The Alta Via Bepi Zac (literally "Alta Via Bepi Zac") is a very beautiful itinerary that runs along the rocky ridge from Passo Selle to Forcella Laghet on the Monzoni Group in the province of Trento. The itinerary has some aided and exposed points that require attention although large sections of the first half of the route could be considered easy. Itinerary with great historical interest for the remains of the trenches and war positions of the First World War.
The starting point of the itinerary is near the Passo di San Pellegrino (1907 m) in the province of Trento, on the homonymous highway linking Moena (Val di Fassa) with Falcade. If you want to take the cable car for the first part of the route, you should park near the Hotel Monzoni and take the cable car ascending towards Passo delle Selle (Directions for Google Maps available here).
If, on the other hand, you do not want to use the cable car for the climb, it may make sense to park right at the pass from which we will take the 604 path uphill, and then back. Directions for Google Maps available here.
The goal of our approach to take the Alta Via Bepi Zac is to reach the hut at Passo delle Selle (2528 m). As mentioned in the paragraph above, to fill part of the 700-meter difference in level of the approach, it is possible to use the cable car that from the Pass brings us close to the Rifugio. In this case, once we reach the top station of the cable car, we will initially proceed north on path 604A up to a junction where we ignore straight the signs for Forcella Ciadin and Cima Uomo and we continue on a track on the lawn that branches off to the left and into a sloping ground in the meadows takes us to the hut (45 'from the top station of the cable car).
If we do not want to use the cable car, from the Pass - where it is clearly visible the ridge on which the alta via will develop, we take the optimally marked CAI 604 that in moderate and constant ascent among the meadows will lead us first to the Paradiso Restaurant and then to the hut from which theAlta Via Bepi Zac (1h 30 'from the San Pellegrino Pass).
From the Passo delle Selle - the crossing point between the Alta Via Bepi Zac and the Alta Via Bruno Federspiel - we continue in a southerly direction towards the obvious ridge passing alongside old remnants of military activities and of monuments to the Great War. We continue on the CAI 637 which helps us to quickly gain altitude leaving us behind Passo Selle, the hut and the small shelter. We meet the first wire ropes in sections little landslide but not difficult. We now remain on the ridge and encounter other obvious signs of the war activities of the last century, some of which stand out as galleries.
We continue uphill to meet in a quick succession the Little Lastel (2697 m - 30 'from Passo Selle) and the Grande Lastel (2716 m - 1h from Passo Selle). In both points we have a magnificent view of the groups surrounding the Monzoni: il Sella Group, the Catinaccio, the Ombretta and Colac with the Marmolada behind and then continue on the ridge . This section is free of difficulties and the few aided sections are to infuse security into slightly exposed passes.
Once we reach the Great Lastel we begin a series of downhill and then uphill sections of the route with the goal of reaching Cima Campagnaccia. This stretch of the hike is very interesting from a historical point of view, passing alongside barricades and walkways of the Great War, sleepers sometimes exposed, footbridges and stairs that allowed to connect sides of the mountain and carvings in the rock. A couple of steps are more delicate from the point of view of hiking such as an exposed traverse, a exposed stretch on the ridge edge and a small vertical jump for reaching the summit of Cima Campagnaccia (1h 45 'from Passo Selle) after climbing a steep and detrital gully.
From Cima Campagnaccia we initially descend towards a wide detrital saddle (2680 m) where we will notice the first escape route indicated by the CAI 604A path that takes us back to the cable car station. Continuing the itinerary we go up the opposite side of the saddle in the direction of Cima Costabella which we reach after a climb on the path. Near the Cima Costabella (2762 m - 30 'from Cima Campagnaccia - 2h 15' from Passo Selle) we meet an Austrian machine gun position and a barred gallery.
