Via Ferratas Masarè and Roda Di Vaèl In The Rosengarten Nature Park

Tackled separately or together via ferratas Masarè and Roda di Vaèl are exciting iron paths in the Rosengarten Nature Park in the Dolomites. This was the last via ferrata on my multiday traverse through the Rosengarten group and because I wasn’t feeling well I decided to sit this one out. However, my friends pushed on and this is the account of their experience along with tips and info on the route. 

7 Things to know about via ferratas Masarè and Roda Di Vaèl

1. The Stats (counting from Rifugio Roda Di Vaèl)

Via Ferrata Masare Roda Di Vael
  • Start/End: Rifugio Roda Di Vaèl (Rotwandhuette)
  • Alternative End: Rifugio Paolina
  • Distance: 5.2 km / 3.23 mi
  • Elevation gain: 405 m / 1329 ft
  • Time required: 3-4 hours
  • Route difficulty: intermediate
  • When to go: June – mid-October
  • Map required: Tabacco map no. 029 (Rosengarten) or Tabacco map no. 06 (Val Di Fassa)

2. The map of the route

  • Yellow: Via Ferratas Masarè and Roda Di Vaèl
  • Blue: Approach from Rifugio Paolina to Rifugio Roda Di Vaèl
  • Red: Early escape route from Passo Vajolon to Rifugio Paolina

TIP: Click on the individual trail and a window will open showing the name, distance, and elevation gain for each route.

3. Getting to the trailhead

Via Ferrata Masare Roda Di Vael 11

The fastest and most logical way to get to Rifugio Roda Di Vaèl is to take the Paolina chairlift from Carezza to Rifugio Paolina. The opening times and prices of the chairlift can be found here (click on the Carezza tab). During summer the lift operates from the end of May until mid-October

By car

It takes 40 minutes to drive from Bolzano, the nearest city to the bottom of the chairlift. If you are staying in any town in Val Di Fassa you can reach the parking lot within 10-20 minutes. A parking area is at the bottom of the chairlift. It’s fine to leave your car there overnight, as long as you are not camping in it

By bus

The bus stop for the Paolina chairlift, where the Rosengarten Traverse starts is aptly named Paolina. Bus numbers 180, 184, and N180 operate on this route.

Find the nearest bus stop to your accommodation by zooming in on it on Google Maps, then type in your point of departure and destination on the Sued Tirol Mobil website. If you are traveling from Bolzano the journey takes approximately one hour.

4. The approach from Rifugio Paolina to Rifugio Roda Di Vaèl

  • Distance: 1.95 km / 1.2 miles
  • Time required: 30-40 mins
  • Total climb: 189 m / 620 feet
  • Total descent: 29 m / 95 feet
Rosengarten Traverse Rifugio Paolina to Roda De Vael

From Rifugio Paolina take paths no 539 and 549 which circle the southern end of the Rosengarten group. This is an easy walk with a gentle incline. You should reach Rifugio Roda Di Vaèl within 40 minutes.

5. Via ferratas Masare and Roda Di Vael: route description

The climbing is straightforward and should pose no real problems, but the exposure at times can be significant. A head for heights will come in useful.

Although the summit of Roda di Vaèl can get busy, the rest of the route, including Via Ferrata Masaré was relatively quiet. 

Stage 1: Rifugio Roda Di Vael to Unnamed Peak

Via Ferrata Masare Roda Di Vael 9

Follow the signs away from Rifugio Roda di Vaèl (2283m) posted for Via Ferrata Masarè and start heading uphill. Although there is a main path, desire paths scar the scree slopes and grassy plateaus. As long as you are heading to the left of the ridge (looking from Rifugio Roda di Vaèl) then any path will do.

This part of the track gains elevation quickly and offers great views of the cliffs that you’ll soon be traversing. After roughly 1 hour you’ll be switchbacking your way up to the first major peak – the unnamed peak (2585m)

Stage 2: Via ferrata Masarè

Once you reach it, the route undulates, quite severely at times, along several ledges. Cable use is extensive and necessary. Exposure is significant at times but good handholds, staples, and bars have been well-positioned to make the climbing relatively stress-free. 

When you get past a small hollowed-out cave filled with crucifixes and Mother Mary (trust me, I know how it sounds, welcome to Italy), you’re passed halfway on the first of the two ferratas.

