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.
Not only I have taken upon hiking four different Alta Vias (multiday traverses across the Dolomites) during the 6-week-time-span, but for the remainder of the summer season, I also decided to tackle some of the advanced via ferratas. By September I was the fittest I’ve ever been!
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.
Comparing them against some beginner routes, where the cable protection only stretches intermittently in a few places with the rest of the route being ‘just’ a steep hike, these via ferratas require enough experience AND stamina in order to safely tackle them. Are you new to via ferratas! Make sure to jump to my beginner’s guide!
Challenge Yourself With These Advanced Via Ferratas In The Dolomites
1. 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 favourite 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
Currently 108 years old (as of 2019), via ferrata Pössnecker is one of the oldest 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 kilometres 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
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 tunnel, followed by a series of steep ledges and a huge amphitheatre of rock (pictured above) await you.
This is one of many via ferratas established during the World War I for military reasons, but turned into adventure playground 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
Monte Civetta is the 6th highest peak in the Italian Dolomites and its western face is a sheer 90 degree 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
Via ferrata Bocchette Alte is one of the classic routes in the lesser known (at least on an international scale) Brenta group in the south western 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 have 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.
Via Ferrata Gear Essentials
To protect your head from any potential rockfall set off by climbing groups above you, or any other head injuries.
Aim for a lightweight harness, which will be comfy to wear between the cable protected sections when you are hiking.
When you haul yourself on a cable for half a day your hands will quickly become blistered. My recommendation is to go for full fingered gloves.
Developed specifically for via ferrata scrambling, the lanyard provides shock absorption in case of a fall.
If you have any questions about these via ferratas, check the individual articles I have linked to above. However you are always welcomed to post your questions in the comments below.
If you need help planning your holidays in the Italian Dolomites visit my personal guide, where you will find tons of recommendations on where to photograph, hike or scramble.