Via ferrata Marmolada-Punta Penia – this hiking was part of a 2-week trip in Europe (August 2016).
Marmolada, also known as the Queen of the Dolomites, is the highest mountain of the Dolomites section of the Alps (Punta Penia peak 3343m/10967ft). It is home to the only glacier in the Dolomites, Marmolada Glacier. The mountain was an important site during World War I (the front line between the Italian and Austrian forces). There is a WWI museum, Museo della Grande Guerra, located in the valley below the glacier.
⚠️Via ferrata (“iron path”) is a protected climbing route that consists of steel cable rails fixed to the rock and metal steps. It can also be built with ladders or suspension bridges. Via ferratas were first used during the World War I to get between mountains to avoid climbing an inaccessible ridge. They first appeared in the Dolomites, Italy.
⚠️When doing the outdoor activity called via ferrata, you have two carabiners clipped onto the steel cable and you climb the mountain in a safe way without necessarily being an expert in climbing. The carabiners are attached to a lanyard which is installed on a harness. A helmet is mandatory for protecting your head from falling rocks and gloves are optionally, but they will protect your hands from the friction with the steel cable and give you a better grip.
Via ferrata Marmolada-Punta Penia – technical details
- via ferrata climbs along the west crest of the Marmolada;
- it includes cables, wire, metal brackets, pegs, ladder, war barracks dug into the rock;
- hiking trail (circular route): Lago di Fedaia dam 2053m/6735ft → Passo Fedaia → Museo della Grande Guerra → (cage lift to) Rifugio Pian dei Fiacconi 2626m/8615ft → (start hiking via) Vernel glacier → after ~1h45 you will get to the start of Marmolada-Punta Penia via ferrata and it will take you 2h15 to finish it → arriving in 2h at the Marmolada saddle 2910m/9547ft → Val de Contrin → Rifugio Capanna di Punta Penia 3180m/10433ft (booking) → arriving in 4h on Punta Penia mountain peak 3343m/10967ft (Terrazza Marmolada and Punta Rocca cable car 3250m/10662ft can be seen in the distance) → descend to Pian dei Fiacconi in ~2h → Rifugio Ghiacciaio Marmolada 2655m/8710ft → descending with the cage lift to Lago di Fedaia;
- total length 7km/4.3mi;
- total duration ~6h;
- moderate difficulty;
⚠️Crampons are recommended due to the slope of the glacier.
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