We returned to the Dolomites this year for our annual boys weekend away, heading for the Tre Cima range north-west of Cortina. Although early in the season and some huts not yet open, we’d booked in to Refugio Lavaredo which sits at the foot of the iconic Tre Cima triple towers. Our plan was to check out some routes and via ferrata in the area before heading to the Sorapiss range a little further south. There we planned to tackle half of the Sorapiss circuit from Refugio Vandelli in the north, to the picture-postcard Refugio San Marco in the south.
The first few days were stunning with plenty of high-level paths and easy via ferrata criss-crossing a landscape that is like no other. The area was a front-line in the First World War and is hence riddled with battlements, tunnels and ledges carved into the rock faces. Summiting Monte Paterno was a great opportunity to test out my new Mavic Pro drone, despite me not having had chance to familiarise myself with its controls or myriad of settings.
After two nights at Refugio Lavaredo we headed back down to Cortina for lunch, then left the car at Passe Tre Croci and headed up through the tree-line to reach Refugio Vandelli, nestled by an aquamarine lake. Thunderstorms were forecast that evening so we had just enough time to have a little play on a via-ferrata route before dinner and the rain. The forecast thunderstorm was still with us the next morning – being clipped into a steel cable is not a wise move in a thunderstorm – so we had to abandon our plans for our planned high-level route. Instead we trudged back down to the car soaked and drove back down to Cortina to see the end of a 120km Ultra race with the sun shining. A quick pizza and beer meant we were suitably refreshed and we then headed up an easy path to Refugio San Marco, where we spent a chilled evening relaxing before heading back down into the valley.
Anyone considering the Dolomites should do it. It’s easily accessible, flights are cheap, accommodation is plentiful and food/wine is great. A long weekend trip is perfectly feasible and whether via ferrata or bimbling is your thing there are plenty of way-marked routes amongst jaw-droppingly stunning scenery.
Here’s a link to our previous Dolomites trip:- http://www.amountainhigh.co.uk/2012/07/via-ferrata-in-the-dolomites/