Mountaineering History of the Dolomites

Climbing Guide Italy

MOUNTAINEERING HISTORY OF THE DOLOMITE MOUNTAINS The magic of the Italian Dolomite's originates from the sea: the fossils found here bear testimony to this. The landscape of the Dolomites is varied, with wooded valleys and the lush green meadows, above rise the imposing dolomitic towers and a more hostile area. It is a landscape conducive to fantasizing: the kingdom of elves and pixies, trolls and witches. The alpine folk went into the mountains for various reasons: hunting, wood cutting and farming. However, these activities did not involve the climbing of mountain peaks which were looked upon, as sacred and inaccessible places. The undescribable colours that tinge the mountains in the morning light can only enhance this enchanted world and render it even more fantastic.  It is in this awesome setting that an English man named John Ball, conquered  the Dolomites with the ascent of the Pelmo in the second half of the 18th century. Interest in mountaineering began long before Ball's climb of Pelmo, in the Western Alps in 1760 Mount Blanc was conquered: this bought event brought mountaineering into a specialized league of its own.  There is no written documentation of the first ascent of the Dolomites but it is accepted knowledge that it was made in the Marmolada Group in 1802 by by a group of local priests. However, mountaineering in the Dolomites became very popular towards the mid 18th century.   After Ball's ascent Francis Fox Tuckett and Leslie Stephen two other English gentlemen and pioneers in mountaineering, dedicated their time and energy to the exploration of the Trentino Dolomites, including the Brenta Dolomites.   German, Austrian and Italian mountaineers soon followed in the discovery and conquest of the untouched peaks. From then on the Dolomites have been a much sought after terrain for some of the best Italian and European climbers: Messner, Cassin, Detassis, Maestri, Comici, Bonatti, Tito Piaz are just a few and all have left their mark on the Dolomites.    Even nowadays, the “ pale mountains” attract millions of mountaineers from all over the world, some are content to repeat the routes opened by famous climbers of the past, others endeavour to open new ones.   The Dolomites offer a truly spectacular stage on which to play and the less harsh climate, according to Motti, make them a Paradise for mountaineers:   When the Dolomite peaks were conquered 1852 PALON DEL LATEMAR (Latemar, 2812 m.) Grabmair. 1864: PUNTA PENIA (Marmolada, 3343 m.) Paul Grohmann with A. Dimai and F. Dimai. 1865: CIMA TOSA (Dolomiti di Brenta, 3173 m.) Giuseppe Loss and companions. 1869: SASSO LUNGO (Sasso Lungo, 3181 m.) Paul Grohmann with P. Salcher and F. Innerkofler . 1870: CIMON DELLA PALA (Pale di San Martino, 3185 m.) E.R. Whitwell with C. Lauener and S. Siorpaes. 1872: CATINACCIO D’ANTERMOIA(Catinaccio, 3002 m.)  C.Comyns Tucker and T.H. Carson with A. Bernard. 1872: CIMA DI VEZZANA (Pale di San Martino, 3192 m.) D. H. Freshfield and C.C. Tucker. 1874: CATINACCIO (Catinaccio, 2981 m.) C.Comyns Tucker and T.H. Carson with F. Devouassoud. 1875: SASS MAOR (Pale di San Martino, 2812 m.) H.A. Beachcroft, C.Comyns Tucker with F. Devouassoud and B. Della Santa. 1882: CIMA BRENTA (Dolomiti di Brenta, 3150 m.) E.T. Compton and A. de Falkner with A. Dallagiacoma and M. Nicolussi. 1884: CROZZON DI BRENTA (Dolomiti di Brenta, 3123 m.) Karl schulz and M. Nicolussi. 1885: CAMPANILE ALTO DI BRENTA (Dolomiti di Brenta, 2938 m.) G. Merzbacher with B. Nicolussi. 1887: TORRE WINKLER (Catinaccio, Torri del Vajlet, 2800 m.) Georg Winkler. 1888: TORRE INNERKOFLER (Sasso Lungo, 3081 m.): L. Darmstadter, H. Stabeler, L. Bernard. 1890: Punta delle Cinque Dita (Sasso Lungo, 2996 m.) J. Santler, R. H. Schmitt. 1895: TORRE DELAGO (Catinaccio, Torri del Vajolet,2790 m.) Hermann Delago. 1899: CAMPANILE BASSO (Dolomiti di Brenta, 2877 m.) Otto Ampferer e K. Berger.

