Whilst in the UK it is very difficult to spend a night in the mountains away from the hustle and bustle, in the Dolomites it is possible to escape for a night (or three) to enjoy a very unique experience in a mountain hut or rifugio.
If you prefer a bit more comfort than what is afforded by the hut on the Col di Lana (featured in the blog below), you can spend nights out in the mountains - we can easily organise self guided hut to hut itineraries in the Dolomites.
Collett's now offers self guided hut to hut holidays in the Dolomites from late June to mid-September. You choose the itinerary and dates that take your fancy, whilst we take care of all necessary arrangements, including the provision of maps, route notes and airport transfers to and from Venice or Treviso. We accommodate you in Badia or Corvara on the first and last nights of your holiday. Click here for more information on our hut to hut walking itineraries.
The Col di Lana
The Col Di Lana, standing at 2452m, is a mountain situated in the Livinallongo del Col Di Lana a few Km East of Arabba. During World War 1, it was the scene of heavy fighting which resulted in over 200 deaths, many due to avalanches alone. When the Austrians discovered that the Italians had silently executed a mine in the peak, they retaliated by creating a counter mine nearby before blowing it up. This resulted in a loss of almost 100m from the summit of Col Di Lana and was surrounded by the Austrians in 1916.
A continued interest in the peaks history alongside stunning views and a challenging walk is what has kept Col Di Lana on the map for both locals and tourists alike. A chapel stands on the summit as a memorial to the soldiers who died during the war and communications trenches have been left for visitors to explore. On top of that, a small hut just metres from the summit has been built to encourage avid walkers to enjoy a sheltered lunch, or even to stay the night.
The room holding two bunks beds has been personalised by previous guests and includes a wardrobe of blankets, dried food stuffs and a pack of cards. The adjoining room is complimented by a large wooden table and bench, perfect for eating, socialising and playing games as the view of Marmolada can be enjoyed from the window. For added effect, note books have been left in hope for frequent messages from the huts valued customers; an interesting read dating as far back as 2009.
A popular route up to Col Di Lana follows path #21 which starts just north of Soraru. Expect to climb 700m across 3.5km and enjoy stunning views over Civetta, Pelmo and the surrounding Dolomite mountains as you reach gaps in the tree line. The steep climb becomes worthwhile as the summit comes in to view, followed by a breath-taking 360⁰ view of the surrounding mountains.
If a challenging but pleasant walk and an exciting night in the hut won’t suffice, might I suggest setting the alarm clock in time for sunrise. Enjoy blissful silence as the sun creeps up from behind the Fanes National Park, catching a glimpse of the orange glowing Limestone. The Marmots will soon awaken and can be heard from the valleys below; keep your eyes peeled for Chamois bouncing across the scree.
An evening on the Col Di Lana can be enjoyed either alone, with friends or family and is an easily accessible home from home. An evening in the hut is cost free but an unobtrusive donation box can be found near to the door. It is just one of the Dolomites treats that will have you begging the question - "Why didn’t I do this sooner?"
The First World War
In July, August and September Collett's offers WWI Historical Walks for you to learn more about what happened in the Dolomites on the Austrian - Italian front during the First World War.
Collett's blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly's personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.