From: September 3 to September 10, 2016

Destination: Northern Alps, Italy

  • Hiking Italy's Northern Alps - FULL

    Italy's northern Alps, also known as the Dolomites, are unique among mountain ranges. Composed largely of highly erodable dolomitic limestone, the area is known for its many sheer rock walls, fantastic spires, and rugged massifs, as well as picturesque villages, excellent hiking trails, and rolling green meadows. It is also quite multicultural: much of it was part of Austria's South Tirol prior to World War I and this history is reflected in the culture and cuisine. On this hiking trip we will hike from one valley to another, allowing us to explore both the area surrounding Cortina d'Ampezzo and Alta Badia with their distinct cultures, as our luggage is transported by van. Maximum group size: 12
    THIS TRIP IS FULL. To get on a waitlist, register for the trip (no deposit required).

    Download Trip Summary and Packing List

  • September 2: We highly recommend coming a day or two earlier to visit Venice and allow yourself some time to adjust to the time difference. In any case this is the day you will need to leave North America to arrive September 3.

    September 3:
    Our trips starts about 2pm in the Venice airport (VCE) where we will meet to catch the bus for the 2 hour trip to Cortina D'Ampezzo and the start of the trip. After getting settled in we may have time to walk around town before meeting at 5pm for introductions and a trip orientation before going out for our Welcome Dinner. Cortina, home of the 1956 Winter Olympics, is best known as a chic ski town. However, it is still quite lively in the summer, with lots of shops, restaurants, and an active nightlife. Overnight Cortina. B,D

    September 4:
    Our hiking trip starts with one of the iconic sites and hikes of the Dolomites: the Tre Cime di Laveredo ("three peaks of Lavaredo") circuit hike. These three jagged limestone spires are one of the most recognizable sights here and the hiking is classic Dolomites: alpine meadows, scree, rocky paths, and outstanding views. After transferring to the Auronzo rifugio, our hike starts along a wide gravel mule track (this entire area is full of World War I history, including old tracks, trenches, roads, and barricades) that passes beneath the three peaks on the way to Rifugio Lavaredo and then onto Lago di Cengia. The track now becomes a path and zig zags steeply up to Forcella Pian de Cengia, a saddle with breathtaking views of the entire Tre Scarperi range. The path then traverses a scree slope before a short climb up a rocky outcrop brings you to Rifugio Locatelli. Both the timing and the views make this the perfect place to stop to enjoy lunch. After rest and refreshment we return to our starting point on a different path, this one traversing the rolling Pian de Rin basin before the easy climb up to Forcella Col di Mezzo, with more sweeping views over the Cadini, Sorapiss and Marmarole range, before returning to Rifugio Auronzo. 8 miles, 2000 ft ascent, about 6 hours hiking. Over night Cortina. B, D

    September 5: Leaving behind the glitz of Cortina, today we carry what we need for a night as we set off for Fanes-Sennes-Braies National Park. Starting in Fiames (a short bus ride from Cortina), we switchback up through the woods beneath Col Rosa and then descend to the Fanes River, where we cross on the Ponte Outo (high bridge). We then follow the path upriver to the area called Altiplano Fanes. This is a very popular backcountry skiing area and wintertime ski trails transform into great hiking trails. Our destination is Rifugio Fanes (6,760'), a mountain hotel that has been serving up good food and lively conversation for almost 85 years, and a welcoming place to end our day. Unless, of course, you still want some more hiking; and then a late afternoon hike up to Paso San Antonio ridge may be the way to top it off. 7.5 miles, 2800 feet ascent, about 5 hours hiking. Overnight Rifugio Lavarella.  B, D

    September 6: We continue our journey over to the Val Badia today. Located in the South Tyrol, this area was part of Austria before World War I, and the mix of Italian and Austrian culture manifests itself in the food, architecture, and language. While Italian is the predominant language in Cortina, here Ladino, which comes from the Romanash language,  is more common. Many trail signs are written in Ladino, German, and Italian, emphasizing the truly rich multicultural nature of this area.

