Dolomita di Brenta –the Wildest part of the Alps

dolomita di brenta

The Dolomita di Brenta is a mountain group that is part of the Dolomites, listed on the UNESCO heritage list. Although these mountains are certainly not the highest in the Alps, they might well be contender as some of the most impressive. The Dolomites in the Northeast of Italy are characterized by their roughness and purity. The sheer peaks are an impressive sight hiding adventurous trails, such as via ferrata, and mountain hut treks. It is the main reason why enthusiast hikers and mountaineers have visited the region for over 100 years.

About the Dolomita di Brenta

The Dolomita di Brenta is a mountain group in the Italian Dolomites. It is fully located within the borders of the province of Trente, isolated from the rest of the Dolomites. The massif is surrounded by four valleys: Val di Sole, Val di Non, Valli Giudicarie and Val Rendena.

The highest peak of is the Cima Tosa with an altitude of 3176 meters. Its glaciated summit was first ascended in 1865. The region is especially popular with travelers looking to do the via ferrata, a challenging trail well-known in the area. One of the main attractions of this region is Lago di Tovel, a mountain lake that has had a deeply red color since the ‘60s.

Accommodation around the Dolomita di Brenta

The Dolomites always have appealed to adventure seekers looking for something more challenging than just hiking. But even in winter, this region attracts visitors. The most famous winter sport destination is Madonna di Campiglio in Val Rendena, if you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Feeling Hotel Fontanella, is a modern family-run building, with a wide and spectacular view of Lake Molveno and the Brenta Dolomites. At Hotel Fontanella you will not only relax! In Molveno and the Brenta Dolomites you can practice many activities both in summer and in winter, fun is guaranteed in every season at the Hotel.

Vallesinella, located at the gates of the Nature Park at the foot of the Adamello Brenta Dolomites, surrounded by nature and just 4 km from Madonna di Campiglio. The only 3-star hotel in Madonna di Campiglio near the Vallesinella waterfall and at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites.

Hotel Lory, is centrally located in this  picturesque village and  on arrival you will marvel at the fantastic view over the mountains and the lake of Molveno.

Hiking around the Dolomita di Brenta

The Dolomites are well-known for the via ferrata routes, a combination of mountaineering and hiking. Via ferrata is derived from Italian, meaning “iron road”. These protected climbing routes are secured with steel cables and ladders attached to the rocks. A specific via ferrata kit is required to preventfalling.

Dolomita di Brenta Trek

The Dolomiti di Brenta Trek is a circular hiking route over the Brenta mountain massif that enables you to visit the wild, evocative Adamello Brenta Nature Park.It is a multi-day trek designed to give hikers the opportunity to stay overnight in mountain refuges and taste the delicious and traditional Trentino cuisine. The Dolomita di Brenta trek is without doubt one of the top walks in the Italian Dolomites and should be on every hiker’s to do list!

Nature trail

This 4-hour nature trail celebrates the forces of nature such as water, which has the ability to shape and heal. Starting at the Comano Spa and leading towards the deep gorge of Canyon del Limaro, along the river Sarca to Adamello, this trail is not to be missed when visiting the Dolomita di Brenta region.

Lago di Tovel

Lago di Tovel
Lago di Tovel Photo by Giulio Giuffa

An easy hike, but one well worth doing is the circular trail around the lago di Tovel. It takes about 1h 20 minutes to complete, and it not only offers great scenery of the lake, but of the neighbouring peaks of the Brenta Dolomites as well.

Valesinella waterfalls

Valesinella waterfalls
Valesinella waterfalls Photo by Janet

Not too difficult with little altitude difference (400m) makes this a trail doable for families with children. The distance of 10 kilometer makes this a semi-day trip from your base and affords the opportunity to take your time and have a picnic along the way. The hike starts in Valesinella, easily reachable with public transportation from Madonna di Campiglio.

The Lagorai Trek

This trail is part of the Dolomiti Panorama Trek which connects the Dolomiti Trekking and Dolomiti Pala Ronda Trek. It is a five-day walk which explores the wild and off-the-beaten path region of mountain lakes, pastures and forests. Rare wildlife can be spotted if you are lucky. The area is populated with red deer, golden eagles, and chamois.