Passo Pordoi | Dolomites


Passo Pordoi Dolomites of Italy

Passo Pordoi sits at 2,239 meters a.s.l., and the road crossing the pass connects Arabba (Livinallongo del Col di Lana) with Canazei (Val di Fassa).  Pordoi sits between Sass Pordoi (Sella Mountain Group) and the northern peaks of the Marmolada Mountain Group, and marks the border between the Trento Province (Trentino Alto Adige Region) and Belluno Province (Veneto Region). Passo Pordoi is the highest paved road traversing a pass in the Italian Dolomites.

Riding from Canazei the pass is 12 km away, and features 28 hairpin turns as you work your way to the summit. Passo Pordoi is one of the 4 passes of the Dolomites Road, built in the early 1900's to link the town of Bolzano with Cortina d'Ampezzo, and encourage the development of tourism in the Ladin valleys. 

Passo Pordoi has played a role in Italian history, battles of the First World War were fought in the pass. Tourism was developed on the pass thanks to Maria Piaz, sister of the famous alpinist Tita Piaz.

Passo Pordoi Dolomites


There are no trains that reach Passo Pordoi, the closest stations are Ora or Bolzano in the Trentino Alto Adige Region and Belluno in the Veneto Region.  From these towns you can get a Dolomite Bus, from the western side Canazei is the closest town and from the southeastern Arabba is the closest.


For cyclist the best areas to stay would be


For Hikers and Climbers I recommend one of the Refugio in the Pass.


Bike Touring Passo Pordoi in the Italian Dolomites

Passo Staulanza | Dolomites


Passo Staulanza, Dolomites

Passo Staulanza, sits at an elevation of 1773m. above the sea level, it is a high mountain pass located in the Italian Dolomites.  Passo Staulanza (or Forcella Staulanza) is part of the Belluno Province in the Veneto Region in northeast Italy. The Passo Staulanza connects the southern valley of Zoldo with the Cadore valley in the north, as well the pass separates  Mount Coldai (2.395m) of the Civetta Mountain Group with Monte Pelmo (3.168m), ofPelmo Mountain Group.  There are good facilities in the villages leading up to the Pass but at the summit of the pass there is only one Rifugio.

Passo Staulanza is part of the classic bike tour routes of the Dolomites.  The Giro d'Italia has crossed over the pass several times as a transition to other classic climbs. 

Passo Staulanza also sits on the Alto Vie 1 trail, an upper mountain multi-day trail in the Italian Dolomites.  Both the Civetta Mountain Group to the west and the Pelmo Mountain Group to the east offer great hikes and several classic Alpine climbs.

Passo Staulanza Dolomites

GETTING TO PASSO STAULANZA, ITALIAN DOLOMITES -Passo Staulanze is located along state road 251, which runs from the town of Longarone (just north of Belluno and along the train line), to Selva di Cadore.  The road is surprising large and well maintained, and since it an upper mountain road there are no large trucks and traffic is mild on most days. 

You can reach the Passo Staulanza using the local bus service. 

If you are bike touring the area you can either start you day off by utilizing the train to reach Longarone and then riding northwest toward Done and then up to Passo Staulanza.  After Passo Staulanza descend down to Selva di Cadore where you can either continue to descend to Alleghe or climb Passo Giau and descend down to Cortina d'Ampezzo. 

If you riding from Alleghe you can ride south to Agordo then climb Passo Duran over to the town of Dont and then climb the Passo Staulanza.  The best ride is from Dont up to Passo Staulanza.

