/ Climbing/ Via ferrata in the Dolomites
Does anyone have any experience of Via ferrata and climbing in the Dolomites?
Currently deployed in Afghanistan and looking at heading down there for 8-10 days during my R&R May/June time.
We'll be camping too so any campsite recommendations all welcome too!
In short the Dolomites is quite a vast area - if you look at the Cicerone guides you will see that there are a number of distinct sections to the Dolomites.
We had a fantastic trip there a couple of years ago doing VF, Sports Climbing, walking and longer climbs. Huge variety involved. We were based largely around the Sella Pass but also Corvara and Canazei.
We found the VFs to be very well equiped and obvious (sometimes a bit too popular) and the climbing was excellent, though occasionally the grades felt a little bit sandbaggy.
Sorry but not sure about Camping.
The cicerone books are very good for the via ferrata but split into two north and south.
Loads of campsite but didn't have a problem wild camping evennear huts.
If you look at the cicerones its easy to put together multiday hikes. With vfs. In as well.
You'll love it mate.
The via ferrata in the Dolomites are great fun - I'd really recommend it.
Corvara's a good place to base yourself. There's a great campsite (Camping Colfosco) that's a short walk to the town. Corvara itself is a nice place, with a couple of supermarkets, couple of gear shops and a few restaurants. It's also much cheaper than somewhere like Cortina. There are plenty of good via ferrata on the doorstep (including the brilliant Via Ferrata Brigata Tridentina) and a short-ish drive away in Passo Falzarego and Selva.
There are some pictures and reviews of Dolomites campsites near via ferrata on my blog - http://thesevereclimber.com/via_ferrata/review-campsites-for-via-ferrata-in-the-dolomites/
I've not been to the Dolomites in May or June though and it's possible that there might still be some snow and ice around. It might not be on the routes themselves, but it might be in any gullys you use for descent. There were a few patches of old snow on the descent from the Via Ferrata Brigata Tridentina when I did it in September a few years ago. Anyone else know about this?
We went in June and September and both times it snowed quite heavily (cars using snow chains etc). I would say go prepared for only doing VF as for me it was a bit cold for climbing.
It's a slightly out of the way corner of the Dolomites, but we found the Moiazza area good. There are a couple of good campsites in Forno di Zoldo: the restaurant at l'Insonnia campsite is outstanding, and/or there are huts on & above the Passo Duran.
We did the Decima, which is a really excellent, not too long (about 6 pitches) Grade V, south facing with an easy approach & descent. The Bonetti slightly further left on the same face is supposed to be equally excellent and a little bit harder.
The Constantini Via Ferrata in the same area is also supposed to be really good.
May/June is early season: expect snow on north slopes and in gullies.
Absolutely brilliant fun though.
I wrote this article http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=86
But there are a number of more recent and more accurate articles in you look in the Destinations section
I've not been for a few years, but it was great fun and the some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen
As others have said, for the Dolomites proper snow is likely on routes and ferratas and many high paths will require snowshoes or skis. You might consider Arco where you can do all the things you want no problem in May (almost guaranteed good weather) and from there you can still visit the Dolomites, weather and conditions permitting (Brenta are very close).
We could even have a barbecue at my (shared) WWI bunker hut.
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