking essentials, you should carry a rain
jacket, water, and a warm top if the weather turns cooler. Room for a pack lunch
should be reserved. This should come to about 10 pounds. A detailed equipment
list will follow.
For those nights in the retreats, an additional change of clothing, toiletries,
a flashlight, and slippers (if you’d like) are suggested. This should
add about five pounds -- for a total of 15 pounds -- for these days. A taxi
service will move our bags between hotels. Luggage restrictions are: one bag
not to exceed 30 pounds, or two not to exceed 20 pounds each. Soft-sided luggage
or duffels work best for these transfers.
- Kompass Maps, nos. 616 and 617 are available in Bolzano/Bozen or
online at: www.omnimap.com/catalog/hiking/kompas.htm.
These sources are for general guides to our routes, as our hike has been
customized for this trip.
- Price, Gillian, Walking in the Dolomites
- The Lonely Planet Guide to Walking in Italy.
The focus of the Sierra Club is to protect and preserve the environment, whether
on a local scale at home or a global scale abroad. While our hike will take
place in a region where true wilderness preservation does not occur, there are
nevertheless conservation measures that date back centuries to the time when
man passed over some of the mountainous routes we will experience on our trip.
Preservation of grazing and woodcutting rights in the region are the two most
prominent conservation measures we will encounter. More recently, the tourist
industry has flourished in the area with activities in the summer and winter.
This has led to additional emphasis on conservation practices. There is a strong
possibility for an English-speaking ranger to interact with us at one of the
preserves we pass through.
This trip requires a $200 per-person deposit. An additional payment of $300 per person is due six months prior to trip departure. International trip prices are subject to change and are based on double-occupancy or group accommodations as described above. Single rooms may not be available or may cost more than the listed price. If you have any questions regarding double occupancy, please contact the trip leader.
See the How to Apply for an Outing
section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the
trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing
up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing
approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical
Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on
the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to
the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and
notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
The Sierra Club accurately and fairly budgets and prices our trips. However, unforeseen costs such as devaluation of the dollar compared to other currencies and fuel surcharges assessed by our international providers may necessitate adjustment in trip price. We will make every effort to mitigate and absorb these fees. If a price increase is necessary, however, you will have 14 days after announcement to cancel without penalty.
John Blaustein has applied his years of backpacking in the Sierra, Rockies and Europe to lead both domestic backpacking trips and European hikes. Of the many challenges associated with leading these groups, one of the most difficult is to maximize the enjoyment of the group while keeping individual participants satisfied. John takes great pleasure in introducing participants to the "wilderness experience," regardless of where they are hiking. When not practicing medicine in Santa Barbara, John enjoys downhill skiing, road cycling, ocean kayaking, photography, and weight training.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips