It’s a special day and, with the right company, I’m ready to takle the Alta Via of Fundres, a spectacular itinerary, surrounded by the unspoiled nature of the Dolomites, which starts from Vipiteno in the Alta Valle Isarco and leads nearby Brunico in Val Pusteria, in the heart of Dolomites.
Six stages for many but not for all
This route is divided in six stages (one per day) and requires both good physical preparation and the right clothing to face the most technical sections. If you decide to trek the Alta Via with your family, it is recommended that children are at least 15/17 years old and trained to face the mountains. Every day, in fact, you walk at an average altitude of 2000 meters for at least seven hours, for a total of 70 kilometers and 5600 meters of elevation gain, following the route circled in red.
From Vipiteno to adventure
The first part starts from Vipiteno and reaches the Simile Mountain hut (about seven hours): on the path it is not rare to come across small bushes of strawberries that can cheer the walk. Fast and safe we reach the Simile hut and then we took the path which will lead us to the Bressanone Refuge. We proceed along the path while exploring the surroundings. We believe in the importance of exploring because it allows us to live new and exciting experiences: the most important thing is respecting the customs of the places and the people you meet along the way.
Breath, observe, breath
The following morning, after a rich breakfast, we set off again, full of energy. Along the way we see some groundhogs and shortly after I’m the first noticing an eagle dancing above our heads. In about six hours we reach the Walter-Benninger bivouac, which provides shelter for eight people. Here, we prepare a delicious home-made fondue since the shelter doesn’t provide guests with food, and after a quick chat we slip into our sleeping bags. The following day, we face the path which leads us to Ponte Ghiaccio refuge, and this is the part that most impressed me: you walk along a small stream and then, following the thinning of the vegetation, you find yourself facing an increasingly steep and rocky slope. I take a few seconds to observe the green expanses we have just crossed. I breathe and try to live this unique moment to the fullest.
Ponte di Ghiaccio refuge, a compelling stop
The Ponte di Ghiaccio refuge (2545 meters above sea level) is a minimal structure, buildt using functional materials and in a way to be energy self-sufficient. This is the point where the ascents to many peaks start: the Gran Pilastro, the Grande Mesule or Punta Bianca. The refuge is located on the stretch that connects Lappago with the Fundres Valley and from here you can also see the enchanting Lake Neves. Just enough time to drink a welcome mountain “drink” and we go out again near the refuge to admire a big and beautiful red Moon.
Make the most of the mornings
The next morning, we wake up early, as we have to face at seven to eight hours of walking. Our destination is the Lago Pausa Refuge, near to the homonymous lake, and considered by many people the most evocative stretch of the entire Alta Via: the difference in altitude is challenging (about 1100m) but the view is wonderful, and it is easy to meet ibex, deer and chamois. The last stretch extends from the Lago Pausa Refuge to San Giorgio, in Valle Aurina di Tures and this part of the trail offers unforgettable views too, such as the one on Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Enjoy your walk!
Development: 70 km
Duration: 6 stages
Height difference: 5600 meters
Difficulty level: experienced trekker
Text by Marta Manzoni, The Pill Magazine
Photos by The Pill Magazine