The Dolomites: hiking in an incredible paradise – in the only fossilized archipelago on this planet!



Experiencing the Dolomites is the adventure of a lifetime for both, hikers and climbers. It’s an El Dorado for nature lovers from all over the world. Here you’ll find stunning views of pinnacles and towers, roofs and pylons, terraces and walls. Breathtaking walls: some of the highest walls in the Alps with up to 1.500m in height. Here you will experience nature at its purest.

Hi, I am Gerd, and I'm a local Dolomites hiking guide specializing in guiding English language hikers. Originally, I am an Austrian national, but I have been living in the small village of St. Lorenzen on the northern edge of the Dolomites for more than 20 years. My mother tongue is German (the main language spoken in the northern part of the Dolomites), but I also speak English and Italian. 

Guiding people around in these most dramatic mountains is a favourite pastime of mine. For this reason, some time ago, I took a special training course for hiking guides focused on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Dolomites. That training, combined with my personal interest on that matter, broadened my knowledge about the Dolomites. So, when we hike together across these very scenic mountains, I will be happy to pass this knowledge on to you. So, really, I promise you not to bore you with my silence. I will provide you with countless details and information about the global importance and uniqueness of the Dolomites in geological terms. How did these mountains develop, what caused their appearance, what’s so important about them. Then there is also a very sad and tragic story to be told about the Dolomites: the battles of World War I incl. very interesting facts about how the war was brought into the Dolomites, under what circumstances and when the Italians declared war on Austria-Hungaria, etc. Other themes worth giving an account of are how we South Tyroleans gained our autonomy - which explains why we speak German in South Tyrol – and the many languages and cultures in the Dolomites.

 

I promise you: if you come and experience these mountains, you will be enchanted by this rugged place, the peaks and pinnacles, the towers and the deep valleys, the stunning height of many vertical walls, and the colors and appearances of this rocky world – and the stories and legends that go with them.


Hiking and trekking in the Dolomites - an unforgetable experience



Hiking

Best time to visit the Dolomites

The very best time is from mid July. Then flowers are blooming and all the pastures are full of colors. Thunderstorms are not so frequent yet, but you notice that their numbers are increasing already.

In August, the Dolomites are rather crowded. It’s the main holiday-season in Italy, peaking around August 15, so there are a lot of hikers and climbers around. The weather is warmer and thus more pleasant than in July and wildflowers are still blooming. However there is a greater likelihood for thunderstorms in the afternoons

September is normally a good time for hiking, too. Thunderstorms have receded again, and the crowds have gone home. There is a good chance of experiencing a cold snap, so keep an eye on the forecasts. It's the time when the huts start to close. Most huts close between mid/end of September and mid-October, few stay open until the end of October. Alternatively, you can start and finish your hikes in the valleys.

October is just like September, however, the green pastures may have turned brown and the first snow may have already fallen.

In November limited hiking in the Dolomites is possible if the first snowfalls aren’t too heavy, but by then you ought to have a guide with you who knows the trails. From that time onward, you’ll hardly meet anybody in the mountains.

December through March is very interesting too, but again, you’ll need a guide for most areas. Some huts open during this time of the year providing shelter for the many snowshoe hikers and skiers. It certainly is the most dangerous time of the year due to the possibility of avalanches. Then of course, you need to have proper clothes and boots.

Spring is the most difficult time for hiking in the Dolomites. Toward mid/end of March the snow is getting too soft and it won't carry a person’s weight anymore, so even I avoid the area during this time.

In June things change for the better again, but you may have to wait until the end of June for extended hiking due to odd patches of snow particularly in the shady places. Most of the huts reopen mid-June.



Trekking

Essential hiking equipment and gear

To hike in the Dolomites in Italy you will need at least:

•    stable backpack (30-40l) with weatherproof cover
•    hiking boots (good quality has its price, but it always pays)
•    hiking socks
•    weatherproof jacket and pants
•    2 t-shirts
•    1 top with long sleeves

•    light jacket
•    hiking pants
•    hat (in this altitude the sun can be merciless at times)
•    sun lotion for high altitude
•    2-3l of water a day (in the rugged Italian Dolomites you do not always find water)
•    food
•    chocolate-bar
•    first aid kit
•    pocket knife
•    small head lamp

•    maps
•    compass
•    whistle
•    it is always advisable to take a warm cap and thin gloves along. If there is a bad weather spell, it can snow in the Dolomites any time of the year.

I always put my dry clothes in a plastic bag, so if my backpack does get wet my clothes stay dry.

Since you do get rather sweaty or sometimes wet from the rain; it is advisable to have clothes that do dry quickly. That way you sometimes can rinse your sweaty clothes at the huts and stand a chance to slip into dry gear the next morning. It's never a bad idea to take a bivouac-sack along.

