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Via Delle Bocchette Alte e Centrali, Dolomites, Italy

Updated: Feb 6, 2023



Intro & Summary

The Via Ferrata delle Bocchette Alte and Centrali is one of the most famous high-altitude routes in the Italian Alps. In my view, is one of the most beautiful vie ferrate.


The ferrata does not have technically difficult passages, but it is a high mountain trip with many exposes stretches and even glacier hikes; therefore it is important to be prepared and ideally have some rock climbing experience, even indoor.

  • Distance: 44.0km (3 days)

  • Time: 18h25m moving time (3 days)

  • Elevation gain: 2,550m up and 2,100m down (3 days)

  • Difficulty: Hard

  • Best time: July and August

  • Type: 3-5 Days


Best time of the year to hike

I would strongly recommend to do this hike during the summer month (July and August) to enjoy the best weather and views.


I was lucky to have only one day of rain - unfortunately the weather at such high altitudes is really unpredictable. We were into stormy clouds and it is really not ideal to find yourself in this situation when you are clipped to a steel cable.


During the day is pretty pleasant and you can even hike in t-shirt or light gear; however, at night gets really cold and usually the temperature goes below 0C.


The Dolomites, being on the "sunny side of the Alps" are usually blessed with lasting high pressure systems in September. However, there is also a chance to see some snow, if a storm hits. Hence, day time temperatures can range from -5C (23F) to 25C (77F).


Duration

You can choose to complete this route over multiple days. When I did it I had limited time and I went for the 3 days option; however, if I had had more time I would preferred to do the 5 day route.


Since I went for the 3 day hike, I had to return by myself back to the starting point, but this is not a big deal if you are an experienced hiker.


Starting Location and how to get there

See below how to get to Madonna di Campiglio, where the hike starts from:

  • By Car: If you arrive from Val Rendena (Tione, Pinzolo) once you arrive at the entrance of the town take the tunnel in direction of Campiglio Nord and at the exit turn on you right and follow for the center. If you arrive from Nord (Val di Non - Val di Sole or Highway exit S. Michele all'Adige/Mezzacorona) once you arrive in town follow for the center without entering into the tunnel till Piazza Brenta Alta.

  • By Bus: Daily bus service links from Malé, Bolzano, Trento, Milano and Brescia

  • By Train: Check the railway timetable for the railway station of Trento or Brescia. From the railway station you reach Madonna di Campiglio by local bus.

  • By Air: From Catullo Verona Villafranca Airport km 160 From Milano Malpensa Airport km 250

I arrived the same day driving from Milan. I would not recommend it again as it is a c.3h30m drive by car and this means setting off at 5am if you want to be sure to be there on time.


Day to day Itinerary

Day 1: Madonna di Campiglio – Tuckett Hut

  • After having met our guide after breakfast at 09:00 and having had a trip briefing and distribution of rental gear, we walked to the Campo Carlo Magno where we took a gondola ride to the Groste Pass.

  • Once we arrived at the Groste Pass, we started the hike and we took the Via Ferrata Benini until the Cima Falkner and subsequently to the Tuckett Hut. We arrived at the hut at 15:30 and we then had the rest of the day free.

  • The first day was the most challenging from a weather perspective. The day started with a sunny morning but as soon as we reached the Via Ferrata Benini, the conditions changed and we ended up being in a cloud with some rain.

  • The hike was a bit slippery and the main issue was avoiding a thunderstorm that was due to reach us in the early afternoon; therefore, we really had to rush the hike towards the end.

  • Excluding the gondola ride, we ascended 850m up, and descended 900m down over circa 7h.

  • Good day to warm up with lots of larger ledges to wander along, but also some longer ladders to descend.

Day 2: Tuckett Hut – Alimonta Hut

  • We woke up early in the morning aiming to leave the hut around 07:30.

  • After a steep trail into the Tuckett Saddle where we had to use crampons to hike to ice fall, we reached the Via Ferrata delle Bocchette Alte.

  • This is probably the most beautiful via ferrata you will be able to experience in Europe. Maybe the best day of the trip with lots of exposure, ladders and narrow ledges.

  • The Via Ferrata delle Bocchette Alte to the Alimonta Hut is simply breath-taking . As per the previous day, we had to ascend 850m up, and descend 600m down over 7h.

