Guided Glacier & Summit Ascents

The Marmolada – 3343m – Queen of the Dolomites

A Glacier Trek (every Wednesday) & A Summit Ascent via the West Ridge Via Ferrata (every Friday)

The highest peak in this range is the magnificent Marmolada, known locally as the ‘Queen of the Dolomites’. Her summit at Punta Penìa (3343m) and her brilliant white glacier dominate many a beautiful panorama. Most will admire this awesome spectacle from a distance in the comparative comfort of a waymarked trail lower down in the valleys or you can go there yourself via the cable car, which rises dramatically in front of the vast eastern wall, against which the cable car itself looks like a ‘matchbox’ toy!

Approaching the Marmolada
West Ridge Via Ferrata
On the Marmolada
West Ridge Via Ferrata
High on the Marmolada glacier trek

The north face of the Marmolada is covered by the most extensive ice formation in the Dolomites, indeed in the whole of the eastern Alps, making it hard to believe this was the scene of fierce military combat in WWI between the Austrians and Italians. This impressive glacier preserves the remains of the ‘City of Ice’, an extraordinary labyrinth of up to five miles of tunnels built under the ice by the Austrians.

Working in conjuction with our friends at ProGuide, Collett’s is able to offer two excursions on the Marmolada:

guided glacier trek

£65 per person (Every Wednesday – minimum 6 people in the group*)

Each Wednesday you can trek across the glacier, traversing crevasses and touching snow and blue ice. To start the trek we go to the snout of the glacier via the ‘yoghurt pot’ lifts. See positions taken up by soldiers in the Great War and make your way to the Marmolada’s second summit, Punta Rocca. An exciting way of reaching this fabulous summit on the Marmolada, without the need for any climbing experience. A sound level of fitness is required for this trek but alpine experience is not necessary. Please scroll down for information on kit, transport, food and notes concerning this day out.

The Route

Having met the guide early in the morning, your day will begin with a drive to the foot of the Marmolada. This is a stunning drive and it will take about 50 minutes from Corvara and an hour from Badia. Once parked up, you will use the ‘yoghurt pot’ lifts to reach the snout of the glacier, from where you will begin the walk. (Bear in mind that if you are staying in low season, this lift might not be open, in which case you will have an earlier start and an extra 600m of ascent and descent by foot). The route usually takes a meandering line up the glacier, though on days with inclement weather, you may take a more direct route. This eventually brings you to Punta Rocca (3250m), the second summit of the Marmolada, from where you can take in the fantastic panoramas of the Dolomites. The route down takes a more direct line down the glacier towards the top of the lift. In total, the route involves about 625m of ascent and whilst it is not particularly long, it is situated at higher altitude than other Collett’s walks and you should bear this in mind when considering booking.

Walk Pace

The guides will tend to walk at a continuous, steady pace, in order to keep some momentum going throughout the day. It is worth having some food close at hand that you can eat whilst walking. Whilst the Marmolada isn’t the longest route it in the area, the guides will look to be off the glacier by mid-afternoon, to minimise any exposure to sudden changes in the weather.

Guided Glacier Trek on the Marmolada, 3343m
On the Marmolada
West Ridge Via Ferrata

guided summit ascent – west ridge via ferrata

£80 per person (Every Friday – minimum 4 people in the group*)

The summit ascent begins with a trek across the glacier to a ridge at the western end of the majestic and vast south wall, (800m high & 3km wide) before using one of the area’s most famous and exposed Via Ferrata to reach the summit (Grade 4C). You return by descending a wall just below the summit and down the glacier. Whilst the Summit Trek is not technically difficult; its length, exposure and altitude (along with the descent of the summit wall and glacier) demand some alpine experience, a head for heights and a good level of fitness. Please scroll down for information on kit, transport, food and notes concerning this day out.

The Route

Having met the guide early in the morning, your day will begin with a drive to the foot of the Marmolada. This is a stunning drive and it will take about 50 minutes from Corvara and an hour from Badia. Once parked up, you will use the ‘yoghurt pot’ lifts to reach the snout of the glacier, from where you will begin the walk. (Bear in mind that if you are staying in low season, this lift might not be open, in which case you will have an earlier start and an extra 600m of ascent and descent by foot).This excursion normally uses the West Ridge Via Ferrata (grade 4), which generally sees guests leaving the resort at around 7.00am, returning at about 4.00pm. Occasionally, however, the West Ridge Via Ferrata route is not in a suitable condition to be used. If the guide determines the route to be unsafe, then the summit excursion will follow the ‘normal route’ (grade 2), which reaches the summit via a shorter route. This route is the same as the usual descent route, but still requires climbing skills and a good head for heights. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the weather, we are not able to guarantee which route the guides will use. Starting in the same way as the Glacier Trek, this route takes off towards the bottom of the West Ridge immediately after exiting the ‘yoghurt pot’ lift.

