Type: Trad, 2800 ft, Grade IV
FA: n/a
Page Views: 176 total · 5/month
Shared By: Tim Wolfe on Dec 3, 2015
Admins: Tim Wolfe, Shawn Heath

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This is a difficult Ferrata up the South Face of Piz Boe. It climbs about 900 meters of rock, 300 meters of which are cabled. It offers some more difficult and exposed moves, stunning scenery (as usual) and a cold beer at the top with the option of a quick tram ride or long walk down. The crux is the initial 50-75 feet of the route where it is dead vertical and smooth as glass with slippery foot holds - usually requiring an over hand ascent of the cable. A short section of rope is useful if you have young kids or inexperienced climbers that might need a belay up the start of the route. Continue following the route as it zig zags up, then traverses left along a ledge, up a chimney, across a suspension bridge and then up a crest to easier walking. At this point you can either traverse left to Forcella Pordoi and down the gully, or continue over to the Rifugio Maria and take the tram down, or you can continue up the crest then connect with path 638 to the summit of Piz Boe then reverse your way to one of the descents.


Location: The route starts from near the top of Passo Pordoi and ascends the south face of Piz Boe to the right of the cable car.
Approach: To access the cable you have several options: Buy a round trip ticket to the cable car and take it to the summit of Sass Pordoi, traverse east then down Pordoi gully, then further east along the path to the base of the cable. Alternately walk up along the path from the base of the tram all the way east to the cable. The most direct approach is to drive further along the road to the WWI memorial (Ossario Del Pordoi) and hike up the steep path 1 to 1.5 hours directly to the base of the route.
Descent: From the top of the cable, or the summit of Piz Boe, head west to the Forcella Pordoi. At this point you can either descend the gully back to the road and your car, or head a bit further west to Rifugio Maria and take a quick ride down the tram.


Standard Ferrata rigging


Sharon + I climbed it today a second time with blue skies, and again enjoyed it for the variety of hiking and climbing and the big views. We enjoy hiking up from the ossuary early in the morning, and Sharon is glad to avoid downhill pounding on her knees and ankles by riding the lift down afterward.
We noticed some things about this route:

a) Although many VF routes in the Dolomites can be climbed all or mostly "free" with hands + feet directly on the rock, this is _not_ one of them. For sure need to use the steel cable and other fixed hardware for Aid lots of times.

b) Though many VF routes in the Dolomites have a difficulty like USA-YDS "easy 5th class" when fully using the fixed hardware for Aid, this is _not_ one of them. While it does not require serious _finger_ strength, or sophisticated rock techniques, it surely requires substantial arm strength and endurance. Several of strenuous laybacks on steep or overhanging moves. Strenuous clipping stances. Ridiculously polished rock on some of the harder sequences.

c) Although the Dolomites are usually thought of as a "Trad" region, we found that multi-pitch "Sport" techniques worked just fine. I used a rope to belay Sharon following on five short pitches (everything up to the bridge). Used no Trad gear at all. Easy to set up a belay anchor on one of the steel posts that attaches the cable to the rock. Clipped some quick-draws to direct the rope (on traverses) around the cable just above attachment posts. Although she didn't have any falls or rest-takes on the rope, she said she was real glad to have a rope belay on some of those steep polished sections and strenuous clipping stances. Sep 20, 2018
MountainProject key concern for Dolomites via ferrata routes:
"For climbers, the most "difficult" aspect of Ferrata is finding the start and understanding the descent."
So I have added two GPS tracks with Map and detailed instructions:
  • VF Cesare Piazzetta to Piz Boè approach + climb
. . . mountainproject.com/approac…
  • descent from Piz Boè using lift to Passo Pordoi
. . . mountainproject.com/approac… Sep 20, 2018