Tackling Dolomite’s Famous Via Ferrata Brigata Tridentina Al Piciadu

I had been putting off via ferrata Brigata Tridentina for quite some time and  all my research suggesting that it’s one of the busiest ferratas in the Dolomites definitely had something to do with it.

I normally head out to the mountains to seek solitude and whenever I come across someone carrying speakers and playing loud music, I try to give them my best death stare. Either my face expressions are too soft, or others just simply don’t give a damn, but it never works.

My friend and I started the route relatively early each day and whilst it did seem like we beat the majority of the crowd, we still ran into a lot more people than I normally would on other via ferrata routes which I have done to date.

I didn’t see it as a wasted excursion. On the contrary I enjoyed myself and whilst the route won’t land in the ranks of my personal favourites, I would still give it a solid 7/10 mainly for the views and enjoyable scrambling!

Via Ferrata Brigata Tridentina: The Stats

Time required 3-4 h

Elevation gain: 500 m / 1640 ft

Route difficulty: intermediate

Following path no. 666 from Passo Gardena to the start of the via ferrata Brigata Tridentina
Following path no. 666 from Passo Gardena

Where is the via ferrata Brigata Tridentina Located?

Via ferrata Brigata Tridentina has been constructed on the northern slopes of the Sella group, a home to another prominent via ferrata – Pössnecker. 

The Sella group is also one of the mountain groups crossed on Alta Via 2. Its highest peak – Piz Boé is home to one of the most photogenic mountain huts in the Italian Dolomites. 

The nearest towns are Corvara and Colfosco in Val Badia. Below you can find some of my recommendations for accommodation in the area.

If you would like to support my site please book through my affiliate links and help me to earn a small commission at zero additional cost to you!

Pizes da Cier and Passo Gardena from the start of the hike
The road leading to Passo Gardena.

What Is The Best Month To Tackle Via Ferrata Brigata Tridentina?

The hiking/climbing season in the Dolomites is relatively short and it lasts from the 3rd week of June until the end of September (or mid October in some parts).

Due to the fact that the route faces north it is prone to icing at the start and end of the season when the temperatures at night can still fall below zero.

Extrapolating, the best months to tackle via ferrata Brigata Tridentina are July, August and September, however if you want to see the waterfall which runs next to the route in all its glory, then July would be my pick.

The later it gets in the season the waterfall eventually turns into a little trickle of water.

A climber on the via ferrata Brigata Tridentina with the views  of Sassongher and the towns of Colfosco and Corvara in the background
My friend Magda on the via ferrata with the views of Sassongher, Colfosco and Corvara in the background

How To Get To The Start Of The Via Ferrata Brigata Tridentina

There are two possible trailheads for via ferrata Brigata Tridentina. The first one is the carpark Pisciadu belonging to the Italian Alpine Club, the second is Passo Gardena.

Whilst the latter makes the whole route slightly longer distance wise, it cuts on some of the elevation gain and loss thanks to it being substantially higher. 

Another advantage of starting at Passo Gardena is that after completing via ferrata Brigata Tridentina, you can take a few hours rest at one of the rifugios located on the pass (rifugio Jimmy is my recommendation) and if the weather allows it, tick off the short but mighty via ferrata Gran Cir for sunset.

The only downside is that the carpark at Passo Gardena is paid (5 Euro/cash only) and the fee is collected by not always so friendly parking assistants.

Make sure to equip yourself with a map. For this particular route the Tobacco map 05 or 07 will do. Both cover the Sella group.

Shop My Via Ferrata Gear

Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet

To protect your head from any potential rockfall set off by climbing groups above you, or any other head injuries. 

Black Diamond Momentum Harness 

Aim for a lightweight harness, which will be comfy to wear between the cable protected sections when you are hiking. 

Black Diamond Crag Gloves

When you haul yourself on a metal cable for half a day your hands will quickly become blistered. My advice is to go for full fingered gloves. 

Camp Kinetic Rewind Pro Via Ferrata Lanyard

Developed specifically for via ferrata scrambling, the lanyard provides shock absorption  in case of a fall.

Ascending on the via ferrata Brigata Tridentina
Ascending on the via ferrata Brigata Tridentina

Via Ferrata Brigata Tridentina Route Description

If you choose to start at the CAI carpark take the path no. 29 and follow it for ca. 20-30 minutes until you reach the start of the cables.

If like me, you choose to start at Passo Gardena you will first need to follow the path no. 666 until you reach a fork at the bottom of Val Setus then continue onto path no. 29. This option will take approximately 30 minutes. By the way the impressive Val Setus is where you will be descending to get back to where you started.  

Some signs point to via ferrata Piscadiu which is one and the same as Brigata Tridentina, so don’t let that misguide you.

Climber ascending on the via ferrata Brigata Tridentina in the Italian Dolomites

The escape route on the VF Brigata Tridentina visible down below

Via ferrata Brigata Tridentina is very well protected with cables, stemples and ladders and as you climb higher along the Exner Tower you gain incredible views over Colfosco and Corvara.

Around halfway up there is an escape route leading to the Pisciadu hut, take it if you have had enough or the weather takes a turn for the worse. Otherwise continue on to the bridge.

The culmination of the cable section is the suspension bridge stretched between Torre Exner and Mur de Pisciadu, which you have walked under just earlier in the day.

After the suspension bridge it’s another 15-20 minutes hike until you reach rifugio Pisciadu. I have stayed here before during my Alta Via 2 adventure, however the experience was ruined by us being placed in a room with 20 Italian men on a weekend getaway. I learnt a new meaning of the word ‘snoring’ that night.

A climber on the suspension bridge between Torre Exner and Mur de Pisciadu on the via ferrata Brigata Tridentina
The suspension bridge marks the end of the scrambling section

The Pisciadu Summit Extension

Once at the refuge you have a couple of options.

If you are thirsty for more incredible views, consider going to the summit of Cima Pisciadu. This adds another 2 hours (return) and approximately 400 meters in elevation gain. The route to the summit follows path 666.

After ca. 30 minutes and a short cable protected scramble, a sign points to the summit. The way up and down follows the same path. 

It’s a short and intense scramble, but really  worth it. From the summit you will be able to look down on both sides of Passo Gardena and on a clear day even see the snow-capped Austrian Alps in the far distance.

The view from the summit of Cima Pisciadu at sunrise - an extension to the via ferrata Brigata Tridentina
The view from the summit of Cima Pisciadu at sunrise

The Way Back To The Car Park

If you would like to call it a day, the return to Passo Gardena will take approximately 90 minutes and follows path number 666 in the opposite direction to the one mentioned above, through a steep gully (protected with cables so leave your VF gear on) then a zig zag descent on a packed scree slope through Val Setus.

Once you reach a fork at the bottom of Val Setus, depending where you started earlier in the day, it’s either straight down on path 666A to the Pisciadu carpark or left on path 666 back to Passo Gardena.

Alternatively if you took a bus to Passo Gardena and would like to get back to Colfosco or Corvara on foot, from rifugio Piscadu you can take the path no. 676 then 651 through De Mesdi valley. This route will take approximately 2,5 hours.

Rifugio Pisciadu and Cima Pisciadu
Descending into Val Setus

If you decide to tackle via ferrata Brigata Tridentina, let me know about your experience! If you need any help with planning your trip to the Dolomites visit my Outdoor and Photography Guide to the Italian Dolomites! 

Post your questions about this route in the comments. I always answer! 


Hi! I am the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *