Review of the Via Amalia which goes up to Jof di Montasio. The itinerary is long and very varied. The Ferrata Amalia is to be considered only a part of a long and demanding itinerary. The environment is majestic and very varied, requiring good training and mountain experience. Ideal as a multi-day itinerary.
The starting point of the itinerary is the Sella di Sampdonia located in the Val Dogna in the province of Udine. To reach the Sella you must first reach the village of Dogna on the state road that connects Tarvisio with Udine. Coming from the south, use the A23 motorway until the Carnia-Tolmezzo exit. Then follow the state road towards Tarvisio until you reach Dogna. We enter the village, cross the bridge over the Fella and follow the road that goes into the valley for 18 km up to the large open space. Directions for Google Maps available here.
From the car park (1427 m) we follow the cart track with signpost 611 which in about 10 minutes of ups and downs leads us to Rifugio Fratelli Grego (1389 m). From the hut we follow the path 611 which goes south. We start on a slight slope and then go around a rocky ridge in descent to climb it on the opposite side. We ignore the junction 639 which leads to Malga Saisera (another starting point of the itinerary) and continue in the direction of the obvious north walls of the Jof di Montasio. We continue on the path that, now in strong ascent, leads us to the characteristic Stuparich Shelter of the Trieste section of the CAI (1587 m - 1h 30 'from the parking lot).
Leaving behind us the shelter we proceed following some signs on rocks southwards on a path between thick pines and rocks towards the south-west bastion. On our left we can clearly see the glacial valley where once there was the Montasio glacier, now reduced to a fraction. The path becomes steeper and we see the diagonal slit to the left that we will ascend with the Ferrata Amalia. there approach and, behind a rocky shoulder, we meet the metal slab and the the first wire ropes (2h 30' from the parking lot).
From the start we climb without difficulty some aided rocks that act, in fact, as excellent heating for the continuation of the route and to start climbing. The first section climbs a series of vertical rocks and then bends to the left and, without significant difficulty, we win some rocky leaps. The equipment ends momentarily and we climb some stretches of path with rocks and easy passages in free climbing. Equipment now resumes with more pronounced slope but excellent rock that will help to proceed in pleasant climbing. We cut diagonally to the left along a crack and meet the first vertical wall after one easy to cross to the right.
We enter into a first chimney that we go up on the right side, even with the help of some brackets present. We then enter one second crack that we cross passing on the opposite slope. We continue in the route and we are under a more challenging passage compared to the route average. A vertical wall well placed where some brackets and nails offer support during the ascent, which will converge travel at times in split. We continue along the way identifying a small saddle above our eyes. We go in increasing exposure a vertical couloir full of holds which leads us to this saddle. Let's go up a last vertical tear and the equipment of the Ferrata Amalia ends (1h 30 'from the start - 4h total).
Once the ferrata is over we find ourselves at the base of a gully which descends from the overlying Cresta dei Draghi. We follow the abundant red and white-red signs that lead us uphill first on the path then alternating rocks that they come down from a groove partly fitted. We now follow the cairn and begin to point to the left in the direction of the ridge. First we will have to cross a snowfield and then a half-slope stretch exposed on a green lawn. Pay close attention in this section (hiking sticks could be very useful). We now climb a last slope and reach the ridge. There starts the ridge which is a little over a hundred meters long but it is narrow and exposed with a downhill section. We end the section of the ridge and, holding the right, we cut the mountain on the hillside initially on a slight slope, then downhill. This trait is one of the key steps of the trip. It exposed and on unstable ground, therefore, special attention is required. We now climb with some passages of free climbing (max grade II) on the opposite side of this basin that we have crossed and we join on the Grande Cengia that rises from the Montasio slabau. This ledge is wide and comfortable and allows you to loosen the pressure a little after the last challenging sections. We reach a shoulder pad and, continuing on the path, we reach theBold Shelter Suringar (2430 m - 1h 30 'from the end of the via ferrata - 5h 30' total).