Primary Mountain Peaks in the Italian Dolomites


Punta Penia Dolomites 
Planning a hiking trip in the Dolomites and want to bag some peaks during your walks?  Listed on this page are the principle peaks of each mountain group in the Dolomite's.  Individual information will be updated as I have time to re-walk or climb the peaks.  Enjoy your time in the mountains and always be safe.


Marmolada Mountain Group:

  • Punta Penia (3343 m)
  • Punta Rocca (3309 m)
  • Cima Ombretta (3011 m)
  • Gran Vernel (3210 m)
  • Pizzo Serauta (3035 m)
  • Sasso di Valfredda (3009 m)

Latemar Mountain Group:

  • Torri di Latemar (2814 m)
  • Paion (2800 m)
  • Cornon (2781 m)
  • Cima di Valsorda (2762 m)
  • Corno Val D'Ega (2713 m)

Catinaccio Mountain Group:

  • Catinaccio d'Antermoia (3004 m)
  • Cima Catinaccio (2981 m)
  • Cima Scalieret (2887 m)
  • Cima di Lausa (2876 m)
  • Torri del Vajolet (2813 m)
  • Croda di Re Laurino (2813 m)
  • Cima Sforcella (2810 m)
  • Roda di Vael (2806 m)
  • Cogolo di Larsec (2679 m)
  • Cima di Terrarossa (2653 m)

Sella Mountain Group:

  • Piz Boè (3151 m)
  • Le Mesules (3000 m)
  • Cima Pisciadù (2986 m)
  • Piz Gralba (2972 m)
  • Sass Pordoi (2950 m)
  • Piz da Lech (2911 m)

Sassolungo Mountain Group:

  • Sassolungo (3184 m)
  • Punta Grohmann (3126 m)
  • Punta delle Cinque Dita (2996 m)
  • Sassopiatto (2964 m)

Pale di San Martino Mountain Group:

  • Cima Vezzana (3192 m)
  • Cimon della Pala (3184 m)
  • Cima dei Bureloni (3130 m)
  • Cima di Focobon (3054 m)
  • Cima di Campido (3001 m)
  • Pala di San Martino (2982 m)
  • Cima Fradusta (2939 m)
  • Mulaz (2906 m)
  • Monte Agnèr (2872 m)
  • Croda Granda (2849 m)
  • Sass Maor (2812 m)
  • Cima Madonna (2752 m)
  • Cima di Rosetta (2742 m)

Odle-Puez Mountain Group:

  • Furchetta (3025 m)
  • Sass Rigais (3025 m)
  • Piz de Puez (2913 m)
  • Sass de Putia (2875 m)
  • Sassongher (2665 m)
  • Gran Cir (2592 m)

Sciliar Mountain Group:

  • Monte Petz (2662 m)
  • Monte Santner (2413 m)
  • Monte Euringer (2394 m)
  • Dolomiti di Fanes-Braies:
  • Cima Conturines (3064 m)
  • La Varella (3055 m)
  • Cima Dieci (3026 m)
  • Cima Nove (2967 m)
  • Picco di Vallandro (2839 m)
  • Sasso di Santa Croce (2837 m)
  • Croda del Becco (2810 m)
  • Col Bechei (2794 m)
  • Monte Serla (2378 m)

Dolomiti di Sesto Mountain Group:

  • Punta dei Tre Scarperi (3145 m)
  • Croda dei Toni o Cima Dodici (3094 m)
  • Cima Undici (3092 m)
  • Monte Popera (3045 m)
  • Tre Cime di Lavaredo (2998 m)
  • Rocca dei Baranci (2966 m)
  • Croda Rossa di Sesto o Cima Dieci (2965 m)
  • Croda dei Baranci (2922m)
  • Cima d'Auronzo (2914 m)
  • Croda dei Rondoi (2873 m)

Cristallo Mountain Group:

  • Monte Cristallo (3221 m)
  • Piz Pòpena (3152 m)
  • Cima di Mezzo (3145 m)
  • Cristallino D'Ampezzo (3008 m)

