I added via ferrata Averau to my Dolomites bucket list with a bit of apprehension.
After reading about it in a guidebook, it didn’t seem too exciting nor did it pose enough of a challenge in comparison to other ferratas, I already had under my belt.
But the little expectations I had from this summit, concluded in me taking some of the best photos in my portfolio to date!
Via Ferrata Averau: The Stats
Time required: 2 h from the Averau hut
Elevation gain: 230 m / 750 ft
Route difficulty: beginner
Where does the via ferrata Averau start?
The hiking paths in the Dolomites seem to be endless, and as it’s the case with many other mountain huts, rifugio Averau, where the via ferrata starts, can be reached from a few different directions:
From Falzarego mountain pass (2105 metres / 6900 feet) via path nr 441, over Forcella (saddle) Gallina (3 hours roundtrip)
From Rifugio Gallina (2050 metres / 6725 feet), around 1 kilometre east from Passo Falzarego, along path number 419. This route runs parallel to the previously mentioned path 441.
They eventually merge at Gallina saddle. Path 419 also passes Lago Limides – one of the iconic photography spots in the Dolomites. (3 hours roundtrip)
By taking Cinque Torri gondola. From the top of the Gondola (2255 metres / 7400 feet) follow the path nr 439 to rifugio Averau. You will be able to see the hut straight ahead of you. This is the fastest way to reach the start of the ferrata. (1 hour roundtrip)
I chose to hike from Passo Giau via path nr 452. Though slightly longer, this is perfect if you would like to connect the route with via ferrata Ra Gusela. You can plan an overnight stay in one of the many rifugios in the area, with Averau and Nuvolau being my top picks. (3 hours roundtrip)
Although the signs and markings along the routes are excellent 99% of the time, it’s always handy to have a map with you. It helps with visualising the routes and better planing. All paths mentioned above can be found on the Tabacco map nr 03.
Passo Giau and Passo Falzarego can be reached with public transport buses from Cortina D’Ampezzo, the nearest town. They operate seasonally (summer and winter).
If you are travelling by car, all above mentioned options offer great free parking possibilities. In July and August they can fill up quickly though as the whole area is popular with hikers and climbers. Arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Get These Via Ferrata Gear Essentials
Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet
To protect your head from any potential rockfall set off by climbing groups above you, or any other head injuries.
Black Diamond Momentum Harness
Aim for a lightweight harness, which will be comfy to wear between the cable protected sections when you are hiking.
Black Diamond Crag Gloves
When you haul yourself on a cable for half a day your hands will quickly become blistered. My advice is to go for full fingered gloves.
Camp Kinetic Rewind Pro Via Ferrata Lanyard
Developed specifically for via ferrata scrambling, the lanyard provides shock absorption in case of a fall.
Via Ferrata Averau: Route Description
Once you reach rifugio Averau, scout for signs for via ferrata Averau. The scree path runs along the east side of the mountain, you should reach the cables in 15 minutes.
Though the wired section is very short, the vertical wall can test your nerves, especially if you are a beginner. Before you know it though, the climb will be over and you will come out onto another scree path. Follow it all the way to the summit for another 20-30 minutes.
Once you reach the summit you won’t believe your eyes! I sure couldn’t. The tear inducing 360 degrees view of the surrounding peaks is arguably one of my favourites in the Dolomites!
After travelling all over the World and hiking amongst mountain ranges in Patagonia, Canadian Rockies and the Southern Alps of New Zealand I am not easily impressed, but this was something else, I tell you.
Since photos can speak a thousand words, I think they will do much better job describing what I am trying to convey here.
Amongst some of the peaks you will be able to see are the jagged Croda del Lago, Mount Pelmo, Mount Civetta and Tofane Group as well as Mount Antelao – the second highest peak in the Dolomites.
To descend just retrace your steps back to rifugio Averau via the same path. If you still have some energy left, I recommend checking out the war trenches around Cinque Torri or going up to rifugio Nuvolau for lunch, followed by another via ferrata – Ra Gusela.
