After completing many beginner via ferratas in the Italian Dolomites, it was only natural to challenge myself a bit more with some harder routes.
Today I will be sharing with you my favourite via ferratas, all of which I have personally done, that are good for intermediate level adventurers.
Before I get to it though just a quick reminder to you all. Plan well in advance and always carry proper equipment if you are going to tackle an iron path.
Although undertaking a via ferrata doesn't require any prior climbing experience, don't underestimate the exposure you will face along these routes. Almost on every via ferrata there is always at least one memorial plaque, with the names of the victims, who have fallen to their deaths. Too often have I seen daredevils with nothing else but running shoes on their feet, no harness and no helmet. Do not be one of them please!
12 Intermediate Via Ferratas In The Dolomites For Adventure Seekers
1. Via ferrata Marino Bianchi
From the start, all the way to the summit, via ferrata Marino Bianchi is an extravaganza of jaw dropping vistas. It's actually one of my personal favorites! The route takes you to the top of Monte Cristallo di Mezzo, one of the dolomiti summits reaching over 3000 meters.
I had a pretty interesting experience along the via ferrata Marino Bianchi, as I decided to spend the night in the abandoned rifugio Lorenzi, built on the Staunies saddle, a few hundred meters below the summit.
This used to be a very busy iron path thanks to the lift system that used to run all the way to the saddle. Since the lift closed in 2016, which significantly prolonged the approach time, the traffic lessened a lot.
Located nearby (and slightly easier than via ferrata Marino Biachi) is via ferrata Ivano Dibona. It's certainly more popular than it's bigger brother and they can both be done in conjunction with one another but believe me when I say this: Marino Bianchi should not be missed!
2. Via ferrata Ivano Dibona
Speaking of via ferrata Ivano Dibona. If it wasn't for the action packed Hollywood flick "Cliffhanger" starring Sylvester Stalone, which by the way I still haven't seen (and not sure if I want to), this route might have been a lot lesser known.
Via ferrata Ivano Dibona shares the same approach with the previously mentioned Marino Bianchi. They split at Forcella Staunies which marks the location of the slowly decaying yet still incredibly photogenic Rifugio Lorenzi (now closed to the public).
It's not an easy undertaking. To complete the whole route you will need to reserve a full day. The distance is 25 kilometres in total and includes a lot of elevation change. There are a lot of World War I relics along the way, including a few small army bunkers worth exploring.
The highlight of the route is the 30 meter long suspension bridge (pictured above) perched at almost 3000 meters and hanging above a gully. Stepping onto it guarantees an adrenaline rush.
3. Via ferrata Giro Del Sorapiss
Giro in Italian means loop and as the name suggests via ferrata Giro Del Sorapiss circuits around the Sorapiss mountain range. It's a true endurance test, both physically and mentally.
Proper preparation, some decent map reading skills and an adventurous spirit are a must have, if you want to tackle this route. Expect a long day - 8 hours minimum (12 hours likely). The best is to plan an overnight stay in the Vandelli mountain refuge, from where the circuit begins, ideally before and after you complete the route.
The whole loop actually consist of three separate via ferratas. If you are not up for the challenge, you can only choose to do the first one along the route - via ferrata Alfonso Vandelli (pictured above).
For more details and photos from the via ferrata Giro del Sorapiss click the link.
4. Via ferrata Delle Scalette (aka Torre di Toblin)
My own ambition put me at the trailhead of this via ferrata within my first week in the Dolomites. Full of enthusiasm and a little bit too flippantly, I decided to put myself against the challenge and chose via ferrata Torre Di Toblin as my first ever via ferrata.
I can tell you now that my enthusiasm quickly curbed even though you probably can't tell from my happy look on the photo above. That victorious smile came after getting to the top in one piece.
For anyone who climbs, this wouldn't have been scary but for me, who has never spent a day of her life in a climbing gym before, it was a real challenge. Even though climbing experience isn't required to scramble along via ferratas, in this case it would had definitely come in handy.
Funnily enough, I repeated this route the following year with my friend and found it a lot easier. I guess after gaining all the experience tackling a lot of other ferratas it was kind of expected. For my friend however it was her first and she panicked a few times the same way I did the year before.
I go into more detail about this ferrata in my separate article. I hope what I said sparked your interest to check it out!
5. Via ferrata Merlone
Located on the border of the famous Tre Cime National Park, this via ferrata takes you to the summit of Cima Cadin NE from where you can get a glimpse of the southern faces of Tre Cime (Three Peaks).
The route starts near rifugio Fonda Savio, one of the most photogenic mountains huts in the Dolomites I've been to.
You will need a good head for heights and ladder climbing experience. Perched on a rung of a ladder, mounted to a cliff face, a few hundred meters above a gully, should sound to you as appealing as sitting in your pyjamas watching Netflix.