Walk Pace

The guides will tend to walk at a continuous, steady pace, in order to keep some momentum going throughout the day. It is worth having some food close at hand that you can eat whilst walking. Whilst the Marmolada isn’t the longest route it in the area, the guides will look to be off the glacier by mid-afternoon, to minimise any exposure to sudden changes in the weather.

Descending form the Marmolada summit
Guided glacier trek with Collett’s

Kit List, Weather, Transport & Other Notes

Kit List

  • Strong, comfortable walking boots with ankle support (low cut footwear is not suitable)
  • Rucksack of at least 30 litres capacity
  • Walking trousers (not shorts), gaiters (if you have them), hat and gloves, lots of layers, waterproof jacket
  • Water (at least 2 litres) and additional food
  • Suncream and sunglasses – essential, as the glare from the snow can cause sunburn even in cloudy condition

The guide provides ice axes and crampons, and can also supply a harness (plus helmet and VF tails for Summit Ascent) on request – you will be roped together on the glacier, so will need a harness. Please discuss this with a member of staff if you are unsure. The crampons are fully adjustable and should fit the majority of walking boots – you do not need crampon specific boots.

Weather Conditions

The weather can be tough to predict in the Dolomites at any time of the year, particularly high up on the Marmolada. Whilst we can advise you on what to take, you need to have enough kit with you to cope with anything from hot and sunny conditions, to cold, blustery and potentially wet. Each evening, our chalets will display an up-to-date weather forecast, which tend to be quite accurate for the following day. Please make sure you have seen the forecast and have suitable clothing and equipment for the conditions.

Transport

Transport is available for a limited number of participants, but unfortunately we cannot guarantee that all guests can be transported. Any guests with their own vehicles should take their car to the meeting point in Corvara, in case additional transport is required. Guests staying in Badia will need to make their way to Corvara to meet the guide. Any cars which are then not needed can be parked outside our Chalet Verena. Please ask a member of staff if you are unsure about whether to take your vehicle.

Food

The cost of the excursion includes a snack pack (snack bar, fruit and drink). If you would like a full packed lunch, please ask your chalet hosts at breakfast on the day before your excursion. There is a rifugio on the route, although it is not in the ideal place to stop for food, being right at the start of the day. Also, it may be closed during early and late season. The guides will tend to walk at a continuous, steady pace, in order to keep some momentum going throughout the day. It is worth having some food close at hand that you can eat whilst walking. Whilst the Marmolada isn’t the longest route it in the area, the guides will look to be off the glacier by mid-afternoon, to minimise any exposure to sudden changes in the weather. In any event, an extra bar or two of chocolate (or similar) is never a bad idea.

The Weather and Cancellation

If the guides deem it necessary to postpone your excursion, due to the weather for example, we will endeavour to rearrange it for another day during your holiday. Should this not be possible, for example, if you are leaving the next day, the cost of the excursion will be refunded. If you wish to cancel your place on the excursion, please give us as much notice as possible – in this instance we will only refund the cost of the excursion if we are able to find someone else to replace you. We have a minimum group size for this excursion, which we need to reach in order for it to go ahead – if we are unable to run the excursion due to group sizes, we will refund the cost of the excursion.

Booking & Group Sizes

Please pre-book and pay for the guided excursion of your choice as soon as possible by contacting us on 01799 513331 or admin@colletts.co.uk The guides will take a maximum of four on the summit ascent and a maximum of 6 on the glacier trek. The guiding rates for such excursions are not cheap. So it is our aim to create group sizes of 4 for the summit ascent and 6 for the glacier trek, so that it is not necessary to seek a supplement in the event of a shortfall. In other words, if we fail to achieve these group sizes, then the cost of the day can become prohibitive. If guests are happy to pay the required supplement in the event of a shortfall in numbers, then the excursion can proceed. However, if any guests within a group are unwilling to pay such a supplement, then the excursion will be cancelled and monies will be refunded. For the record, such is the interest in these days out, there will usually be two or three groups on each given day. In any event, as soon as bookings allow us to put together a group of the the right size (i.e. 4 or 6) we will confirm that group. We work right up to the last few days before the excursion to get the group sizes to where they should be, often completing a group at Office Hour in resort a day or two before the excursion. To this extent, you might be part of an unconfirmed group right up to the last minute. naturally, we regret the disappointment caused by cancellations that have to be made because of a shortfall in numbers. It happens but our success rate is generally high.

Notes on the status of Collett’s Ltd. in respect of Guided Glacier Treks & Summit Ascents

We are happy to inform you of (and book) activities supplied by third parties but it is important that you understand that: these excursions and activities are neither run nor controlled by Collett’s (even if advertised by us); that we only act as your agent; and that your contract for these services is with the third party supplier in question and not Collett’s Limited. Consequently, we are not responsible/liable for the provision of any such third party excursions or activities or for anything that happens during the course of its provision by the supplier. This applies to all activities advertised by Collett’s in our brochure, on our website and in resort and includes Glacier and Summit Treks.