Piccola Fermeda, by Via Leuchs (south-east ridge), from Col Raiser
Superb climbing route, varied, on good rock, with a long stretch along the south-east edge. In planning the travel time, one should neglect neither the initial part of the route, on low grades but very steep grassy ground, nor the final part, easy yet articulate, going from the secondary summit to the top.
The environment, on the border between Gröden / Val Gardena and Villnöss / Val di Funes, is of great beauty, and the views are absolutely up to it.
The stops are equipped, or easily fitted out, there are a few nails, well laid out, which can be integrated with sufficient fast protections.
Author's Note: I thank Flavio and Francesco, who on two separate occasions have shared with me this climb, and who appear in several photographs.
You can park for a fee at the valley station of the Col Raiser cable car.
From the upper station of the cable car, follow the signs to the Ferrata Sass Rigais. After about 45 minutes you reach the Piera Longia, a large boulder with an overhanging south face:
After passing it, stray from the path, climbing on grass and gravel next to a fence:
Then climb up to the foothills of Fermede, practically at the base of the ravine which separates them. The starting point is on the right, on the grassy base of the Grande Fermeda:
L1, L2, L3, L4: Climb painstakingly and carefully the base of the north-western edge of the Grande Fermeda, aiming to move more and more towards the rocky wall when possible:
The fourth length terminates after a short traverse of rock which leads to a cemented nail at the base of a steep crack-chimney, where the next length will start. 120 m, I and II.
L5: Still on the west wall of the Grande Fermeda in the direction of the gully, climb the steep crack-chimney:
Upon its exit, an exposed traverse, protected by two nails, is the key step:
You stop on a cemented nail, or on a spike. 30 m, IV, nails.
L6: Traverse on easier rocks:
and finally go down to the gully, stopping at the base of a rocky pillar located at the center. 30 m, III.
L7: Climb the pillar, on a dihedral-chimney, then on its ridge, up to its top:
30 m, IV, nail, tunnel.
L8: Climb the gully on easy gravel and rocks, for about fifty meters:
50 m, I.
L9: Now you go up the east wall of the Piccola Fermeda, where you climb on vertical plate initially, then propped, at an angle to the left, following the line of the reversed dihedral that forms beneath the overhanging roofs:
The stop, on a cemented nail, it is a few meters to the left of a nail driven into the crack of the dihedral, after passing a small jump. 50 m, IV-, nail, tunnel.
L10: Cross horizontally to the left, on quite easy but very exposed rocks:
So you reach the south-east edge. 30 m, III, nails, tunnel.
L11, L12, L13, L14, L15: Climb along the long edge, following the easiest line, which is often found to the left of the edge, sometimes right on it:
On a particularly exciting stretch of sharp and vertical edge, you climb practically riding it. Stops and protections can be easily made on slots, tunnels and spikes. Around 140 m, II, III, IV-, nail.
Towards the top: Climb some more along the edge until you find a clevis which gives access to the north wall of the secondary summit:
After this, you go down a couple of meters and follow the ledge to the west, firstly horizontal:
then downhill, up to a point of descent, which with a double rope of about 25 m will bring you down on a slope of gravel below the first clevis (the one between the secondary summit and the intermediate group of pinnacles), east side.
Do not ascend to the first clevis, but cross to the right around the base of the group of pinnacles. Avoid going down into the underlying channel and climb up towards the second clevis:
With a slightly more difficult step, you reach it:
From there, on pretty easy rocks, you reach the top:
Overall, around 140 m, I, II and III, one step of III+.
The return path is the same as for the Via Normale, see specific trek.
■ gb, 2013-07-16