  • In adverse weather or with weaker participants we had the option to reach the Alimonta Hut via the easier and lower level SOSAT trail, but this was not the case.

  • That day we reached the hut very early during the day and we had plenty of time to rest and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Day 3: Alimonta Hut - Vallesinella:

  • Conversely to the previous days, on day 3 we had more time to rest and we started the hike at 08:30.

  • On day 3 we experienced the Via Ferrata delle Bocchette Centrali, which is slightly easier than the Bocchette Alte, but still very challenging.

  • Since I had to descend to the Vallesinella, my hike was slightly longer. From the intersection of the BocChette Centrale Hiking route with the non-technical and marked hiking trail, I turned right and descended to the Brentei Hut (about 2180m), which is soon visible on the left below the impressive north face of the Cima Tosa / Crozon.

  • The hut would have been a good place to have a break before the long descent to Valesinella; however, since I wanted to get back home in the evening (I'm from Tuscany - 4h drive from Madonna di Campiglio), I decided to get down as soon as I could and therefore I skipped the break.

  • The trail is marked “318” and first contours with a few minor climbs and occasional cable to hand-rail on a well-travelled trail until reaching another small Rifugio Casinei (1830 m).

  • This time we descended 1360m descent, and ascended 270m (only). No long climbs, only smaller uphills on the Bocchette Centrali. 8.5km vertical distance, approximately 3 - 4 hrs walking time. If you take into account the descent to Vallesinella, you will need to factor for other 3h of hike and c.10km distance.

  • At Valsinella is a parking lot, where you could pre-position your car on the day before the trip departure or use the shuttle bus for the 10 minute drive back to Madonne di Campiglio, or rent an electric bike for €5 and cycle back (this is what I did because the bus was full).

Cost and trip type

The total cost of the trip was €610 back in August 2020. Travel to the place is not included.


We were a group of 4 people including the certified mountain guide. I did the 3 days guided hike with rental gear, two nights huts with breakfast and 3 course dinner, all guide expenses.


Since I went for the 3 day hike, I had to return by myself back to the starting point, but this is not a big deal if you are an experienced hiker.


Video


 

Gear

Hiking is one of the best ways to discover the beauty of the natural world around you.


The simple trick to stay warm during any season is to layer your clothes.

Below I listed the range of hiking clothing designed specifically to make sure I'm comfortable and protected against the elements when exploring the outdoors.


  • Pants (Jeans) / Shorts + Over-trousers: What pants to wear hiking depends on the climate as well as what fabric best fits your needs. I usually hike with JEANS or SHORTS depending on the season and temperature. the jeans are always a safe option; since they are not waterproof, for multiday hikes I usually take with me the WATERPROOF OVER-TROUSERS.

  • Merino wool t-shirt and/or Flannel shirt: Always bring a long/short-sleeved MERINO WOOL T-SHIRT or a FLANNEL SHIRT shirt to keep you comfortably warm. These are always my first layers depending on how hot/cold it is.

  • Fleece and/or Insulated jacket (down): Over the Merino wool t-shirt / Flannel shirt I would always wear either a FLEECE, a long-sleeved LIGHT DOWN, or both depending on the weather. Ideally, the insulating jacket should be lightweight and fit in your pockets.

  • Waterproof & Windproof layer: Insulation won’t work if your jackets get wet, especially if it’s down material. I always bring with me a light, packable, highly versatile GORE-TEX PRO shell jacket. I use this jacket for multiple activities such as skiing, hiking, walking, mountaineering, etc. It is very important to have a helmet compatible hood.

  • Hiking shoes and Socks: Good HIKING SHOES and MERINO WOOL SOCKS are key for a comfortable hike.

  • Hat / Cap, Neck warmer and Gloves: Depending on the season I usually take with me either a CHASMERE HAT or a CAP to protect myself from the cold or sun respectively. Go for moisture-wicking GLOVES in wet or cold weather. When it comes to neck protection, a WINDPROOF NECK WARMER can be lifesaving.


Camera, Travel and Backpacking gear

I'm a keen photographer and I love taking pictures of nature and landscapes. Below I listed what I usually carry with me on holiday. If you are interested to check my full camera gear, including all my accessories, this is my Kit: https://kit.com/pieroromoli/camera-gear

 

I hope you enjoyed this blog.

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