Perhaps, it is not enough to state that this is a classic route on the Pale di San Martino Dolomites. This trek, looping around the Sass Maór subgroup of the Pale di San Martino, is certainly one of the most popular routes among expert hikers. The paths on which the trek develops are all falling into the category EEA (tr. for expert hikers with equipment). Although these are not proper Via Ferrata, that indicates that in many places on the paths there is the presence of fixed ropes and stairs. Thus, this hike is definitely not recommended if you are not feeling comfortable with this kind of experience.
The hike starts from Fósne (approx. 1,500m a.s.l.), located just above the tourist resort of Pieréni, in Canáli Valley. The mix of landscape with pastures and the group of mountain huts around a boulder characterizes Fosne as is one of the most picturesque places of the Primiero Valley. The first part of the route follows the Signpost No. 731, connecting Fósne to Còl dei Cístri. This stretch of the route is entirely in the forest and constantly surrounded by a beautiful landscape revealing the Cimèrlo peak (2,504m a.s.l.) to the north and the Primiero Valley to the south.
Once reaching Forcella Col dei Cistri gap (1,568m a.s.l., not according to the signs, but according to the LIDAR), take the Signpost No. 734A, also known as Sentiero Camillo Depaoli and proceed towards Rifugio Velo della Madonna.
After about two kilometers of gentle ascend along the slope, the Sentiero Camillo Depaoli path begins to climb for real, leading directly to the Gadinòt (2,280m a.s.l.), a wide valley that precedes the Rifugio Velo della Madonna (2,358m a.s.l.).
Once you arrive at the Rifugio, we advise you to take a break allowing you to take a look at the landscape (simply amazing). In addition to the Madonna, Val di Ròda, Ball and Stanga peaks, from the Rifugio it is possible to have a complete overview over San Martino di Castrozza and the Lagorai mountain range. The Rifugio is a crossroads for numerous treks and starting point of some important climbing routes, on which the classic Via dello Spigolo del Velo stands out.
From Rifugio Velo della Madonna, the hike continues on the Signpost No. 742 towards the Sentiero del Cacciatore (tr. trail of the hunter)/Ferrata Dino Buzzati. The climb will take you in less than a kilometer on the southern side of the Stanga peak (2,547m a.s.l.) where, once a gap is crossed, the descent along the Sentiero del Cacciatore, marked as Signpost No. 742, begins.
The descent will take you about 1,000m below. The stretch is rather technical and, although the most difficult and exposed parts have been equipped over the years with fixed ropes, we strongly recommend to be cautious and proceed carefully.
The Sentiero del Cacciatore path opens up a heartbreaking landscape over the Pradidali Valley, the Canali Valley and Canali peak (2,859m a.s.l.), as well as Sass Maór peak on the western side.
On the way to the end of the Sentiero del Cacciatore path, in memory of Giancarlo Biasin (stumbled during the descent on the path in 1964), you will find a plaque dedicated to him.
Once reached the Pradidali Valley, at the crossroads with the Signpost No. 719, take the latter to the south towards Piereni/Fosne. From that point on, the Signpost No. 719 will gently descend, merging into a gravel road and taking you back to the starting point, in approximately 3.5 km.
- From the pastures of Fósne (1,370m a.s.l.), in Val Canali, take the Signpost No. 731 towards Col dei Cistri,
- From Forcella Col dei Cistri saddle (1,568m a.s.l.), keep going along the path called Sentiero Attrezzato Camillo Depaoli, marked as Signpost No. 734A, leading to Rifugio Velo della Madonna,
- From Rifugio Velo della Madonna (2,358m a.s.l.), keep climbing towards the Stanga peak, following the marks indicating Sentiero Attrezzato del Cacciatore/Ferrata Dino Buzzati, on the Signpost No. 742,
- From the southern saddle of Stanga, always on the Signpost No. 742, start descending along the path called Sentiero del Cacciatore,
- Once getting to the crossroad with the Signpost No. 719, take the latter to the South towards Piereni/Fosne,
- Keep following the Signpost No. 719, which is turning into a gravel road, for about 3.5km, until getting back to the start. ✓
- This trek is a tribute to Samuele “Pape” Scalet and Giancarlo Biasin, both academics of the CAI (tr. Italian Alpine Club) and great climbers. Scalet, missed on the 17 January 2010, for his latest book, considered by us to be one of the best about hiking in Primiero. Surely, he contributed a lot by sharing his passion for the mountains. Biasin, from Verona, for the memory of a great alpinist. On the 3rd of August 1964, after he opened together with Samuele Scalet one of the most difficult climbing routes of the Dolomites (Via Biasin on the Sass Maór peak), he met his tragic destiny by stumbling over a mountain pine just while he was descending to Val Pradidali along the Sentiero del Cacciatore path.
RIFUGIO VELO DELLA MADONNA
- The Rifugio Velo della Madonna (also known as Rifugio del Velo) was inaugurated in September 1980. Standing closed and right at the bottom of Cima della Madonna (2,752 m a.s.l.), the hut is located at a crossroads, from where numerous Dolomites climbing route start, including the Spigolo del Velo and the Vie Normali, as well as several paths and Via Ferrata.
- The classic route of Spigolo del Velo gave the name to the hut.
- The famous Spigolo del Velo climbing route (known also by its German name “die Schleierkante“), is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the Eastern Alps. The route was opened on 19 July 1920 by the Austrian mountaineers Gunther Langes and Erwin Merlet, while the first winter ascent was completed on 21 January 1953 by the two climbers from Primiero Lero Gadenz and Giacomo “Meto” Scalet.
- Giacomo “Meto” Scalet, alpinist, Aquila (tr. eagle) of San Martino, Italian champion and Olympic athlete in cross-country skiing in 1936, holds the record of number of ascents on the Spigolo del Velo: 87 officially recorded, 100 according to him.
- Rifugio Velo della Madonna: https://www.rifugiovelodellamadonna.it
- Palaronda Trek: https://www.palarondatrek.com
- Scalet, S. (2013). Camminare. Sentieri nelle valli di Primiero, San Martino, Pale di San Martino, Rolle e Vanoi. Versante Sud.