Overview : This is one of the most popular via ferratas in Dolomites. The Italians call the ferrata also Cresta Ovest. It contains two parts... more »
This is one of the most popular via ferratas in Dolomites. The Italians call the ferrata also Cresta Ovest. It contains two parts... more » with a glacier so it requires ice tools and a rope. The starting point is located by Laga di Fedaia (2053m), about 8 km east of the town Canazei, Italy.
There are no difficulties from climbing point of view, it is an easy via ferrata. However, the presence of the glacier makes you take more equipment and heavier bag. This together with high altitude and lack of oxygen requires a good physical condition. Formally the difficulty is C.
Most people buy a return ticket for a gondola lift from Lago di Fedaia to Rif Fiacconi (2626m), which is actually the true starting point. You will need about 6 hours of walking time to get back to the top of the lift station.
You will have no problems with the orientation, because the ferrata is very popular, even in September you will go in crowd of ferratists. less «
Wait for perfect weather before setting on to Marmolada. Ice crampons, an ice axe and a rope are essential together with a helmet and ... more »a full ferrata set. There are no tunnels, a lamp is not necessary.
You will need about 8 EUR for the lift. You may also spend some money on the top of Punta Penia, where Rif. Cap. P. Penia is located.
Parking under the bottom lift station is free.
It may happen that the lift is not working. If this is the case, it means +700 high meters up and down. It is lot and better to avoid it. There are other possibilities how to spend time, e.g. Via Ferrata delle Trincee. Trincee is less majestic, but not dependent on any lift and also recommendable for insecure weather.
Many tourists hire a mounting guide to do the Marmolada track.
Best season: July – September (the description is from September 2011) less «
Parking place is just between the bottom lift station and the lake Lago di Fedaia. The parking is free and the lift starts operating at 9 o’clock, sometimes they start few minutes earlier.
The gondola lift is unusual. The cabin is designed only for two persons and the cabin is constructed only from a rail, there are no walls. Do not expect the ... Morecabin will stop before you get in. The cabin moves continuously without slowing down. It will be your responsibility to hurry up and jump into it. Both passengers are to stay exactly on marks on the ground before doing this exercise.
Enjoy it when you go up. It will be even more difficult when you go back down, tired after the track!Less
From the top lift station at Rif. Fiaconni you surprisingly go down along the way no. 606 to the west. You will lose about 100 high meters. There is a remarkable orientation point, a big rock making a shape of almost a human profile, like a stone face. When you reach the bottom of this rock, you will start to go up to the south towards the first... More ice glacier on the track.
The glacier is very flat at first, covered by many little stones. You may think there is no reason to waste time and put on your ice crampons. Please, do not underestimate it. You may gain better position in the crowd within about 200 meters, but later the glacier will change. The slope is steeper and steeper and there are fewer and fewer stones on the ice. You will put your ice crampons later anyway. Just the terrain will be worse for all the manipulation with your bag. As you see on the picture, the glacier is very hard on the top, like glass.
After you cross the glacier, you will have to put crampons again back to your bag.Less
On the same place where you put off your ice crampon, the ferrata starts and you will use your harness and carabineers.
Soon you will reach the saddle between Punta Penia and Picol Vernel, where you find the old Forcella della Marmolada. In the World War I. the saddle has some of military importance, which is difficult to understand today (we are in 2896m). It is a crossing point and you may see climbers comming from Rif. Contrin. The trip via Rif. Contin is much ... Morelonger and uses the same ferrata for the descent, it takes about 10h and is rarely done.
You turn to the east and keep following the steal rope just along the Forcella. There is a 2 hours ferrata on the west crest in front of you.Less
The ferrata is not very difficult, no overhangs or so. The steal rope is attached regularly and often the way is equipped with pegs for feet. Still, you will feel excited as there are no chimneys, no corners and the route is very exposing with a lot of air around you on the polished slab.
Now you are on the most famous climbing route in the... More Dolomites. That’s why you are not alone.
You will quickly gain high altitude within an hour, which means you also lose some of your energy.Less
Later, all the climbing difficulties (if any) are over. You may admire astonishing 800 m south face, everything build from the limestone. You still follow the only possible direction up to the east.
Sometimes the way is almost horizontal, still often upward. Due to the lack of oxygen you may need to stay and have a rest. Take the opportunity... More to make some pictures of the view to the south of Val de Contrin which you can see on the photo. The weather can change and nobody knows what you will see from the summit.Less
Sooner or later you will reach the summit plateau, often covered by snow. There is a pub on it which is surrounded by tables and benches. All visitors are advised that eating own food on the benches are charged at 3 EUR.
About 100 meters on the east from the Rif. Penia there is the highest point with a massive cross. Sit down somewhere close to... More the cross and take your snack, you will have better view on what is happening on the way down. We are approaching the most threatening part of today trip, the descant over the glacier.
You will see many different techniques.Less
Theoretically you may descend along the ascent, but this is rarely used.
Most people are crossing the glacier on the north of the mountain, called Ghiacciaio della Marmolada. There are two parts of the glacier; the top section is interrupted by a short ferrata in rock and than the main glacier leads to the Rif Fiacconi.
You may meet tourists... More without ice tools who try avoiding the top part of the glacier and go on the right hand site. This cannot be recommendable due to loads of free stones there. You can see them on the picture in the middle.
Normal way used also by mounting guides is across the glacier, on the right, but about 30 meters from the edge. The top glacier is just a snow field, there are no (or seldom) cracks. The problem for beginners on Marmolada is the gradient: nothing special in the beginning, but as the glacier goes down, the slope is steeper, so you cannot see the end.
Watch the picture with the blue climber who is on the normal way. There is another group on the right at the end of the snow field. This is the start of the short ferrata leading to the main glacier.Less
Ideally you should be three on the rope. If something wrong happens to one of you, another one is holding the rope and the third one can threw the rope to the climber somewhere in the crack.
If you go in a couple, rope up to the third of the length of the rope and both climbers keep third of the rope over shoulders. This gives at least... More theoretical possibility to do an action. In case of a fall to the crack the OK climber should fix the rope using an ice axe, make free hands and provide some help using the third of the rope length. It’s better to make few knots in the middle of the rope which makes easier to hold the falling climber.Less
The ferrata between the two glaciers about 400 meters from the Rif Penia goes to the east and it is short. Somebody keeps the crampons on, somebody not. I prefer to put them off.
You are entering the biggest glacier in the Dolomites at this point and you have to notice the dangerous cracks. At first take the traverse above the biggest crack towards the east. After that the way goes directly down.
Notice the knots made on the rope if the blue climber fell into the crack, he hopes the knots will slice into the snow and... More slow down his fall.
Secure your walk by the ice axe on the mountain site.Less
You should put your crampons to the rucksack somewhere around this point, depending on the weather and snow conditions.
Admire perfect view to surrounding mountains, especially Piz Boe (3152), the highest peak of Sella Group. You will recognize it by the shape of almost perfect triangle above of the Sella Plateau. Another famous and a very... More difficult via ferrata goes to Piz Boe in the face you are looking at (Via Ferrata Piazetta).
There is Lang Koffel (3181m) on the left of Piz Boe.
Have a look also to the right of Piz Boe and before. There is a crest of Padon with an easier ferrata Trincee just above the lake Lago di Fedaia.Less
There are more ways at the end of the glacier and everybody takes a different one. You will notice large limestone moguls smoothed by the glacier movement. Before reaching the chalet you will also meet tourists who came just to touch the glacier.
The last lift depart down is at 16:45!
Hey, you! Would you provide some feedback using “review... More” in Everytrail? This will help me to write better guides. Thanks!Less