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A mountaineering experience: regular routes

Tackling the regular route of a dolomite’s peak is a great mountaineering experience.

Every Dolomite peak can be summited by taking many different routes. Among these, the so-called ‘Normal route’ is the simplest. Given the Dolomites convoluted rocky features, the normal route is seldom an easy hike, but a mountaineering experience. More often than not, these can be complex alpine routes with grades up to IV in some cases. The difficulty and demanding characteristics of these routes may not make certain towers or sharper summits achievable for everyone. However, many others require just some moderate level of fitness. Tackling one of these normal routes with a mountain guide is advisable to ‘peak-baggers’ as well as the ones that want to summit a peak but are tired of queuing along via Ferratas. Alone, in the peace and quiet found in a typical ‘Alpine’ day. Some of this routes are long and fairly easy, others are short but demanding. However, they always lead to an enchanting summit: Three peaks of Lavaredo, Torri del Vajolet, Torre Trieste, Torre Venezia, Sorapiss, Croda Rossa d’Ampezzo, Sassolungo, Marmolada… these are only some of the most prized summits.


most important peaks

type of activity

climbing classic route


good physical condition

customised programme

see below

a list of normal routes

MARMOLADA: the queen of the Dolomites

This section couldn’t possibly start with anything other than the Queen of the Dolomites, their highest summit, standing at 3343 metres high. Marmolada presents a jagged summit ridge, its two main peaks are Punta Rocca and Punta Penia, the latter being the higher one. The distance between the two summits is such that the cable car arriving at Punta Rocca doesn’t seem to bother the mountaineers’ who relentlessly climb up the glacier in order to reach this incredible summit.
This experience is a mountaineering ascent by means of crampons and ice axe along a steep glacier, then a short via ferrata and finally along the summit ridge up to the summit’s cross.
Total ascent: 800 metres, Difficulty: Not very difficult.

GRAN VERNEL: a complete mountaineering experience

If Marmolada is known as the Queen of the Dolomites and the Antelao as is its King, Gran Vernel should at least be the Prince, not only because of its height but also its elegant appearance from every side. Its normal route isn’t very busy and represents a true adventure, made up of great effort, tricky sections on rock that can be a little ugly at times and a very exposed final ridge up to the summit. Total ascent: 1140 metres, grade III+.

GREAT PEAK of LAVAREDO: the dolomites’ icon

Probably the most coveted among the Dolomites normal routes. The Three Peaks of Lavaredo, famous for their postcard-picture appearance from their north side, sport 3 incredible normal routes. The busiest is the route up to the middle peak, the highest of the three.
This ascent is not to be underestimated: around 500 metres long and with a couple of sections up to grade IV. Ascending will take us around 3 to 4 hours however, given the terrain complexities, the descent will take just about as much.


The two sisters at the side of the Great Peak are definitely less trodden than the first one. For this reason, their ascent is thoroughly recommended, the west Peak especially. Its height is only a few metres lower and its normal route is almost completely comparable. The only difference is that we will rarely meet more than 2 or 3 other groups of mountaineers.
The normal route up to Cima Piccola however, despite its reduced length (just 350 metres), is a true climbing route with its non-trivial moves consistently at grade IV.

CIVETTA: a huge peak

this is one of the highest and most imposing massifs in the Dolomites. Its normal route is a via ferrata of moderate difficulty but very long, so a mountaineering experience for beginners. The alternative route to the normal route is the Alleghesi via ferrata along the long, beautiful north-west ridge. Their magic and the fact these routes aren’t overtly busy make them thoroughly recommendable. Both routes are long and with a total ascent around 1800 metres. Luckly, just under the summit, we can find Torrani mountain hut, the 2nd highest hut in the Dolomites and definitely the one with the trickiest access. They will welcome us with a hot meal and comfortable blankets. The sunrise from there will be a priceless, unforgettable show.

SASSOLUNGO: a long and complex route

This is the icon dominating over val Gardena, its main peak reaches 3000 metres and one of the harder normal routes in the Dolomites is right up there. Indeed, the route is almost akin to a labyrinth of rocky towers and deep, iced-over gullies. It runs through different sides of the peak and, just after a few grade III+ sections, reaches the summit ridge and thereafter the top. The route rocks up 500 metres ascent and 1500 metres total length.


an imposing peak sits just by the Sassolungo’s side. Both require a ggod mountaineering experience. The Grohman’s normal route, although technically harder than its neighbour’s, is shorter and with a reduced complexity. However, they both present the same austere environment and give out the same sense of achievement once on the top.  Total ascent 450 metres, grade IV.


The three Sella towers are well known and fairly well trodden, mostly because of their compact, solid rock and short, easy approaches. The normal up to the third tower is an enjoyable route winding up like a staircase on its south-east, west and north faces. Difficulties are up to grade III with a crux around IV- for a total 190 metres length.


These are some of the most trodden and photographed peaks in the Dolomites. They rise up dramatically over Re Alberto hut. This is the easiest of all normal routes, however its difficulty reaches grade IV- over a total ascent of 150 metres.

PELMO: the God’s throne

Mount Pelmo is one of those lonely colossal peaks among the highest, together with Civetta, Marmolada and Antelao. Given its peculiar shape, it is also called ‘God’s throne’. Its normal route is pretty demanding, mostly due to its great length, but not very difficult technically, except for one section called the ‘Cat’s move’. If you choose to tackle it with a mountain guide, only good hiking skills are required, this will turn to be your first mountaineering experience. Once on top, the sense of achievement is immense.
Total ascent: 1700 metres, grade II.

CRISTALLO: a demanding regular route

It rises up majestically both from its soutern side, towards Cortina d’Ampezzo, and from its northern side, where a circle of glaciers wraps around the rocky towers. Its normal route, not very busy, requires a good level of fitness, given the considerable total ascent but also a few tricky, exposed rocky sections. Total ascent: 1410 metres, grade III.


This is the Fassa Dolomites main peak, its east side being the most spectacular. Here, a 700 metres drop glistens in the morning sun over the Gardeccia. The normal route, however, ascends the opposite side (west face) to then run through the long and spectacular northern ridge up to the summit. On this experience, mountaineering difficulties are around grade III with a few metres around III+ along 350 metres total length. However, the approach from Fronza mountain hut to the Coronelle requires going through fairly extended via Ferrata Santner, taking around 2 hours to get to the base of the rocky face.