Dolomites AV1 self-guided 2019
Classic hut-to-hut trek in the Italian Dolomites
FREE GPX FILE FOR THE WHOLE ROUTE
Clients booking this trip are provided a GPX file, to download this to a GPS unit, to assist with navigation
Self-guided Dolomites AV1 trekking holiday How to book a trip
Self-guiding is a rapily growing market, but for those who have not come across the concept before, it couldn't be simpler. You guide yourself and all the logistics are arranged for you. We organise all the boring bits so you don't have to; route information, maps, hut bookings etc. You walk with your friends, at your pace, rather than as part of a group.
We have a logistics team in the Alps, and you'll have a Skype briefing before you depart with one of our guides. This is an essential resource in case you need any assistance during the week. It is there, with a 24 hour emergency number, to support you throughout your trek. This level of support is not possible from others without a team in the Alps.
About two weeks before your trip, you are be posted (if you live in UK) maps for the trek. If you live outside the UK, you can either pay for international postage, or some groups arrange to collect this from the hotel at the start of the trek. The maps are a 1:25,000 scale. You are also provided route cards for each stage of the trek, and these are key navigational aids, as well as providing lots of details of the area.
We consider that the detail and accuracy of our routecards are a key selling point for our self-guided treks as they have been meticulously researched and produced by our guiding team. The routecards also detail emergency escape routes, local numbers, and key information about the route. One set of routecards, maps, etc is provided per group.
Price inclusions
Booking of the mountain hut and valley accommodation in your name.
New map(s) of the route, for you to keep even after your trek is finished.
The detailed Icicle route information cards, so you know where to go.
Language cards with key phrases, so you can communicate confidently.
Emergency procedure and mountain rescue card, in case of an incident.
Local information sheets, with details about the region and key sights.
Briefing before arrival via Skype, about the route and kit, from a guide.
24 hour in-resort emergency contact support through our Alpine team.
Exclusions. Travel to Dolomites, all accommodation / food / lodging costs, activities & travel insurance, equipment hire, all other costs as required such as valley transport via bus or train.
Our itinerary can start on any day that you choose, so decide what day you would like to start your trek, and get in touch with us by e-mail. We will then upload a private self-guided trip onto our online booking system, that is in your name, and then you can book and pay securely online. You receive an immediate e-confirmation and equipment list to help you start packing, as well as an Self-Guided Alpine Booklet. You receive your trip detailed itinerary and walking notes etc about two weeks befoe you depart.
Need any training?
Some groups who are not as sure of their mountain skills, such as navigation, and over steep ground, arrange a day or two of private guiding in the UK Lake District before their trip. If you would like to get a quote for this, get in touch.
Italian Dolomites AV1 self-guided trek itinerary
11 days holiday, with 9 days trekking
Price: £299 1-3 pers. £399 4-6 pers. Note these are the total prices, NOT per person.
Day 1 Arrival day Travel to Venice and bus to Cortina. Fly into Venice, which is served by a wide range of airlinesincluding EasyJet, British Airways, Jet2, Ryanair, and BMI. The bus costs c.10€ from Venice to Cortina d’Ampezzo. Night in a hotel in Cortina, which is a bustling Italian town with plenty of shops and restaurants.
n/a
Day 2 Trekking
Stage 1
