Hike Across the Sella Group, Val Gardena, Dolomites, Italy

July 7, 2015

See the previous post for information on Ortisei as a home base for day hikes in the region.

Woke to low clouds hanging over some of the peaks with diminished visibility of distant peaks. Under these conditions we changed our original plan to climb to Piz Boè, the highest point in the Sella Group with fabulous panoramas, to a through hike that also starts from Pordoi Pass and continues across the Sella Group to Gardena Pass. For both hikes you can take the gondola up about 700 meters to Sass Pordoi. Otherwise it’s a steep climb up.

Pordoi Pass

Pordoi Pass

View from Gondola

View from Gondola

Clouds above Piz Boe

Clouds above Piz Boe

Once at Sass Pordoi, at the top of the gondola,

Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass

Back way up to Piz Boe

Back way up to Piz Boe

Rifugio Boe

Rifugio Boe

it’s fairly easy hiking with some up and down across a desolate landscape of bare limestone on trails 638 and 627 to Rifugio Boè, then continuing on trails 647, 649 and 666 to Rifugio Cavazza al Pisciadù, and finally trail 666 continues all the way to Pass Gardena.

Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass

The first week in July there was still some snow on the trail. Lingering snow and the loose rubble on the trail make hiking poles a big advantage.

Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass

Rifugio F Cavazza

Descent to Rifugio F Cavazza al Pisciadu

A long steep descent starts about midway past Rifugio Boè where there is a short cable section down a steep gully but nothing too difficult.

Rifugio F Cavazza

Rifugio F Cavazza

Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass

At Rifugio C. al Pisciadù we enjoyed a pleasant lunch with views overlooking a small lake and panoramas overlooking a valley in the opposite direction.

Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass

Past the rifugio it’s a steep descent aided by a system of cables down to Gardena Pass. This is a long cable section and if you are not used to cables this is probably not the place to learn. However, if you have some experience with them this section is really not that difficult.

Ortisei - Hike Pordoi to Gardena Pass

The descent past the cables continues to be quite steep on slippery gravel, but majestic views open up and are brilliantly lit by the afternoon sun.

At Gardena Pass there is bus service back to most towns in the area.

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4 Responses to Hike Across the Sella Group, Val Gardena, Dolomites, Italy

  1. Ben says:

    Hello! Great post!
    We are looking to hike from Gardena Pass to a refugio near the summit of Piz Boe next week. Then the following morning hike to the top for sunrise, before going back down to Pordoi Pass and getting a bus back to the car at Gardena Pass. Do you know the name of the refugio closest to the top? Any other thoughts on this trip?
    Thanks in advance!
    Ben

    • baidanbi says:

      Hi Ben, This sounds like the reverse of the hike we did in the post. The refugio is Rifugio Boe or Bambergerhutte in German and is shown in the post. The post also shows the trail to the summit from this refugio, but we did not take this trail so I can’t advise on its condition.
      Be aware that there are parts of the trail that are marked as via ferrata (cable assisted climbing), especially the steep climb up to Utia Pisciadu F Cavazza. We went down this section without special equipment. I don’t think it would be a problem going up if you are used to this sort of thing, but you may want to ask a local and consider a harness for safety reasons. The other via ferrata sections in the area can be avoided (if you want) by taking alternate trails. I would definitely talk to a local for current trail conditions before starting out. Otherwise it sounds like a fun plan and the summit should be beautiful at sunrise.
      I would love to hear your thoughts on the trail when you have finished. Gook Luck!

  2. George says:

    Hello Pekka, this is very inspiring. We will be there in three weeks and I can’t wait. Just one question: is there a way to reach rifugio Pisciadu that does not include a Via Ferrata? (Two people in our group is not sure they can handle the vertigo.) Any way, for example, to combine a longer but easier hike with some gondola up the mountain?

    Thank you for sharing your love of the Alps.

    –george

    • baidanbi says:

      Hi George, This was a through hike starting at Pordoi Pass and ending at Gardena Pass. The first part to Pisciadu had just one short section with cables that was not very difficult. It’s after Pisciadu when you descend to Gardena Pass that has the more challenging cable sections and dropoffs. Still it wasn’t too difficult, we did not have equipment with us, but it might have some vertigo challenging dropoffs. You could do an out and back from Pordoi pass to Piscaidu and maybe spend the night there or at rifugio Boe. From the top of the gondola at Pordoi pass it took us about 3 and half hours to reach Pisciadu. We go fairly slowly as I take lots of pictures. In any case please check with the locals for the latest trail conditions. Things do change. Hope this helps and have a fabulous trip!

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