Lunar Landscapes at Sorapiss Lake in the Dolomites

The Sorapiss lake is a very popular destination in Summer, hence the sparkling blue lake circled by giant rock walls, equipped with vie ferrate and climbing boulders. In October it becomes a totally different kind of experience.

By: Exploring Diary
October 25, 2016

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It’s Autumn, finally. And it had been a while since we last hiked. it’s kinda hard to decide where to go when you are in the city. So we just decided to meet at 8.30 am and drive towards the mountains (of course after having breakfast at a cafe named ‘Dolomites’, what else). When we are finally surrounded by peaks, the destination becomes clear to us.

Photo: Matteo Danieli

The Sorapiss lake is a very popular destination in Summer, hence the sparkling blue lake circled by giant rock walls, equipped with vie ferrate and climbing boulders. In October it becomes a totally different kind of experience. A thin layer of snow covers the path and decorates the tops of the pines, contrasting with the flaming yellow points of the larches.

The cold sting follows us during the first stretch into the forest, and then is forgotten as we start hiking uphill. Gaining altitude, we finally get a view of the surrounding high peaks: in front of us the Sorapiss group, behind us the heart and symbol of the Cadore Dolomites, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Dreizinnen). We can’t be too distracted by the view, because as we walk there are some slippery sheets of ice (although no crampons are required for this adventure). As we go on, there are equipped stretches, with metal steps, and wired ropes, immersed in tiny iced water streams. The silence is continuously interrupted by little sounds through the pine leaves: it feels like being surrounded by animals, but it is just the snow melting. Nothing like the crowd of people you would find in August (although there are some fellow explorers). The only problem at this point of the path, is the great quantity of mud. The snow had already melted and left place for wet, clumpy dirt, sticking to our boots.

Photo: Matteo Danieli

Reaching the high plane, and leaving the Vandelli rifugio on the left, the landscape turns completely white, entering a lunar dimension. The snow is denser and reflects the light. The lake is like any alpine lake in cold season: dried out, exposing its bed and rocks. Nevertheless it is magical. Like kids, we have fun throwing rocks on the iced parts of the remaining water of the lake, to hear the clinging sound of the its fall. We walked around, took pictures and discovered a hidden tent on the far side of the lake. Someone was going to spend a cold night in an amazing surrounding.

Photo: Matteo Danieli

Photo: Matteo Danieli

A cloudy sky is overlooking upon us and we start our descent wrapped by what looks like crepuscular light. Once in a while, we stop for brief conversation and to look around us. The autumn hugs the entire forest, and we reach our car happy to have felt it on our skin.

Nicole on path 215
Photo: Matteo Danieli

Nicole & Matthew


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.