For your overnight hikes you also need at least:
•    sleeping bag liner (no thermal sleeping bag)
•    slippers to use in the hut
•    clothes to wear in the hut
•    extra underwear and t-shirts
•    toiletries and towel

Make sure your gear is in excellent condition. Something that breaks might not be repairable during your hike.



breath the air

UNESCO World Heritage - the Dolomites fulfill the following criteria as a World Heritage site:

Criterion (vii): The Dolomites are widely regarded as being among the most attractive mountain landscapes in the world. Their intrinsic beauty derives from a variety of spectacular vertical forms such as pinnacles, spires and towers, with contrasting horizontal surfaces including ledges, crags and plateaux, all of which rise abruptly above extensive talus deposits and more gentle foothills. A great diversity of colours is provided by the contrasts between the bare pale-coloured rock surfaces and the forests and meadows below. The mountains rise as peaks with intervening ravines, in some places standing isolated but in others forming sweeping panoramas. Some of the rock cliffs here rise more than 1,500 m and are among the highest limestone walls found anywhere in the world. The distinctive scenery of the Dolomites has become the archetype of a “dolomitic landscape”. Geologist pioneers were the first to be captured by the beauty of the mountains, and their writing and subsequent painting and photography further underline the aesthetic appeal of the property.

Criterion (viii): The Dolomites are of international significance for geomorphology, as the classic site for the development of mountains in dolomitic limestone. The area presents a wide range of landforms related to erosion, tectonism and glaciation. The quantity and concentration of extremely varied limestone formations is extraordinary in a global context, including peaks, towers, pinnacles and some of the highest vertical rock walls in the world. The geological values are also of international significance, notably the evidence of Mesozoic carbonate platforms, or “fossilized atolls”, particularly in terms of the evidence they provide of the evolution of the bio-constructors after the Permian/Triassic boundary, and the preservation of the relationships between the reefs they constructed and their surrounding basins. The Dolomites also include several internationally important type sections for the stratigraphy of the Triassic Period. The scientific values of the property are also supported by the evidence of a long history of study and recognition at the international level. Taken together, the combination of geomorphological and geological values creates a property of global significance.

 





Hike 1



Hiking the Northern Dolomites: from Drei Zinnen (Tre Cime di Lavaredo) to Stern (La Villa)

Duration:                                                

7 days

Difficulty:                                                

medium

Daily hiking hours:                                 

up to 6hrs.

Daily average ascent & descent:     

up to 1000m

Physical requirement:                            

good/very good level of fitness

Accommodation during the hike:           

typical mountain huts; rooms as available (for 2-8); no single rooms

Meals during the hike:           

meals included during the hike: breakfast and dinner (set meals or meals of your choice with surcharge)

Minimum number of participants:           

4

Maximum number of participants:          

8

Closing date for bookings:                      

April 10, 2018

Price per participant and dates:                             

see below

 

The Dolomites: feather-edged mountains rising suddenly skywards out of softly rolling green pastures – a contrast you won’t find anywhere else on this planet. Moreover, neither will you find a rock-face that changes color as the day continues the way it happens in the Dolomites. Who would not want to see something like this? In addition, what about these high rock-faces, steep and denying, yet so seductive, so inviting. You should not miss a landscape like this. However, be careful: The Dolomites are addictive.

I will pick you up in your hotel in Val Badia with a small bus, and together with the other members of the group we'll drive to the famous Tre Cime. Here we'll start the hike with the first highlight of the week: the famous north faces of Tre Cime. It definitely will be a stunning, lasting impression for you. The next four days we move on to visit Lago di Misurina, cross a battlefield of WWI (where Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces fought a particularly sad and very senseless battle), and climb our first higher peak (about 2.800m) from where we will enjoy wide, uninterrupted views accross the Dolomites as well as to the Alps.

On day 5, a bus takes us to a hut further to the west. Later on this day, we visit a very special pasture with an unusual, very picturesque setting of sheds. On the way to Fanes, we visit a rarely visited peak with stunning views of Tofane, Antelao, Sorapis, Monte Cristallo, Hohe Geisel, and into Senes. We are likely to be the only ones on this peak, which will make this a very special moment. Later we arrive at Fanes, one of the most beautiful pastures in the Dolomites, laying below a surprisingly slick east-face of the friction-climbing Eldorado Peak Nine. The last day gets us back to La Villa across this pasture rich in legends and myths. At the end of the hike, I will take you back to your hotel.

 


Hike 2



Fanes intensly: explore Fanes and the surrounding peaks

Duration:                                                

5 days

Difficulty:                                                

medium

Daily hiking hours:                                 

up to 6hrs.

