Vie ferrate in the dolomites

Small and big Cir (2520m and 2592m)

  • Mountain massif: Puez-Odle Group
  • Starting point: Passo Gardena; parking is possible at the pass
  • Standard:
    Small Cir: moderately difficult
    Big Cir: easy
  • Elevation change: Piccola Cir: 400m, both summits together: 600m
  • Duration:
    Passo Gardena - Piccola Cir: 1.5 hours
    Descent and reascent to Grande Cir: 2.5 hours
    Descent to Passo Gardena: 1 hour
  • Summary: Piccola Cir: short but invigorating and airy via ferrata. Grande Cir: easy ascent over broken rock terrain with only few steel cables; also suitable for sure-footed hikers.

From the pass at 2137m initially on a road up to the top station of the Dantercëpies lift (2298m). From there rightwards over the grass crest into the gorge below Piccola Cir. Steeply over slippery scree and broken rocks to the access point of the via ferrata on the right hand side of the gorge at a rock shoulder.
A small ladder leads to steep rocks and an exposed climb over them leads to a crack. Move over it and through a wall steeply upwards to an earthy pulpit. Now traverse rightwards to a crevice and on very steep rock up to the summit of Piccola Cir.

From the summit back to the pulpit and left over a ledge protected by wire rope to a notch. Rightwards through a steep talus and broken rock gully down to the road and back to Passo Gardena.

Those who also want to climb Grande Cir leave the road at a signpost turning left and move on traversing on a path to the gorge on the west of Grande Cir. Upwards in switchbacks on scree until a ledge, protected by wire rope, forks right. Over the rock slabs of the ledge until you reach the flank of the mountain. Stepped rock (grade I, most of the time without climbing aids), scree and broad ledges lead up to the summit of Grande Cir with no difficulties and unexposed.

The descent to Passo Gardena is along the ascending path.

Kesselkogel - 3004m

Crossing

  • Mountain massif: Catincaccio/Rosengarten Group
  • Starting Point: Gardeccia, which is approached by minibus from Pera di Fassa
  • Standard: easy
  • Elevation change: from Gardeccia: 1050m
  • Duration:
    Gardeccia - Vajolet hut – Passo Principe/Grasleitenpass: 2 hours
    Grasleitenpass - Catinaccio di Antermoia: 1.5 hours
    Catinaccio di Antermoia - Catinaccio di Antermoia notch – Passo Antermoia: 1.5 hours
    Passo Antermoia - Grasleitenpass - Gardeccia: 1.5 hours
  • Summary: Easy, but in parts airy via ferrata up to the only three-thousander in the Rosengarten Group. Spectacular scenery, but usually crowded. As a two-day trip it can be perfectly combined with the Laurenzi via ferrata.

From Gardeccia (1950m) on the wide road (No. 546 markings) moderately steep to the Vajolet hut (2243m) and along the No. 584 path at the foot of the Vajolet Towers on to the Grasleitenpass with its little refuge (2601m).

After tracks and markings over a scree slope to the beginning of the via ferrata in few minutes. Traverse to the left until a short chimney leads again rightwards to a narrow ledge. Short, airy descent on the ledge to a ladder, descend it to get to a rib. Protected rock steps and grooves lead up to the broad ledge of the west flank. Follow the ledge to its end at a deep notch without difficulties. Now rightwards over broken rock to the narrow north ridge and over this, exposed, up to the cross on the summit.

From the summit first downwards along the south ridge to broken rock which leads to the beginning of the broad ledge of the east flank. Follow the scree ledge for some time downwards until you reach a rock terrace which is downclimbed to the Catinaccio di Antermoia notch (2700m) with the aid of wire ropes and a few iron ladders.

On tracks directly under the east face of Catinaccio di Antermoia with little loss of altitude across to Passo Antermoia (2770m) and over steep talus on to Grasleitenpass. Along the ascent route back to Gardeccia.

Pisciadù via ferrata

Via ferrata Brigata Tridentina

  • Mountain massif: Sella Group
  • Starting point: Passo Gardena; large car park near a gravel pit a few bends below the pass towards Corvara (information board)
  • Standard: moderately difficult, upper section difficult
  • Elevation change: via ferrata: 650m, with Cima Pisicadù (peak): 1050m
  • Duration:
    Car park - Pisciadù hut: 2.5 hours
    Pisciadù hut - Cima Pisciadù: 1.5 hours
    Descent to hut: 1 hour
    Descent Val Setus: 1 hour
    Descent Val de Mesdi/Mittagstal valley: 3 hours
  • Summary: beautiful but very airy via ferrata on good rock. This route is extremely popular and frequently crowded therefore an early start is recommended to beat the rush. Danger of rockfall!

