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.
Tackled separately or together these two via ferratas both start at Rifugio Roda di Vaèl (Rotwand Hütte) and can finish at numerous destinations in Rosengarten/Catinaccio Nature Park.
Via Ferratas Masaré and Road De Vaél: The Stats
Time required: 5-7 h
Elevation gain: 770 m / 2500 ft
Route difficulty: intermediate
Getting to the start of the via ferratas
The fastest and most logical way to get to rifugio Roda Di Vaèl is to take the Paolina chairlift from Carezza to Rifugio Paolina and walk the path nr 539 then 549. This is an easy walk with gentle incline. There is a parking area at the bottom of the chairlift to park your car.
The elevation gain is ca. 150 meters and it shouldn’t take longer then 30 minutes. The opening times and prices of the chairlift can be found here.
Check Out My Via Ferrata Gear
To protect your head from any potential rockfall set off by climbing groups above you, or any other head injuries.
Aim for a lightweight harness, which will be comfy to wear between the cable protected sections when you are hiking.
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.
Developed specifically for via ferrata scrambling, the lanyard provides shock absorption in case of a fall.
Via ferratas Roda de Vaèl and Masarè route description
Whilst the climbing is straightforward and should pose no real problems, the exposure at times can be significant. A head for heights will come in useful.
Although the summit of Roda de Vaèl can get busy, the rest of the route, including Via Ferrata Masaré was relatively quiet.
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)
Once you reach it, the route undulates, quite severely at times, along several ledges and 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 half way on the first of the two ferratas.
Soon you will be starting 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 2.5 hours.
At the junction, you can turn right and head back steeply to Rifugio Roda da Vaèl (totalling ~3.5 hours) which is nothing but a tiny dot in the distance.
For better views however, continue up gravelly 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 hand holds, ladders and a series of well placed staples, however, if heights give you a bit of a scare, then the closest ground below is a sheer drop several tens of metres 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 take a big sigh of relief and watch other keen adventurers tackle the wall.
From here, most of the route to the summit of Roda da Vaèl (2806m) is switchbacks on an exposed well trodden scree face. On a sunny day make sure to take plenty of water. The summit views are expansive and rewarding and a great place to stop for a snack.
The descent starts on the opposite side of the summit that you just ascended. 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.
Once you’ve descended to Passo Vajalon then a quick 45 minute descent back to Roda de Vaèl (Path 551 then 541) where a large plate of Kaiserschmaren and a glass of red wine are waiting for you after a 6 hour excursion.
Alternatively you can descend westward on path 9 toward path 552 which leads southward to Paolina refuge or path 549 northward to Rifugio Fronza (Rosengarten Hütte).
To better visualise the whole route I recommend that you purchase the Tobacco map nr 6 and study it before the excursion.
Let me know if you have any questions about this via ferrata below in the comments. I will be happy to help out! For more articles about hikes, photography spots and via ferratas go to my Italian Dolomites Guide.