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Areas in Dolomites

Averau, Nuvolau, Croda da Lago Group 5 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9 / 9
Bosconero and Mezzodi Group 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Brenta Group 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 1
Cadini di Misurina (Cadinspitzen) Group 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 2
Catinaccio (Rosengarten) Group 4 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5 / 5
Cinque Torri Group 17 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 24
Civetta Group 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 4
Fiemme Mountains 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Lagazuoi , Fanis and Conturines Group 13 / 14 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 27 / 27
Marmolada Group 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 4
Moiazza Group 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 2
Odle Group (Geisler or Cirgruppe) 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4 / 4
Pala Group 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Pelmo Group 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Pomagagnon and Cristallo Group 4 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 5
Sassolungo (Langkolfel) group 5 / 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8 / 8
Schiara Group 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Sella Group 30 / 2 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17 / 34
Sorapiss and Antelao Group 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Tofana Group 8 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8 / 8
Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen) Group 8 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9 / 9
Elevation: 5,451 ft
GPS: 46.617, 11.852 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 167,805 total, 1,306/month
Shared By: e Dixon on May 25, 2007 with updates
Admins: Tim Wolfe, Shawn Heath

Description

The Dolomites have to be one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. There are countless long routes at all levels of difficulty. The rock is limestone, the quality of which can vary dramatically! Many of the climbs have short approaches, and the longer ones can often be accessed via lifts. Definitely a classic and historical climbing destination. Most of the routes are "old school", so feel out the ratings.

The routes in the Dolomites comprise three different types of climbing:

Traditional climbs: Most of the major mountains have traditional lines up them requiring a selection of climbing gear consisting of wires, cams, and "threads" which consist of kevlar cord that can be slipped through holes or around hourglass features and tied off. A selection of quick draws supplemented with multiple long slings is also appropriate to reduce rope drag on the circuitous route lines. Finally, over time the traditional lines that get relatively few ascents have deteriorated significantly in terms of the fixed protection (old pitons). If you choose to climb a not highly traveled route, it is probably recommended that you bring a piton hammer with a selection of pins as this is the only gear that is possible for considerable distances on many lines in the Dolomites.

Sport climbs: There are now also hundreds of sport climbing areas with single to several pitch routes and there are many multi-pitch sport climbs up major faces. These multipitch sport climbs tend to be significantly harder than the classic traditional lines and can feel a bit "run-out" compared to the single pitch lines close to the ground.

Via Ferrata: The term “Via Ferrata” translates to “Iron road” or “path of Iron” in English. These are paths up sections of mountains in the Alps, and are especially popular in the Italian Dolomites. These routes tend to be well marked paths through a section of mountains and where the difficulty increases or the exposure is significant they consist of a steel cable fixed to the rock every 3-10 meters, with occasional metal rungs or even ladders and bridges to assist hikers up the mountain or ridge. Many of the early the Via Ferrata were established during the First World War to aid the movements of military personnel in their attempt to establish lines of defense in the mountains. Since then these older Ferrata have been upgraded with newer cable, post and rigging and many newer Ferrata have been created just for tourists. Climbing Ferrata is big business for the local communities in the Dolomites: On a warm sunny day in July or August there may be thousands of people on a single popular Ferrata – requiring queues up the entire mountain. Often at the summit there is a bar with food, alcohol and occasionally a Tramway back to the base – making for an enjoyable “hike” in the mountains and good R&R on the summit (welcome to Italy).
In general these routes are much less committing than any nearby rock climbs as the routes have a fixed cable all the way through all difficulties (that you can pull of if preferred or if slippery), and they have relatively well traveled descents with no rappels. Gear requirements include a harness, a helmet (required due to the busy nature of the routes and the quality of rock in general in the mountains), some form of a rigging to clip to the cable (dual arms with two carabiners), hiking shoes and a pair of gloves to protect your hands from blistering. There are commercial riggings available for about 80 Euros and they are very nice, however a climber with a retired rope can create their own rigging for essentially nothing using gear they should already own (search the internet or check a guidebook for homemade designs). Occasionally a short section of rope is useful on the very difficult rated Ferrata to “belay” up any partners who are not experience climbers. Depending on the season and the route – there may be a need for crampons or ice axes on the descent (or just climb down the route you ascended).
For experienced climbers these routes are very easy – even when they are graded as very difficult - unless you choose to climb them without grabbing the cable - then they can be very stout 5th class or unclimbable in places. Never the less, they make a great day out if you just want to go for a hike in the mountains but get some exposure. They are also nice for an early morning rapid ascent during questionable weather days where you might not wish to commit to a big wall (stay off of them if lightening is forecast). These are also superb ways to get your kids out into the mountains climbing at a young age – no gear, no ropes – just moving fast over stone.

