7 am, dawn greets us and the first sun begins to peek through the trees in front of us. We leave the car just before Cimabanche a few steps from the border between Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige. Today's adventure takes us to the Ampezzo Dolomites, at the foot of the majestic Croda Rossa where my legendary companion Diego and I have set ourselves the Colfiedo saddle as our goal.
For most, this half may be unknown, never even heard of and it is precisely for this reason that we have decided to undertake this goal: a remote route, without trail markers, without a CAI trace, without even a path, completely adventurous! It must be said that in winter this route is crossed by a ski mountaineering track and the locals know it well. The summer itinerary, on the other hand, is undertaken almost exclusively by wild animals ... like us today!
The first part of the route takes place at the beginning of the Gotres Valley, where it immediately turns into the woods bypassing the mountainous block of Colfiedo. In the luxuriant vegetation we come across a series (3) of bunkers dating back to the First World War facing towards the Cimabanche pass. Curious, we begin to observe the area well and we also notice an old cableway that carried supplies to the rear.
Shortly thereafter, leaving the forest behind us, we find ourselves at the beginning of Valon de Colfiedo with the beautiful stream formed by all the small canals that arise from the Croda Rossa.
A succession of more or less recent landslides oblige us to choose the easiest way step by step: sometimes following the stream, others fording it to the right and left. At one point we find ourselves in front of an imposing jump of rock from which the stream creates a beautiful waterfall. Diego at a good pace climbs but notices that beyond it the situation is no better, so we decide to go back a little and take the mountain pine forest on our left. With pleasure I decide to follow the track and go towards the thickest forest of mountain pines I have ever crossed: there is not a minimum hole to exploit, the tangle is getting denser and only the presence of a small stream allows me to avoid only a few pines without fighting to get through. After many meters of altitude in these conditions, even the ease given by the river has disappeared and oxygen seems to be scarce due to how thick is the tangle of the pines. Here I make the mistake of keeping the orographic left of the river moving away from the ski mountaineering route of the winter itinerary. In my defense I can say that I had glimpsed and found a well-trodden path a little further on, still in the middle of the pines but almost a highway compared to the one I had just passed! I see the sky above me and a bare tree within my reach convinces me that this is the correct way: I want to reach it because it is planted right on the top of the summit, from there I can have an excellent observation point and continue in the best way. Reached the tree I await Diego who is heroically following my footsteps in this tangle of pines. Here we take a look at the GPS and we realize that we have moved too far to the right with respect to the ski mountaineering track.
After a last feast of pine branches in the face, on the legs and on the arms, we can find the predetermined route and now , very comfortably we finally reach the base of the scree that rises vertically towards the saddle. The spectacle we have before us is majestic: the green of the forest merges with the pink Dolomite stones, the blue sky clear of clouds definitely outlines the contours of the Croda Rossa in front of us. Precisely in this area our eye falls on a pure white skeleton, very clean, apparently of a fox.
A short refreshing break and off to the scree.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Veneto, Italy
Immediately it proves very challenging: large unstable rocks opposed to very compact fine gravel do not allow an easy climb. On the one hand you lose your support continuously and you have to counterbalance with sticks and strength on the ankle, on the other hand you slide inexorably downwards with every single step: moral of the story, two steps forward and one step back. Long before the middle of the climb my legs begin to feel the strain between the pines: the cramps make everything even more difficult and slow. Even the salts do not have much effect, but gritting my teeth I see the end of the climb closer and closer, the clear blue sky was there in front and the gravel front was getting closer and closer until the small entrance to the brow ... after an hour and a half I manage to reach the mythical Colfiedo saddle with my nails and teeth!
At an altitude of 2700m the spectacle is incredible: on one side the Vallon de Colfiedo just traveled and in the background the legendary Tre Cime di Lavaredo, on the other the majestic amphitheater formed by the Croda Rossa and the Pala de Ra Fedes. In front of us the top of the Croda Rossa right within our reach, wonderful in the typical color not only pink, but really fiery red.
The descent seems much more peaceful and in fact we dive into a beautiful "ski" among the rocks of greatness and perfect arrangement to allow you to sink to the heel with the boots. In front of us the Castel de Ra Valbones, we keep it on our right and, once we get to its feet, we keep ourselves high to enter the Valbones de Inze.
Another surprise awaits us: a magnificent centuries-old pine forest or also called cembri. Majestic trees, very precious and precious from a naturalistic point of view!
The Croda Rossa watches us behind us and here Diego tells me the legend that gives the name, but above all the "color", to this magnificent and characteristic mountain: < br>
"It is said that an anguana lived in a cave just below the Croda Rossa: a legendary creature living in the mountains, in symbiosis with the flora and fauna, linked to water and with human features. One day a local woman passed by with her newborn baby. Unfortunately, the mother died suddenly and the old Anguana adopted the child, calling her Moltina. Thus the frugoletta grew among the splendid valleys of Ampezzo, grown by marmots to the point of learning their ways and their language, to the point of being able to transform into one of them.
One day the prince of the Landrines family, going hunting on these mountains, he met Moltina, fell in love with her, took her to his castle and married her.
Here Moltina lived very happy sharing the joys with her beloved mountains, her friends marmots, carefree among the flowers of the splendid valleys.
The girl, however, given her humble origins, was not frowned upon.
One evening, at court, a big party was organized. At one point each guest was asked to tell the story of their ancestors. When Moltina's turn came, there was a mute scene: the girl had no ancestors and felt very embarrassed. So embarrassed that she turned purple and ran away from shame.
At that very moment the mountain in front of her, the one closest to Moltina and her feelings, began to be dyed a bright red like her face: from that moment its color remained the same forever and became the Croda Rossa!
The prince followed Moltina up the mountain and together they began to form their own family: the future Fanes dynasty."
It will be thanks to this splendid legendary tale and to the fantastic pine forest but the places we are observing, on which we are walking seem truly enchanted!
Passing through these trees that will surely have witnessed the movements in the rear of the Great War, we catch a glimpse of the Cason de Lerosa.
We can't wait to plunge our heads into the fresh water of the springs to refresh ourselves and quench our thirst, in fact the water is now over for both. We look for the source, but we are disappointed: the shore is dry! Fortunately, a few steps from the Cason an enclosed watering hole has been created exclusively for human use, the rest of the surrounding environment is for the exclusive use of grazing cows and wild horses that populate it.
Now the excursion is coming to an end and, taking the first marked path of the day, the mule track marked 8, we travel along the Val di Gotres. Closing the ring we return to the parking lot. Over 1400mt of positive difference in height, 20 kilometers, about 9 hours of excursion in one of the least hospitable places in the Ampezzo Dolomites.
An adventure, at times crazy, made epic by the difficulties found, by the authentic exploration, by the real face " wild "of these mountains now prey to an increasingly overbearing mass tourism.
For one even more complete vision, I invite you to read also the technical report of my friend Diego, legendary companion of this fantastic adventure!
Expert Hikers with Equipment - The equipped routes (or via ferrata) are indicated, they require the use of self-insurance devices.