Do you have any questions about via ferrata Averau? Let me know in the comments below!
For more articles about via ferratas, photography locations and hikes visit my Italian Dolomites Guide.
Hi Marta, I love all of this detailed info. I’ve never done Via Ferrata so I’d like to have a guided 1-2 day trip to start. Do you know of any good guides/companies? Thanks so much!
Hi Kyle. Thanks for visiting. Check out my post about best via ferrata routes around Cortina D’Ampezzo. There are guided tours from Cortina. I am not affiliate with any of them, but you should be able to find something there. I hope that helps!
Hi Marta, we’re heading to dolomites now be of may/beginning of June for around 4 days and will be staying in cortina D’ampezzo.
We plan to do Tre Cime circular route, lago di Sorapiss. We want to fit in a via ferrata and thinking about Averau. Is it possible to drive there and do it from Cortina in May/June time? And do you think it’s fine to do all the above in 3-4 days. We will have a car. Thanks !! 😊
Hi Daniel. Thanks for stopping by. You can still have lots of fun in the Dolomites at the end of May, but you have to consider that it is still shoulder season and for example, backcountry huts or gondolas (and some roads) are still closed then. For example, the road to rifugio Auronzo will still probably be closed at the end of May which means the Tre Cime circuit will be quite an undertaking as you will have to add to the hike the distance from Lake Antorno to rifugio Auronzo and back (extra 10 kilometers). Also some areas of the hike will still be covered in snow.
I did lake Sorapiss at the start of May last year. At the end of the hike, we had winter conditions and the lake was still frozen and covered in snow. The snow disappear quickly at this time of the year but at the end of May the lake will still be under ice in places, because it sits in a deep bowl, with not a lot of sunshine during the day. Via ferrata Averau is sun exposed so it should be possible to do, again though I can’t give you a definite answer.
Would sunrise be just as amenable to do for photography up there? We have reservations at the Averau hut that include dinner and with dinner served from 7:15-8 and sunset at 8:55 I’m not sure a sunset mission at the summit of Averau will work. (unless we do the reverse and come down in the dark dark) We are planning on doing both via ferrata and I am just hoping to arrange them in a nice way for photography. We are beginners though.
Hi Amanda. Sunrise will be spectacular too. Head over to my via ferrata category in my Italian Dolomite’s guide and search for Via Ferrata Ra Gusela. I caught a sunrise from that peak just a few hours after the sunset on Averau. I stayed in rifugio Nuvolau for that night. Ra Gusela is only “two peaks away” from Averau and in some photos, you can see how beautifully all the peaks light up during sunrise. I think you will enjoy the sunrise from Averau too. Just make sure to leave early enough and stay careful on the trail!
Awesome thank you so much for the fantastic blogs! I think we will do Via Ferrata Ra Gusela mid day and end at the Averau hut, then wake up and do the Averau via ferrata in the morning. Then depending on how the trail and views are I might still just hike back up to rifugio Nuvolau for sunset if the views seem better. I cant wait to finally be going for a visit here after 3 years of trip planning and cancellations due to covid. 🙂 Thank you for all the inspiration and help!
Hi Amanda. I am sorry to hear about all your cancellations. I experienced that myself when I wanted to return to the Dolomites in autumn 2020. I hope you have a fantastic time doing the ferratas! Let me know if I can help you any further!
I have seen mentioned that you can drive and park at Rifugio Cinque Torri. If this is true then the cable car to Rifugio Scoiattoli is not necessary? We plan to do this Ferrata in September (either 9th or 10th). Do you know if we can drive and park our car there for free?
Great recommendations for Ferratas by the way. We plan to do 4 during our time in the Dolomites!!
Hi Lorraine. The road to Cinque Torri is a gravel mountain road. Maybe people who had reservations there could but generally, roads like this are closed to public traffic. With that said I have never stayed at that hut so I would suggest that you email them directly and ask. Have fun on the ferratas and let me know if you have more questions!