Climbing grades:



The classic routes in the Dolomites are graded using the UIAA system. The modern sport and mixed climbs use the French grading system. Here is a table to assist you with understanding these grades in the Yosemite system. Beware that there are a lot of "easy" grades on routes but all but the most popular of these routes often have very little opportunity for gear placements (or quality fixed gear), loose rock and little chance for escape so they make up for their grade in commitment.

UIAA--------------Yosemite-------------French
II.........................5.2........................1
III........................5.3........................2
IV........................5.4......................2-3
IV+......................5.5.......................3
V-........................5.6.......................4
V.........................5.7.......................5a
V+......................5.8.......................5b
VI-......................5.9.......................5b/c
VI......................5.10a....................5c-6a
VI+....................5.10b.....................6a
VII-....................5.10c.....................6a+
VII.....................5.10d.....................6b
VII+...................5.11a.....................6b+
VII+...................5.11b.....................6c
VIII-...................5.11c.....................6c+
VIII....................5.11d.....................7a
VIII....................5.12a.....................7a+
VIII+..................5.12b.....................7b
IX-.....................5.12c.....................7b+
IX......................5.12d.....................7c
IX......................5.13a.....................7c+
IX+....................5.13b.....................8a
X-......................5.13c.....................8a+
X.......................5.13d.....................8b

Getting There

The Dolomites are located in Northern Italy. Fly into one of the larger cities in the area and drive to your destination. It is worth checking flight costs into the following cities all which are within a few hours drive: Munich Germany (4 hours), Innsbruck Austria (2.5 hours), Milan Italy (4 hours), Venice Italy (2 hours). You will need a car to get to the climbs so part of your trip research should include car insurance issues as many credit cards will not cover you for a car rented in Italy, but will if you rent it in Germany. Also consider luggage costs when you plan your camping or lodging.

Camping and Lodging:


The least expensive and most climbing efficient method of staying in the Dolomites is to rent a Van with fold down seats and live in the van during your trip. You can park on the side of the road near the trail head for your next project and hike in from there. In general if you are clean and discrete you will be left alone. Camping with a tent in the woods is technically illegal - so if you choose this you need to set up late and tear down early and again pick up after yourself. At times it will make the most sense to hike into a route and stay near the base. In this setting camping can be very difficult unless there is a designated bivouac (again tents are technically illegal except as an emergency bivouac at dusk - just tear down early). More commonly one should consider staying in a Rifugio - but these cost in the 40-50 Euro range per day for lodging and food. If you wish to base camp with others or your family and leave stuff in a safe place you will need to stay in one of the many commercial campgrounds. These tend to be nice in terms of facilities (hot showers, pub, store for minor items, Gelateria, etc) and they are a great place for your kids to play with others and access the town. However, they can be a bit pricy (5-10 euro per car plus 5-11 euro per person plus 5-10 euro per tent per night). Finally if you intend to stay awhile, renting an apartment is often a similar price or less than commercial camping plus you do not need to haul all your camping gear to Italy and if you have a not uncommon bad spell of weather you will be more comfortable.