Lago di Braies to Rifugio Sennes. Catch the morning bus from Cortina bus station, via Dobbiaco on to the Lago di Braies, which is the official start point of the AV1 at 1494m. The mountain walls surroung you, and as you leave the lake behind and head up through the pines, you may be lucky to catch a glimpse of the Tre Cima ahead of you. There's a stiff first ascent up to Rifugio Biella 2327m, and the option of taking in the peak of Croda del Becco 2812m, or you can take the trail more gently down to reach Rifugio Sennes 2126m for the night. Here the surrounding peaks are a stunnig vista; Cristallo, Sorapic, Tofana and Croda Rosa, all magnificent. 10km
+940m
-300m
Day 3 Trekking
Stage 2
Rifugio Sennes to Rifugio Fanes. The trek sets off along an old miltary track from WW1, through a narrow gorge down zig-zags to reach Rifugion Pederu 1548m, where you could stop for lunch. Beyond, the tral ascends up through the stunning karstic landscape, alongside a stream along the Valun de Fanes, to arrive at the Rifugio Fanes 2060m, far above the town of San Vigilio di Marebbe. The area is all withinb a national park. You stay at the Rifugio Fanes for the night. 10km
+570m
-640m
Day 4 Trekking
Stage 3
Rifugio Fanes to Rifugio Lagazuoi. The trek along the AV1 ascends from the Rifugio Fanes through a seemingly lunar limestone landscape to the Lago di Limo lake at 2157m. Beyond, as you reach the Passo Tagéda, there is a path junction, and there is an easier (or bad weather) or tougher route choice. Both routes join again at Lago Lagazuoi 2182m. The steeper option ascends, followed by a steep but manageable descent down a gully towards the lake. The easier trail takes broads tracks past the Forcella del Lago 2486m, then trists its way more gently down to the lake. Beyond, you start a long and steady ascent up towards the Rifugio Lagazuoi 2752m, and on route will pass the old Autro-Italian WW1 front lines, and when not looking at these, keep an eye out for Edelweiss growing in this area. Continue up the zig-zags to the Rifugio Lagazuoi where you stay for the night. There's a big terrace, and this hut even has a sauna! 12km
+1060m
-410m
Day 5 Trekking
Stage 4
Rifugio Lagazuoi to Rifugio Nuvolau. The sunsets and sunrises at the Rifugio Lagazuoi are well worth watching, so a top tip is to get up early to get some photos! Here the area is full of WW1 history, with trenches, tunnels, gun placements, and ruins. It's a poignant area, where it's incongruous and hard to imagine warface in such a beautiful landscape, and if you wish you can explore some of the tunnels near the hut (be careful of your head if you're tall). The trail then crosses the mountainside of the Tafana des Rozes, across a scree slope. It's not too technical, but take care on this section. You arrive at the Rifugio Dibona 2037m, which is an ideal lunch stop, and you'll probably see many chamois grazing on the spare vegatation. The next section of trail is easier as you walk through pine and rhododendron forests along a larger track. The peaks of the Conque Torra dominate the view. You pass the Rifugio Averau 2413m, and continue to Rifugio Nuvolau 2575m where you spend the night. It's the oldest hut in the Dolomites, originally built back in 1883.
15km
+1030m
-1140m
Day 6 Trekking
Stage 5
Rifugio Nuvolau to Rifugio Citta di Fiume. Unless you are happy on an easy via ferrata section, descend to the Rifugio Averau 2413m, and from there follow the trail towards Rifugio Passo Giau 2236m. This section of the trek will really appeal to nature lovers and botanists, as you hike through meadows full of Alpine flowers. In terms of wildlife, keep your eyes and ears open, and with luck you'll see eagles, marmots, and chamois. You arrive at the Rifugio Citta di Fiume 1918m, which was converted from an old farm building. 12km
+540m
-1150m
Day 7 Trekking
Stage 6
Rifugio Citta di Fiumeto Rifugio Coldai. There's a start contrast between the soaring limestone mountains, and the benign trekking routes below them, and today you continue through flower filled high pastures, then some easier scree trails, to arrive at the Rifugio Passo Staulanza 1783m. The local rumour says that this hut has the best Italian hot chocolate in the whole of the Dolomites, so it would be rude not to test it! From here the trail ascends to reach the Rifugio Coldai 2132m, where you spend the night. 10km
+620m
-400m
Day 8 Trekking
Stage 7

