Sass de Mura (Sass de Mur in the dialect of Primiero) is an imposing dolomite block with impressive ledges shaping the border between the municipalities of Primiero (Trentino) and Cesiomaggiore (Veneto). Proud of its 2,547 meters of altitude, the peak of Sass de Mura is the highest mountain in the mountain range of Cimonega. Once very popular by mountaineers who opened numerous routes from the end of the 1800s until the end of the 1900s, today – perhaps due to its position, not so easy to reach – the mountain lies mostly forgotten by the hiking world. Nevertheless, right its being unpopular and extremely wild makes Sass de Mura one of the most evocative and technical corners for the few expert hikers who are lucky enough to complete the incredible “Giro delle Banche” (tr. tour of the ledges).
The Giro delle Banche starts from the basin of Cadin di Nèva (another corner of paradise) and, after climbing the slopes of the peak of Sass de Mura, it draws an incredible route around the massif along its ledges which, seen with the naked eye, would seem to be a exclusive territory for chamois. The Giro delle Banche (not equipped path marked by stone cairns) is recognized by many locals, including Giacomo “Meto” Gaio, as the most beautiful hiking route in Primiero.
This fascinating route, for expert hikers capable of comfortably climbing the second degree of difficulty, starts from the location of El Belo – Buse, in the valley of Nagaóni, at the very end of the road of Val Noana, 2 km after the hut of Rifugio Fonteghi (1,100 m asl). The first section of the itinerary proceeds slightly uphill along the gravel road – Signpost No. 727 – towards Malga Nèva. After just over 3 km in the forest, the road reaches the pastures of the hut of Malga Nèva Prima, where the sight starts opening to the north onto the peaks of Nèva (2,229 m asl) and the imposing Sass de Mura (2,547 m asl). The route proceeds along the gravel road, reaching the hut of Malga Nèva Seconda and from here it takes the mule track to the north that enters the forest and leads to the crossroads with the path of the Signpost No. 748, near the aqueduct called Acquedotto Nèva (1,845 m asl). From the crossroads, the itinerary takes the Signpost No. 748 for a few meters towards Col di S. Piero / Rifugio Fonteghi, then leaving it in order to take the track that climbs to the right, to the north, towards Cadìn di Nèva. Once passed the water spring called Sorgente Nèva, you go up to the amazing basin of Cadìn di Nèva: a flat basin at the bottom of the peaks of Torri di Nèva and Sass de Mura, leaving its visitors with a feeling of incredible peace. From the basin, the track goes up further until reaching the gap of Forcella Nèva (2,148 m asl), from which there is a breathtaking view over the Val Giasinòzza and the mountain ranges of Pale Alte and Pale di San Martino.
From Forcella Nèva, the itinerary proceeds uphill towards Sass de Mura, until it reaches a crack in the rock just over 5 meters high, where the track seems to stop; however, if you look beyond the crack, you will be able to see the cairns marking the beginning of the Giro delle Banche.
The Giro delle Banche, proposed in a clockwise direction because easier, initially climbs on the west side of Sass de Mura, in a neither too steep stretch nor exposed, until it reaches the gap from which the stretch on the banche (tr. ledges) begins. The first passage along the north face of Sass de Mura, which leads near the gap of Forcella Cimonega, is characterized by a stretch on a flat track along the ledges of the mountain, overlooking the Pale di San Martino and the Piz de Sagrón, exposed but not complicated from a technical point of view. At the end of this part of the route, the tour continues on the east side of the mountain, from which the panorama of the mountain chain of Vette Feltrine, the plateau of Piani Eterni, the valley of Belluno and the Venetian laguna opens up. This second and more technical stretch proceeds uphill towards the hole called Bus del Gat, a rocky shape with two large and clearly visible holes. From the side of the mountain, by the Bus del Gat, the track proceeds on a path (which apparently does not seem to be practicable) initially downhill and then uphill, on the ledge of the southern slope of Sass de Mura. After this stretch, less technical than the stretch on the west side, you reach the flatter west face of Sass de Mura again, where you return to the basin of Cadìn di Nèva by following the path that passes through the Forcella Nèva.
The way back to the starting point, which presents a slight variation if compared to the initial stretch, passes by the hut of Rifugio Boz: from the aqueduct of Nèva, the route takes a path that runs along the edges of the Néva pastures, leading to the mountain gap called Passo di Mura (1,867 m asl). Then, it descends to Rifugio Boz along the Signpost No. 801 (Alta Via delle Dolomiti No. 2). From Rifugio Boz (1,718 m asl), the hike proceed downhill along the Signpost No. 727, which follows the stream of Rio Nèva, then it takes the variant offered by the Signpost No. 727A towards Buse / Rifugio Fonteghi, leading directly to the starting point.
- At the very end of Val Noana, by the location of El Bèlo – Buse (1,157 m asl), take the gravel road of the Signpost No. 727 (Strada Forestale Nèva) towards Malga Nèva Seconda,
- From the hut called Malga Nèva Seconda (1,741 m asl), proceed along the mule track towards the north until reaching the crossroads with the Signpost No. 748, at the aqueduct called Acquedotto Nèva, then follow the signs towards Cadìn di Nèva,
- From the basin of Cadìn di Nèva, ascend firstly to the gap of Forcella Nèva (2,148 m asl), then towards the peak of Sass de Mura,
- On the slopes of Sass de Mura, follow the cairns marking the route of the “Giro delle Banche”, clockwise,
- Return to the aqueduct, then proceed on the track to the north east towards Passo di Mura,
- From the gap of Passo di Mura (1,867 m asl), descend to the hut of Rifugio Boz along the Signpost No. 801 (Alta Via delle Dolomiti No. 2),
- From Rifugio Boz (1,718 m asl), proceed downhill along the path of the Signpost No. 727, then Signpost No. 727A, towards Buse / Rifugio Fonteghi. ✓