149 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Dolomites

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b
Ferrata Brigata Tridentina
TR, Alpine
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
South-west Arete (Delagokante)
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
South Face Buttress 1, a.k.a. “South…
Trad, Alpine 14 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
South Pillar, a.k.a. “Mariakante”
Trad 9 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
"Spigolo Jori," SE Arete
Trad 15 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
North West Arete - Kasnapoff
Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
South Face (Via Miriam)
Trad 5 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Cima Piccola – South Arete Yellow edge
Trad, Alpine 11 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Schubert (Friendhip Route)
Trad 7 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Messner
Trad, Alpine 11 pitches
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13
East Face "Via Finlandia"
Trad 6 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
North Face - Comici
Trad, Alpine 15 pitches
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13
Cima Ovest-North Face - Cassin
Trad, Alpine
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
South Face, Buttress 2, Pilastro Rout…
Trad, Alpine 19 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Roberta83
Sport 9 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Ferrata Brigata Tridentina Sella Group > Passo Gardena are… > Via Ferrata 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b TR, Alpine
South-west Arete (Delagokante) Catinaccio (Rosen… > Vajolet Towers > Torre Delago 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
South Face Buttress 1, a.k… Tofana Group > Tofana di Rozes 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad, Alpine 14 pitches
South Pillar, a.k.a. “Maria… Sella Group > Passo Pordoi Area > Piz Pordoi 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad 9 pitches
"Spigolo Jori," SE Arete Pomagagnon and Cr… > Punta Fiames 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 15 pitches
North West Arete - Kasnapoff Sella Group > Passo Sella Area > Second Sella Tower 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
South Face (Via Miriam) Cinque Torri Group > Torre Grand S Summit 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 5 pitches
Cima Piccola – South Arete… Tre Cime di Lavar… > Cima Piccola 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 11 pitches
Schubert (Friendhip Route) Sella Group > Passo Sella Area > Piz Ciavazes 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 7 pitches
Messner Sella Group > Passo Sella Area > Second Sella Tower 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 11 pitches
East Face "Via Finlandia" Cinque Torri Group > Torre Grande, N Summit 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13 Trad 6 pitches
North Face - Comici Tre Cime di Lavar… > Cime Grande 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad, Alpine 15 pitches
Cima Ovest-North Face - Cassin Tre Cime di Lavar… > Cima Ovest 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13 Trad, Alpine
South Face, Buttress 2, Pil… Tofana Group > Tofana di Rozes 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad, Alpine 19 pitches
Roberta83 Sella Group > Passo Sella Area > Piz Ciavazes 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport 9 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Dolomites »

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kenr  
Via Ferrata . . .

If thinking about making your own VF rigging, first read the comments by John mac + Greg Barnes in
this MountainProject discussion

For unexpected things which a serious rock-climber with lots of outdoor experience might not know about trying a Via Ferrata route
- - > see this MP forum thread Sep 19, 2017
Tristan - I'd just bring a bunch of long shoulder length skinny slings to girth or basket hitch so you don't have to "tie off" cord.

I'm posting to get more suggestions or input about van camping in the Dolomites. It is mentioned in the write-up. Has anyone taken this route? Are you forced onto sides of busy roads on in trailhead parking lots? Jun 24, 2017
Tristan Mayfield   SLC, UT
Heading out there this spring/summer and am just asking around for gear beta. Is it crazy to just completely forgo brining threads? I mean, they look like a pain to get into those tiny holes and then tie off, PLUS I'll probably miss all the potential placements anyway. I'll probably bring one or two just in case, but should I be bringing more if we're mostly doing popular routes anyway? Super super stoked. Apr 7, 2017
Mauro Bernardi had a new guidebook released in 2016; "Climbing in Val Gardena; Dolomites." Subtitled "The 70 finest multi-pitch Alpine climbing routes."

