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Steve, Katherine, and Norah | profile | all galleries >> Italy 2011: Exploring the Dolomites >> Day 7 - Tofana circuit day hike tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Day 7 - Tofana circuit day hike

On our seventh day we did a circuit of Tofana from Rifugio Lagazuoi. We didn't know it when we set out, but it would turn out to be our longest day. Over the course of the hike we ascended and descended 1077m (over 3500 ft). No wonder we were knackered at day's end! The effort was well worth it however. The trail took us away from the hustle and bustle of Lagazuoi and we saw more chamois than people during our hike. The views were great, the landscape at times was other worldly, and Norah was happy with the piles of barb wire she spotted frequently.

From Rifugio Lagazuoi we zig zagged back down the mountain to Forcella Lagazuoi and traversed to Forcella Travenanzes. As we walked through the grassy clearing to Forcella Col de Bois we spotted chamois on the slopes of Lagazuoi Grande and stopped to watch them for a bit (we would see chamois again later in the day on the other side of Tofane). We passed by many caves, lookouts, and remains from WWI while we descended Val Travenanzes. We had planned to stay on the higher trail to avoid too much elevation loss, but the map indicated this route had a short via ferrata and to avoid it we ended up descending on n.401 to ex Malga Travenanzes. At this point the trail was not well marked and we spent awhile searching for it. We finally found it and had a steep climb up a gully topped by a large waterfall. Here we joined a more defined trail under a large rock face. Just as I was wondering how exactly we were going to get up and over this rock face we came to a trail junction that pointed us on towards Rifugio Giussani. The initial climb was quite steep over the ledges and we had areas with exposure. I was glad when this steep section was done and we entered the Masarè amphitheater, described in the book as lunar-like with a veritable World War I ghost town. It was an apt description! After a 615m (2100 ft) climb from ex Malga Travenanzes we were very happy to take a break at Rifugio Giussani (unfortunately closed for the season). The rest of the hike took us down a scree slope with interesting rock spires and a traverse under the towering Tofanes si Rozes to Forcella Col de Bois, where we retraced our steps back to Lagazuoi. A long, but terrific day!
Purple sunrise
Purple sunrise
First sun rays
First sun rays
Steve and Norah with Lagazuoi in the background
Steve and Norah with Lagazuoi in the background
Backside of Laguzuoi Grande and the Fanis group
Backside of Laguzuoi Grande and the Fanis group
At the head of  Val Travenanzes
At the head of Val Travenanzes
Kathy in Masarè with Sasso Cubico
Kathy in Masarè with Sasso Cubico
Rifugio Giussani
Rifugio Giussani
WWI ruins
WWI ruins
WWI ruins
WWI ruins
WWI ruins
WWI ruins
WWI ruins
WWI ruins
WWI ruins
WWI ruins
Tofana di Mezzo towers over Rifugio Giussani
Tofana di Mezzo towers over Rifugio Giussani
WWI ruins
WWI ruins
Panorama of WWI ruins and abandoned rifugios
Panorama of WWI ruins and abandoned rifugios
Rock needles and scree
Rock needles and scree
View into the Cortina basin
View into the Cortina basin
Steve and Norah  with Sorapis in the distance
Steve and Norah with Sorapis in the distance
More WWI ruins
More WWI ruins
Taking a break at Forcella Travenanzes
Taking a break at Forcella Travenanzes
WWI officer's quarters
WWI officer's quarters
A sunset over Pelmo
A sunset over Pelmo