Rockfax Description
One of the few truly 'Alpine' via ferrata of the Dolomites requiring good glacier crossing experience, particularly in mixed weather conditions. The route takes the west ridge up the Marmolada to Punta Penia, the highest peak in the Dolomites at 3343m. The views on the ridge, and from the summit, are stunning. In good weather conditions the wire is technically very easy but, early in the season, or after a period of snow, crampons may be needed because the route can ice heavily overnight. In addition, you will also need a walking axe and rope for the glacier crossing. The crevasses are generally well staked and the path clearly defined but, if the weather turns, navigation becomes very difficult.
Approach - The West Ridge is usually accessed from the Pian dei Fiacconi bucket lift, which runs from the west end of Lago di Fedaia, the large reservoir underneath the north side of the Marmolada. The reservoir is at the top of the Fedaia Pass (SS641 ) and can be reached from the west, via Canazei, or from Caprile to the east. Once at the west end of Lago di Fedaia, drive across the top of the dam wall and park in the large car park (well signed). From the car park, Rifugio Dolomia and the Pian dei Fiacconi lift can clearly be seen a couple of minutes walk away. The lift is old but very novel! You have to run into little shopping trolley baskets - have fun! The lift takes you to Rifugio Fiacconi and the start of the walk in.
From here, at the top of the bucket lift, follow path 606 west following signs for 'Ferrata' in the direction of Forcella de la Marmolada. The path descends at first through glacial moraine and scree before heading underneath and round a large buttress. The path leads steeply uphill to a small glacier, the start of the west ridge should be visible at the highest point of the glacier. Cross the glacier, which is usually well marked - take care after fresh snowfall.
VF - The wire starts from Forcella de la Marmolada, the saddle between Gran Vernel and Punta Penia at the top of the glacier. Recently a large crevasse has opened up between the top of the glacier and the start of the cabled section - care must be taken here.
Once on the wire the way is generally very easy if conditions are good. It follows a series of stemples and ladders up the ridge. The views are spectacular on a clear day, with numerous glimpses down the enormous south face. At the end of the wire, a path zig-zags up to the summit through the snow (which is usually found nearly all year). Just short of the large summit cross the Capanna Penia/Marmolada hut provides food and shelter during the summer months if the weather turns bad.
Descent - From the summit, follow the prominent ridge-line heading north until you reach a post and the path makes a sharp turn right. You will see wire cable heading down east to the glacier below. Follow this down to the glacier on easy wire and descend the glacier initially on the right (east) side. You will soon see Rifugio Fiacconi and the top of the Pian dei Fiacconi lift.
Alternatively in bad weather it is possible to retrace your steps back down the wire of the west ridge. © Rockfax

Ticklists: NTU Climbing - Van Club.

TomGB 13/Sep/17 Solo

Lots of snow the day before. Crampons remains on the entire route and the cable was buried in several sections but managed to get past it easily enough. Lots of parties turned back. Had to belay down some sketchy downclimb sections on the way down due to buried cable and the glacier was hard going in deep snow. No rain though and amazing views! Cracking route

with Julie Taylor, Adam Butler
Karlos 13/Sep/17 Solo

Fantastic route. Whilst techincally it may not be especially exciting (it being mostly ladders up steep slabs), as a whole package it can't be beaten. The glacier approach and retreat, the sheer length of the route and corresponding day, and the prize of bagging the highest summit in the Dollies, makes it a MUST DO. We did it in early September, the day after heavy rain, so the entire mountain was covered in fresh snow. CAUTION, the first 50 meters is exposed to falling ice if thaw/freeze has occured, the icicles should be clearly visible. All of the slabs were iced up, so crampons essential although ladders were complete throughout. The cable was occasionally buried under snow, but with care (and walking axe) there was limited danger. The descent cable was buried in multiple places, with big drops below, so we abseiled these sections with a short rope. Would have been another matter without a rope, since retreat via the VF would have taken hours. Missed the last shopping trolley down, but that simply gave us longer to loo at the amazing view.

with Tom M, Adam B, Julie
Hidden 13/Sep/17 Solo O/S
Tim Rodgers 08/Sep/17 -
Hidden 30/Aug/17 -
wheelsucker 13/Aug/17 Lead O/S
lynx0907 13/Aug/17 Lead O/S
with GG
LittleJoRocks 07/Aug/17 2nd
with Theeni
Theeni 07/Aug/17 Lead O/S
with Jo
philgillespie 07/Aug/17 -
BStar 27/Jul/17 Lead

Back to do the route after the attempt earlier in the week where Rachael was hospitalised after a rock to the head. The VF is long, and a bit monotonous. But it's worth doing for the views from the top and the 'alpine' feel to the day. Very busy. More rocks coming down where my partner was hit just 4 days previous. This is at the very start of the approach glacier. Wear a helmet, move fast.

Trevers 27/Jul/17 -

Worth it for the visit to the summit. The VF part is actually a massive letdown - cable hauling up easy angled but polished slabs, mostly bent double. Long and monotonous. Great views. The glacier descent was much more fun, some big crevasses, mostly visible.

with Janey, Will Bryant, Mike Bennett, BStar, Will
wjcdean 27/Jul/17 -

Bit of a slog, but great to get up the Marmolada. Coffee on top then down the glacier. Overall a great day :)

Hidden 27/Jul/17 2nd O/S
will484 27/Jul/17 Lead O/S
with BStar, mike bennett, jaynie blake
AndyMcCoy 27/Jul/17 -
Rachael88 23/Jul/17 2nd dnf