Rifugio Coldai to Rifugio Passo Duran. The day starts hiking to the Lago Coldai, whose waters mirror the peaks all around. It's a stunning setting, and many photographers love this place. After leaving the lake behind you cross a small col, then descend into the next valley, with the dominant view being the Lago di Alleghe ahead. Then it's a steady ascent over the Forcella di Col Rean pass. The objective for the ay is the Rifugio Passo Duran, and you cross a series of smaller passes one after the other to reach it. Today is a long state, as you traverse around the Civetta mountain range. At the end of the trail, you arrive at the Rifugio Duran 1605m, where you spend the night. Note; this day is the longest day of the AV1 trek, and some guests elect before booking to split it into two sections, and to stay for the extra night in the Rifugio Vazzoler 1714m. If you wish to book this option, let us know at the time of booking.

20km
+1300m
-1830m
Day 9 Trekking
Stage 8
Rifugio Coldai to Rifugio Fontana. Todays trek takes you into the next National Park of Dolomiti Bellunesi. This is a beautiful and more remote section of the trek, with great views throughout. The day starts heading up to the Forcella del Moshesin 1950m pass, and across the boulder strewn rock slopes of Cima de Zita. As you are in the national park, you'll be likely to spot plenty of chamois and marmots, as well as enjoying the wild flowers. There are a couple of passages that are steep, and there is some unavoidable steeper ground, but if you've hiked the Haute Route, or harder variants of the Tour du Mont Blanc, you'll be absolutely fine. The ridge leads to a high pass at 2451m, and you can gaze across the plain towards Venice. Later the trail descends steeply to arrive at the Rifugio Pian de Fontana 1632m, where you stay for the night. 16km
+1100m
-1030m
Day 10 Trekking
Stage 9
Rifugio Fontana to La Muda & Belluno. This final stage of the AV1 is almost entirely descent, along a winding mountain trail through flower meadows and mountain farms. The meadows give was to woods, and you can stop for a rest at Rifugio Bianchet 1245m, before the final descent through the woodland to arrive at the road at the village of La Muda. From here you can catch a bus for the 30 minute drive to Belluno, where you stay in a hotel for the night. This town has a great selection of bars, shops and cafes, and is a great place to relax after completing the AV1. 12km
+480m
-1670m
Day 11 Departure Breakfast & depart. After breakfast, you can take a train from Belluno, via the town of Conegliano, back to Venice. This journey takes c.1hr50 by train, or alternatively there is a bus. n/a
Key notes for the Domolites AV1 self-guided trek
The AV1 makes a complete traverse from North to South of the Italian Dolomites. The region is famed for its limestone mountainsm soaring cliffs, impossibly blue lakes, and WW1 history. It's a trek that is varied in terms of landscape and terrain, with the highest point being Rifugio Lagzazuoi 2750m, where you spend a night.
Due to the number of higher sections of the AV1, which often keep snow slightly longer than in other areas such as the TMB, we recommend the best season for self-guided treks to be between early July and mid September each year. The huts are open earlier, but we take this policy for your safety.
As a national trail, the AV1 is well waymarked, perhaps better even than the Tour du Mont Blanc. There are regular signs, and painted AV1 symbols on the rocks. Even so, a good basic level of navigation is sensible. There are no obligatory via ferrata, and the trail is a mountain walk, though with a few steeper sections, and some passages that are on easier scree slopes.
In terms of comparing the AV1 to other self-guided Alpine treks, it's slightly above the level of the Tour du Mont Blanc TMB, and just below that of the Walkers Haute Route, though the penultimate stage is similar technically to the terrain on the WHR. The AV1 will appeal to those who have slightly more mountain skills than the typical TMB trekker, as there are a few sections where good balance is required.
We are the only operator with a logistics and guiding team in the Alps, whom will brief you via Skype about two weeks before your trek starts. This is a highly personalised service, which is unique to Icicle, as you are briefed by a professional guide, who will typically have trekked the AV1 route many times. You have the security of knowing you are backed up by a local resort team of qualified professionals.
On each night of the trek you are booked into mountain accommodation, which we also use for our guided groups. These vary from chalet style, to gites, mountain huts, and lodges. Each day you should easily be able to complete the trek by mid afternoon, to minimise the risk of being caught in any afternoon convention storms. If you ever are likely to arrive after 5pm, call ahead to ensure your reservation is kept.
Note that once you have started on your trek, any accommodation that has been booked cannot be altered or cancelled, and if any changes are made / you do not arrive, you will be billed for the stay anyway. By booking, you accept this, and will sign authorisation at the briefing for your card to be charged for any no-show or cancellation. This is to protect your bookings without paying up-front deposits.
Alternative self-guided trips

