|Mountain(s) / Location:
Fletcher/Smith Rating: 3B
Hofler/Werner Rating: C
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No easy cablecar approaches for this one! The via ferrata leading up to the top of Cima Auta is moderate in difficulty and exposure, is quiet, but has a somewhat long and tiring approach ascent (probably why it is quiet!). Good views of the south face of the Marmolada from the summit. Descent is mostly via trail with a few very easy via ferrata sections.
Starting from a trailhead near the little hamlet of Colmean (which is up a little ways from the larger village of Falcade), trail 689 heads up moderately steeply towards the ferrata. It is mostly a wide easy path except that there is a fair bit of elevation to gain. Along the way you can stop at the rustic little Bivacco Giovanni Paolo I for a nice rest stop.
Above the bivacco, the trail soon breaks out into the open and you can clearly see your objective, Cima Auta, looming above you. The trail gets steeper and heads up through some tiring scree. Your objective is the big gully / ravine to the left of the main summit. It is at the base of this ravine where the ferrata starts. Lots of good views back to the south as you climb above the treeline.
On your way through this area, you'll pass by the junction with the descent route. On your way down, you'll rejoin the ascent route here.
Trail 689 above the trees
The ferrata starts off with a plaque and a ladder and a couple of stretchy moves. The terrain then soon gets easier, to the point where you'll probably unclip and just hike up for a while. The route more or less stays in the left hand side (looking up) of the big gully you are in. Part way up the gully is another stretch of ferrata, this time going up a slightly challenging chimney.
Eventually you'll reach the col at the top of the gully where the ferrata ends for a bit. This is a good place to get your first look at the south face of the Marmolada and have a little break.
Ferrata Paolin-Piccolin Start
From the col, the route heads right and up towards the summit of Cima Auta. If you look up, you can see ferrata protection and ladders climbing up the smooth, steep, slabby rock of Cima Auta's summit. The exposure increases here, but the protection is good, and it will not be long before you are at the summit of Cima Auta and its cute little summit shrine. Excellent views in all directions!
Looking down, normal route
Just below the summit there is a sign labelled 'via normale'. This points in the direction of the descent route, which heads off down the easy descent route. There is a minimal bit of ferrata wire before the route become a steep but very scenic hike. The trail heads generally east, skirting the steep and precipitous cliffs to the south, until a break in them allows a trail to descend and head back west to rejoin your ascent route. The descent through the cliffs goes down through some steep ground that is protected by a few stretches of ferrata wire. Continue back west until rejoining your descent route, then head back down to the trailhead of 689.
Interactive trackmap with photo points - Paolin-Piccolin ferrata on CIma Auta - click map to view
Quick Reference Ferrate Route Index
rating from the newer Cicerone Guide by Fletcher and Smith
(**) Difficulty rating from older Cicerone Guide by Hofler/Werner