We continue from Cima Costabella in plain until we reach one rocky spur that we climb with a comfortable wooden staircase beyond which we descend a few meters assisted by a wire rope. We go down facing a first tunnel, then a rather steep descending ramp until we enter a second tunnel beyond which we lose altitude until we reach a detrital slabau where it is possible to stop the way by descending into Val San Nicolò. In this section there is one photographic display of the horrible fighting in this part of the Dolomites. In this area it is possible to take one deviation on the 637B to enter a room carved into the rock that served as lookout at the Italian lines. The climb to Sasso di Costabella (2730 m) is aided and leads us into a rocky monolith from which we get out on the north side with a brief stretch of rocks on a set of stairs of theinside of a rocky fissure. From the monolith you have points with a view both on the Sella Group on opposite side. We continue now in a downhill stretch of path reaching Forcella Ciadin saddle (2664 m - 2h 15' from the start at Passo Selle) where the first half of the Alta Via Bepi Zac ends with the option to end the itinerary and return to the starting point at the pass where we left the car.
By continuing the alta via, we must keep in mind that the difficulties will increase now. We will begin by following a narrow ledge with one wooden walkway and then continue the path to a more demanding aided stretch, made of a crosspiece and a short vertical slab. We continue alternating stretches of path to some rocks until we reach an aided edge. Back up the dihedral we continue the path until we reach a fairly vertical stretch that runs along a crack. We also go up this stretch and then we find ourselves climbing up a gully. We are now on the ridge and walk along a section of unprotected path that is decidedly more adrenaline-fueled and exposed than those previously traveled. We continue among modest ups and downs, sometimes aided, until we reach the Forcella Uomo (2840 m - 3h 45' from the start on Passo Selle).
From Forcella Uomo you could take the climb after a few meters to Cima Uomo (3010 m - 2h round trip of an alpine nature without aiding wires) while if you want to finish the Alta Via Bepi Zac proceed downhill towards the Fuciade Rifugio (visible downhil). This stretch is steep and detrital with a more challenging passage than the average of the route composed of a wall of about ten meters to descend using the natural and artificial holds available. After this stretch we descend to Forcella Leghet where the Alta Via Bepi Zac finally ends (4h from Passo Selle).
From Forcella Laghet we have a crossroads:
The itinerary of the Alta Via Bepi Zac is an itinerary of absolute interest and presents moderate difficulties in long stretches of the route with some parts more challenging and exposed, especially in the beatiful section between Forcella Ciadin and Forcella Laghet. The alta via requires a good workout being quite long and the overall height difference is greater than the absolute if you consider the various ups and downs walked along the route. A torch may be useful for some of the galleries to be crossed. The route shall be avoided in case of unstable weather being almost all on the ridge or just below. The variant ascending to Sasso di Costabella is highly recommended.
L’Alta Bepi Zac via è intitolata nel 1981 al noto alpinista fassano Bepi Pellegrin (detto Zac), grande appassionato di storia locale. Bepi Zac era anche il rifugista che lavorava al Rifugio di Passo delle Selle - dove ha inizio l'Alta Via - ora passato di mano al figlio Floriano. Nel corso del 2020 è stata oggetto di manutenzione.
Costabella era un importante caposaldo difensivo del fronte austriaco nel settore della Marmolada. L’esercito italiano aveva conquistato Sasso Costabella e Cima Uomo: sfondando al Passo delle Selle, avrebbe potuto raggiungere agevolmente la Val di Fassa scardinando la linea difensiva austro-ungarica. Nonostante aspri combattimenti, di cui si vedono chiare le testimonianze, gli italiani non conquistarono mai il Passo delle Selle ma solo Cima Costabella per poco meno di 2 settimane.
The area of Monzoni and the western slope of the Marmolada is rich in aided itineraries, leaving many opportunities for via ferrata enthusiasts. A long but decidedly satisfying route is to combine the Alta Via Bepi Zac with the other alta via in the Monzoni: Bruno Federspiel. If you wish you could continue further north and combine the Ferrata Gadotti to the Sass Aut. If instead you wanted to go down on the slope of the Val San Nicolò you have some options too: you could opt for a long itinerary to the Via Ferrata Ombretta under the Marmolada or from Passo San Nicolò proceed to Via Ferrata Kaiserjager at Col Ombert. For those who are very well prepared, the most difficult route available in the San Nicolò valley is Ferrata dei Magnifici 4.
Moving instead to the Catinaccio you can walk some magnificent via ferratas too in a majestic context. Among the various, we point out the Via Ferrata Santner, the Ferrata to the Catinaccio of Antermoia, the Via Ferrata Masarè and the Via Ferrata Roda di Vael.