If you are a bit familiar with the mountain trails, and the “vie ferrate”, you should not miss the Via delle Bocchette, an iron path that takes you in the heart of the Brenta Dolomites, with small effort compared to the scenery and drops in the mountain side you are on.
Do not underestimate the risks, go prepared, or hire a mountain guide, as the “via” is very exposed.
Together with the Via delle Bocchette Alte the Via delle Bocchette Centrali is rightly considered one of the most beautiful iron path in the Brenta Dolomites. Crossing wild, exposed, but always well-equipped ledges, on clear days the view east extends from Lago di Molveno all the way to Civetta and the Marmolada, and west to Campanile Alto and the majestic Campanile Basso.
Although an iron path in its own right, it is also the natural second-day progression of the Via delle Bocchette Alte. After a night spent in one of the refuges, ideally Rifugio Alimonta, it guarantees an outing long to be remembered.
From Madonna di Campiglio drive to Rifugio Vallesinella (1513m).
From Rifugio Vallesinella (1513m) take path no. 317 to Rifugio Casinei (1825m) and then continue on path no. 318 Sentiero dei Brentei in two hours to Rifugio dei Brentei (2182m). From here in one hour to Rifugio Alimonta (2580m).
From Rifugio Alimonta (2580m) begin easily up path no. 323 past the Sfulmini glacier (care required on hard-packed snow in the morning) to the windy Bocca di Armi and the start of the Via Ferrata (30 mins). Reach the ledge after a few ladders and continue past cables onto the east face of Torre di Brenta. Exposed but finally sheltered from the wind, this is the true start of the long ledge traverse of the Bocchette Centrali.
It soon leads to the most difficult section of the iron path, the exciting horseshoe shaped ledge of the sentiero Figari. The sheer drop is staggering and the ledge is only 50cm wide at this point, but cables lead safely to beneath the Sfulmini, the impressive view onto Campanile Alto and the fantastic Campanile Basso.
The path now leads downwards along the east face, around Campanile Alto (excellent rest point with view) to zigzag past wet boulders and across a small snow patch. Continue past this deep into the majestic world of the Brenta Dolomites to almost touch the mythical Campanile Basso, first climbed by the Austrians Ampferer and Berger in 1899.
The silence is interrupted only by shouts from climbers high above and the wind which now blows across the col. Climb up the short but sometimes slippery slope to this saddle, to then descend right onto the west face of the Cima Brenta Alta. Polished steps and ladders lead down to another ledge: follow this easily and enjoy the splendid view onto Cima Tosa and Crozzon di Brenta to reach the final ladders and the glacier below.
Once on the glacier beneath the Bocca di Brenta return easily along Sentiero dei Brentei (no. 318) to Rifugio dei Brentei (2182m, 1 hour) and then on to Rifugio Vallesinella and the car park in a further 1.30 hours. Alternatively, climb up to Bocca di Brenta and descend to Rifugio Tommaso Pedrotti (2491m). This acts as a formidable base for other ferrate in the Brenta region, or as a well-deserved rest for those who chose to take the long path up from Molveno.
Bibliography and maps
Via Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites: Vol 1 by John Smith and Graham Fletcher Cicerone Press 2002
Where to stay in Madonna di Campiglio
There are high quality hotels, apartments, B&Bs and condo hotels available, check them out and make a reservation here.