Started the walk in but unfortunately just as we approached the start of the VF I was hit by a rock on my head which fell from the left as you look up across the glacia. That was the end of my day out. There are lots of loose rocks falling, please wear a helmet from earlier than you think and always carry a first aid kit

with Adam
BStar 23/Jul/17 Lead dnf

My partner got struck in the head by a rock on the approach glacier. The day ended early with a helicopter to Trento hospital. Always put a helmet on way before you think you need one. Hard lesson learnt...

with Rachael
froglette 18/Jul/17 -

approach glacier was ice - didnt rope up. Descent glacier was crevassed and both snowy / icy in places.

with Tim Cooper
Hidden 13/Jul/17 Solo O/S
yelotango 11/Jul/17 Solo

6 hour round trip from Rif.Contrin ( and another hour back to Alba di Canazei), done this way to avoid amateur hour comedy Alpinism on the glacier

Charlie680 26/Jan/17 -

Mild winter conditions. First 100m section of cable under snow so ascended the gully next to it to join the cable at the saddle, which was covered in ice. On descent off the summit, the steep scramble section was filled with snow and ice so we lowered each other off any pro from the cable stanchions that we uncovered.

with Sam Beaumont
tobyk 07/Aug/16 -
with Emma Akam
Hidden 30/Jul/16 -
Hidden 25/Jul/16 Solo
David Walker 20/Sep/15 Solo O/S

Great day out in fantastic weather. Some rime on the Via Ferrata.

with Maria
j4kub 01/Sep/15 Lead
with claire gibson
grady_9 30/Aug/15 Lead
Steve Lenartowicz 28/Aug/15 Solo
with Clare
IJHunt 25/Aug/15 Solo O/S
with Fiona
lcullum7 05/Aug/15 Lead O/S
SarahA 05/Aug/15 Lead
with Duncan Livesey, Luke Cullum
Hidden 05/Aug/15 Lead O/S
Jola 31/Jul/15 -

Awesome adventure and great views in good weather👍🏻😊

timmyhobby 15/Jul/15 -
philmitch 04/Jul/15 Lead O/S
Simon Pelly 09/Sep/14 -
Hidden 02/Sep/14 -
Casa Alfredino ?/Aug/14 -

Fantastic route, super exposed and awesome views! Stayed at the Pian dei Fiacconi hut the night before which made for a nice early start and an uncrowded route.

BeckyS 16/Jul/14 -
with Chris
ANC 04/Sep/13 -
with Louise Humphreys
louise123 04/Sep/13 -
Hidden 03/Sep/13 -
xphoenix0 ?/Aug/13 AltLd O/S
with sam
Monkey_Alan 07/Sep/12 2nd


with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Pete Pozman 02/Aug/12 Solo O/S
with John Byrne, Pete Crosby
android_lloyd 16/Jul/12 -
Fiskavaig 08/Jul/12 Solo

Good mountaineering route

with Steve Bridg, Paul R
Mike-W-99 08/Jul/12 -

Easy route in a great location.

with Fiona
Fiona Reid 08/Jul/12 -

Brilliant day, brilliant views. Rather glad to be roped up on the glacier as we stepped over at least 3 crevasses...

with Mike
A Walker 30/May/12 AltLd
NeilOMalley 30/May/12 AltLd O/S

My first time on a mountain, tried it in may, most of it was covered up, the odd bit was exposed and useful for anchoring, quite a lot of avalanches of various sizes, nearly got hit by a few. Don't do it and expect to see any cable, more of a mountaineering route. Glad I read up on winter mountaineering techniques, would have felt more comfortable with two axes for some parts though. 12 hrs to summit, long day but totally awesome, lessons learn't for next time.

Hidden 22/Mar/12 -
JulianD 09/Sep/11 Solo

Beautiful day out, nice descent onto the glacier

with Paul B, David H
ClareSenny ?/Aug/11 -
Hidden 08/Jul/11 Solo O/S
Hidden ??/2011 -
seanyt 02/Aug/10 Solo
jubolo 15/Jul/10 -
with batts, craig
DaveThexton 26/Sep/09 AltLd O/S
with Fiona Thexton, Heather Thexton, stephen thexton
gazzashep 28/Aug/09 -

Another Guided climb, cant remeber guides name. a truly magical sceanic route. Great Fun.

KeithAlexander 19/Aug/09 -
cas smerdon 14/Aug/09 -
with Phillipe, Mel, Helen, Gree
johnmctighe ?/Jul/09 -
with Steve, Austin
MartF ?/Jul/09 Solo O/S
with Matt
MartF ?/Jul/09 Solo β

Group ascent to finish off the West Lancs Scouts Dolomites trip.

with Slim, Ben Crook, Matt, Ash
Irk the Purist 08/Sep/08 -

Amazing day out. Glaciers, vf, scrambling, snow ridges and crevasses, all day in crampons. What more do you need?

Hidden ?/Jul/08 -
Hidden 12/Jul/07 -
johnjb 14/Sep/06 Solo

Glacier climb on hard water-ice, via ferrata, snow ridge to summit, descent via normal route down glacier (many obvious crevasses late in season).

with Tony B, Kieran B
murray ?/Aug/06 2nd
Stuart Macfarlane 21/Jul/06 Lead
with Dave S, Anne-Marie, Andy W
Hidden ?/Jul/06 -
Hidden ?/Aug/05 -
sam coward ?/Jul/05 -
with Helen
JohnDaly 02/Sep/04 -


with David
texuspete 06/Aug/04 -
Hidden ??/2004 -
Hidden 05/Aug/03 -
crossdressingrodney 18/Jul/02 Lead O/S
victim of mathematics 18/Jul/02 Lead O/S
Hidden 29/Jul/00 -
abbeywall 07/Sep/99 -
with K
Hidden 06/Sep/92 Solo
michael burrows 23/Aug/90 Solo

decent after route on the south face

with karl harrison
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