Villages

Village of Tenna
Village Tenna Photo by Manveer Jarosz

Village Tenna is in a privileged position when it comes to idyllic settings. Located on a hill, it offers view ofnearby Lake Levico and Caldonazzo. Also, the quaint town Pinzolo has drawn active travelers for decades since the options here are endless–skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and paragliding.The cable car in town makes it possible to reach high altitudes in minutes. From this point, you will be granted great views over the Brenta Dolomites. On the eastern side of the Dolomita di Brenta, you will find the town of Andalo, another great option if you love panoramic views reachable by cable car. This charming village is nestled in a beautiful valley and has a distinctive German flair in its streets. Another beautiful town is Molveno, sitting at the northern end of Lake Molveno with the Dolomita di Brenta soaring behind. With several hiking trails in the region, this is a hotspot for travelers who love the outdoors. The resort town Madonna di Campiglio, on the other hand, is the main place to stay when visiting.

Rifugio Brentei

Mountain Hut - Rifugio Brentei

Rifugio Brentei is a mountain hut constructed in 1932. It is often reached from Madonna di Campiglio via a hike that takes about 4 hours. A lot of climbers use it as an overnight for climbs to Crozzon di Brenta (3135m) and Cima Tossa (3173m). From the hut, one can see the famous northern ice gorge of Cima Tossa. The refuge has 90 places to accommodate visitors and is open from June to September.

Rifugio Angelo Alimonta

Mountain hut - Rifugio Angelo Alimonta

Located at an altitude of 2850 meters, this privately-owned mountain hut offers views of the glacier Vedretta dei Sfulmini in the heart of the Brenta Dolomites. The hut can be reached via different routes from Madonna di Campiglio, but the most common passes by the Rifugio Brentei. It is often used by hikers and mountaineers as a resting place for climbs over the via ferrata Via delle Bocchette.

Rifugio Silvio Agostini

Mountain hut - Rifugio Silvio Agostini

This mountain hut was named after the Italian mountain guide, Silvio Agostini,who died in the mountains in 1936. It was built in 1937, expanded in 1975, and restored in 1995. It is a good starting point for climbs to Cima d’Ambiez and Cima Tossa, both peaks in the Brenta Dolomites.

Rifugio XII Apostoli

Located at an altitude of 2487 meters in the province of Trentino, this refuge is owned by the Società Alpinisti Tridentini. It is a special place to visit as there is a small church nearby which holds a ceremony every Sunday to commemorate all the mountaineers who have lost their lives in the mountains. The name derives from a group of 12 rocks nearby that sit close to each other like the twelve apostles.

Madonna di Campiglio: Grostè Sessellift − Talstation, Rifugio Graffer

To Rifugio Brentei from Madonna di Compaglio

Starting at the lively mountain resort of Madonna di Campiglio, the hike to the Rifugio Brentei, high up in the Brenta massif,has impressive views. It is positioned at the center of the rocky amphitheater of the high Val Brenta, right in front of the imposing north wall of the Crozzon di Brenta, in the Adamello-Brenta Natural Park.

Things to do around the Dolomita di Brenta

dolomita di brenta

The Italian Dolomites are famous for their via ferrata routes. These trails have protected sections that secure hikers and climbers with steel cables and ladders. The origin of this activity lies in WW I, when soldiers crossed these rugged peaks. For those who feel a little less adventurous, there is an option to visit some beautiful lakes. Lake Molveno, Lago di Tovel and Lago di Toblino are only a few worth visiting. Lake Molveno is situated in the Adamello – Brenta nature park, one of the largest protected areas in the Alps. Exploring it gives you a chance to see some typical alpine wildlife. Plus, there are about twelve brown bears still wandering around the park, but the chance of actually seeing one is close to nil.

Hiking with kids

While via ferrata is typically known as a more challenging activity, it can be a great one to do for a family holiday. Via ferrata routes have several levels of difficulty, and the Via Ferrata Col Rodella and Via Ferrata Roda de Vael both are great options for a guided experience with children. The trails are well suited for brave youth and a great way of building up experience. The only question that remains is: what to do with the terrified mom?

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Dolomita di Brenta

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Dolomita di Brenta 46.179300, 10.899300

Ortler

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Ortler

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Ortler 46.510600, 10.544500

Planning A Hiking Trip To the Ortler

The Ortler, photo by John Mason

The Ortler mountain, or ‘King Ortles’ as it’s known by mountaineers and folklorists, is one of the most impressive mountains in the eastern Alps. With its peak being 3905 m above sea level, it’s the highest mountain in the Italian province of Tyrol. The Ortler towers above the other mountains in the Ortler Range, and offers some of the most impressive views. So it’s definitely one you want to conquer.