I have a whole article dedicated to via ferrata Merlone. If you are interested in tackling it, make sure to check it out!
6. Via ferrata Degli Alpini Al Col Dei Bos
This is a great via ferrata if you want to get straight to business. The initial approach to the beginning of the cable section is very short (around 20 minutes). In comparison to the other via ferratas mentioned in this article, it's nothing.
Because of it however, this via ferrata is probably one of the busiest ones in the Dolomites. A lot of guided tour companies take their clients here.
There is however an easy way to avoid the crowds! Just start early, and by early I mean right after sunrise. You will be treated to some incredible views when the first rays of sun hit the surrounding peaks!
For more information and photos from my sunrise excursion along this via ferrata go to my other article.
7. Via ferrata Oskar Schuster
Via ferrata Oskar Schuster takes you through the heart of Sassolungo and Sassopiato, two prominent peaks you can photograph from Alpi di Siusi - one of the most iconic photography spots in the Dolomites.
This is a really fun and exciting route. The views along the way adorned with copious spires that are typical for this entire range, very dramatic indeed.
You can skip part of the initial approach by taking the Sassolungo gondola from the Sella mountain pass, where the route begins. Once you reach the summit of Sassopiato where the cable section ends and descend down the other side, you can pop into rifugio Sassopiato for some well deserved beer!
For more details check out my article dedicated to via ferrata Oskar Schuster.
8. Via ferrata Sentiero Massimiliano
If like me you're a sucker for the beautiful views, you will love this via ferrata! The majority of it traverses along the ridgeline between two peaks: Dente Grande di Terrarossa and Cima di Terrarossa.
This is also one of the easier iron paths on this list. Its only downside is the long initial approach. The best way to tackle this via ferrata is to plan an overnight hut stay in the nearby rifugio Alpe di Tires.
Quite recently the hut went through renovations and today it's one of the nicer looking huts with cleanest facilities.
I have a whole article dedicated to via ferrata Sentiero Massimiliano. Make sure to check it out along with the many photos I took. I guarantee that it will make you want to include this via ferrata into your dolomiti itinerary!
9. Via ferratas Masarè and Roda de Vaèl
Just like the previously mentioned via ferrata Sentiero Massimiliano, these two routes are located in the lesser known Rosengarten Nature Park in the western part of the Italian Dolomites, but whilst Sentiero Massimiliano is at the northern end, these two lie at it's southern end.
The path takes you to the summit of Roda de Vaèl, where you get an excellent view into the heart of the Rosengarten group to the North.
For the most part, these via ferratas stay at a beginner level, but there are a couple of sections, one including scaling a vertical wall equipped with stemples, that puts this route on par with other intermediate via ferratas on this list. Check out the link above for more photos and detailed route description.
10. Via Ferrata Michielli Strobel
Via ferrata Michielli Strobel takes you to one of the summits in the Pomagagnon ridgeline where you get an elevated view of Cortina D'ampezzo, right in the heart of the Dolomites.
This is one of the easier via ferratas on this list, so if you think the beginner level routes are too easy for you, but you are not sure whether you are just there yet to try something harder, then this route is your answer!
It's also a good ferrata for hotter days as a lot of it stays in shade, providing you start early in the morning. With that said you should always plan your excursions for as early as possible to guarantee the best views. By mid afternoon the summits are often covered in clouds.
11. Via ferrata delle Bocchette Centrali
This is the only ferrata on this list, which can be found in the lesser known Adamello Brenta Group of the Italian Dolomites.
I have completed this ferrata as part of the multiday traverse of the Brenta group and it quickly became one of my favourites. The steep ledges coupled with the low rising clouds and early morning mist have added to the mystery of this place.
The route runs between two mountain huts: Alimonta and Pedrotti and takes around 3 hours to complete. It's best if done in conjunction with other ferratas in the Brenta group over a few days.
12. Via ferrata Brigata Tridentina
A true classic of the area, via ferrata Brigata Tridentina attracts a lot of adventurers on a daily basis.
The starting point of this route is just a few kilometres away from Passo Gardena - one of the most photogenic mountain passes in the Dolomites.
The loop takes only 3 hours to complete, but the climbing is quite steep and exposed. 80% of the way up you will get to a very cool suspension bridge but the main objective is to reach rifugio Piscadiu, where you can stop for lunch before the descent back to the carpark.
For those craving more adventure you can extend the route and go to the top of Cima Piscadiu. This will add another 2 hours, but the views will more than make up for the effort.
Via Ferrata Gear Essentials
If I have inspired you to take up on any of these via ferratas, make sure to share your experience with me later! If you have any questions about these iron paths or would like an advice on travelling around the Dolomites and you can't find answers in my Italian Dolomites Guide, make sure to leave a comment below.
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More Via Ferratas and Hikes in the Italian Dolomites
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I am Marta Kulesza - the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.