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 and then 549. This is an easy walk with a 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 than 30 minutes. The opening times and prices of the chairlift can be found here.
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 halfway 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 (totaling ~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 handholds, 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 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 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 visualize the whole route I recommend that you purchase Tobacco Map no. 6 and study it before the excursion.
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. When you order Reeloq through my link you will receive 10% discount.
Shop on: REELOQ (Europe only)
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