The ferrata leads to one of my favorite views in these mountains – the Vajolet Towers.
A Climbers playground and a landscape photographer’s dream, the Vajolet towers are proof that Mother Nature is the perfect sculptor.
Via ferrata Passo Santner was a part of my multiday traverse across the Rosengarten Nature Park. If you are looking for a backpacking trip itinerary make sure to check out my other article.
Via Ferrata Passo Santner In The Italian Dolomites – the stats:
Time required: 2-3 h
Elevation gain: ca. 450 m / 1480 ft
Route difficulty: beginner
Getting to the start of the via ferrata Passo Santner
The via ferrata Passo Santner starts at the top of the Laurin Chairlift next to the Rosengarten hut and it’s clearly marked. I recommend purchasing the map Tobacco no 6 beforehand and bringing it along with you to better visualize the trail.
The roundtrip ticket for the chairlift costs 13 Euros (9 Euros one way) and the return journey can be done within a week of purchasing the ticket. The summer operating times can be found here.
To get to the bottom of the chairlift just search for the Albergo Frommeralm near Carezza in your GPS or google maps. There is a decent size and parking lot at the bottom of the chairlift.
Via Ferrata Passo Santner: Route Description
Starting right behind the Rosengarten hut and after a short but intense scramble with some intermittent cables on path nr 542/550, you will reach a fork. Follow the signs left for Passo Santner.
Soon you will emerge onto a path right underneath the western wall of the Rosengarten/Catinaccio group.
From here you will get a clear view ahead of where the route is leading. After 15 minutes, of mostly flat walking, the path starts climbing steadily again and the fun begins.
The ferrata is very well-marked and easy to follow. The cable protection is placed nicely in difficult sections. You will also come across ladders and stencils coming out of the wall. They help tremendously with tackling the tricky parts.
The route isn’t as exposed as other via ferratas I’ve done in the Dolomites, but still makes up for an exciting excursion in the mountains.
Around two-thirds of the way to Passo Santner, you will find yourself in a gully with a fantastic view of the spires, typical for the Dolomites. This is a great introduction to what’s coming ahead – The Vajolet Towers.
Although Via Ferrata Passo Santner is officially marked as 2A in the Via Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites: Volume 1 guidebook, personally I found it more difficult than for example via Ferrata Catinnacio D’Antermoia (marked in the book as 2B).
For a more thorough route description, I do recommend that you purchase the guidebook.
After around 2-2,5 hours you will reach the end of the via ferrata and the objective for the day – Passo Santner. There is a newly built mountain hut right on the pass with amazing views to the West. It’s scheduled to open in the summer of 2019.
The morning after completing the via ferrata I hiked back up to Passo Santner from the nearby Gartlhütte (rifugio Re Alberto Primero) and photographed a cloud inversion hugging the walls of the Rosengarten group, with only distant peaks peaking above the clouds.
I love it each time it happens!
Directly behind the Passo Santner hut, you will find the continuation of route 542 which leads down to Gartlhütte (Rifugio Re Alberto 1) and the magnificent Vajolet towers standing proudly right above it.
This is certainly one of the most photogenic huts in the Dolomites.
The hut stays open from mid-June until the end of September and if you have time you should definitely consider staying there! It’s privately owned, but typically for the huts in this area, the fees are reasonable and the fact that the price includes food means fewer things that you have to carry in your backpack!
To get back to the top of the chairlift and to avoid going back the same way, you can use path 542 down to the Vajolet hut, then turn onto path 541, followed by nr 550 via the Baumannpass (Forcella di Davoi) and Tschagerjoch (Pas Da Le Colonele). This should take you another 3-3,5 hours.
Do you have any questions about the via ferrata? Post them in the comments below and I will be happy to answer! Make sure to also check out my Italian Dolomites Guide, for more photography, hiking, and via ferrata ideas.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shop on: REELOQ (Europe only)
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