Snowshoeing in Val d'Oten

Snow excursion to the Capanna degli Alpini and the Pile waterfall

Mid-December, the snow fell heavily a few weeks ago but the remaining snow allows you to go on excursions safely even at a higher altitude.
For today's adventure I chose to undertake an excursion in the pleasant Val d'Oten, in Calalzo di Cadore. Together with buying Tomaso, we reach Bar Alla Pineta in the Praciadelan area early in the morning. The road to get to the restaurant is completely asphalted, gently uphill, with a couple of hairpin bends. Today we were lucky to travel it safely only with winter tyres. I recommend calling Bar Alla Pineta in advance to make sure of the road conditions (find the contact details below). In case of deep snow it is possible to leave the car towards Calalzo near the capital of the Madonna di Caravaggio and continue on foot.
The day is splendid, beautiful cold and with a magnificent clear sky. We then set off towards Capanna degli Alpini and the Pile waterfall.
We immediately notice a sign prohibiting motor vehicles. Normally, in fact, the road is open to vehicles up to the Capanna degli Alpini. At this moment, however, you can observe several furrows dug by the water during the end of summer, or beginning of autumn, which do not allow even the best off-road vehicles to continue (apparently).
We follow the CAI 255 path, completely covered in snow. We wore crampons to proceed more quickly but we realize that they are only cumbersome and not very useful. The snow is well packed, solid and prevents slipping. The ice is present only in the center for very short stretches. We soon reach a crossroads for the Chiggiato refuge. We continue towards the Capanna degli Alpini and arrive at the powerful passage, with an adjoining small waterfall, on the Rio Diassa which descends to the anonymous Casera a little further up.
We enter an undergrowth, alongside the Costa dei Laris, with the sun making space between the rigid branches whitened by a heavy blanket of snow. Like white tentacles they reach down to allow us to taste every single snow crystal. Some trees even look like fireworks with their skeletal branches frozen like messy jets. The fir trees, on the other hand, are loaded with stale snow which weighs down each of their arms, half of which is still intensely green.
We always proceed on a clearly visible stretch until we reach a path clearly carved out by the water. We are inside a recently created impluvium, where the earthy edges exceed us by a few tens of centimeters. We are in this excavated basin and we notice the vegetation that overlooks us. As you advance, the walls slowly soften. The baranci appear on the sides, also covered in snow and clearly messed up by this landslide dug in recent months.
Footprints of off-road vehicles indicate that the most adventurous continue to plow this path, creating playful lines in the snow cover. In front of us, illuminated by the sun, the majestic Cime Bastioni, a rocky complex that delimits the end of the Marmarole Group and, through the Forcella Piccola evident in the background, invites us to the summit of Antelao, hidden by Mount Ciauderona. We are in the heart of the Val d'Oten and here, on our left, the fateful Forcella Antelao, the site of last summer's disaster, emerges. I can see with extreme precision the place that blocked me and where I was recovered thanks to the CNSAS: here the details of the 'adventure!




12.02 KM

Hike type

Snowshoe Trekking


406 mt

  • Mountain

    Monte Antelao

  • Address

    Calalzo di Cadore, Veneto, Italy

  • Altitude

    1440.00 m

  • Refuges

    Bar alla Pineta

  • Information

    Bar alla Pineta

We arrive, about 2 hours after departure, at the plateau that heralds the Capanna degli Alpini. On our left the spectacular view of the slabs present on Mount Ciauderona and the neighboring Lastron de Pian dei Arboi, with the snow which increases its depth and accentuates its perpendicularity! On our right, however, the ridge and the Croda Vanedel illuminated by a warm sun which we would also like at this moment given that we are close to zero here in the shade. Fortunately, the view on the summit of the Capanna degli Alpini heartens us and we sit down for a well-deserved break. The view from the hut gives an absolute atmosphere of relaxation and tranquility.
After the break, we proceed westwards, towards the Pile waterfall. After a few steps from the hut you can see the Oten stream coming out of a hole between two sheer walls. This splendid gorge is the place we have to go through to reach the waterfall! Snow and ice here are present at the base of the walls. In the center the stream flows calmly. The path normally runs along the left side close to the wall. Today, however, the presence of very thick ice sheets and stalactites as sharp as swords of Damocles do not allow us to proceed from that side. We therefore opt to walk along the stream, being careful not to sink our boots in the freezing water. The further we advance, the more we see that ice makes everything dangerous. The ravine amplifies the noise of the waterfalls that form as we proceed. We pass a series of large boulders covered in snow and reach a flat inlet where there is a waterfall. To the side, a series of metal pipes and ladders anchored to the rocks allow you to advance towards the final destination. The danger that we see both at ground level and in the air with the presence of stalactites which are not exactly safe, makes us stop continuing.
We console ourselves with this little waterfall renamed Cascata delle Pile (Varta)… Even if we didn't reach the goal, the environment created by the ravine, the stream and the ice alone gives a magical and unforgettable ensemble!
We retrace our steps, cross the little bridge as soon as we exit the gorge, which takes us in the direction of Rifugio Galassi to observe the beech grove. We descend again in the direction of the Capanna degli Alpini and head north-east to the Casera Pian d'Oten. Here we can clearly see the landslide and landslide that certainly occurred in recent months and almost submerged the dairy. The mass of earth and stones clearly blocked the entrance door to the dairy and buried what must have been an external fireplace. We take track 255 again and retrace it in its entirety back to the outward parking lot. The sun did not accompany us much on this adventure even though the sky was clear and magnificent. We make up for it with a splendid platter of cured meats, cheeses and some pickles in the heat of the Bar alla Pineta stove!
This is how a peaceful excursion, immersed in nature, ends on a high note. The only noises we heard were the crunching of the snow under our feet and the roar of the stream inside the gorge. A magical, silent place, suitable for true lovers of authentic mountains, without frills. A mountain that, even without postcard views, can offer emotions with a simple snowshoe hike and the search for a waterfall protected by ice!

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Hikers - Itineraries on paths or evident traces in various types of terrain (pastures, debris, stony ground ...). They are generally marked with paint or cairns (pyramid-shaped stacked stones that allow you to identify the route even from a distance). They can also take place in snowy but only slightly inclined environments. They require the equipment described in the part dedicated to hiking and sufficient orientation skills, walking training for a few hours.