Viel del Pan

Viel del Pan

Route: Viel del Pan

Area: Alta Badia, Dolomites, Italy

Date of walk: 21st June 2018

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly 

Distance: 4.7 miles

Ascent: 1,300 feet

Weather: Mixed cloud and sun 

Today would be the last day of our walking holiday in the Dolomites. We opened the curtains to yet another sunny day – the 6th in succession – and could hardly believe our luck. However, rain was forecast to arrive in the afternoon and so we lost no time in setting off to the Passo Pordoi, a high level mountain pass at 7,400 feet above sea level, where our walk would start

Our route was the Viel del Pan, an age-old trade route running along the spine of the Padon chain and used in the Middle Ages by grain smugglers to avoid heavy taxes imposed by the Venetian Republic. After parking the car at the top of the pass we began an easy ascent which took us past a small chapel. The path took us over the ridge and for the remainder of the walk we’d be walking at a height of nearly 8,000 feet, following a path below the crest of the ridge

As we set off along the Viel del Pan proper, there were awe inspiring views of the snow clad Marmolada ‘The Queen of the Dolomites’, which is the highest mountain in the region at nearly 11,000 feet. The track was wide at first, as it had to be in order to accommodate a mini tractor bringing supplies to the Rifugio Viel del Pan, which lies at the halfway point of the walk. Refreshments are available here but we didn’t pause and carried on along the path, which narrowed considerably beyond the refuge 

The thrilling path contoured around the mountainside at high level, with more wonderful views of The Marmolada as we progressed. There were huge drops into the valley below, but never quite so steep as to induce vertigo and the path was perfectly safe throughout. Navigation wasn’t an issue, save for a fork in the path towards the end where the waymarking wasn’t clear. We turned left here and after about 15 minutes, and a last short climb, we arrived at our destination – the futuristic station of Porta Vescovo at 8,150 feet, which looks like a set from a James Bond film

From here we took the cable car down to the village of Arabba and caught the 472 bus back to the start at the top of the Passo Pordoi. It had been a fantastic walk and a great climax to our holiday in the Dolomites

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