As any keen mountaineer will know though, with such an impressive mountain comes the opportunity not just for breath-taking views, but for extreme adventure. Whether that be killer hikes, summer climbing, or winter skiing, the Ortler is a great destination for any passionate mountaineer.

Villages on and around the Ortler

There are a couple of different villages and towns around the mountain that make good starting points for hikes. These towns and villages are also where you can expect to find some of the best accommodation whilst visiting the mountain. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Stelvio Residence is located there, where nature has still preserved its authenticity: in the village of Trafoi, within the Stelvio Natural Park, with a breathtaking view of an amphitheater of the most beautiful and impressive mountains in South Tyrol / Südtirol: the Ortles group which geologically belongs to the “Engadine Dolomites”.

Hotel Meublè Sertorelli Reit , a few steps from the center , from the ski facilities and the Bormio thermal baths , is the solution for those who want a B & B in Bormio welcoming and private. A pleasant and refined atmosphere, thanks also to the modern interior design , to the use of woods, stone, lights and soft colors, will help to make your stay unforgettable.

Hotel Nives  is located directly in the village center of  Sulden am Ortler  at  1,900 meters above sea level , at the foot of the highest mountain in South Tyrol, making it your ideal starting point for skiing in winter and hiking in summer. In  winter  , the free ski shuttle stops in front of our hotel and takes you to the ski lift, 500 meters away, and in summer you can start your hikes directly from Hotel Nives

Trafoi

Trafoi Village
Trafoi Photo by iLMeteo

The village of Trafoi is a truly idyllic location, situated at the foot of the Ortler. With a population of only 90 people, it’s a great place to stay if you’re looking for somewhere quiet and remote, where you can relax after a day of adventure.

It’s a great base for those looking to fit in as many hikes or winter sports as possible during their stay. It’s the starting point for many of the most popular hikes around the Ortler, and it even has its own ski area, making it the perfect place to visit if you’re into winter sports.

During the summer, people also enjoy cycling around the area, especially on the Stelvio Pass Road which can be easily reached from Trafoi.

So whilst the village may be small, its ideal location and quaint atmosphere makes it a popular stop for those visiting the Ortler.

Sulden, or Solda

Sulden near Ortler
Sulden photo by Armin Kübelbeck

Solda is a great town if you’re hoping to see not just the Ortler, but other impressive summits like Gran Zebru and Monte Cevedale.

The town is located in the middle of a National Park, so its definitely one of the most scenic towns around the Ortler. The town is nestled deep in the Ortler Range, so you can enjoy green open space and peaceful lakes, with an incredible mountain backdrop. There’s also 14 glaciers in the Ortler Range, some of which can be reached from Solda.

With a population of 400, it’s a bigger location than Trafoi, and much more geared towards exploration of the Ortler Range and of course the Ortler itself. There are clearly signposted hiking trails that start in Solda, and trail up through the mountains, many of which pass by mountain huts and cabins.

So if you’re hoping for a hiking holiday, it’s the place to be. You can easily navigate self guided walks, or if you wanted to join a tour this is the meeting point for many walking tours.

As if that wasn’t reason enough that this town is the place to be, in winter there are also 44km of ski slopes. And in summer, climbing is all the rage in Solda.

Reaching the summit of the Ortler

Those that want to go all the way and make it to the very top of King Ortler should expect a challenging climb. That being said though, there are different routes of different difficulties, some of which are some of the most popular routes in the eastern Alps.

The normal route

First off, there’s the ‘normal route’, which is one of the easiest routes, but is still fairly challenging. It takes around two or three days to complete, and is a mixed climb, graded PD+ (slightly difficult).

The first leg of the journey is from Solda to the Payer Hut on the North Ridge, following Trail 4. This takes about 3-5 hours, depending on the conditions, and brings you to just above 3000 m. This part of the journey isn’t difficult at all if you’re used to mountain hikes. It’s graded T3-, and there’s a good footpath for most of the way. However, if you fancy shortening this part of the hike, and saving your energy for day two, the summit day, you can always get the Langenstein chairlift which will bring you part of the way up.

