Piccola Fermeda, by Via Normale, from Col Raiser
Beautiful and easy climbing route, feasible in free solo if you have excellent familiarity with the third degree. In addition to being in itself satisfactory, you may want to try it in order to know the way down, before experimenting with other climbs on the same summit.
The environment, straddling the divide between Gröden / Val Gardena and Villnöss / Val di Funes, is of great beauty, and the views are absolutely up to it.
Along the way there are lanyards on tunnels, that is possible to integrate with fast protections.
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:
Before reaching the base of the Fermede, you take a track to the left. The trail climbs along the base of the Piccola Fermeda, mostly obliquely to the left, with sections on grassy slopes:
and others on steep gullies:
The last part of the uphill trail takes place on an easy plaque, under an overhanging rock wall, and carries on the watershed. Pass on the north side, and take the path that crosses towards east, until you reach a saddle, where the starting point is located:
The ascent is quite intuitive and in various sections of it the track is easily recognizable. Starts going up, then cross right on a small ledge, thus taking the easy part of the channel, and then up again, slightly oblique to the left, up to a small terrace.
To the right is a channel, which begins with a narrow chimney that you avoid going around to the right:
Go up until its finish (cairn):
There is now a plaque on the left, where you go up, almost to the ridge:
Then turn right along a stretch of trail and easy rocks, until you reach a clevis:
Pass through it, cross to the right on a exposed ledge to find a chimney of 25-30 m, grade III, which is the crux of the route. Go up through it, and then head right again along a section of trail and easy rocks, until you reach the top.
Go back along the ascent route, but in the end, where you have to cross to the right on a grassy terrace with a cairn, and go down on easy rocks to find a cemented ring form a double rope:
Even earlier, in the chimney, you can do a double rope (in taht case bring the material to equip it).
After reaching down the starting point, go back along the approach path.
■ gb, 2009-07-26