Climb of Valón de le Léde

Sabbionade / Ritonda - Valón del le Léde - Bivacco Minanzio - Passo delle Léde - Rifugio Pradidali - Pedemonte / Portèla

Canali Valley,Pala Group

gian • 19/09/2019


07:00 hrs
14.0 km
Min. elevation
1180 m
Max. elevation
2695 m
Elevation gain
1615 m
Elevation loss
1615 m
Car park
View on Gmaps
  • 30%
  • 5%
  • 65%
  •  Forest
  •  Grass
  •  Rock
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The so-called Valón de le Léde, known as well as Vallon delle Léde, is a wide mountain gully known for being physically tough to ascend and for giving the hikers a feeling of simply never ending. As a matter of fact, the long ascent leading to the mountain gap of Passo delle Léde (2,695 m asl) is a stretch of more than 4 km with more than 1,400 meters of climb. Nevertheless, the effort is surely worth it; the sight is one of the most beautiful among the Pale di San Martino Dolomites group, offering views of the upper Val Canali, the Valle di Primiero, and the Dolomite blocks of Cima Canali and Sass d’Ortiga. As approaching Passo delle Léde, the Bivouac Carlo Minanzio (2,294 m asl) will be reached. Also, not far from the bivouac, it is possible to see several remains of the Neptune plane, which tragically crashed on 19th of July 1957, causing 11 fatalities.

This trek starts from the location of La Ritonda (1,180 m asl), in Val Canali. The initial stretch follows a path that goes in the same direction of the Signpost No. 707 (which follows an asphalt road), but crosses a couple of nice pastures on its way to the hut of Malga Canali. After facing a short and steep hill through the forest, the path passes through the pastures named Prati Canali, Prà Ostio and Malga Canali. Along the path, it is also possible to have many nice views over the surrounding Dolomite peaks, with a major role played by Cima Canali, on the left side.

Once in Malga Canali, the hike proceeds along the gravel road, following the Signpost No. 707 towards Rifugio Treviso. The Signpost No. 707 must be followed until reaching the crossroads with the Signpost No. 711, by the location of Pian de le Léde (1.393 m slm). From this point, at about 1,400 meters of altitude, the endless climb begins along the wide gully of Valón de le Léde.

At about 2,000 m asl, as the vegetation starts disappearing, a breathtaking view opens up between the screes of the gully, with the closed peaks of Cima di Sédole (2,243 m asl) and Sasso delle Léde (2,255 m asl) on the southern side, Cima Canali (2,859 m asl) and Cima Wilma (2,774 m asl) on the western side, and Cima di Fradusta (2,939 m asl) on the northern side.

The route reaches the Bivouac Minanzio, belonging to the Padua Alpine Club, at an altitude of 2,294 meters, where there is also a commemorative plaque next to some remains of Neptune, picked by the rescue team of Alpini and by the hikers during the years. From this point, the climb becomes less steep, but technically more demanding. The path, in fact, starts cutting through a series of screes that will lead to the mountain gap of Passo delle Léde.

At Passo delle Léde (2,695 m asl), an amazing panorama opens up over the Val Pradidali, with the peaks of Pala di San Martino, Immink and Pradidali in the foreground to the west. From the gap, the hike starts descending on a fairly difficult stretch of the Signpost No. 711, which also has sections equipped with fixed ropes. In the presence of either snow or ice, we strongly recommend being careful.

At the crossroads with the Signpost No. 709, the trail descends by following the latter, towards Rifugio Pradidali. The path develops on the bottom of a gully that acts as an impressive theater between majestic Dolomite peaks, on its west and east sides. After reaching the hut of Rifugio Pradidali (2.278 m asl), just a few hundred meters after the lake of Pradidali, continue downhill along the Signpost No. 709, which leads to the starting point, after a couple of hours of descent.


  • From the locality Sabbionade / Ritonda (Valley of Canali), take the track that climbs into the forest toward Malga Canali [0h 30],
  • From the hut of Malga Canali (1,307 m asl), take the gravel road following the Signpost No. 707 for about a kilometer, arriving at the location of Pian de le Léde [0h 45],
  • From Pian de le Léde (1,393 m asl), take the trail of the Signpost No. 711 toward Bivacco Minanzio / Passo delle Léde [4h],
  • From the gap of Passo delle Léde (2,695 m asl), descend carefully along the Signpost No. 711 to the junction with the Signpost No. 709 [4h 30],
  • Walk downhill following the Signpost No. 709 towards Rifugio Pradidali [5h 00],
  • From the hut of Rifugio Pradidali (2,278 m asl), continue along the Signpost No. 709 to the starting point [7h 00]. ✓

 The US Navy double Tragedy of 1957

  • On July 19, 1957, a twin-engine aircraft belonging to the US Navy Reserve Patrol Squadron, the Lockheed P2-V6 “Neptune” VP-934, went off its route and crashed into the Pale di San Martino. The Neptune was flying from Port Lyautey (Morocco) to Istrana (Treviso).
  • Due both to the weather conditions, which turned into a storm towards the end of the flight, and most likely to a defect in the equipment indicating the pilot’s position more than 60 km away from the actual one, the Neptune, after the permission to descend, struck the southern wall of Fradusta, at an altitude of 2,591 meters.
  • All the 11 crew members died in the crash.
  • The VP-934’s rescue operation began immediately, initially focusing along the Po Valley and the Western Alps of Piemonte.
  • On July 21, 1957, a second “Neptune” plane of the US Navy, the P2-V7 LJ-11 VP-23, coming from Malta and stationed in Aviano to support the rescue operation, hit a tree with a wing and crashed into Monte Granero, in Val Pellice (Turin). Miraculously, of this second tragic crash, one crew member, among 10, didn’t die.
  • After extending the range of the research area for the VP-934, employing also the Italian troops, the VP-934’s wreckage was finally found by the Alpini, on July 23, in the Dolomites of Primiero.
  • The bad luck continued for the only survivor of the VP-23. Some years later, he will lose his sight in another plane crash.




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