Cadini di Misurina Mountain Group:

  • Cadino di Nord-Est (2788 m)
  • Forcella del Nevaio (2624 m)
  • Torre Siorpaes (2553 m)
  • Forcella Verzi (2550 m)

Tofane Mountain Group:

  • Tofana di Mezzo (3244 m)
  • Tofana di Dentro (3238 m)
  • Tofana di Rozes (3225 m)
  • Sella delle Tofane (3068 m)
  • Cima Fanis di Mezzo (2989 m)

Marmarole Mountain Group:

  • Cimon del Froppa (2932 m)
  • Cima Bastioni (2926 m)
  • Pala di Meduce (2864 m)
  • Croda Alta (2645 m)
  • Monte Castellin (2601 m)

Col di Lana Mountain Group:

  • Sett Sass (2571 m)
  • Sass de Stria (2477 m)
  • Col di Lana (2452 m)

Sorapiss Mountain Group:

  • Sorapiss (3205 m)
  • Fopa di Mattia (3155 m)
  • Croda Marcora (3145 m)
  • Ponta Negra (2874 m)
  • La Cesta (2797 m)
  • Cima Bel Pra (2914 m)

Antelao Mountain Group:

  • Antelao (3264 m)
  • Punta Menini (3177 m)
  • Chiggiato (3163 m)
  • Fanton (3142 m)

Croda da Lago Mountain Group:

  • Cima Ambrizzola (2715 m)
  • Croda da Lago (2701 m)
  • Monte Cernera (2657 m)
  • Becco di Mezzodì (2603 m)

Nuvolau Mountain Group

  • Monte Averau (2647 m)
  • Nuvolau (2564 m)
  • Gusella (2595 m)
  • Sass de Stria (2477 m)

Civetta Mountain Group:

  • Monte Civetta (3220 m)
  • Piccola Civetta (3207 m)
  • Cima di Tomè (3004 m)
  • Punta Tissi (2992 m)
  • Moiazza Sud (2878 m)
  • Moiazza Nord (2865 m)

Pelmo Mountain Group:

  • Pelmo (3168 m)
  • Pelmetto (2990 m)

Bosconero Mountain Group:

  • Sasso di Bosconero (2468 m)
  • Sassolungo di Cibiana (2413 m)
  • Monte Sfornioi (2409 m)

Vette Feltrine - Cimonega Mountain Group:

  • Sass de Mura (2550 m)
  • Piz Sagron (2485 m)
  • Monte Pavione (2334 m)
  • Col di Luna (2295 m)
  • Monte Ramezza (2250 m)
  • Monte Scarnia (2226 m)
  • Gruppo dello Schiara:
  • Monte Schiara (2563 m)
  • Monte Tamer (2547 m)
  • Monte Talvena (2542 m)
  • Pelf (2502 m)
  • Castello di Moschesin (2499 m)

Dolomiti di Lienz Mountain Group:

  • Gran Sand Spitze (2772 m)
  • Spitzkofel (2718 m)
  • Kreuzkofel (2695 m)
  • Hochstadel (2680 m)
  • Boses Weibele (2599 m)
  • Eggenkofel (2590 m)
  • Reibenkofel (2383 m)

Dolomiti Friulane Mountain Group:

  • Cima dei Preti (2703 m)
  • Monte Durano (2652 m)
  • Monte Cridola (2580 m)
  • Cima Laste (2555 m)
  • Cima Monfalcon (2548 m)
  • Monte Pramaggiore (2479 m)

Dolomiti di Comelico - Dolomiti Carniche Mountain Group:

  • Monte Cavallino (2689 m)
  • Monte Peralba (2670 m)
  • Cima Palombo (2600 m)
  • Monte Vancomune (2581 m)
  • Crode di Longero (2569 m)

Dolomiti di Brenta Mountain Group:

  • Cima Tosa (3178 m)
  • Cima Brenta (3150 m)

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