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Via delle Bocchette Centrali, Dolomites

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The southern part of the Via delle Bocchette is absolutely magical! From Vallesinella, if you don't sleep in a refuge, you'll climb over 1,200m to reach the crest of the Brenta massif and follow the Sentiero Figari from the Bocca degli Armi at 2,749m. It's a continuous spectacle from start to finish, with no waste and incredible views of the Brenta massif. The via ferrata is not really difficult, apart from the height and narrowness of the overhead ledges. A varied, spectacular high-mountain itinerary, probably one of the most beautiful in the Dolomites. The loop from Vasinella is described here, with a large section of trekking up and down the ridges.

Technical summary

Type ✦ Via Ferrata
Location ✦ Madonna di Campiglio
Region ✦ Dolomites
Country ✦ Italy
Length ✦ 24kms
Vertical rise ✦ 1490m
Difficulty ✦ K2
Duration ✦ 6h to 7h
Interest ✦ ★★★

Access to the place

Go to the Vasinella parking lot, which can be reached from Madonna di Campiglio by car (access 6 euros before 9 a.m.) or by bus (2 euros).

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 30'

Take the path leading to the Brentei refuge. Cross the torrent and climb steeply through the forest. After about 30', you'll reach the Casinei hut at 1850m, where you'll find the start of the trail to the Brentei and Alimonta huts.

Course 4h30 à 5h

The via ferrata is perfectly equipped and signposted. It's best to start early, as the mist rises quickly, particularly on the west side in mid-morning. There's no particular difficulty, apart from the altitude and the emptiness, which you'll encounter almost the whole way. Equipment is mostly limited to a lifeline and a few very sturdy ladders, or rungs in places that are difficult to climb or unclimb.

Part 1: Brentei hut (1h)

Splendid ascent on a well-trodden, well-marked path. You soon emerge from the forest to admire the Brenta massif. The trail gradually climbs up the valley, crosses a bar, passes through a small rock gallery and finally reaches the Brentei refuge, almost between the Bocca degli Armi and the Bocca di Brenta. From here, it's a loop with a return to the refuge at the end.
Section 2: Refuge d'Alimonta and Bocca degli Armi (45′)

Turn left from the refuge to climb the small rocky gorge that leads to the upper level. After about 1 hour you're at the Alimonta refuge, below the Bocca degli Armi. Continue to climb above the refuge to reach the scree. The path is no longer visible and progress is difficult in the scree, with ice in places. Finally, we cross the névé to reach the Bocca where the ferrata starts.
Part 3: Sentiero Bartolomeo Figari (2h)

After the initial series of ladders, we reach the narrow east-facing ledge that passes beneath the Torre di Brenta (3014m). We then descend by ladder to continue again on a series of ledges, some wider, some very narrow and airy, below Camp Alto (2937m). At the end, we pass through a small gap and then climb back up to a pass below Camp Basso (2877m), with an impressive view over the valley back to the west.

The path then descends steeply on the east side, before weaving its way back between Camp Basso and Brenta Alta, on an extraordinary passage, a narrow, steep ledge with views of the ashen flanks of the opposite massif. The route climbs back up and then descends via a ladder to reach the final switchback heading towards Bocca di Brenta. After a final ladder, we're at the pass, in a rocky chaos, facing the return path. We're 50m below the Bocca di Brenta.
Part 4: Bocca di Brenta to Brentei hut (1h)

Descend the chaos where the path markings have disappeared and below you can easily find the return markings. The trail winds along a pretty, well-marked path on the north side of the slope, gradually descending to the Brentei refuge. End of the loop.

Back

From the Brentei refuge, follow the uphill path in the opposite direction to the Casinei refuge and then to the Vallesinella parking lot (car or shuttle bus to Madonna di Campiglio).

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