FATMAP difficulty grade
This adventure is designed for the ones staying in Cortina, however you can easily enjoy the 1st part of it (ferrata up and down Lagazuoi) by driving to the Falzarego Pass and parking your car there. The adventure is divided into 3 parts: the via ferrata Kaiserjaeger up to the top of Monte Lagazuoi, the ridge walk of WWI trenches and ferrata down the Lagazuoi Galeria, hike to Cortina at the foot of the Tofanas massive. Part 1 starts at the Falzarego Pass, where you can get by car or by bus from Cortina.
In front of the cable car station you find a path no.
402 leading upwards and to the right and after 10 minutes of walk you reach a crossing, at which the path to the via ferrata goes left across the talus slope, with the path climbing more and more steeply. After 15-20 minutes you reach a broken gully with wooden beams spread diagonally in it and a series of metal clasps leading upwards.
After coming out of it you can see the suspended bridge, the start of the cables and the ferrata proper, which is the point at which you should gear up. You start by moving up the short ldge that takes you onto the suspended bridge of a dozen meters. After crossing it you move onto another ledge that brings you over the top of a rock portal, and higher onto a hilly unsecured section, where a series of bunkers are carved in the rock. You can enter these WWI fortifications and see the remnants of barracks with some parts reconstructed in wood.
The information plates are mostly weathered and destroyed unfortunately.
You ascend the slope moving to the left on undemanding and clearly visible path. You traverse further to the left and soon start moving in a more difficult terrain – the slope becomes crumbly and covered in loose scree as you move upwards.
Snow patches are present in some gullies you are traversing and walking sticks are very helpful to maintain balance. The terrain is very crumbly and unpleasant and soon you enter one of the gullies that is secured with nylon ropes rather then steel ones.
This section is very straining – you move on a sunny slope ascending more by the power of your hands than legs as the rock material is very loose and mixed with clumped earth. Finally – after some 15-20 mins you get out of the gully and the path becomes more visible, level and stabilised with wooden beams.
You can see the top ridge and you are moving towards it on a zigzagging path lineated with wooden beams.
Clay with scree is the name of the game until you reach the ridge. You enter the ridge near the WWI cross monument, from which you can see the top cable car station and the Lagazuoi rifugio.
You are now some 700 metres above the Falzarego Pass with extraordinary views of the Marmolada glacier, Cinque Torri towers and on the other side the Picolo Lagazuoi ridge and behind it the massive body of the Tofanas massive You reach the mountain hut after 10-15 minutes of easy walk secured with steel cable here and there. The terrace at the rifugio is the perfect place to have some lunch and take in the spectacular views. After that you start towards the Lagazuoi Galeria, moving across the Austrian trenches. The tunnels require a headlight and you should use the via ferrata kit there as the steps are steep. Inside the tunnels you can enter several chambers that were gun encampments and barracks and examine how the entire area is filled with carved out bunkers. After some 20-30 minutes of walking down the tunnels you walk out of them and start descending down the narrow ledge traversing near-vertical rock walls of Lagazuoi.
You pass the ruins of a brick barracks building and start on an easy and wide path zigzagging downwards towards the Falzarego pass.
At this point you can take of the helmet, the harness and the via ferrata kit.
You an descend very easily and obviously to the pass. We decided to walk towards Cortina at the foot of the Falzarego towers and then the Tofanas massive as the paths leading through this area are easy, visible and there are a couple mountain huts along the way.
The paths lead through some wooden areas and some barren scree covered ground winding up and down for some 7-8km.
We walked quite slowly taking in the views and finally descended to Cortina d’Ampezzo for the night.