Top 5 Advanced Via Ferratas In The Italian Dolomites

During my first season spent in the Dolomites, I scrambled along a lot of beginner and intermediate via ferratas, however upon my return the following year I felt like I was ready for a tougher challenge.

Luckily with circa 700 routes in the Dolomites alone, there is no shortage of via ferratas suiting all abilities. 

Best Advanced Via Ferratas In The Dolomites

If I were to compare advanced via ferratas to beginner and intermediate ones I would say the main thing differentiating them is the exposure and length.

A lot of the advanced via ferratas in the Dolomites end at summits reaching over 3000 meters and the cable-protected section runs for a few hundred or even over a thousand meters.

Are you new to via ferratas? Make sure to jump to my beginner’s guide!

1. Via ferrata Bolver Lugli

Climber on the top section of the via ferrata Bolver Lugli - one of the advanced via ferratas in the Italian Dolomites
The top section of the via ferrata Bolver Lugli

Via ferrata Bolver Lugli stretches along the western face of the Pale di San Martino group, high above the little town of San Martino di Castrozza in the southern part of the Italian Dolomites. 

If I was to pick a few of my personal favorite advanced via ferrata, I think via ferrata Bolver Lugli would be very high on the list. 

The route starts at the top of the Col Verde gondola station and after a short approach, it gets straight into the business of scrambling. It’s the most fun you will have in a long time!

The higher you climb the better the views get, eventually ending with a section of some really dramatic spires. 

2. Via ferrata Pössnecker

Climber along the via ferrata Pössnecker in the Italian Dolomites
Around halfway up the via ferrata Pössnecker

Currently, 112 years old (as of 2023), via ferrata Pössnecker is one of the oldest iron path routes in the Dolomites, predating World War I.

The route runs up the western face of the Sella Group and takes you to the little summit of Piz Selva from where the view over the moon-like landscape of the Sella massif stretches for kilometers ahead. 

There is some significant exposure along some of the ferrata section, including a narrow gully which you will have to climb through unprotected. Luckily some stemples have been added to make it easier and slightly safer. A rush of adrenaline is guaranteed. 

The long descent is compensated by two lovely local restaurants waiting for you at the end, where you can taste the local Dolomiti cuisine and give your legs and knees a well-deserved rest. 

3. Via ferrata Giovanni Lipella

Climber amongst the 'amphitheater of rock' along the via ferrata Giovanni Lipella to the summit of Tofana di Rozes in the Italian Dolomites
The ‘amphitheater of rock’ along the via ferrata Giovanni Lipella

The culmination of this ferrata is the 3225 meters high summit of Tofana di Rozes. However, before you get there, the completion of a few hundred-meter-long subterranean tunnels, followed by a series of steep ledges and a huge amphitheater of rock (pictured above) await you. 

This is one of many via ferratas established during World War I for military reasons, but turned into adventure playgrounds in the last century when the original wooden ladders have been replaced with metal cables and stemples. 

Most of the via ferrata Giovanni Lipella faces north making it accessible only within a short 3-month window between July and September. Venture anytime before or after that and you might run into a lot of snow or face some really icy conditions. 

4. Via ferrata Degli Alleghesi

Female climber reaching the higher sections on the via ferrata Degli Alleghesi in the Italian Dolomites
Me reaching the higher sections on the via ferrata Degli Alleghesi

Monte Civetta is the 6th highest peak in the Italian Dolomites and its western face is a sheer 90 degrees and a 1000-meter high wall. It looks really scary from afar!

Luckily via ferrata Degli Alleghesi runs on the other, eastern side of the mountain and though still pretty steep it’s scaleable by us mere mortals who would like to get to the summit. 

This ferrata requires an overnight hut stay and some planning ahead but will reward you with jaw-dropping 360-degree vistas, enough adventure to brag about it to your friends for the next few months, and of course a lifetime of memories!

For me, the latter is something you can never put a price tag on!

5. Via ferrata Bocchette Alte

Female scaling a ladder along the via ferrata Bocchette Alte in the Brenta group of the Italian Dolomites
My friend scaling a ladder on the via ferrata Bocchette Alte

Via ferrata Bocchette Alte is one of the classic routes in the lesser known (at least on an international scale) Brenta group in the southwestern parts of the Italian Dolomites. 

Unlike the previously mentioned ferratas, this one doesn’t end on the top of a mountain, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. Quite the opposite! 

Connecting two mountain huts: Alimonta and Tuckett, the majority of via ferrata Bocchette Alte runs just below 3000 meters altitude along the eastern face of Cima Brenta, which means on a good weather day you are graced with amazing views for the entirety of the way. 

I scrambled along this route on my last day of a multiday traverse across the Dolomiti Brenta group and I couldn’t imagine a better finale for this excursion. 

Shop my via ferrata gear essentials

Black Diamond Helmet

Rockfall is a major concern on via ferrata routes. Unbeknownst to you, other climbing groups above you may accidentally dislodge a small rock and send it hurtling down the mountain. If it hits you on the head it could have serious consequences. A helmet placed on your head (not inside your backpack) is a must! 

