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Thursday, July 19
(...continued from previous page)
The route neared the top of the wall, then curved right around into a small gully underneath some towers, and then emerged onto a gently sloping terrace, where the ferrata ended. We could now see a large expanse of the barren high plateau of the Pale, and it looked very moon-like: Light gray expanses of totally naked rock.
courtesy PChen
Andrew climbing
Last bit of ferrata
Little orange dot
Above us we saw a small orange dot. This was a 'Bivacco' - an unserviced first-come first-serve mountain shelter. There are many of these scattered around the Dolomites.
The edge of the altopiano
Pu soaks it in
Catching an apricot
courtesy PChen
Fossils in the dolomite
Climber group picture
Ready to roll
After a pleasant snack under a bright sun and clear skies, we headed off on the trail which led up to the Bivacco (and ultimately, down the other side to our descent route). We reached it in short order, and there were many climbers who were planning to stay the night at the Bivacco. They'd be packed tightly in tonight!!
Altopiano and La Fradusta
Bivacco Fiamme Gialle
Cima della Vezzana
From the height-of-land where the Bivacco was located, we could see across the head of the Val dei Cantoni to a steeply rising peak with a long finger of snow on it's flank: Cima di Vezzana, the highest peak in the Pale di San Martino Group. We could see the dots of several climbers slogging up a steep path to its summit.
Pu capturing the view
Given our continous climbing pace for the last several days, I was inclined to skip the peak and take our time heading on to the rifugio. Most of the others agreed (I think Pu was the most gung-ho of us to do the peak, but even he didn't protest too much when we suggested bypassing it). Also, because we had reservations at the Rifugio Rosetta, we were expected to arrive no later than 6pm or so, and we most definitely didn't want to miss a scrumptious 6:30pm dinner.
Heading down to the Pass
So, by a vote of 3.5 to 0.5, we decided to just head down to the Rifugio. We scrambled down and to the north, reaching the pass at the head of the Val dei Cantoni (called the passo travignolo).
The Valle dei Cantoni
From here, we could see down into the valley. There were snowfields, but from this angle they looked discontinuous and mostly avoidable. I suggested that anyone not comfortable with snow-slope travel could walk on the scree next to the snow. Jenn and I decided to take a change of pace from tiring scree-walking (and besides, we'd lugged up our ice axes, so we might as use them, right?) and headed down the snow slopes.
courtesy PChen
Using the axes
The Val dei Cantoni steepened in its middle portion, and there were a few steep downscrambles, all well-marked. I could see how in big snow years there might be a lot of continuous snow descent, but this year was obviously a low-snow year. We'd more-or-less brought our gear for nothing... but that's what preparedness and safety is sometimes about, right?

Once at the bottom of the scrambly middle-section, the route becomes entirely well-defined trail (waymarked #716). Thoughout this descent, there are excellent views into the heart of the Altopiano (high plain) of the Pale di San Martino.

courtesy DBoyd
courtesy PChen
Patch of steep snow
Jenn, Andrew, and the Pale
Easy snow crossing
Following waymarks and the occasional 'rifugio rosetta' marking, the trail rises out of the Val dei Cantoni and curves to the right into the next valley over. The trail then heads up this valley, over a pass at its head, and then down, left and around onto the western edge of the altopiano itself. Eventually the tiny, tidy dot of the rifugio Rosetta came into view, as did the top station of the Rosetta cablecar (our descent route the next day).

If you'd like to read more about the Ferrata Bolver Luigi, please click here to go to my dedicated Via Ferrata page's route description.
courtesy PChen
A bit of map-reading
Our destination
Passo Bettega
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