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

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Logged Ascents

UserDateStyleNotes & Partners
Chris Manasseh 11 Sep, 2018 - This one doesn't go free but in this case that isn't the point. Fantastic way to the top of a fantastic mountain with simply stunning views all day. Approached from Val Contrin to avoid the glacier so descended the ferrata as well.
This one doesn't go free but in this case that isn't the point. Fantastic way to the top of a fantastic mountain with simply stunning views all day. Approached from Val Contrin to avoid the glacier so descended the ferrata as well.
sallygal29 10 Sep, 2018 -
Phil Murray 26 Jul, 2018 Solo O/S Awesome day out! Descended normal route solo, was just OK with no rope . Had axe/ crampons.
Awesome day out! Descended normal route solo, was just OK with no rope . Had axe/ crampons.
Gawyllie 23 Jul, 2018 -
with john meechan
with john meechan
Sophie Gibbens 23 Jul, 2018 AltLd Great via ferrata with a walk scramble down to the glacier. Walked up from the car park way before the lifts opened and as we finished the top section with just 1 other couple you could see literally hundreds of people coming up the snow slopes below! Worth being up early for, especially as the same amount of people do it backwards.. I can only imagine it becomes hell!! Great little introduction to alpine climbing!
Great via ferrata with a walk scramble down to the glacier. Walked up from the car park way before the lifts opened and as we finished the top section with just 1 other couple you could see literally hundreds of people coming up the snow slopes below! Worth being up early for, especially as the same amount of people do it backwards.. I can only imagine it becomes hell!! Great little introduction to alpine climbing!
bobstones 23 Jul, 2018 Lead The VF itself isn’t the most exciting but the whole day is absolutely class. There’s nothing too challenging in ascent or descent over the glaciers just a good fun day from start to finish.
The VF itself isn’t the most exciting but the whole day is absolutely class. There’s nothing too challenging in ascent or descent over the glaciers just a good fun day from start to finish.
Tomasaccio 2 Jul, 2018 -
with Harry Isitt
with Harry Isitt
someonecalledtom 27 Jun, 2018 Lead rpt
Hidden 21 Jun, 2018 -
Chuck 17 Jun, 2018 -
with Carrie Craig
with Carrie Craig
TomGB 13 Sep, 2017 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, bummingham
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, bummingham
Karlos 13 Sep, 2017 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
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
bummingham 13 Sep, 2017 Solo O/S The day after an early season snowfall. A big route. Amazing day out. Hard work. Very alpine due to the height and snow. A little on edge because of the unknowns - conditions (snow, wind), length, descent route, glaciers, many parties turning round. Out standing views. An achievement. The start had some falling ice that the sun was melting, stayed under the overhang until the route cleared. Many parties turned back here and above. Some sections of cable buried higher up. Descent across the glacier made a little better by one set of tracks already laid, we followed these as someone else has done the poodle work.
with TomGB, Julie Taylor, Karlos
The day after an early season snowfall. A big route. Amazing day out. Hard work. Very alpine due to the height and snow. A little on edge because of the unknowns - conditions (snow, wind), length, descent route, glaciers, many parties turning round. Out standing views. An achievement. The start had some falling ice that the sun was melting, stayed under the overhang until the route cleared. Many parties turned back here and above. Some sections of cable buried higher up. Descent across the glacier made a little better by one set of tracks already laid, we followed these as someone else has done the poodle work.
with TomGB, Julie Taylor, Karlos
Tim Rodgers 8 Sep, 2017 -
Hidden 30 Aug, 2017 Solo β
Octavian 30 Aug, 2017 -
wheelsucker 13 Aug, 2017 Lead O/S
lynx0907 13 Aug, 2017 Lead O/S
LittleJoRocks 7 Aug, 2017 2nd
with Theeni
with Theeni
Theeni 7 Aug, 2017 Lead O/S
philgillespie 7 Aug, 2017 -
BStar 27 Jul, 2017 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.
with will484, Trevers, Jaynie, Mikeybee, wjcdean
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.
with will484, Trevers, Jaynie, Mikeybee, wjcdean
Trevers 27 Jul, 2017 - 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, wjcdean
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, wjcdean
wjcdean 27 Jul, 2017 - Bit of a slog, but great to get up the Marmolada. Coffee on top then down the glacier. Overall a great day :)
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, 2017 2nd O/S
will484 27 Jul, 2017 Lead O/S
with BStar, Mikeybee, jaynie blake
with BStar, Mikeybee, jaynie blake
AndyMcCoy 27 Jul, 2017 -
Rachael88 23 Jul, 2017 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 BStar
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 BStar
BStar 23 Jul, 2017 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...
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...
someonecalledtom 19 Jul, 2017 -
froglette 18 Jul, 2017 - approach glacier was ice - didnt rope up. Descent glacier was crevassed and both snowy / icy in places.
with Tim Cooper
approach glacier was ice - didnt rope up. Descent glacier was crevassed and both snowy / icy in places.
with Tim Cooper
Hidden 13 Jul, 2017 Solo O/S
yelotango 11 Jul, 2017 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
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, 2017 - 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
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 7 Aug, 2016 -
with Emma Akam
with Emma Akam
Hidden 30 Jul, 2016 -
Hidden 25 Jul, 2016 Solo
David Walker 20 Sep, 2015 Solo O/S Great day out in fantastic weather. Some rime on the Via Ferrata.
with MariaT
Great day out in fantastic weather. Some rime on the Via Ferrata.
