El Cor, Pale dei Balconi, from Capanna Cima Comelle
Beautiful tour, reserved to expert hikers, because it requires ability to climb rocks of grade I and II, both uphill and downhill, and the ability to correctly interpret the route. In a general way the track is thin or absent, but there are cairns at various points.
El Cor, a hole in the rock having the characteristic shape of a heart, is located at the ridge overlooking the valley of San Lucano. You can enjoy beautiful views of the Pale di San Martino, Valle di San Lucano, Gruppo dell'Agner, Val Garés, and in the distance, on the Marmolada and Civetta.
From Capanna Cima Comelle, take the path 756 to the south-east, and follow it until you reach Casera Campigat:
From there, take the path 761 signposted Campo Boaro. The trail climbs sweetly, with some narrow curves:
After a wide curve to the right, leave the path and take a track in the grass on the left:
After about hundred meters you reach a steep and crumbly gully, about 60 meters deep:
Descend to the bottom, by climbing some steps of grade II, finally reaching a snowfield, which you have to cross, up to its east side:
Go up on ground and rocks up to the rocky wall, then start to cross over to the left, encountering occasional cairns. Then go up a short stretch of easy rock plate and traces up to a gravel terrace, typically occupied by a patch of snow:
From here the ascent takes place on traces of trail, stretches of climb of grade I and steps of grade II, according to this schema and the following description:
Cross to the left on a ledge of grass and pines, remaining under the rocks and ignoring one first narrow channel, until you reach a deeper and wider channel, which cuts through the wall to his full height:
Do not enter the channel; go up instead on grass and rocks, reaching a dry bed, which you climb up:
Before the rocky plaques above it, where to the right there is a terrace of grass and gravel, typically occupied by a small snow patch, cross to the right:
Before reaching a channel on the right, go up the ramp of grass and rocks, keeping to the left of the channel, or using it where it is easier.
At the point where it is possible, cross to the left, on a grassy ledge:
Then go up, in fact right again of the big channel, heading diagonally towards the right, following the traces of trail and pointing to the saddle above:
When you get there, the Cor finally shows up:
To reach the Cima dei Balconi, take the ridge to the south, passing a first relief and then a second, on a ledge to the right of the top, and finally a third peak, where a cairn with a notebook in a cylindrical metallic box will confirm the arrival at destination.
Throughout the exposed ridge the views are spectacular on both sides.
Continue south, passing another relief without climbing it but going right into a slot and then a narrow ledge:
Then you reach a final grassy summit, from which you can see the Pale dei Balconi:
Go down to the saddle that separates you from them, then go up on the other side, on an easy rock ramp, until you first reach the ridge, then, more to the left, the Pale dei Balconi, with a cairn.
From there you descend freely into the valley to the west, aiming first at a great cairn located in a circular lawn:
Then head towards a wide saddle, where there is a first pole:
From there, continue along the path 776, downhill, marked with poles, cairns and white-red signs. After a long descent, you meet the path 761, which with equally long but more gentle descent will bring you back to Casera Campigat. From there, going back along the path forward, you return to Capanna Cima Comelle.
■ gb, 2013-08-12