Preparatory trips
Chamonix self-guided


Alternatives
Tour Mont Blanc trek


Next trips
Bob Graham self-guided
Why a self-guided trek?
For those who have not come across the concept of self-guiding before, it couldn't be simpler. You guide yourself and all the logistics are arranged for you.
We organise all the boring bits so you don't have to; route information, maps, hut bookings etc. You get to walk with your friends, at your pace, rather than as part of a group.
We have a seasonal team in the Alps, and you are given a briefing (c. 45 - 60 mins) by one of our guides, via Skype, typically a week or so before you depart.
Our UK office has a full time logistics team, so support our guides. This is an essential resource for you, in case we need to change hut bookings or any part of your itinerary.
We have a 24 hour emergency and local contact number, for urgent queries during the trek. This level of support is unique to us.
The route notes have been meticulously researched and produced by our UIMLA guiding team. They are informative and also detail emergency escape routes, local numbers, and key information about the route.
Note that the route notes used on self-guided treks are suggestions, and that should you opt to alter any section of the route, you would be operating outside the remit of the trip. Our treks are designed for you to walk the whole route, and we don't include minute detail on how to complete the tour by public transport, just escape routes.
You are totally responsible for your own safety on self-guided treks, as there is no guiding element to the package. One set of route notes, maps, etc is provided per group, in paper format (not as PDF).
Our route notes follow the AV1, and in some cases a popular 'official' variation that we consider merits the extra distance or diversion.
Our itinerary can start on any day of the week that you choose, so decide when you would like to start your trek, and get in touch with us by e-mail. We upload a private self-guided trip onto our booking system, and then you can book and pay securely online. Please note that we only accept bookings up to two months before departure, to guarantee availability in mountain huts & accommodation.
You receive an immediate e-confirmation and equipment, as well as an Self-Guided AV1 dossier. You receive your trip detailed itinerary and walking notes etc about two weeks before travel. Once the trip balance is paid, you can request to be sent the GPX files and notes, if you intend to use a GPS.
Inclusions
Booking of the mountain huts and valley accommodation during the trek, made in your name.
New maps of the AV1, for you to keep even after your trek is finished.
The detailed Icicle route information notes, so you know where to go.
Language notes with key phrases, so you can communicate confidently during the trek.
Emergency procedure and mountain rescue notes, in case of an incident.
Local information sheets, with details about the region and key sights to take in on the route.
Briefing via Skype about the route and kit to take, from a UIMLA guide.
24 hour in-resort emergency contact and queries support throughout.
Discount voucher for use in our Windermere store / online purchases.
Exclusions
Travel to Dolomites, all accommodation / food / lodging costs (i.e. price of the half board stay in mountain hut or accommodation), activities & travel insurance, equipment hire, all other costs as required.
Accommodation notes
The accommodation in Cortina at the start of the trek, and Belluno at the end of the trek, is typically in a 3*** hotel. If you wish for greater (of less) luxury, let us now at the time of booking. The trekking nights are all in mountain huts, generally in small dormitories. On the nights in mountain huts you should budget for c.£40-60 pppn for half board (evening meal and breakfast). The range of prices in huts is a factor or room size. Packed lunches can be ordered in huts for c.£10 per day.
Post-booking changes
Changes to the group size after booking will incur a price change if it alters the group size price bracket, and a £50 administration fee. If the group size change is made within 8 weeks of the trip, it will be treated as a new booking, and priced accordingly. All the huts will need to be contacted to alter the reservations. Transfers of dates on a self-guided trips are treated as cancellations.
Will the AV1 suit you?
Many people contact us about whether the self-guided option would suit them in terms of experience. All we ask is that you feel confident in the following...
Navigation in poor visibility, such as dense cloud even in snow.
Security on steep / loose ground in terms or personal ability.
Language skills in case of an emergency, & to communicate.
First aid training and medical awareness, e.g. altitude sickness.
If unsure at all about any of these points, consider a guided trek.
If you aren't sure about any of these skills listed above, as a guided option can often work out a very similar budget anyway, and then you have the peace of mind that you are led by a fully qualified and highly experienced UIMLA International Mountain Leader. As well as showing you the route, they make all the mountain safety decisions, and offer added value in that they can tell you a lot about the local region. Opting for a guided trek doesn't mean that you couldn't do have done the trek it self-guided, but that you want to share the experience with others, make friends, and learn a lot more about the mountains, routes, customs, guided by an expert.
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District. Arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor. Many people opt for this service, and it is an integral part of what we offer, to ensure that you are prepared as possible.



As well as talking though your course, most clients have queries about the kit they will require, to avoid expensive mistakes, and we can show you some examples of that to consider. Others have training queries, about how to best prepare for your trip, and we will be able to steer you in the right direction. No question is too silly, and we'll have heard them all before! An integral part of booking is the ability to get good knowledgable advice, and a highly personal service. Unlike companies that only exist virtually in cyberspace, we are staffed by real people, in a real office, who offer real honest advice. Because we are tangible, we are accountable, and we take great pride in that and the service that we offer you. Get in touch to come in for a chat soon.
 
 

 
 
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