This is an excellent mountain day providing a link-up of two separate via ferrata, Sass Rigais Sud and Sass Rigais Est. Together they traverse the peak of Sass Rigais (3025m) providing some of the best views in the area. The length of the route means that although never technically challenging it should not be underestimated, particularly if you want to make it in time to get the last lift down.
Approach - The best approach for this via ferrata is using the gondola from Santa Cristina in the Val Gardena. The lift runs from early June until late September. Santa Cristina is easily approached from either Ortisei or Selva via the SS242. The Col Raiser gondola is well signed from the main road and has its own (paid) parking. Take the gondola to the top station and Rifugio Col Raiser. For those wishing to approach on foot it is possible to walk underneath the lift on path 1, 1a and 4.
The via ferrata can also be approached via the Seceda cable car from Ortisei, located further west down the Val Gardena. The lift is also well signed and runs from mid June to early October.
From the top of the Col Raiser gondola, head north following signs for 'Sass Rigais' on path 2 (often marked on maps as path 4a ). Follow the large path until the it forks after 1km. Turn right and continue to the idyllic Malga Pieralongia (excellent refreshments if it is open). Turn right onto path 2b which heads east, contouring under the Odle peaks. Upon reaching the base of Sass Rigais the path forks, with signs for both the 'Sud' and 'Est Via Ferrata'.
Here you have a choice as the route can be completed in either direction, with both directions being equally popular. Via Ferrata Est is slightly harder and so many people prefer to ascend it, however the south side generally holds less snow, making it popular early in the season.
The route described here ascends the southern via ferrata and descends to the east.
VF - From the fork in the path, follow signing towards 'Via Ferrata Sud' and 'Forcella Mesdi' which leads northwest up a steep rocky gully. Halfway up the gully the route veers sharply right marking the beginning of the route proper. Ascend to the northeast, first more steeply and then on easier ground to reach the broad open flank of Sass Rigais. Cross this, following red paint and cairns, to steeper ground once again. Intermittent wire and a final exposed scramble leads to the summit and a spectacular panorama. To the northeast, at exactly the same height lies Furchetta, a mountain particularly famous for its huge north face that towers over the neighbouring Val di Funes.
Descent - A descent down VF Est provides a complete circuit and the most satisfactory descent, though this may not be possible early in the season if there is still a large amount of snow. From the summit descend to the northeast following the cable as it descends into the dramatic Val Salieres. Follow the path south and then west until it rejoins with path 2b at the junction from which you started. From here either retrace your steps or take path 13 and 4 via Rifugio Firenze to return to the Col Raiser gondola. © ROCKFAX
UKC Logbook Description
From the col between Furchetta and Sass Rigais head West up following rungs and wires to the crowded summit.