July 11, 2015
Hike #13 – Rifugio Vandelli Traverse
Cicerone Guide, Shorter Walks in the Dolomites
Starting Point: Tre Croci Pass off of SS48
Distance: 12.5km/7.8 miles
One of my favorite hikes of the six trails we followed on this trip. On a beautiful Saturday it was very popular especially with families and sunbathers heading to Lake Sorapiss just down from the rifugio. Leave early and consider taking the spectacular high route back to Tre Croci Pass.
From Tre Croci Pass trail 215 is a straight forward route to the lake. Heading generally up there are some steep sections. The track opens up along a rock face with great views to the east and south.
The one section marked on the map with +++ and translated as “ladder” is really a staircase built into the rock and nothing to worry about.
Rifugio Vandelli also boasts amazing views, but consider, as most Italians do, picnicking by the lake.
You can walk around the lake but there is one tricky section a short ways to your left as you reach the lake from the main trail where a cliff face blocks your path. You can either scooch along a ledge, crawl under a tree branch and then climb down off the rocks – perfectly doable if you are inclined to do that sort of thing – or you can climb up and over the ledge and back down to the trail. Views from the opposite end of the lake are worth the effort.
The alternate way back suggested in Cicerone guide book is certainly manageable despite the warning +++ symbols marked on the map. Although there are a couple of short cable sections there is nothing particularly long or scary.
Take trail 216 up a long steep slippery hill. Frequent views back over the lake and out to the east allow you a chance to catch your breath.
The famous “ledge” marked with +++ on the map is a fabulous view point. The descent on the ledge itself is short and not difficult.
Down the valley from the ledge is the old turn off for trail 223, but after a huge landslide – you can see where the trail used to go –
the trail has been rerouted with the junction across the valley and back up the top of the ridge at Forcella Marcoira.
Across the ridge to the left you rejoin the old route 223.
A short cable gets you across the pass and down into the next valley. Where you hit trail 213 (turn right) that takes you back to Tre Croci Pass.
The way is steep and slippery in sections but manageable with trekking poles. There is also one boulder scramble. Great views in the afternoon light.
Trail 213 eventually hits an old road that leads back to SS48.
Note that from Forcella Marcoira you could also take trail 216 down to trail 213. The Cicerone guide book says that this is a steeper yet shorter way down.