|Mountain(s) / Location:
Pale di San Martino Group
Fletcher/Smith Rating: 4C
Hofler/Werner Rating: F
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Now, this is a NICE route. It is climbs a big wall, with great rock; It has spectacular views as it climbs into the Pale di San Martino Range. It is, however, a true alpine route, with about 1000 feet of unprotected scrambling on the approach, followed by over 1000 more feet of high-quality ferrata climbing. After that, the return route is a fairly long journey down an alpine valley with a descent of steep snow slopes a possibility. An excellent route, but you need to be comfortable with the alpine mountaineering setting.
If there is extensive snow in the valley used on descent (the Val dei Cantoni), an ice ax and/or crampons are a good idea.
Elevation profile over distance
The route starts from the Colverde-Rosetta chairlift station. Take the lift to the middle station at Colverde and get off. The wall above you to the north is the wall the ferrata climbs. A trail (number 706) behind the lift station / bar leads up, initially through a small bit of forest, towards the cliff. Take this trail.
Soon the trail breaks out into alpine meadow and climbs up and across some scree-filled drainages. Up above, the wall you are about to climb is in full view.
Eventually, the trail arrives at a 4-way junction. Ignore the cross-trail (712) and continue up on 706, which in short order leads to a plaque and the start of the scrambling section.
It is a long and unprotected scramble to reach the start of the ferrata wire. The route climbs a steep prow of rock that just out onto the wall. The steepest scrambling is right at the start, so if you are ok with that part you'll probably be ok with the rest of it. The rock is very sound and the holds are plentiful. It really is all about whether you are comfortable and competent on such terrain - if so, you likely won't find it all that bad. Higher up on the prow of rock, much of the going is walking on steep, semi-loose talus. Watch for the painted waymarks, which point the way to the best lines up. Take care not to knock material down onto people below you.
There's actually quite a bit of this scrambling - about 1,000 feet (almost 300m) worth of elevation gain.
Following the waymarks, the scrambling ends at the first bit of wire. This is the start of the ferrata proper. Gear up and go for it! The rock is superb, and if you are reasonably good at climbing, you can definitely do the whole route 'free' (i.e. clipping into the wire for protection but not using it to haul yourself up). There is one particularly nice section, where the route traverses up and left over a lot of air. This is also the techincal crux of the route.
The wire is mostly continuous, but there are places that are less steep where you can take off your pack and have a break.