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Fletcher/Smith Rating: 2B
Hofler/Werner Rating: C
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This is a very well-known route in the dolomites. It climbs by and along a whole series of WWI ruins, including many old structures that are still standing. It also climbs across the largest ferrata suspension bridge in the dolomites.
Note: the description on these pages only covers the upper part of the Ivano Dibona route, from the upper Rio Gere chairlift station to a point just beyond the Forcella Grande. At some point in the future, perhaps I'll finish the entire route and update this description. (as of summer 2016, the upper cablecar approach to this ferrata has been shut down due to its old age. not sure if it will reopen - if you want to reach the route, you will have to hike up from the top of the lower chairlift station).
The climbing on the upper portion is not difficult. The protection is good and at worst there are a few slightly airy unprotected sections. Note that this is also a very busy route. The scenery, as is the case with most routes in the dolomites, is fantastic.
Elevation profile over distance
The start is at the lower Rio Gere lift station on Highway S48, not far east of Cortina, where there is a large parking area. Take the two-stage lift system up to a point just below Rifugio Lorenzi.
Longest bridge in the dolomites
The ferrata starts around the back of the chairlift station building, where the memorial plaque is located. The route then climbs a steel walkway and steps, then winds around through various tunnels and past lookout holes, with ferrata wire here and there for the exposed parts, then soon comes to the big bridge - the 'Ponte Cristallo' - the longest ferrata bridge in the dolomites.
After crossing the bridge (which is sturdy and sound), the route climbs some ladders, then traverses horizontally along a slightly airy ridge (which is protected in places, but easily done without using).
At the end of the horizontal portion of ridge, the route starts to descend towards the Forcella Grande. Below you, you can see many interesting looking wartime buildings and ruins. The ferrata protection leads more-or-less continuously down into the Forcella Grande. Along the way, near the bottom, is a neat sniper's station with little portholes pointing out in various directions.
Ruined building from above
At the Forcella Grande, a side trail leads north towards the ferrata Renato de Pol. Continuing southwest on the Ivano Dibona route, you quickly arrive at the first couple of these wartime buildings. Also around a other wartime artifacts (wire, wood, etc). This is as far as got on this route before needing to turn back (The route continues for a long way beyond this, past more buildings and eventually ending up coming out on highway SS51).
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