Very short stage, all uphill but simple and on an excellent track taking us to the heart of the Sesto Dolomites.
The short duration allows us to explore from Rifugio Pian di Cengia the wonderful mountain group Croda di Toni (3,094 m), with the amazing Cadini di Misurina.
The section is a variation of the Sentiero Italia (it goes directly from Fondovalle mountain hut to the Locatelli, via the Alpe dei Piani). It is a preferred path, due to the extreme landscape interest of the Croda dei Toni and the relatively less tourist traffic.
The mountain huts in the entire area are among the most popular in Italy: therefore it is necessary to book well in advance (weeks!) to secure a place.
The only water point available is at the Rifugio Comici. At Pian di Cengia mountain hut there is no water source and you need to bring a good supply, in order not to use too many plastic bottles.
We leave the Fondovalle mountain hut and walk south towards the plain. Shortly after, following the signage, we take the path on the left towards the Comici mountain hut. At the foot of the impressive south face of Cima Una (2,698 m), we start the long climb (approx.1,000 m height difference ).
We start ascending through an uphill zigzag path in the woods, circumnavigating Cima Una from the east, and then Pulpito Alto. With a constant slope, we go up Val Fiscalina Alta, overlooking Cima Undici. Finally, bending slightly to the left, we enter the final head of the valley and in front of it, we find the giant bulk of Croda dei Toni (or Cima Dodici).
Shortly after we are at Rifugio Comici (2,224 m). Once we've caught our breath and enjoyed the landscape, we face the last 200 meters in altitude along Collerena (2,607 m), a large panettone of clay and debris that contrasts with the steep surrounding vertical walls. The route is always easy, wide, and well signposted. Once we reach Fiscalino Pass (2,519 m) we continue briefly on a ledge carved in the rock and we arrive at the beautiful Pian di Cengia mountain hut (2,528 m).
Given the beauty of the area, it is advisable to explore the surroundings (Crode Fiscaline, Forcella Croda dei Toni, Passo de l'Agnei…) and save the view of the Tre Cime for the next day at dawn. Otherwise, you can continue to the nearby Locatelli mountain hut (very crowded).
Rifugio Pian di Cengia stands on what was once an outpost of the Gebirgsjäger (the Austrian Alpine troops), as shown by the natural refrigerator obtained from what was once the ammunition depot.
It was built in 1960 by the grandson of the famous mountain guide Sepp Innerkofler. He was so strong, that he gained the nickname of “King (without a crown) of the Dolomites”. For a sad twist of fate, the rock climber was killed on Monte Paterno (a peak he had conquered in 1882 together with Erich Kunigl) during the First World War, while active in the Austrian ranks.
Despite his no longer young age, Sepp Innerkofler distinguished himself as commander of the Flying Patrol, a group of guides and rock climbers who had the task of constantly keeping the enemy at gunpoint from all the peaks of Sesto, to give the impression that all the peaks were occupied.
The alpine salamander, with its bright black color, is usually visible only when it rains and leaves its lair. It is the only amphibian with a reproduction cycle that is completely independent of the presence of water. Depending on the climatic conditions, the gestation process (i.e. the development of eggs and larvae) can take up to 4 years: a real record for the tiny amphibian, even beating the one of the elephant!
The Meridiana di Sesto is a huge natural sundial made up of the Dolomite peaks that can be seen from the municipality of Sesto. In the wintertime, the sun progressively dominates the peaks that take the name of the central hours of the day: peak Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, and One. The most famous of these are certainly Cima Dieci, known as Croda Rossa di Sesto, and Cima Dodici, also known as Croda dei Toni (because it attracts thunders).
Sesto, the main municipality in the valley, owes its name to its southern position (sixth hour) in relation to San Candido.
The Kaiserschmarren, literally the "omelet of the emperor" is a typical Austrian dessert that seemed to be very appreciated by the emperor Franz Joseph. It is a kind of scrambled crepes served with blueberry jam and powdered sugar.
Schiz is a fresh, semi-hard cheese, typical of the Belluno area. It is traditionally browned in a pan, passed in the oven with the addition of cream, and served together with polenta.
It was created as a meal for shepherds during the months of the mountain pastures: the schiz was in fact the excess of the curd, which overflowed into the molds.
Today it is produced in rectangular shapes to facilitate slicing.
Rifugio Sigismondo Comici, at the western head of the Val Fiscalina Alta. Tel. +39 0471 1930388
Rifugio Pian di Cengia, just north of the Fiscalino Pass. Tel. +39 337 451 517
RIfugio Locatelli, at the foot of the Sasso di Sesto. Tel. +39 0474 972002 (most likely they will not pick up the phone).
Starting point NOT reachable by car.
The nearest location reachable by car is the parking lot Val Fiscalina.
Starting point NOT reachable by bus.
The closest location reachable by bus is Moso, departing from the city of Brunico with a change in Dobbiaco.
Here is the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.