Shop on: Amazon / Backcountry (US) / Bergfreunde (Europe)

71gKk4U+f2S. AC SL1500

Black Diamond Momentum Harness

Another must-have on a via ferrata route is a climbing harness. A harness works as an anchor point for your via ferrata lanyard. Make sure to try it on first before your trip to ensure it fits snugly without limiting your movements. Aim for a lightweight harness, that will be comfy to wear between the cable-protected sections when you are hiking.

Shop Women’s on Amazon / Backcountry (US) / Bergfreunde (Europe)

Shop Men’s on Amazon / Backcountry (US) / Bergfreunde (Europe)

edelrid basis cable kit special via ferrata set

Edelrid, Camp or Black Diamond Via Ferrata Lanyard

A via ferrata lanyard connects the climber and their harness to the cables along the route. Its two arms and a hidden extra coil work as an energy absorption system in case of a fall, by reducing the stress on the climber. The two carabiners at the end of the lanyard are used to clip into the cable. Make sure the carabiners are equipped with the palm squeeze mechanism. It’s the safest and most comfortable.

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91P0f6XnFML. AC SL1500

Black Diamond Crag Gloves

The gloves are meant to protect your hands from any cuts and scratches you may otherwise get if you haul yourself on the cable without them. Personally, I prefer full-fingered gloves for extra protection against blisters.

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salewa womens wildfire edge approach shoes detail 6

Salewa Wildfire Edge Approach Shoes

My go-to pair of hiking shoes for easier trails or via ferrata, where I don’t need extra ankle support. They provide excellent grip on the rock and are very durable.

Shop on: Amazon / Backcountry (US) / Bergfreunde (Europe)

reeloq

Reeloq Smartphone Securing System

If you want to be able to take great photos on a via ferrata and not worry about losing your phone, Reeloq is the best tool for it. It’s a smartphone-securing system, that will allow you to use your phone on any of your adventures. This has been a great addition to my tool arsenal.

Shop on: REELOQ (Europe only)

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Marta
Marta

Hi! I am the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.

4 Comments

  1. Hey Marta. I am returning to the Dolomites late August and aim to tick off more ferratas from your expansive list. I would like to tackle an advanced ferrata after successfully completing beginner/intermediate ones in 2020.

    From your list above, which do you recommend the most? We will be based primarily in Corvara, after completing a 3-day Rosengarten traverse. Perhaps there are some more intermediate ferratas that rank v.high on your list? I have already completed Sassolungo Oscar Shuster, Catinaccio d’Antermoia and a couple in Tre Cime di Lavaredo… do you recommend the Sass Rigais ferrata?

    I’m leaning towards Via ferrata Pössnecker as it’s relatively close-by, and last time I didn’t venture into the Sella group. Any thoughts would be highly appreciated!

    • Hi Lewis! Thanks for stopping by. Via ferrata Brigata Tridentina is awesome and very close to Corvara, but it’s a busy one so you should go very early. Pössnecker is great too but getting back down is quite long and tiring for the legs. Via ferrata Giovanni Lipella won’t be too far from Corvara (but not super close like Brigata Tridentina) and it has some fantastic moments. The other two which I haven’t done yet but are very high on my list are: Punta Ana (close to Cortina) and Eterna Brigata Cadore to Punta Serauta. The latter is on Marmolada and given the recent events you would have to check if it’s still open. If you want a great Ferrata with an overnight stay in a fantastic and quirky refuge then try via ferrata Degli Alleghesi and book a night at rifugio Torrani! I am not sure if my answer was helpful or if it made it even more complicated for you 😀 do let me know if you have more questions!

      • Thanks so much for the response! We’ll be setting off at sunrise for Brigata Tridentina. I’ve been eyeing up Giovanni Lipella for a while now, but I wonder if it’s too much of an undertaking… is this one of your favourites? I’m up for giving it a go should the weather be on our side! We’ll probably be avoiding Marmolada given what’s happened recently. Degli Alleghesi is also another one I’ve been looking at for a while now, which do you prefer, that, or Giovanni Lipella? I know Degli Alleghesi requires an overnight stay so I’m not sure we’ll be able to fit it into our itinerary at the moment. Sorry if I missed it, but do you recommend via ferrata Sass Rigais and is it worth doing over any of the others mentioned? Thanks again 🙂

        • Hi Lewis. How did the Brigata Tridentina go?

          I think I liked Degli Alleghesi more than Giovanni Lipella, but that is not to say I didn’t like the latter. On the contrary, If you go for Giovanni Lipella you will love it too. I also really like Bolver Lugli, because of all the photogenic spires along the way and the short approach. As for Sass Rigais. It’s a good one too, but not much climbing/scrambling on it and the route back is quite steep. Definitely not a favourite.

          Sassongher is a great way in Corvara. Maybe give that one a go!

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