Guide To Via Ferrata Michielli Strobel near Cortina D’Ampezzo In The Italian Dolomites

The craggy rockface up the western-facing slopes of Monte Fiames makes for a satisfying half-day excursion on the Pomagagnon Range under 5km north of Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Via Ferrata Michielli Strobel is best characterized by intermittent climbing dispersed with outstanding views southward over Cortina, Monte Pelmo, Croda da Lago, and westward to Tofane di Mezzo.

The route climaxes on a lofty summit and descends along a demanding scree slope! Make sure to pack your hiking poles for this one! 

This route is generally accessible between mid-June until mid-October, but do bear in mind that it can be icy in the mornings during the autumn months. 

Via Ferrata Michielli Strobel – The Stats

  • Distance: 10 km / 6.2 mi
  • Time required: 4-5 h
  • Elevation gain: 950 m / 3100 ft
  • Route difficulty: intermediate
Climber along the via ferrata Michieli Strobel with Cortina D'Ampezzo and the Sorapiss Range in the background

Where does via ferrata Michielli Strobel start?

The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road to Hotel Fiames on Strada Statale (state road) 51 di Alemagna.

There’s ample parking but if it does become busy, an overflow car park is around 100m back toward Cortina on the same side as the hotel.

I really recommend starting this via ferrata early. The slopes are west facing meaning if you start late you could spend several hours exposed to strong direct sunlight.

Accommodation in Cortina D’Ampezzo

The nearest town to the trailhead for the via ferrata Michielli Strobel is Cortina D’Ampezzo. It’s only 10 minute drive away.

Being in the heart of the central Dolomites, Cortina makes for a perfect town to explore the nearby attractions. I highly recommend that you stay at least a few days in Cortina. 

Below you will find a few of my hotel recommendations. Please use the affiliate links and support my website. It will cost you nothing and help me create more useful content for you! 

The Sorapiss Range in the Italian Dolomites
Some of the sections of the ferrata

Via ferrata Michielli Strobel – route description

The approach starts in a thick pine wood where interwoven roots underfoot can make you stumble once or twice. This is especially true if you aim to start climbing before sunrise as I did! 

After a few minutes, you’ll emerge out on an old railway line (now a cycle path). Here you’ll make a right turn followed by a left turn after 100m onto a much thinner hiking path that quickly ascends on a springy forest floor and then a scree slope.

Before you set off from the car park scan the pathway from the road. You should be able to see the upper scree path before setting off (hint: you can see it on google street view as well). 

An aerial view of Cortina D'Ampezzo and Mount Pelmo taken from the via ferrata Michieli Strobel

The path is fairly obvious and well signposted but I still found it useful carrying my GPS with me. There were times when I was questioning whether I was on the right course. 

To begin with, your destination at the cliff face is not obvious but not before long a wide ledge becomes apparent as you switch back up an unassuming scree gully interspersed with sections amongst fragrant dwarf pine.

Turning right, walk along the ledge past the official Michielli Strobel Via Ferrata plaque. After a quick few unprotected scrambles up some of the bigger jots, you’ll have reached the start of the cables. This initial approach lasts around 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Climber standing on a rocky outcrop along the via ferrata Michieli Strobel with the panoramic view over the northern Dolomites in the background

There is lots of space directly underneath the first cable so it’s a great place for your group to stop and harness up.  I would advise you putting your helmet on earlier, as soon as you reach the cliff, because you’ll walk underneath climbers most likely unaware of your presence, hundreds of meters above you.

The scrambling along the via ferrata section is straightforward and is made easier by numerous large handholds and footholds on decent rock. In the toughest places pegs, staples, and ladders are placed smartly to assist you in your progression.

Climber scaling the ladder along the via ferrata Michieli Strobel

The views become more expansive as you gain height. They are predominantly south facing over the town of Cortina with a few to the northwest toward Col Rosa and Col Becchei.

After the last major section of climbing you begin your summit push on a good scree slope between wind-beaten dwarf pine bushes.

The peak is small with a steep cliff on the opposite side of the approach but a lovely place for a snack, some breakfast, and a few photos. Maintaining a decent pace with stops for kitting up, photos, and a snack, you should achieve the summit in roughly 3 hours.

If you’ve got the time and energy, there are other slightly higher peaks nearby that can be summited for similar but slightly loftier views.

The ledges along the route
Jack at one of the viewpoints

The descent takes you back down from the summit along the same path of ascent but then bears east toward Forcella (saddle) Pomagagnon deeper into the Pomagagnon Range. Make sure to carry the Tabacco Map nr 03 or GPS with you and study the route beforehand. 

Once you’ve passed a short 20m protected traverse, this is the last you’ll need your harness. Once you reach the saddle it’s a great place to pack it away.