Soon you will start a short descent to the fork 20 minutes downhill from Forcella del Diavolo. This fork marks the end of Via Ferrata Masaré and should take roughly 2 hours. 

TIP: At the junction, you can turn right and head back to Rifugio Rodi da Vaèl (totaling ~3 hours) which is nothing but a tiny dot in the distance.

Stage 3: Via Ferrata Roda Di Vaèl

For better views, however, continue up gravel switchbacks until you reach the most exposed part of the loop, Forcella del Diavolo. All routes are well-signposted and easy to follow. 

The face traverse (pictured below) at the Forcella connecting the Cresta de Masaré and Mount Roda da Vaél is not too demanding (if you’re a full-grown adult).

There are plenty of good handholds, ladders, and a series of well-placed iron rods, however, if heights give you a bit of a scare, then the closest ground below is a sheer drop tens of meters below you. 

This small section of the route is strictly no passing. If someone has already started on the wall do not attempt to pass them. Let them finish and then proceed. 

Once you’re on the other side you can sigh with relief and watch other keen adventurers tackle the wall. 

From here, most of the route to the summit of Roda de Vaèl (2806m) is switchbacks on an exposed well-trodden scree face. The summit is a great place to stop for a snack. 

Stage 4: The descent

Via Ferrata Masare Roda Di Vael 15

The descent starts on the opposite side of the Roda De Vaèl summit. This part of the route is more of a protected walk for more experienced hikers. Due to its popularity amongst people of all ages and abilities and the proximity of the König Laurin and Paulina chairlifts, cable protection is prevalent. 

From Passo Vajolon it’s another 45-minute descent back to Roda di Vaèl Hut (Path 551 then 541).

TIP: Alternatively, you can descend westward from Passo Vajolon on path no. 9 toward path no. 552 which leads southward to Paolina Hut (I marked this route in red on the map.

6. Where to stay overnight

Rosengarten Traverse Rifugio Roda De Vael

Option 1: Rifugio Roda Di Vaèl (Rotwandhuette)

Rifugio Roda Di Vaèl (Rotwandhuette) was built on the Ciampaz saddle and belongs to the Italian Alpine Club. The hut offers 59 beds spread across multiple rooms and it has a restaurant. The refuge is usually open from the start of June until mid-October (opening times vary year to year and depend on snow).

Option 2: Stay in a town in Val Di Fassa

Canazei, Vigo Di Fassa, Pozza di Fassa, Moena, or Campitello are just a few towns in the famous Fassa Valley in the Italian Dolomites. They all lie within a few minute’s drive of one another and are great places to make a base for exploring the trails in the Dolomites. If you are tackling Via Ferratas Masarè and Roda Di Vaèl as a day excursion you can return to your hotel the same day. Here are a couple of my recommendations for hotels in Val Di Fassa

7. Via ferratas Masare and Roda Di Vael as part of multiday hut-to-hut traverse

Rosengarten Traverse Passo Principe 16
The views from Passo Principe

The Rosengarten Nature Park is an excellent mountain group for a hut-to-hut traverse. Tackle 6 different via ferrata routes over 5 days and see other highlights of the Rosengarten group including the Vajolet towers, and Principe Pass, and stay overnight in one of my favorite huts – Rifugio Alpe Di Tires. Via ferratas Masarè and Roda De Vaèl come right on the first day of the traverse.

READ MORE: 3-5 day traverse across the Rosengarten Group.

Other via ferratas in the Rosengarten Group

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 down the mountain. If it hits you on the head, it could have serious consequences. A helmet on your head (not inside your backpack) is necessary.

Shop on: Amazon (Worldwide) / Backcountry (US)

71gKk4U+f2S. AC SL1500

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. Try it before your trip to ensure it fits snugly without limiting your movements. Aim for a lightweight harness that will be comfortable to wear between the cable-protected sections when hiking.

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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91P0f6XnFML. AC SL1500

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. I prefer full-fingered gloves for extra protection against blisters.

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salewa womens wildfire edge approach shoes detail 6

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 take great photos on a via ferrata without worrying about losing your phone, Reeloq is the best tool for it. It’s a smartphone-securing system that allows you to use your phone on any adventure. This has been a great addition to my tool arsenal.

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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.

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