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Rifugio Pian di Cengia > Misurina

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This stage was documented thanks to the contribution of Gilberto Mazza. 

Legendary stage: long and quite tiring, with one last part (that can be cut) more complicated than expected, but definitely one of the most beautiful in the entire Alpine arc.

We find ourselves in front of the most famous groups of all the Dolomites: from the Tre Cime di Lavaredo to the Cadini di Misurina. The stunning view from Monte Piana: Cristallo, Croda Rossa, Sorapiss …

Special Notes

The stretch from Rifugio Pian di Cengia to Rifugio Locatelli represents a variation of the Sentiero Italia (which ascends to Locatelli directly from the Fondovalle mountain hut). It is a preferred stretch for admiring the sight of the Croda dei Toni and avoiding the most crowded path.

The stage is quite long: it is better to start before dawn and enjoy the alpenglow on the Tre Cime. The most tired ones can shorten it considerably by skipping the detour to Monte Piana and continuing on the road to Misurina.

The path on the Col di Mezzo ridge is not always very clear and you need to look hard to identify the wooden posts with the red and white signs.

On the path that follows the Rinbianco, some parts of the shore have collapsed and you have to go around the landslide parts: nothing too complicated.

The climb to Monte Piana is demanding and the last climb on the scree requires concentration. The path descending from Monte Piana cuts the bends of the paved road to Misurina and it is sometimes steep: those who are tired better keep following the road.

when to go
June - September
Suitable for
how to get there
description of the route

We leave the Pian di Cengia mountain lodge before the sun rises and on a comfortable path, we head towards the Locatelli mountain hut. From the Forcella Pian di Cengia (2,522 m) we descend easily (approx. 200 m drop ) remaining north of Monte Paterno and skirting from above the Alpe dei Piani. A slight climb takes us to the legendary Locatelli mountain hut (2,405 m), just as the lights of dawn turn the Tre Cime di Lavaredo pink. From the mountain hut, we can venture into the military tunnels of Monte Paterno (the front is required) offering very panoramic balconies on both sides.

Back at Locatelli, we cross the slopes of the Tre Cime. Always remaining on an excellent and wide path, we lose altitude (approximately 200 m drop) and proceed in ups and downs (with some easy climbs) up to Malga Grava Longia and, shortly after, to Forcella Col di Mezzo (2,324 m). We walk north-west for a few hundred meters along the panoramic ridge of the Col di Mezzo, and then start the descent (approximately 500 m drop) on a path that is not always visible, steep and sometimes slippery (pay attention to the trail signs).

Finally, we take the asphalted road that descends from the Auronzo mountain hut. Shortly afterward, on the right side, we meet a carriage road that leads to Malga Rinbianco (those who are tired better continue on the asphalted road up to Misurina: the rest of the stage requires a significant physical effort). Once on the carriage road, we cross the fences of the malga and descend along the banks of the Rinbianco. We continue on a slight slope for a couple of kilometers.

After we cross the stream, we start the climb (approximately 550 m height difference) to Monte Piana. You quickly gain altitude among the mountain pines. Once passed 2,200 m we find a crossroads and take the path to the left leading to the mountain pass ahead of us. The last stretch is particularly difficult due to the scree that complicates our march. Once at the top, the great plateau of Monte Piana opens up before us, an open-air museum of the Great War, full of trenches, barbed wire, and commemorative monuments.

After exploring it far and wide and enjoying the views of the Croda Rossa (3,146 m) to the west, the Cristallo (3,221 m) to the south-west and the Sorapiss glacial cirque (3,205 m) to the south, we pass the Carducci Pyramid - which marks the top of Monte Piana, 2,324 m. We begin the long descent towards Misurina (approximately 550 m drop). From the Bosi mountain hut (those who are tired can break the stage here), we take the steep path that cuts the hairpin bends of the road. At the Forcela Basa (1,880 m) we turn left onto the road and descend more gently to Lake Antorno, skirting it. We follow the paved road and soon we are at Lake Misurina.

What to know

The Hungarian baronesses Rolanda and Ilona Eötvös, daughters of physicist Loránd Eötvös, certainly occupy a place of honor among the protagonists of primordial mountaineering in the Dolomites. In an era (early 20th century) in which mountaineering, like all sports, was considered a male prerogative, accompanied by local guides, the two sisters made important climbs and sometimes even absolute premieres, such as at the Torre del Diavolo or to the colossal South of the Tofana di Rozes.

Their greatest feat, however, was the first female climb at the Cima Grande in 1907. To escape the paternal prohibitions, the two sisters escaped at night from the balcony of the Carbonin hotel where they were staying. After a long walk, at dawn, they started the climb and finished a few hours later. Their success caused a huge sensation and the beautiful Cima Eötvös, in the Cadini di Misurina group, is named after their family.

Monte Piana was the scene of one of the longest and bloodiest position battles of the First World War. For two years the Italians and Austro-Hungarian troops faced each other and the freezing winter at the same time. The mass attack carried out here in October 1917 by the Austrians served as a distraction to the Italian troops, thus allowing the success of the large-scale attack carried out in Caporetto.

Nowadays, the plain is a real open-air museum, full of trenches, galleries, and barbed wire.

What to see

On Monte Paterno, it is possible to walk in a tunnel built to cover the movement of the troops, during the First World War. At the end of the dark tunnel, made up of steep flights of steps, you reach the Innerkofler / De Luca via Ferrata. It is dedicated to the two mountaineers and friends, who found themselves on opposite sides during the Great War.

It was on this mountain that the famous mountain guide Sepp Innerkofler, who conquered the summit in 1882, met his death, which still raises some doubts: was it Austrian friendly fire or a stone thrown by the Italian soldiers who defended the mountain?

The Rinaldo Zanardi Paleontological Museum in Cortina d'Ampezzo is a fundamental step to understand the absolute particularity of the Ampezzo Dolomites. Their unique shape is due to an elevation of the earth's crust which led to the seabed (of a sea as warm as the Caribbean then) to form one of the most beautiful spectacles in the Alps.

The museum is dedicated to Rinaldo Zanardi, a natural science enthusiast who gave a huge contribution to paleontological research.

what to eat

Baccalà (cod) is a common dish in the Triveneto area. Legend has it that Pietro Querini, a famous nobleman and navigator of the 15th century, brought the dried cod to Venice. In 1431, following a storm in the Atlantic Ocean, he was shipwrecked with his crew on the Norwegian coast, near the Lofoten Islands, where they were saved by local fishermen. From them he learned the methods of drying, storing, and preparing cod, which he later successfully re-proposed in Venice.

The baccalà alla agordina dates back to the period in which the Serenissima administered Cadore. It is overcooked in milk, in slices rolled up with anchovies, parsley, and salt. Traditionally served in pieces together with yellow polenta, excellent for collecting the precious sauce.

The Ampezzo casunziei, a mixture of water, flour, and a few eggs are characterized by the stuffing of red turnips. In the past, there were no eggs, as they were used as a precious bargaining chip by the farmers.

They are seasoned with butter and poppy seeds. Some add zigar, a very special smoked goat ricotta.

where to sleep

Rifugio Bosi, on Monte Piana. Tel. +39 0435 39034

Camping La Baita, in Misurina. Tel. +39 0435 39151

In Misurina there are numerous accommodation facilities.

How to Reach

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 Dobbiacco.

“Exploring the military tunnels of Monte Paterno, one wonders what the soldiers of the past felt, imprisoned in these icy tunnels before so much beauty”

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