Mountain hut - tabaretta hut
Tabaretta hut

Following Trail 4, or Trail 4A if you got the lift up, you’ll pass Tabaretta Hut, which is a great pit stop if you need a break or refreshment. You can enjoy a drink or a bite to eat on their balcony, overlooking the mountains and distant lakes. It’s also possible to stay at the Tabaretta Hut, but this isn’t usually done by those following the normal route. The preferred Payer Hut can be reached from the Tabaretta Hut by Via Ferrata if you have the proper gear.

The second part of the journey is where things get a little trickier. This day will be the ‘summit day’, trekking from the Payer Hut to the summit and back in around 8-11 hours. Be prepared for rock climbing, as this part of the route involves third grade rock climbing if you want to reach the top. There’s going to be a lot of rock and ice, which makes for an interesting climb, but one that requires caution.

One thing to note with this route is that it’s the most popular route up the Ortler, so it can get fairly busy, especially during the summer months.

The East Ridge route (Hintergrat)

This route is perhaps the most impressive route up the Ortler, offering stunning views and difficult climbs. It’s an AD graded climb with snow and ice slopes up to 65 degrees. There’ll also be rock climbing in the fourth grade.

Mountain hut - Hintergrat Hut
Hintergrat Hut

Before you can start this climb, you’ll need to reach the Hintergrathuette (Hintergrat Hut), a cosy little mountain refuge above Sulden. You can hike the hut from Solda and spend the night in surprisingly comfortable beds (for a mountain hut).

From the hut, it’s a mixed route up to the summit, some stretches being fairly easy, others involving rock climbing in the fourth grade.

The descent can be just as challenging as the climb up, so leave the hut early in the morning (around 4:30am latest), so that you’ll have plenty of time to take the climb at your own pace, enjoy the views, and get down before dark. You can descend via the normal route, rather than going back the way you came.

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Facts About Ortler.

Ortler is a mountain found at the Italian Alps right at South Tyrol, Italy. Standing at 3905m above sea level. The mountain stood out among other mountains in the Eastern Alps outside the Bernina Range. This peak also stood out among other mountains found in the range of the same name. One of the prominent peaks worth climbing at the Southern Limestone Alps. South Tyrol’s unofficial hymn, the Bozner Bergsteigerlied, immortalized this summit by calling it “König Ortler”. Its closest noted peak discussed in this site is Piz Bernina.

How to get to the peak of Ortler?

First off, brace yourself for a mixed climb in terms of difficulty. This happens after reaching the last stopover before the peak, Payer Hut. You can drive from Solden, South Tyrol. Drive northwest using Via Forestale. Go forward to SS622. Drive for 1.4km to reach Haupstrasse at Via Principale. Turn left to reach the Payer Hut.

What to expect at Ortler?

The mixed climb part is relatively advanced. Having companions familiar with the glacial terrain is highly advisable. The upper part of the route could go as steep as 40 degrees. Have the right equipment from crampons to ice axes to get the climbing part right. Get some additional pointers from the Payer Hut reservations desk itself by calling them at +39 0473 613 010.

 

Check out the Ortler T-Shirts!

Aiguille de Triolet

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Aiguille de Triolet

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Aiguille de Triolet 45.916900, 7.024600

Facts About Aiguille de Triolet.

Aiguille de Triolet stands at 3870m above sea level at the Mont Blanc massif. This stood between the boundary of Aosta Valley in Italy and Haute Savoie in France. A rather complex peak to climb. It split the basins of Argentiere in the north and the Talefre in the west through its big glaciers at the French side of the mountain. The peak started a massif that included Aiguille Verte, Les Droits and Les Courtes.

How to reach the peak of Aiguille de Triolet?

Drive from Train du Montenvers-Mer de Glace in Chamonix. Follow the path from Place de la Mer towards Avenue Cachat le Geant, about 120m. Turn right to the D1506 part of Avenue Cachat le Geant. Continue driving by 29m. Drive straight ahead by 6.2 km. You will reach Refuge du Couvercle shortly. This is your last stop over before traversing the path towards the peak.

If you would rather start from Refuge d’Argentière, simply follow the same directions as the ones written in the Aiguille d’Argentière article. There is also a summit station. Hop into a cable car on the summit station at Aiguille des Grands Montets. You will reach Col des Grandes Montets. Walk by a bergschrund. Make sure to hand on to the rope by the Glacier Rognons. You reach P.300 to P.2754m then by the Glacier d’Argentière just above the ice break. Walk 2 more hours to reach the Refuge.

What to expect at Aiguille de Triolet?