Climber on the Pomagnon ridgeline - the highest point on the via ferrata Michieli Strobel. The town of Cortina D'ampezzo can be seen in the background
The summit views
The views on the other side of the Pomagnon ridgeline
The views on the other side of the Pomagnon ridgeline

Down from Forcella Pomagagnon can be either a dream or a disaster. If you have good knees, can scree surf, and don’t mind the occasional slip on your bum then you’ll fly down quickly. If however, you aren’t too confident on scree then it’s a very demanding steep journey down with no real path just desire lines left by the ‘skiers’.

Either way, as long as you’re heading downhill you’re going in the right direction. As the gully swings rightward, you’ll emerge near path 218 which takes you back to Fiames.

The start of the scree gully upon the descent from the Pomagnon ridgeline along the via ferrata Michieli Strobel.
The saddle is where you can take your gear off (keeping the helmet on is always a good idea).

Path 218 can still be scree surfed in parts but not before long enters the forest where an uneven trail leads downhill toward the old railway road.

Once you emerge out onto the old railway road, a right turn will take you back toward Hotel Fiames where you started a few hours earlier. 

Shop my via ferrata gear essentials

Black Diamond Helmet

Rockfall is a major concern on via ferrata routes. Unbeknownst to you, other climbing groups above you may accidentally dislodge a small rock and send it hurtling down the mountain. If it hits you on the head it could have serious consequences. A helmet placed on your head (not inside your backpack) is a must! 

Shop on: Amazon / Backcountry (US) / Bergfreunde (Europe)

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Black Diamond Momentum Harness

Another must-have on a via ferrata route is a climbing harness. A harness works as an anchor point for your via ferrata lanyard. Make sure to try it on first before your trip to ensure it fits snugly without limiting your movements. Aim for a lightweight harness, that will be comfy to wear between the cable-protected sections when you are hiking.

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Shop Men’s on Amazon / Backcountry (US) / Bergfreunde (Europe)

edelrid basis cable kit special via ferrata set

Edelrid, Camp or Black Diamond Via Ferrata Lanyard

A via ferrata lanyard connects the climber and their harness to the cables along the route. Its two arms and a hidden extra coil work as an energy absorption system in case of a fall, by reducing the stress on the climber. The two carabiners at the end of the lanyard are used to clip into the cable. Make sure the carabiners are equipped with the palm squeeze mechanism. It’s the safest and most comfortable.

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Black Diamond Crag Gloves

The gloves are meant to protect your hands from any cuts and scratches you may otherwise get if you haul yourself on the cable without them. Personally, I prefer full-fingered gloves for extra protection against blisters.

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Salewa Wildfire Edge Approach Shoes

My go-to pair of hiking shoes for easier trails or via ferrata, where I don’t need extra ankle support. They provide excellent grip on the rock and are very durable.

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reeloq

Reeloq Smartphone Securing System

If you want to be able to take great photos on a via ferrata and not worry about losing your phone, Reeloq is the best tool for it. It’s a smartphone securing system, that will allow you to use your phone on any of your adventures. This has been a great addition to my tool arsenal. When you order Reeloq through my link you will receive 10% discount.

Shop on: REELOQ (Europe only)

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If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!

Marta
Marta

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.

4 Comments

  1. Heya! Yes that’s the route I took down, it was wonderful, such a nice quiet valley and to have a bus route at the end was just fantastic! Ah yes I was fully geared up at that stage, managed to borrow a helmet for the Toblin day thankfully!

    • Hi Donal! So glad to hear it. It would be very quiet by now. The ferrata was even quiet when I did it in July but to be fair I did leave at 5 am, so there are not many more people who are already climbing at this hour. I am so glad to hear you had a great time. did you manage to do any more via ferratas during your stay?

  2. Heya! I’m having the most wonderful week following routes you described so well on your website, I can’t thank you enough. I found the scree decent on Forc de diavolo (AV4) a bit too hair raising (I didn’t have a helmet then but I do now) so I was thinking of doing this route and descending via path 202 and getting the bus back to Dobiacco from the 51 road on the north side of the mountain. Can you recall from looking down if there’s much of a trail there? It looks straightforward on the map 03 anyway.. All the best, Donal

    • Hey Donal! Thanks for your awesome feedback. I hope I am not too late with my reply. I just had a look at the map and whilst I don’t remember seeing that trail (it was a while back), I am sure it will be there, especially since it is clearly marked on the map. You can descend on 202 and then join trail 203 which is a wide gravel road that leads to Rif. Ospitale. This is the official ending of via ferrata Ivano Dibona. There is a bus stop there. Just do double-check bus schedules before leaving because in the shoulder season sometimes buses stop operating on certain routes. Have lots of fun and make sure to bring the equipment with you!

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