From the car park (1950m) leftwards (marked by a board) over talus and through dwarf pine in about 10 minutes to the start of the via ferrata.

On metal rungs up the first steep wall terrace (about 50m high). Afterwards proceed on a normal hiking path to shortly before the waterfall, where the main section of the via ferrata begins. Steeply and exposed, but at all times very well protected up to a little broken rock basin. There is an escape exit (easy talus path) down to the hut.

Keep right and scramble up over the very steep and airy wall, which is clearly more difficult than the lower section. Then exposed traverse leftwards to a steep chimney/gully. Almost vertically up on metal rungs and a ladder to just under the Exner Tower peak. The climb is finished off with an airy traverse to the famous suspension bridge linking a deep chasm. Continue to the end of the via ferrata on a path up to the Pisciadù hut (2583m) in few minutes.

Those who want to climb up to the Pisciadù summit have to proceed on trail No. 666 through the Val de Tita (in part snowfields and several protected rocks) and up to the Val de Tita/Bamberger Saddle (2807m). From there continue to the left (signpost, cairn) and on tracks over scree and easy rock (grade I, no fixed protection!) to the cross on the summit of Cima Pisciadù (2985m). Descent down to the hut only via the ascending route!

From the hut either on trail 666 through the steep Val Setus (protected rock steps; in early summer steep snowfields!) directly down to the car park or (much more picturesque but considerably longer) on trail 676 (at the beginning steel cable protection) down into the Val de Mesdi and through this as far as a fork. Take the left turn over the river and in a long traverse back to the starting point.

Piz Boè - 3152m

Via ferrata al Vallon and Via ferrata Piz Boè

  • Mountain massif: Sella Group
  • Starting point: Vallon top station, which is approached via the Boè lift from Corvara to Crep de Mont and subsequently via chairlift (which is currently out of service due to reconstruction!)
  • Standard: al Vallon: moderately difficult, Lichtenfelser Steig: easy
  • Elevation change: from Vallon top station: 650m
  • Duration:
    Top station - Via ferrata al Vallon - Piz Boè: 2.5 hours
    Descent along Lichtenfelser Steig: 1.5 hours
  • Summary: a short via ferrata and a protected path in combination with a longer, very interesting and rewarding hike up to the highest summit in the Sella Group. Also suitable for beginners. On the extended high plateaus navigation will be difficult in fog!

From the top station (2553m) on a marked path rightwards until you get to a fork. Turn left there and over extended scree fields to the head of the valley and the foot of the wall, where the al Vallon via ferrata starts.

Running along grooves and ledges, over well-stepped rock, the via ferrata is in parts steep, however, protected by steel cable all the way up to a waterfall. From there on the left hand side of the gorge (once climbers used to cross the waterfall on a bridge, but the bridge doesn’t exist any longer!) steeply upwards to the upper end of the rock bar (Vallon notch, 2750m). Then a longer not very steep hike leads over the extended plateau to a notch below Punta del Lago Gelato/Eisseespitze (3009m). Steep ascent (several protection bolts) to its peak, short descent and in steep gravel switchbacks up to Crestra Strenta. Over the narrow, very airy ridge to the path which comes up from the Boè hut, and which is permanently crowded, on to the left to the much-visited Piz Boè summit.

From the summit along the ascending route back to Punta del Lago Gelato and forward to a fork. Branch right (waymarks and tracks) and down in switchbacks to an extended terrace and on a longer traverse to a notch. The Lichtenfelser Steig now leads along wide ledges, later also over little difficult wire rope protected rock steps down into a cirque. On the path back to the Vallon top station.

Plattkofel - 2955m

Oskar-Schuster via ferrata

  • Mountain massif: Sassolungo Group
  • Starting point: Sassolungo notch, which is approached via gondola from the Passo Sella house
  • Standard: moderately difficult
  • Elevation change: ascent: about 800m, descend: about 1200m
  • Duration:
    Sassolungo notch - Sassolungo hut: ¾ hour
    Sassolungo hut - Oskar-Schuster via ferrata - Sassopiatto: 2 hours
    Descent to Sassopiatto hut: 1 hour 25 mins
    Sassopiatto hut - Passo Sella: 2 hours
  • Summary: very interesting via ferrata with picturesque scenery. Only the most difficult sections are protected and partly it is prone to rockfall. Only for experienced and sure-footed climbers who can manage unprotected and scree-covered rock terrain. Exercise caution in hazardous weather conditions like snow, ice or fog.

Start at the Toni-Demetz hut in the Sassolungo notch (2679m) over scree and easy broken rock terrain through the steep Sassolungo cirque (in early spring there is still snow for an extended period of time!) down to the Sassolungo hut (2253m).