Apart from the previously mentioned huts, you can choose other stop overs. When taking the Italian side, Bivouac Fiorio and Refugio Dalmazzi are the stop overs. Specific directions based on chosen hut are found here.

Aiguilles de Trélatéte

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Aiguilles de Trélatéte

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Aiguilles de Trélatéte 45.794700, 6.815000

Facts About Aiguilles de Trélatéte.

Aiguilles de Trélatéte is a mountain right between the boundary of the Italian Alps and the French Alps. Standing at 3920m above sea level. Its Italian address is at Valle d’Aosta (Aosta Valley), Italy. And its French address is at Haute Savoie, France. It is more often climbed from the Italian side despite being on the west side of the Mont Blanc massif.

How to get to the peak of Aiguilles de Trélatéte?

Before reaching the peak, you must reach one of the huts to stop over first. Recommended hut is the Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini. Start by driving from the La Visaille. Cross the bridge to the closed car road. That route takes about 3 km. You will reach the Combal plain from here. (You can stop at a bar restaurant here before moving on with the drive.) From here you see and get to the glacial Lac Miage.

Cross the bridge on the left side where you may park the car. Cross the dirt road on the plain. The road is almost horizontal. Once you reach the end of the plain, follow the trail towards a couple of steep turns. You then reach the hut just below the Pyramides spur. This is your stopover before the peak itself.

What to expect at Aiguilles de Trélatéte?

Regardless of the route taken to the top, you need to be in complete mountain gear. Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini is one of the stopovers. Other notable stopovers are the Giovane Montagna and Hotellerie de Trélatête. Only the latter is found on the French side of the mountain though.

La Grivola

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La Grivola

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La Grivola 45.596700, 7.264400

Facts About La Grivola.

La Grivola is the “almost perfect” white pyramid at the Italian Alps. Standing at 3969m above sea level. This peak is found at Valle d’Aosta (Aosta Valley), Italy. This is one of the most prominent views seen from the peak of Gran Paradiso. It stood out in the middle of two valleys, Vallon di Cogne and Val Savarenche. It got its name from its impeccable beauty. La Grivola is literally translated as “young lady” in the local dialect.

How to get to the peak of La Grivola?

If driving from the Milan Airport, enter SP14 via Piotello. Enter A4/E64 in Valle d’Aosta. Exit at Aosta Ovest (West Aosta) via E25. Drive towards Cogne via SR47. You will reach the Vittorio Sella Refuge as stopover before the trek.

With Cogne as starting point, climb to Val Lauson. Get to the junction upon reaching 2844m above sea level. Turn right to reach Col de la Rousse. Keep climbing westward to find the Col de la Noire. Walk further from Col de la Noire.

Walk past the Trajoz glacier just by the bottom of the southeast flank. Tread in the middle of this wall. Halfway through this wall, turn right upwards. Turn right again to set foot on the northeast ridge. Finally, set foot on the white pyramid’s peak.

What to expect at La Grivola?

Vittorio Sella Refuge is one of the few stopovers before the path towards the peak. The rest of the stopovers are bivouacs. Not recommended to climb in bad weather. The southwest wall has a fragile rock, making it unsafe at certain times. For any reservations, contact them at their landline number +39 0165 74310 or their Skype username: rifugiosella.

Piz Zupo

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Piz Zupo

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Piz Zupo 46.368300, 9.931100

Facts About Piz Zupo.

Piz Zupo is a mountain standing at 3996m above sea level at the Bernina Group. The word “Zupo” is based on the local term “Zuper”. It is literally translated as “hidden”. This is because you can hardly see the peak when climbing from the north side. You have to traverse the routes towards the peak to see it. And eventually, see the rest of the mountains from this summit.

How to get to the peak of Piz Zupo?

Getting to the peak? Get to Rifugio Marinelli in the province of Sondrio, Milan, Italy first. Rifugio Marinelli Bombardeli Al Bernina in particular. There is another Rifugio Marinelli in the Bernina Group’s area. That one is far away from the peak. If you get to the right refuge, you reach the peak in at least 7 minutes by foot. Ride a bus or drive by Valmalenco to this refuge for starters.

What to expect at Piz Zupo?

Expect to spend more time on the bus ride or in the car than on foot. Encountering a travel agent that suggests a starting point at the Marco Rosa refuge might be suggesting a 2-in-1 expedition. This hut is the alternative to Rifugio Marinelli Bombardeli Al Bernina. But most hikers stay here on their way to the peak of Piz Bernina.