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Fletcher/Smith Rating: 5C
Hofler/Werner Rating: F
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The Ferrata Cesco Tomaselli is one of the harder via ferrate of the dolomites. It is steep and there are almost no artificial holds - just the ferrata wire (although the wire, as of 2010, seems new and tight). There is a lot of exposure on this ferrata, too. The ferrata climbs to the top of Punta Sud, one of the peaks of the Fanes Group. The peak has no non-technical way to its summit: therefore, in order to descend after completing the Tomaselli ferrata, you must take another (less-hard) ferrata down.
Having said all of the above, though, this ferrata is still quite good. It is challenging, scenic, and the rock is very solid (no loose stuff here).
The route as described on this page starts from the top station of the Little Lagazuoi cablecar. The cablecar connects the parking lot at Passo Falzarego with the top of Little Lagazuoi. If you wish to avoid the cablecar entirely, you can hike up path 402 and 20b directly from Passo Falzarego. Or, you can climb through the Lagazuoi galleries to get to the top of Little Lagazuoi.
So, starting from the top cablecar station at the top of the Little Lagazuoi, follow the signs for path 20 and 20-b (you'll also see reference here to the Ferrata Tomaselli). You first must descend a fairly big slope that leads down to a broad flat area below. Follow path 20-b at all intersections, and you will be led across this flat area towards the square, looming bulk of the Fanes Group. Punta sud is at the right end of the highest of the blocky peaks ahead of you.
Ferrata Tomaselli, Annotated
Eventually 20-b reaches the scree slopes below big cliffs, and it starts a rising traverse on a nice little footpath in the scree. The path then reaches a steep ramp that seems to have naturally breached a section of cliff. The path climbs this ramp, then switchbacks and heads up gravelly slopes above the cliff to the forcella grande and the little rounded metal shape of the Bivacco della Chiesa.
Path 20-b continues through the Forcella Grande, and winds its way on the other side of the ridge back towards Passo Falzarego (as mentioned earlier, you could approach this point from Passo Falzarego directly along that section of path).
Interior, Bivacco della Chiesa
A signed junction indicates the smaller path that leads directly north up more scree slopes to the start of the ferrata, perhaps only five minutes' walk above.
Junction, Forcella Grande
Start Plaque, Tomaselli Route
As you approach the start of the ferrata, you'll see some rickety old ladders. These old artifacts are not part of the modern ferrata (and I'm not sure you'd want to climb on them if they were). By the time you reach the nearly-black ferrata commemorative plaques, the wires are fully in view. Time to put your ferrata gear on and get ready for a stiff climb!
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