Now through the Sassopiatto cirque over scree and debris in partly steep ascent up to the access point of the via ferrata (beware of rockfall and mostly steep snowfield at the access point!). Rightwards over a ledge into a gorge and in complicated, partly exposed and only partly protected ascent (the free-climbing sections are predominantely grade I, yet several passages are grade II as well) over broken rock, cracks, chimneys, airy ledges, partly smooth wall steps and scree to a wide gully below the summit. Stepped, but slightly brittle rock in the gully leads up to a notch, continue right over the ridge to reach the cross on the Sassopiatto summit in only few minutes.

From the summit back to the notch along the ascent gully and rightwards on a marked trail over scree and easy broken rock down to the Sassopiatto hut (2256m). The pretty much-beaten Friedrich-August path (No. 557 markings) leads back to Passo Sella along several ascents and descents.

Via Ferrata delle Mésules

  • Starting point: Passo Sella, which can be approached on the roads from Canazei and Selva
  • Standard: difficult
  • Elevation change: from Passo Selva: 705m
  • Duration:
    Passo Selva - via ferrata delle Mésules - Piz Selva (peak): 3.5 hours
    Piz Selva - Val Lasties - Passo Selva: 3 hours
  • Summary: demanding and very airy via ferrata. Its lower 250 metres of altitude lead over vertical and heavily polished rock. High-alpine experience and some climbing skills are required, further climbers must not suffer from vertigo; not for beginners and the inexperienced! Beware in cold weather since the rockface in the morning shadow may be icy!

From Passo Sella (2240m) in a slightly ascending traverse below the Sella Towers to the access point of the via ferrata to the right of a black wall.

Now invigorating, nearly vertical ascent over the rock face (before 1990 the lower section of the via ferrata ran further left through a gloomy, most of the time wet chimney). After around 60 metres you will reach the original route again, follow this on easier rocks (not protected) until you get to a chimney which introduces the crux of the via ferrata. Through the very narrow, vertical and partly slightly overhanging chimney up to the upper end on metal rungs, very exposed on a little buttress and over a short ladder on the vertical wall. Through further short chimneys and cracks up to a big debris and broken rock basin. First straight upwards, then traverse to the left to a wide saddle between Piz Ciavazes and Piz Selva. Along a ledge to a protected gorge which leads over stepped steep rock (notably easier than in the lower section) to the Sella plateau and to the Piz Selva peak (2941m).

Now almost even hike over the wide Mésules plateau (marked path No. 649, in fog conditions extreme caution is required!). Along this way it is also possible to climb several not very distinctive peaks (among others, the rewarding Piz Miara with big cross on the summit, 2965m) to the Pisciadù notch (2908m). Straight on until you get to path No. 666, which is followed rightwards for a short time. Soon turn right again and continue along path No. 647 on a longer walk through the Val Lasties valley until you reach the Passo Sella road. On this either walk or hitchhike back to the starting point.

Sass Rigais - 3025m

Crossing

  • Mountain massif: Puez-Odle Group
  • Starting point: Col Raiser, which is approached via gondola from S. Cristina in Val Gardena
  • Standard: east ridge: moderately difficult, south-west flank: easy
  • Elevation change: from Col Raiser: 1000m
  • Duration:
    Col Raiser - Val Salieres/Wasserrinnental - east ridge - Sass Rigais: 3.5 hours
    Sass Rigais - south-west flank - Col Raiser: 3 hours
  • Summary: extremely popular and rewarding tour to one of the best-known panoramic mountains in the Dolomites. In good weather frequently crowded. Those who are less experienced are advised to undertake both ascent and descent over the south-west flank.

From Col Raiser (2025m) following information boards and waymarks over undulating pastures to path 2A and below the south declines of the Odle pinnacles on to Pian Ciantier. Straight on to the Val Salieres and through the wide cirque first only slightly ascending and then in steep switchbacks over scree up to the Salieres notch (2696m) between Sass Rigais and Furchetta. Now up along a steep gully to a short wall step which is tackled on rungs.

Afterwards moderately steep and only little exposed over scree, ledges and rock steps (all difficult points are wire-rope protected) up to the cross of the summit on Sass Rigais. From the summit partly exposed over the narrow and rocky south-east ridge to a buttress and protected over stepped rock down to a gorge. Initially over protected broken rocks, then in switchbacks to the flat, partly verdant middle section of the route. Traverse on a narrow path to a rock head above the Val Mesdi gorge and downclimb partly scree and broken rock first and then over slabs (wire rope and several footbridges) to the gorge coming down from the Val Mesdi notch. Down in switchbacks to Pian Ciantier and along the ascent route back to Col Raiser.