with MariaT
j4kub 1 Sep, 2015 Lead
with claire gibson
with claire gibson
grady_9 30 Aug, 2015 Lead
Steve Lenartowicz 28 Aug, 2015 Solo
with Clare
with Clare
IJHunt 25 Aug, 2015 Solo O/S
with Fiona
with Fiona
lcullum7 5 Aug, 2015 Lead O/S
SarahA 5 Aug, 2015 Lead
with Duncan Livesey, lcullum7
with Duncan Livesey, lcullum7
Hidden 5 Aug, 2015 Lead O/S
Jola 31 Jul, 2015 - Awesome adventure and great views in good weather👍🏻😊
Awesome adventure and great views in good weather👍🏻😊
timmyhobby 15 Jul, 2015 -
philmitch 4 Jul, 2015 Lead O/S
Simon Pelly 9 Sep, 2014 -
Hidden 2 Sep, 2014 -
Casa Alfredino ?Aug, 2014 - 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. http://www.casa-alfredino.co.uk/uncategorized/the-west-ridge-of-marmolada-vf4d-a-via-ferrata-not-to-be-missed/
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. http://www.casa-alfredino.co.uk/uncategorized/the-west-ridge-of-marmolada-vf4d-a-via-ferrata-not-to-be-missed/
BeckyS 16 Jul, 2014 -
with Chris
with Chris
ANC 4 Sep, 2013 -
with Louise Humphreys
with Louise Humphreys
louise123 4 Sep, 2013 -
with ANC
with ANC
Hidden 3 Sep, 2013 -
xphoenix0 ?Aug, 2013 AltLd O/S
with sam
with sam
Monkey_Alan 7 Sep, 2012 2nd Guided.
with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Guided.
with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Pete Pozman 2 Aug, 2012 Solo O/S
with John Byrne, Pete Crosby
with John Byrne, Pete Crosby
adventure_vulture 16 Jul, 2012 -
Fiskavaig 8 Jul, 2012 Solo Good mountaineering route
with Steve Bridg, Paul R
Good mountaineering route
with Steve Bridg, Paul R
Hidden 8 Jul, 2012 -
Fiona Reid 8 Jul, 2012 - Brilliant day, brilliant views. Rather glad to be roped up on the glacier as we stepped over at least 3 crevasses...
Brilliant day, brilliant views. Rather glad to be roped up on the glacier as we stepped over at least 3 crevasses...
A Walker 30 May, 2012 AltLd
NeilOMalley 30 May, 2012 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.
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.
JulianD 9 Sep, 2011 Solo Beautiful day out, nice descent onto the glacier
with Paul B, David H
Beautiful day out, nice descent onto the glacier
with Paul B, David H
ClareSenny ?Aug, 2011 -
Hidden 8 Jul, 2011 Solo O/S
Hidden ??, 2011 -
seanyt 2 Aug, 2010 Solo
jubolo 15 Jul, 2010 -
with batts, craig
with batts, craig
DaveThexton 26 Sep, 2009 AltLd O/S
with Fiona Thexton, Heather Thexton, stevethex
with Fiona Thexton, Heather Thexton, stevethex
gazzashep 28 Aug, 2009 - Another Guided climb, cant remeber guides name. a truly magical sceanic route. Great Fun.
Another Guided climb, cant remeber guides name. a truly magical sceanic route. Great Fun.
KeithAlexander 19 Aug, 2009 -
cas smerdon 14 Aug, 2009 -
with Phillipe, Mel, Helen, Gree
with Phillipe, Mel, Helen, Gree
johnmctighe ?Jul, 2009 -
with Steve, Austin
with Steve, Austin
MartF ?Jul, 2009 Solo O/S
with Matt
with Matt
MartF ?Jul, 2009 Solo β Group ascent to finish off the West Lancs Scouts Dolomites trip.
with Slim, ratm, Matt, sprout3099
Group ascent to finish off the West Lancs Scouts Dolomites trip.
with Slim, ratm, Matt, sprout3099
Irk the Purist 8 Sep, 2008 - Amazing day out. Glaciers, vf, scrambling, snow ridges and crevasses, all day in crampons. What more do you need?
Amazing day out. Glaciers, vf, scrambling, snow ridges and crevasses, all day in crampons. What more do you need?
Hidden ?Jul, 2008 -
Hidden 12 Jul, 2007 -
johnjb 14 Sep, 2006 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
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, 2006 2nd
Stuart Macfarlane 21 Jul, 2006 Lead
with Dave S, Anne-Marie, Andy W
with Dave S, Anne-Marie, Andy W
manmike ?Jul, 2006 -
Hidden ?Aug, 2005 -
sam coward ?Jul, 2005 -
with Helen
with Helen
innes ??, 2005 Lead
with Ruth
with Ruth
JohnDaly 2 Sep, 2004 - Superb
with David
Superb
with David
texuspete 6 Aug, 2004 -
Hidden ??, 2004 -
Hidden 5 Aug, 2003 -
crossdressingrodney 18 Jul, 2002 Lead O/S
victim of mathematics 18 Jul, 2002 Lead O/S
Hidden 29 Jul, 2000 -
abbeywall 7 Sep, 1999 -
with K
with K
Hidden 6 Sep, 1992 Solo
michael burrows 23 Aug, 1990 Solo decent after route on the south face
with karl harrison
decent after route on the south face
with karl harrison
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Voting
High VF4A
Mid VF4A
Low VF4A
High VF4B
Mid VF4B
Low VF4B
High VF4C
Mid VF4C
Low VF4C
High VF3C
Mid VF3C
Low VF3C
High VF3D
Mid VF3D
Low VF3D
Votes cast 14
Votes cast 14
Style of ascent
Soloed
Lead
Followed
Alt Leads
Not Set
Onsighted
Flashed (β)
DNF
Repeated
Not Set