    Leaving the rifugio, we'll spend the morning hiking across the Altopiano di Fanes with it's glorious views of the western Dolomites, including Marmolada, the highest peak in the region (11,024'). We'll hike uphill from the Rifugio toward Forcella del Lago (8,170'), before dropping 2,500' to Capanna Alpina. We'll stop here for lunch before continuing our descent into the  mountain town of San Cassiano. From here we can take a bus to Corvara, or we can take advantage of the lift system. If we choose the latter, we'll take the lift up to Piz Sorega and then hike on a wide ridge trail with views in all directions. After stopping for refreshments at Rifugio Bioch, we'll then hike another hour down to the town of Corvara, our base for the next 2 days of hiking. There are several options today to make the day shorter;  this itinerary is 11 miles, 1,400' ascent/4,000' descent, about 7 hours of hiking. Overnight Corvara  B, D

    September 7: We spend today hiking in the Sella Massif, a fortress-shaped mountain group best known for Piz Boe, its highest peak. We'll gain initial elevation without any effort as we transfer to Passo Pordoi to begin our hike along the southern face of the massif. Our trail initially switchbacks up to Forcella Pordoi, and from there we start the rolling traverse on a rocky path across the southern face. There are, as always, spectacular views of the surrounding mountains: Civetta, Marmolada and the Sassolungo mountains. We'll reach the Rifugio Franz Kostner in time for lunch. From here your choice about how to get back to Corvara will depend on how your legs are feeling: you can either walk back down to Corvara by way of Lake Boe, take 2 lifts, or take one lift and walk the other section. If you walk the entire way: about 7 miles, 1,000' ascent/3,000' descent, about 5 hours of hiking. Overnight Corvara  B, D

    September 8:
    Today we hike in one of the other Val Badia massifs: Parco Naturale Puez-Odle. Starting in the nearby town of Colfosco, our path is initially a wide track before crossing the valley and starting to climb more steeply up to Rifugio Puez. After lunch our hike takes us up and over the Col dala Sone and across the Gherdenacia Plateau to the hut. The path then descends steeply to Sponata, where the chairlift can save our knees from the final descent into La Villa.  About 7 miles, 3,100' ascent/3,000' descent, about 5 hours of hiking. Overnight Corvara  B, D

    September 9: Returning today to the Cortina side of the Dolomites, we'll take time learn a bit more WWI history, visiting a small museum and then exploring one of the most interesting remnants of WW I, the Lagazuoi galleries and tunnels. These are the most famous, well-reconstructed and interesting of the WW I bunker ruins and tunnels, leftover from the Italian and Austrian armies' bitter contest. Transferring to Passo Falzarego, we'll start with a visit to a museum with lots of artifacts from the war. We'll then walk over to the cable car station. The cable car is very steep with fantastic views the whole way, ending at the top where we can visit the reconstructed bunkers and have a snack at Lagazuoi Rifugio. We will then descend partway down the reconstructed tunnels, just far enough to get a sense of how challenging it was to live in and guard them. We'll then take the cable car back to Passo Falzarego and from here we'll take a bus and return to Cortina for the night. Whether or not you will be leaving the next day or staying on for our 'Via Ferrata' option, we'll share a celebration dinner. About 1 hour of hiking. Overnight Cortina  B, D

    September 10
    : You are free to leave anytime this morning after breakfast.  We'll make sure you know the transportation options back to Venice if you choose to spend the weekend there. B

    But if you want to try one of the experiences for which the Dolomites are known, a via ferrata, then plan on staying another day. We're happy to arrange this and lodging for everyone who is interested. On a via ferrata, every step is safeguarded as you progress, always clipped in to a sturdy cable using climbing harnesses, slings and steel carabiners. You experience what rock climbers or mountain goats feel as you make your way up a mountain that you would never want to go up without some protection!
  • $2895 (see this page for travel discounts) $400 deposit. If you want a private room for the entire trip (limited availability and not including the night in the rifugio), the additional cost is $400.  You can read our cancellation policies here.


    Trip Includes

    • A UIAGM-certified mountain guide and an Adventures in Good Company guide
    • Seven nights lodging
    • All breakfasts and dinners from dinner on September 3 through breakfast on September 10
    • All ground transportation in Italy, including public and private bus, except for the final transfer
    • Luggage transfer
    Not included: airfare to Italy, lunches, guide gratuities, items of a personal nature. For some lunches we'll buy picnic food and other times we'll stop at local rifugios
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Hiking through a diverse landscape of dramatic spires, rugged massifs, and towering walls
  • Experiencing the culture and cuisine of the Italian Cortina Dolomites and the Austrian Alta Badia
  • Learning more about World War I in a visceral way
  • Wandering though small villages and chic ski towns

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