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PatitucciPhoto Wednesday, 23 October 2013 13:27 TWEET COMMENTS 0

La Dolce Vita - Page 5

[Sidebar] Pumping Iron

Translated: A Via Ferrata is an “iron way”. They are in fact, very unique climbing routes on the massive walls of the Dolomites. Thanks to an abundance of ladders, cables and posts, a minimally geared-up hiker can literally climb thousands of vertical feet, relatively safely and often without ropes.

Originally installed in WWI for soldiers to patrol the high cliffs along the Austrian-Italian border, these systems for moving about in the mountains have remained and are updated and maintained for hikers wanting a bit more excitement. A visit to the Dolomites is not complete without sampling what is considered the best Via Ferrata in all of Europe.

Necessary gear includes a harness, helmet, gloves and a special Via Ferrata “kit.” The kit allows the climber to slide two slings with carabiners along the cables providing protection in the event of a fall.


Recommended Routes

Ferrata Giovanni Lipella: Tofana di Rozes on the Passo Falzarego outside Cortina.

  • Difficulty: Medium.
  • The classic to which all others are compared. Famous for its WWI history, it was built by soldiersAA, and begins by tunneling upward, traversing narrow ledges along sheer walls, ascending ladders and iron rungs drilled into the cliff sides and finally, a long ramp to theA summit. This route is rigged with safety gear, bring a headlamp for the tunnels.

Sentiero Ivano Dibona: Cristallino D’ampezzo Outside Cortina.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • A great first Ferrata, as it is mostly downhill and with less exposed terrain. Includes a 27-meter suspension bridge as well as a hut for cappuccinos.


Dan and Janine Patitucci are professional mountain-sport photographers, who call Bishop, California, and Luzern, Switzerland, home. Ironically, Dan finished this article while en route to the Italian Dolomites, one year later.


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