The Ferrata dei Campanili del Latemar is a technically simple via ferrata that extends in a suggestive high mountain environment. The route develops along the homonymous mountain range.
The starting point of the itinerary is the mountain station of the Oberholz cable car which leaves from the village of Obereggen in the province of Bolzano. You can reach Obereggen either from Bolzano going up the state road that leads to Val di Fassa and then proceed in the direction of Passo di Lavazè or from Cavalese in Val di Fiemme, always climbing the Lavazè state road and descend in the direction of Bolzano up to the clear indications. Directions for Google Maps available here.
Once we get off the chairlift we follow the signs for the Forcella dei Camosci following the path 18 which first climbs up hairpin bends and then onto a gradually more rocky environment up to the last vertical section aided with wire ropes. Reached the Forcella dei Camosci (2590 m - 1h 45 'from the top station of the cable car), we ignore the path (516) that on the right reaches the Torre di Pisa Hut and follow to the left (18) the indications for the Forcella dei Campanili . To our right we see the desolate Val Sorda while straight to us we see the jagged chain of the Latemar destination of our itinerary. We continue on the slabau and we reach the Forcella dei Campanili (45 'from the Forcella dei Camosci - 2h 30' total). Following the indications of the big sign, it is advisable to put on the harness in this section as soon as you start the via ferrata.
At the Forcella dei Camosci we keep the path 511 on the left which goes higher than the underlying 18 which will be our return path instead. We follow the white red signs and, after climbing some easy rocks (be careful if wet), we reach the first metal cable of the Ferrata dei Campanili del Latemar (15 'from the Forcella dei Campanili - 2h 45' total).
We begin by climbing diagonally to the right some small rocks that lead us under one singular spire rocky, at one long aided ledge in the first part with the cable that acts mainly as a handrail. After this stretch we cover a stretch of exposed but easy path that leads us to one of the characteristic features of the route: one earthy saddle of dark color where a fairly high cable will give us security in crossing this exposed stretch. After the saddle (2730 m - 20 'from the start) we remount on the opposite side without difficulty before starting one panoramic and exposed aided ledge.
We now begin a not difficult stretch of path with a succession of aided sections and not until reaching a new one aided saddle where on our left there is another very iconographic point of this via ferrata: a stuck boulder between two walls very close to each other in front of the saddle in which we pass. We continue the path at high altitude that extends between ledges now unprotected until reaching the deviation (2760 m - 1h from the start) not signed to reach the Torre Diamantidi (2842 m - 30' a / r). If you want to reach Torre Diamantidi you must follow the stone men until you reach the Madonna that distinguishes the summit. Wonderful view on the Catinaccio in front of us. The return on the via ferrata takes place backwards.
From the detour we continue on our itinerary towards the Cima Latemar in front of us. We continue going down a few meters aided to then reach a gully where we go up on the opposite side in a single passage more challenging than the previous ones and then take a new exposed ledge. We are now moving towards the key passage of the route. We will have go down a few meters in the direction of a groove. The passage takes place diagonally exploiting great change. It must be taken into consideration that the passage is slightly overhanging therefore it is advisable not to unnecessarily delay in this step to avoid straining your arms. We go back up the opposite side of the couloir on a diagonal traverse of medium difficulty where good grips for the feet help us in the progression.
We are now in the final section of the via ferrata. We are now on a rocky rib below which we see the Rigatti Shelter with its characteristic orange envelope and behind us we see Torre Diamantidi. We walk down a few meters rather vertically and then we face a stretch of ridge before descending on a more comfortable path and reaching the sign indicating the end of the Ferrata dei Campanili del Latemar. We are now near the shelter and Forcella Grande (2650 m - 2h 15' from the start if you have climbed to Torre Diamantidi and 5h total - 1h 45' without the deviation and 4h 30' total), new crossroads of trails.
At this point the trip of the via ferrata is finished. However if you wanted you can reach the summit of Cima Latemar / Schenon (2h a / r). For the climb to Cima Latemar you must follow the track that continues along the hillside following the white red signs. In short we begin some passages of I degree in free going up some rocks to unstable traits. We climb up the ridge until we see the cross on our left. We leave the path 18 and reach the large summit cross (2791 m). The return takes place back to the Forcella Grande. This deviation is not calculated in the duration of the itinerary.
From the Forcella Grande we will have to take the path 18 which descends and follows a back down the ferrata path but ad lower altitude. The path is one long hillside crossing with a view of the Val Sorda until returning to the Forcella dei Campanili. At this point, back to the Forcella dei Camosci and then downhill to the top station of the cable car (2h 30 'from Forcella Grande - 7h total without ascent to Torre Diamantidi or to Cima Latemar - 9h 30' with ascent to both peaks ).
The Ferrata dei Campanili del Latemar is a long and particularly rewarding trip from the landscape point of view. If you want you could also break in two days avoiding the cable car and eventually staying in the Torre di Pisa Hut or in one of the two shelters (A. Sieff or E. Rigatti). You could also consider going up from Val di Fiemme (inhabited area of Forno).
The ferrata offers wonderful panoramas and, although it extends in a high mountain environment, it presents contained difficulties and for long stretches it is more similar to a path aided with protections in the most exposed stretches, than a via ferrata with strong vertical development. Obviously the high mountain environment and the fact of not having easily accessible escape routes require maximum attention and planning, especially on weather forecasts. If you travel in summer, take into account the distance and bring plenty of water.
The Ferrata dei Campanili del Latemar is a long itinerary that will leave us no time or energy to undertake a second itinerary aided in the same day. Obviously if you stay in Val di Fiemme or Val di Fassa the opportunities are not lacking. Going down into the Val di Fiemme you could take the short route Via Ferrata Attilio Sieff above Ziano di Fiemme. Going to Val di Fassa, in Moena we meet the Aided Path of the Gronton, while from Vigo or from the Passo di Carezza you could reach the various Ferrinaccio del Catinaccio - la Via Ferrata Roda di Vael, the Via Ferrata Masarè or a Via Ferrata to Passo Santner to name a few.