Arrived at Suringar Shelter we follow the indications and to reach the summit we will have to climb the so-called Findenegg route. The environment is majestic and the route is now devoid of equipment. Attention in this section at the bottom which is generally not very stable on gravel and stones. Following the red signs we climb a gully with leaps and rocks of medium-low difficulty up to the key passage of the Fondenegg ascent route. We must climb a free chimney. We climb the first leaps by placing ourselves on the left of the crack. Paying attention to the bottom we fit into the slot coming out on the left side. We meet a boulder that obstructs the continuation along the chimney and we bypass it from the outside. The handles are present for both hands and feet. For the less experienced, it might be a good idea to have them preserved. Up this step we continue on steep climb between gravel and rocks in the direction of the obvious ridge above our eyes.
Then we reach the ridge (ca 2700 m - 1h from the Suringar Shelter - 6h 30' total) and, keeping the right towards east, we begin a stretch of rather exposed ridge and adrenaline. Already in sight of the summit, we begin with the first rather broad meters. Continuing we face a couple of more exposed passages in which we will have to use the hands to go up again some rocks. The airy is present as well as the red signs to indicate the continuation. After a pair of intermediate terraces, we reach the large summit cross with bell of Jof di Montasio (2753 m - 15 'from the end of the Canalone Findenegg - about 7h total).
Once we reach the summit of Jof di Montasio we must begin a demanding and long descent. We go down to the northeast side of the ridge which connects the Jof di Montasio with Cima Verde. The path in this section is so exposed and on the ridge rather large and well marked making the descent not problematic. We go down to a saddle where we meet a first aided downhill section that leads us to a very characteristic passage: the Pipan staircase (2620 m - 30' from the summit). This unique staircase is about 60 m long and is characterized by two wire ropes with rungs attached to ropes by clamps. The ladder is definitely adrenaline and exposed although it appears in some sections supported. We leave behind the ladder, we go down further with another short stretch aided with some metal brackets and we reach a marked crossroad: on the left we can take the Aided path Lever towards the Cima di Terrarossa, on the right we proceed towards the Forca dei Disteis. We hold the right and in moderate descent we reach the Forca di Disteis (2201 m - 1h from the summit - about 8h total).
Once at the saddle we have two options:
The via ferrata included within the Via Amalia that goes up the north face of Montasio is much more than an aided route. It would be reductive to consider only the aided part in this long, rewarding and varied itinerary. We climb in a wild environment, relatively little beaten (ei so many animals around us are the proof), challenging and varied. The part of the via ferrata that climbs the first uphill section is of medium difficulty. However, they follow a series of non-trivial steps at altitude that require good experience in these routes. The second proposed return itinerary is definitely long, demanding and reserved for expert hikers. A possible escape route is present: when we get close to the Suringar Shelter we cover the Grande Cengia towards the slabau. This path, although aided, does not present many difficulties and in about 1h 30' leads us to the Hut in the slabau. The itinerary that ends in the slabau forces us to have a second car on that stretch or to organize the return on the north side with a multi-day itinerary.
The Via Amalia ascending to the Jof di Montasio is a long trip that can be easily combined with other itineraries that develop in the mountain group. Once at the Montasio Plateau and if you stay overnight, you could take the Aided path Leva to the Cima di Terrarossa and Aided path Ceria Merlone which allow you to descend again into the valley north of Montasio, then returning to the car. For an even longer itinerary in this corner of the Julian Alps you could proceed towards the Rifugio Guido Corsi and then take the Ferrata Goitan or the Aided path King of Saxony in the Jof Fuart. On the opposite side of the valley where Sella Nevea is, we meet the Ferrata Julia al Canin. From the Val Dogna side you can go up to Monte Cavallo with the long hike that includes the Ferrata Norina. Moving towards the border between Italy and Slovenia, we meet two other interesting and challenging aided routes: the Ferrata della Vita and the Italian Mangart Ferrata.
Approach: 1:30 h
Ferrata: 2:30 h
Itinerary: 11:00 h
Via Ferrata gap: 530 m
Route difference: 1035 m
Max altitude: 2752 m
Length: 15 Km
Mountain Group: Julian Alps