Ski mountaineering excursion in Val Fonda to Passo del Cristallo

An amazing ski mountaineering itinerary along the glacier of Monte Cristallo, one of the few glaciers that can still be found in the Dolomites, located on the floor of a deep, wide rill from which Val Fonda takes its name (in Italian, fondo means deep) surrounded by the vertical rock faces of Monte Popena (3152 metres a.s.l.) and the Cristallo massif (3221metres a.s.l.).

The valley known as Val Fonda is an ideal location for off-piste skiing and ski mountaineering excursions, since it is covered of powder snow during the whole winter season and the avalanche risk level is very low.

Information about the ski mountaineering excursion in Val Fonda to Passo del Cristallo

Usually, this itinerary implies ascending and descending through a single path on the north face of the massif, along the valley called Val Fonda. The starting point of the ski mountaineering itinerary is Ponte della Marogna (1476 metres a.s.l.), where we will park our cars and then start ascending along the riverbed of the stream Rio di Val Fonda to reach a majestic canyon, which leads to the foot of the imposing north faces of Monte Popena and Monte Cristallo.

When we get to the bottom of the mountains, we will turn left along steep slopes and reach a narrow rill, that we will climb up either wearing simply our hiking boots or our crampons too, depending on the terrain conditions. Once we reach the top of the rill, we will start skiing turning right along the wide glacier that stretches out from the saddle Forcella del Cristallo and then we will climb up again to reach the top of the saddle.

With the Dolomiti SkiRock Mountain Guides you can also discover an exciting alternative ascending route, that includes crossing the saddle Passo del Cristallo, after having climbed up to reach it along the south-west face, from Passo Tre Croci.

This alternative itinerary starts along a narrow path that goes through the woods: we will follow this path for approximately 400 metres and then turn right to reach the bottom of the wide slope that stretches out from the saddle Passo del Cristallo, 2808 metres a.s.l..

We will go past a long and challenging traverse towards right and then ascend the wide slope. Once we get approximately 200 metres below the saddle, we will start climbing up the rill on the right side, paying attention to the snowbanks made by the wind. Sometimes, this last section is to be climbed up on foot, wearing our crampons if necessary.

The traverse of the saddle Passo del Cristallo ascending from the south-east face is to be embarked on only with perfect snow conditions.

The descending itinerary is the same for both of the ascending paths and stretches out on the north face, along the amazing Val Fonda: it is a wonderful, extremely safe, over 1300 metre long off-piste skiing slope.  At the end of the wide valley there is a narrow, vertical cliff that is to be climbed down on foot, sometimes using crampons, ice axe and a 20 metre long rope.

The excursion arrival point is the car park close to Ponte della Marogna.  In order to embark on the alternative route, you will need at first to park a second car at Ponte della Marogna, so that you will be able to go back to Passo Tre Croci at the end of your excursion.

Technical information about the excursion:

  • Starting and arrival point: Cortina D'Ampezzo
  • Mountain/massif: Monte Cristallo
  • Overall elevation gain: 1300 metres
  • Overall elevation gain - alternative route: 1075 metres
  • Overall elevation loss: 1300 metres
  • Duration time: approximately 5 hours
  • Ascent exposure: North
  • Ascent exposure - alternative route: South-east
  • Descent exposure: North
  • Difficulty level - ski mountaineering section: D - difficult

The mountain huts along the path and nearby offering facilities and food are the following:

  • Lago di Landro restaurant
  • Passo Cimabanche restaurant
  • Carbonin hotel
  • Son Zuogo restaurant - Passo Tre Croci


Contact us for booking or for information

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