De Luca / Innerkofler
|Mountain(s) / Location:
Fletcher/Smith Rating: 2B
Hofler/Werner Rating: D
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This is a very scenic route in the Sesto Group of Dolomites, to the east of Cortina D'Ampezzo. The route follows an interesting wartime path, including an extensive tunnelled section. A chunk of the climbing is actually done within the tunnels, up long flights of stairs. There are fantastic views to the well-known 'Tre Cime di Lavaredo / Drei Zinnen' - a beautiful trio of high towers. This is not a particularly hard or long route, and can be one in a half-day.
Elevation profile over distance
Auronzo Parking departure
To get to the start of the route, you need to take the 20-euro toll road from the town of Misurina to the rifugio Auronzo. There is a large, multi-tiered parking area to the north and above the rifugio. Park here.
If you look to the east, you can see a wide, obvious path making its way east. This is trail 101, and you need to make your way down to it and follow it. This trail will lead you almost all of the way to the start of the ferrata. There are nice views down into the long valley where the town of Auronzo is located. Above you is the south aspect of the Tre Cime. The more famous aspect awaits you.
Follow trail 101 as it climbs up to Forcella Lavaredo - the pass between the Tre Cime and Monte Paterno. Later on, the ferrata will end up back at this pass. For now, continue on Trail 101 towards the north and east, traversing underneat the walls of Monte Paterno. There are two paths - a lower, wider one, and a higher, narrower one. We chose the higher one.
In a short while you'll arrive at the Forcella Toblin, where the rifugio Tre Cime a Locatelli is located. The ferrata route starts above you, to the right. Follow the ridgecrest of Monte Paterno, and you'll soon start to encounter wartime construction (a recessed path with stone walls, etc). The distinctive pillar of the Frankfurter is another marker.
Soon the path dives directly into the ridge, entering a tunnel. You'll need a headlamp, because the tunnel goes on for long stretches with no windows. The tunnel starts to climb steeply (with stairs), sometimes emerging briefly into the open, and then burrowing back into the ridge. There are impressive views of both the surrounding landscape and of the scenic way in which the tunnel goes in and out of the rock.
Looking back at the sausage.
After climbing for a while, the grade eases. The tunnel still occasionally emerges from the rock and briefly traverses along a gap in the ridge. Then there is another long, rising stretch of tunnel, with various side-tunnels, some leading to windows and lookouts, and some leading off elsewhere (we didn't explore too far down these other tunnels). Eventually you reach a simple wooden barricade across the main tunnel, with a room on the left that has two openings to the outside. This is where you exit the tunnels for good.