by Via Normale, from Rifugio Flora Alpina
The Punta del Formenton is one of the peaks that surround the Valfredda, and inevitably attracts the gaze, for the particular shape which it shows, especially because of the nearby tower.
The climb to the top is a route for a few connoisseurs. In fact you need good familiarity with the crumbly rock climbing, a good ability to orient yourself on unmarked trails, and to be sure-footed in the exposed sections.
The use of rope, hammer and nails, is strongly recommended, as a protection along the most exposed part of the initial ledge.
Author's Note: I thank very much my friends Armando, Dario and Francesco, who shared this adventure with me, and who appear in several photographs.
You can park on a large pitch at the side of the paved road that, after having deviated from SS346, leads to the Refuge Flora Alpina.
Take the path 607 to the Valfredda. After 15-20 minutes you already meet the first huts, of which the valley is dotted:
It you cross a stream over a bridge, and follow the signs to the Forca Rossa first, then for La Banca. Thus, after crossing another bridge, you will reach a crucifix, after about one hour from departure:
And then an indication for La Banca, that you follow:
You head towards the Punta del Formenton, always visible, aiming straight at the base of the scree (thin trace on the map), or by following a short section of the trail to the Forca Rossa. The second path is easier, although slightly longer. In any case, you must at some point leave the trail and go for the scree:
Climb up freely the tiring scree, aiming to reach the Forcella della Banca di Valfredda, located to the right of Punta del Formenton:
The last part of the approach is carried out by going up along a more visible a trail, marked by cairns:
After two good hours from departure, you reach the clevis. Here the view opens to the north, towards Monte Fop and the south face of the Marmolada, and down into the valley you can see the Rifugio Falier.
This is the start of the climbing route; it is already possible, to the left, see the obvious ledge that must be traveled:
Schema of the climbing route, as followed by the author and his partners; the photo has been taked from Monte La Banca (photo by Francesco):
Walk along the ledge, initially easily, but anyway with a lot of attention:
You will soon reach a more exposed point. Here you should equip a stopping point with a couple of nails, and go on tied to a rope:
The ledge continues following the shape of the wall; a narrow channel that interrupts requires a split in order to continue. Later, at a deeper gully, the ledge turns around the corner and gets inside, downhill:
After overcoming a couple of not-so-easy steps, you reach a good stopping point:
Author's Note: During our climb, we used 30 meters of rope along this stretch, from stop to stop, and used two nails for the initial stop, two more along the length, and another two for the final stop. It is very difficult to communicate by voice between the two stopping points.
Carry on along the ledge, which is now easier, but less and less evident. It is necessary at this point to locate a good position at which to bend to the left, aiming for the top. An attractive possibility is represented by a channel that goes up between a spur and a characteristic mushroom-shaped rock:
You climb up on grade II rocks; you overcome some stuck boulders, with a step of III, on good rock, then continue freely on brittle rocks, grade II, up to the summit:
■ gb, 2013-08-31