Best of all--in English! It's currently available through Amazon and their partner sellers. Mar 19, 2017
Climbinghorst
Pergine
Climbinghorst   Pergine
If you're not afraid of German or Italian look out for the publications by Mauro Bernardi, a local alpine guide. The books are up to date, his descriptions are precise and he combines photos with detailed drawings. They're being published by Athesia and you can find them in almost every outdoor shop between Bozen and Bruneck. Sep 6, 2016
Canazei is a great fairly centralized town to stay in if you want to climb in the Dolomites.We stayed at Casa Maurivan right in town. It was super nice and within short walking distance of a grocery store , restaurants ,and climbing shop. We were there during the off season ,last week of September first week of October , so it was fairly cheap as well. Canazei sits at the base of the Sella pass , if my memory is correct driving times are-
15 min to Piz Ciavazes
20 min to the Sella towers
30 min to the Marmolada
1 hr to Tridentina and Sas Ciampac
1 hr to Laste -> awesome sport climbing not in a book
1 hr 15 min to Cinque Torri
2 hrs to the Tre Cime -> stayed at Rifugio Lavaredo
2 hrs 30 min to Arco -> for rain days

Also, Zurich was the cheapest airport to fly into and rent a car at. It ended up being around a 6hr drive to Canazei with missed turns and such. I hope this helps anyone traveling to the Dolomotes. This place is amazing and you need go!! Sep 2, 2016
Dustin B
Steamboat
Dustin B   Steamboat
2 good English print resources are:

'Classic Dolomite Climbs by Kohler/Memmel' ( Great if you are looking for information on the classic long routes 5.10 and below)

'The Dolomites: Rock climbs and via ferrata, by James Rushforth' (A bit of everything from long routes to cragging, plus you get some of Rushie's amazing photos...) Jun 14, 2016
Does anyone have any guidebook recommendations? Jun 13, 2016
Natural protection is plentiful, and threads are called "Sanduhrs," (German for "hourglass.")
Oct 28, 2013
I'm currently sending this from Wolkenstein during a rain delay in my climbing.
A few additional notes should be entered here; although bus transportation is excellent, a rental car is advised. BUT be very careful, as there are lots of huge busses on the mountain roads in addition to maniacal-suicidal motorcyclists, as well as only suicidal bicyclists! That said, accomodations are generally reasonable in the many Pensions and Hotels-Garni. Sep 10, 2013
Trying to categorize the Dolomites as "a Mountain Range" isn't really accurate, as there is a wide variety of rock type and quality from Group to Group. The one very uniform characteristic...steep climbing! Many of the routes condsidered "just average" by the locals would warrant four stars elsewhere. It's one of my all time favorite places to climb...or simply visit. Jan 13, 2012
Bill Flaherty
Evergreen, CO
Bill Flaherty   Evergreen, CO
The Dolomites are a stunningly beautiful range. I'm not aware of another destination that offers so many long routes for rock climbers, without the complications of glacier travel. If you like long, free routes at grades that mortals can climb, this is the place for you. It's also worth noting that the local food is fantastic.

There are two drawbacks to consider. First, the rock can be tricky to protect, especially if you're an American climber raised on clean granite or sandstone cracks. There are crack systems here, but you'll also encounter face climbing with funky pods and holes... consider bringing some old Lowe tricams (the passive kind) to place in the pockets. Locals also master the art of threading holes with slings, though my granite-trained eyes rarely spot these placements. Bottom line: Don't launch off on routes near your max until you have a feel for protecting the rock.

Second, there is a bit of loose rock around. Ask locals about the rock quality on your intended routes. When it's really hot, rockfall increases significantly. Note also that the worst rock quality rating given by many Italian guidebooks is "buon", or good. The 4th Sella Tower, for example, is rated buon, but the top is total kitty litter. Wear a helmet unless you're suicidal.

All that said, you can have an absolute blast cruising these beautiful long routes over postcard landscapes. Choose your routes wisely and enjoy! Jan 29, 2008

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