Alta Via 2 (day 1): Bressanone to Rifugio Genova + Via Ferrata Sass d’Putia
The first day of Alta Via 2 is one of the longer stages of the trail— although not overly demanding, it racks up nearly 20km with an easy via ferrata taking you up your first summit. It’s an excellent introduction of what’s to come over the next two weeks on AV2!
This comprehensive guide to Day 1 of Alta Via 2 contains detailed section times, route recommendations, adventurous side trips, via ferrata, and heaps of insider tips— use it to plan your hike & then refer back on the trail so you always know what to expect!
For a complete Alta Via 2 planning guide, check out this post: COMING SOON
Alta Via 2: Day 1 overview
Stats quoted here are for my recommended “adventure route” that incorporates side trips, summits & via ferrata whenever possible (in brackets, see stats for the standard AV2 route with no additions).
- Trail hours: 8hrs (5hrs standard AV2)
- Distance: 19.5km (15.5km standard AV2)
- Elevation gain & loss: 1450m up & 1200m down (990m up & 730m down standard AV2)
- Side trips: Via Ferrata Sass d’Putia (up & back; 1B) — rating system
- Huts: Rifugio Plose, Schlüterhütte-Rifugio Geneva
Bressanone to Kreutzal-Valcroce (drive + gondola)
Begin AV2 by walking or grabbing a taxi (30€) from Bressanone to the Plose Gondola (19€; opens 9am), which will bring you to Kreutzal-Valcroce at 2,050m to connect with the trail. It somewhat pains me to suggest a shortcut (at all, and particularly on the first day), but in this particular case, it shaves 1,500m off the start of an already ambitious day and it’s well worth it to save time for Via Ferrata Sass d’Putia!
For the purists who do want to hike up to the start of the trail, I’d recommend staying at Rifugio Plose on your first night and completing the remainder of “day 1” listed here as your day 2— this gives you more time for the via ferrata and you may actually make it to the hut by the 6pm check-in (which is tight for slower hikers when you can’t get on the gondola before 9am).
Plose Gondola to Rifugio Plose (45min)
From Kreutzal-Valcroce, it’s a steady 45min climb to Rifugio Plose on the summit of Mt Plose at 2,447m.
There’s an alternate trail that avoids the climb to the hut, but I’d definitely recommend the traditional route in good weather— you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views of the Ötztal, Zillertal, and Stubai Alps, as well as several prominent Dolomite peaks.
Rifugio Plose serves food from morning until 4pm, dinner from 6.30-7.30pm, and some light snacks to-go throughout the day.
Rifugio Plose to Forcella d’Putia (4hrs)
I found the route a bit tricky to follow below Rifugio Plose due to the sheer number of cross-crossing trails, so keep a close eye on the GPS as you drop through a sprawling meadow to connect with a path through the forest.
This is mostly downhill and eventually joins the paved road— we were unlucky to be caught in a torrential downpour, but still managed fleeting glimpses of the towering peaks above before beginning a steep ascent towards Forcella d’Putia.
Forcell d’Putia is the longest and most sustained ascent of the day (aside from the via ferrata, which may be only a smidge shorter), but it’s honestly nothing too strenuous and climbs the entire way through amazing views to reach an even more spectacular panorama at the pass.
It took me about 4hrs from Rifugio Plose to Forcella d’Putia, but without rain and slippery trails, I imagine you could cut that down a bit.
Via Ferrata Sass d’Putia (3hrs)
At Forcella d’Putia, there’s an optional via ferrata that I’d definitely recommend! Rated at 1B, Sass d’Putia is very tame (realistically, not something you even need protection for), but the views are wonderful and it’s a great introductory via ferrata to familiarise yourself with your gear and the cables.
Allow about 3hrs return to ascend about 500m to the summit, first on a rocky trail and then on 100m of cable and the occasional iron wrung, enjoy the view, and descend back to the pass.
Again, weather somewhat obstructed our view, but whenever the clouds parted, we couldn’t help but gasp at the vastness and grandeur of the Odle Group, Belluno Dolomites, and the Aurine Alps stretched before our 2,875m-vantage point.
Forcella d’Putia to Schlüterhütte Rifugio Geneva (30min)
Back at Forcella d’Putia after Via Ferrata Sass d’Putia, continue just 30min along a gradually descending trail through rolling green hills to Schlüterhütte-Rifugio Geneva at 2,306m.
Night 1: Rifugio Genova
Schlüterhütte (in German) / Rifugio Geneva (in Italian) is a spacious, extremely popular, and very well appointed hut within Parco Nazionale Puez-Odle. The rooms are comfortable, the menu is extensive (this is a good place to order a la carte!), and altogether such a wonderful way to begin the AV2. Reserve Rifugio Genova by emailing email@example.com.
- Rooms: 30€ (dorms or private)
- Food: A la carte (approx 10-15€ for dinner, 9€ brekky), great selection of food, wine, beer
- Showers: 3€ for 5min
- Connectivity: Wifi & strong mobile signal
- Alpine club discount: no
RIFUGIO GUIDE COMING SOON
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