Daily average ascend & descend:         

up to 600 - 1000m

Physical requirement:                            

good level of fitness

Accommodation during the hike:           

typical mountain huts; rooms as available (for 2-8); no single rooms

Meals during the hike:           

meals included during the hike: breakfast and dinner (set meals; meals of your choice with surcharge)

Minimum number of participants:           

4

Maximum number of participants:          

8

Closing date for bookings:                      

April 10, 2018

Price per participant and dates:                    

see below

 

Fanes is well known amongst local Dolomite hikers: a spacious, broad pasture studded with lakes set in this most interesting karst landscape; cattle, that peacefully feed on lush, green grass; a quaint river, that crosses Fanes; and fantastic looking mountains, that grouped themselves around this gentle, inviting area. But, who has ever had the idea to explore this area more intensely? One would assume to always see the same things from above Fanes. However, that’s not correct, the area is much too vast for this. The views from the various peaks above Fanes are very impressive indeed. Moreover, these peaks keep their promises, rest assured. As we roam the area, we will visit the various valleys adjoining Fanes saving ourselves the ascent and descent into one of the main valleys every day. Therefore, within a short time, we will arrive at one peak, leaving us with plenty of time to maybe try for another view somewhere else.

We will meet at Pederü (access by public bus or private car) and hike to one of the huts on Fanes. Here we will stay in the same hut for the next couple of days while we explore the surrounding area and peaks: Antoniusspitze, Heiligkreuzkofelspitze, Col Becchei to name just some of these mountains.

 

NOTE:

EARLYBIRDS: IF YOU BOOK THIS HIKE BEFORE FEBRUARY 15, YOU DO GET A DISCOUNT OF 100€ OFF THE PRICE OF THIS HIKE


Hike 3



The very best of the Dolomites: hiking and touring the Dolomites from south to north

Duration:                                                

7 days

Difficulty:                                                

medium

Daily hiking hours:                                 

up to 6hrs.

Daily average ascent & descent:       

up to 600 - 1000m

Physical requirement:                            

good level of fitness

Accommodation during the hike:           

typical mountain huts; rooms as available (for 2-8); no single rooms

Meals during the hike:           

meals included during the hike: breakfast and dinner (set meals or meals of your choice with surcharge)

Minimum number of participants:           

4

Maximum number of participants:          

8

Closing date for bookings:                      

April 10, 2018

Price per participant and dates:                       

see below

 

Many of my guests have asked: What are the best places to see in the Dolomites? That is truly difficult to say, since some of the most beautiful places are very hard to get to, and these places are not concentrated in one single area, they are all over the Dolomites.

This year I am offering for the first time a combination of hikes and drives to these most beautiful places in the Dolomites – at least to those that are reasonably accessible. Therefore, if you join this hike, you must understand that there is the need to do quite some driving in our little bus to get to these different places. However, I can guarantee you that you will experience outstanding views that most visitors and hikers of the Dolomites don’t get.

We start our trip in Bolzano where you will be picked up by our bus. Then we drive southeast into the Dolomites of Belluno. We stop at a lake to visit the first gem of the Dolomites. The next day we hike to the famous Campanile di Val Montanaia in the Friulian Dolomites. Later we'll continue our hike to get to know a bit more of this area that is so vastly different from the northern Dolomites. As the week continues, we will hear the tragic story of Longarone (and get to see the results of a massive landslide into Lago del Vajont that caused the tragedy of Longarone). visit traces of dinosaurs that roamed the Dolomites millions of years ago, climb a peak with extraordinary views, see the most beautiful lake in the Dolomites, visit Tre Cime, get an impression of some of the tunnes of WWI, and walk on a glacier.

This hike promises to be one of the most outstanding hikes in the Dolomites.


Individualy guided hikes in the Dolomites



If you prefer to engange in some more private hiking or trekking in the Dolomites with a local hiking guide, then I am happy to provide that kind of service as well. That way I can concentrate on you and those that come with you. If this is the case, simply let me know, and I can offer you something that meets your wishes and requirements.

 

These are the services and assistances I can provide for you:

 

  • planning your hike in close cooperation with you
  • issuing you with a detailed itinerary
  • issuing you with details to every hike (duration, altitudes up/down, difficulty, etc.)
  • book the huts for you
  • helping you to find accommodation here in the Dolomites
  • advising you about how to get into the Dolomites
  • helping you to find an English language mountain guide should you wish to try yourself on a via ferrata.
  • etc.

 

Hiking fee from Jannuary 1, 2018:

For hiring my guiding services I do charge 250€/day. Included in that price is the guiding of up to 8 hikers. So if you are a group of four, each pays 62,5€/day.

The fee however does not include any expenses (i.e. driving expenses, tolls, cable-car-tickets or overnight-stays in huts, etc.), I will inform you about expenses prior to our hike.


Dates and prices



 

Dates 2018

 

 

Hike 1

 

 

Hike 2

 

 

Hike 3

 

July 8 - 14

1.580€

 

 

July 22 - 26

 

990€

 

July 28 – Aug. 3

 

 

1.530€

August 5 - 11

1.580€

 

 

August 19 - 23

 

990€

 

Sept. 23 - 27

 

990€

 

 

Prices include:

-hiking fee for your guide; accommodation and meals as set out in the descriptions of the hikes

-where appliccable: transport between the hikes; tickets for cable cars, toll and special guide (Vajont)

 

                                                                                                                 !!!!!  SEE YOU IN THE DOLOMITES !!!!!


More photos of the Dolomites

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