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Freeride tour of the week | Canale del Prete - Vallencant

Extremely steep Dolomite classic - for experts only!

by Christian Skala 01/21/2013
The beautiful Cristallo Group in the Dolomites with the ski resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo is not only a meeting place for the rich and famous, but also the perfect place for alpine activities and steep face skiing.

The beautiful Cristallo group in the Dolomites with the ski resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo is not only a meeting place for the rich and famous, but also the perfect place for alpine adventures and steep face skiing.


During the ascent

There are two ways to get to the start of the Canale del Prete. Of course, you can ascend through the couloir, but the following describes the variant with the lift support.
From Rio Gere, the first section of the chairlift takes you to Refugio Son Forca. From there, take the second section to Forcella Staunies, where the actual starting point is located. It is worth asking at the valley station for a ride up the mountain for both sections or whether the second section is running at all (it does not run when the piste is closed). We had to register for the Vallecant with the lift staff at Forcella Staunies. Don't forget your ID!
From Refugio Lorenzi, we set off with crampons, ice axe, skis and poles on our backpacks via the Marino Bianchi via ferrata towards the 3,154-metre-high Cima di Mezzo. The via ferrata is rated C/D in summer. Depending on the snow conditions and snow quality, it is worth carrying a rope and a few slings. In our case, the wire rope from the via ferrata was completely under the snow except for a few meters. After a short downhill section, you reach a saddle and are directly at the entrance to the Vallencant. The couloir is located on the north side.


Depending on the snow conditions, you can enter the couloir directly or have to abseil down the first few meters. We had to abseil down about 20 meters, as previous climbers slipped sideways and left behind an unsightly deep gully. The first section is the steepest (55° in places)!

At the end of the couloir, you reach the Circo di Cristallo, a large basin. From this point, you should stick to the skiers' right and reach a small couloir/slip through the rocky belt via easy terrain (be careful, not all options are skiable!). The passage through the rock belt is not easy to find in poor visibility and can be icy). After this couloir, continue out of the valley. Depending on the snow conditions, you may have to take off your skis from time to time or carry them the last few meters to the road to get to thePonte della Marogna 1478 m (small parking lot by the bridge). From there, you can either take the ski bus back to Cortina and from there continue to the Rio Gere starting point, or you can park a second car at the bridge.


Special dangers: Only start in absolutely safe conditions! Extremely steep couloir, falling is absolutely forbidden!!!
Equipment: Crampons, ice axe (ice tools), helmet, rope, basic climbing equipment
Average steepness/steepest point: 45°/55°
Exposure: N
Altitude difference start and finish: 2932 m | 1478 m
Altitude difference uphill and downhill: approx. 100 m | approx. 1500 m
Duration: approx. 2.5 hours, depends greatly on the conditions on the via ferrata!
Best time of year: Spring
Addresses:Mountain railroads & Cortina tourist office
How to get there: From Cortina, head over the Passo Tre Croci to the starting point Rio Gere (approx. 7 km). The lift and a large parking lot are located there. There is also a ski bus from Cortina to Rio Gere.
Topographical maps: Tabacco hiking map, sheet 10 scale 1:25,000 Alta Pusteria - Sesto - San Candido - Dobbiaco
Book tip: "Freeride in Dolomiti" by Francesco Tremolada (Versante Sud, Milan 2009)

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This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

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