Alta Via 4 (day 4): Rifugio Vandelli to Rifugio San Marco + Via Ferrata Giro de Sorapis
Today’s route is dominated by a long and often exhilarating via ferrata, two-thirds of the epic Giro di Sorapis that circumnavigates a dramatic peak of the same name. From the milky blue shores of Lago di Sorapis to the lofty heights reached on Sentiero Attrezzato Alfonso Vandelli, the most thrilling section of climbing, you’re unlikely to see many (if any) other hikers, a welcome respite from yesterday’s crowded trail!
This comprehensive guide to Day 4 of Alta Via 4 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 4 planning guide, check out this post: COMING SOON
Alta Via 4: Day 4 overview
- Trail hours: 6.25hrs
- Distance: 10km
- Elevation gain & loss: 1525m up & 1615m down
- Via Ferrate en route: Giro di Sorapis (loop; 3C) — rating system
- Huts: Rifugio San Marco, (Rifugio Galassi— 45min)
Rifugio Vandelli to Sentiero Attrezzato Alfonso Vandelli (3B; 1.5hrs)
Departing the hut, ascend through bushes and scrub above and to the left of Lago di Sorapis and then follow cairns across enormous limestone slabs for another 15min to reach the start of Sentiero Attrezzato Alfonso Vandelli, marked by a metal plaque.
This is a wonderful and occasionally challenging via ferrata that climbs the rock on ladders, pegs, and a good deal of natural holds. There’s a bit of unprotected scrambling (or spots where clipping to the cable is actually harder than just ascending solo) mixed throughout. Allow around 1hr to top out on a high point.
Sentiero Carlo Minazio to Forcella Grande (1B; 4hrs)
Once off the main via ferrata and onto the much simpler (and thinly cabled) Sentiero Carlo Minazio, descend for about an hour to Bivacco Comici— an improbably small structure that sleeps 9 in the middle of a grassy gully.
The path descends only a few moments beyond the bivouac before commencing a steep climb for about 10min up the opposite grassy slope. This is the first, and perhaps the most sustained, in a series of steep bursts that lead you up and down over the rugged terrain of Giro di Sorapis.
The constant ascending/descending levels out around a trail junction, with one possible (shorter but far harder) route dropping down the valley and the preferred route contouring gently around the hillside on path 247 all the way to Forcella Grande at 2,255m, visible at the top of the valley.
Forcella Grande to Rifugio San Marco (45min)
Drop steeply on a rocky trail to the garden paradise of Rifugio San Marco. The large steps and rough terrain are hard on the knees, but thankfully short enough to avoid major discomfort; a charming overnight stay awaits!
Night 4: Rifugio San Marco
Quaint gardens surround family-owned Rifugio San Marco, with spectacular sun dappled views of Mount Pelmo providing an afternoon welcome. Facilities are basic but very comfortable, a real gem of a hut! Reserve Rifugio San Marco by emailing email@example.com.
- Rooms: 52€ half board
- Food: simple but delicious dinner, very scant breakfast; beer and wine available for purchase
- Showers: outdoor solar shower, arrive early if you want to use this!
- Connectivity: strong mobile signal
- Alpine club discount: -10€ half board
RIFUGIO GUIDE COMING SOON
Read more about Alta Via 4
- ALTA VIA 4 (DAY 0): SAN CANDIDO TO RIFUGIO TRE SCARPERI
- ALTA VIA 4 (DAY 1): RIFUGIO TRE SCARPERI TO LOCATELLI TRE CIME + VIA FERRATA TORRE DI TOBLIN & INNERKOFLER
- ALTA VIA 4 (DAY 2): RIFUGIO LOCATELLI TRE CIME TO RIFUGIO FONDA SAVIO + VIA FERRATA MERLONE
- ALTA VIA 4 (DAY 3): RIFUGIO FONDA SAVIO TO RIFUGIO VANDELLI
- ALTA VIA 4 (DAY 4): RIFUGIO VANDELLI TO RIFUGIO SAN MARCO + VIA FERRATA GIRO DE SORAPIS
- ALTA VIA 4 (DAYS 5 & 6): RIFUGIO SAN MARCO TO RIFUGIO ANTELAO TO PIEVE DI CADORE
- MORE COMING SOON