Review of the vertical ferrata of the Porton in the Dolomites of the Pale di San Martino. Itinerary report with departure from the Col Rosetta mountain station and a long approach to the Pradidali. Ascent route to Forcella Porton and return to the ring in a classic tour of the Pale di San Martino. A long itinerary and, although with an absolute low gap, not to be underestimated.
The starting point of the itinerary for the Ferrata del Porton and the Ferrata Velo is the station of the Col Verde cable car which leaves from San Martino di Castrozza in the province of Trento. San Martino di Castrozza is generally reachable from the Val di Fiemme and then reaching the Passo Rolle or from the Strada Statale 50 which connects Bassano del Grappa to Passo Rolle. Once in the village on the slope of Passo Rolle, just before leaving the village near a bend there are the ski lifts. We park the car in the square. Directions for Google Maps available here.
Reached the mountain station of the cable car under the Col Rosetta (2633 m) we follow the easy path that leads us downhill to the Rosetta Pedrotti Hut (2581 m) near the homonymous pass. At this point we will have to reach the Rifugio Pradidali from where we will then reach the start of the Ferrata del Porton. We follow to the right in south direction the path 702 initially on a moderate slope towards the Passo di Val di Roda then going down one long series of hairpin bends descending into the valley that separates the Cima Rosetta on our right and the Croda di Roda on the left. The environment becomes ever more impressive. We follow the path that now bends towards the east to get around the Croda di Roda and move to the eastern side of the Pala di San Martino. Reached a crossroads we leave the path 702 which descends to the right towards San Martino di Castrozza and we keep at altitude the path 715 in the direction of the Pradidali Hut and the Ball Pass. Passed the Pala di San Martino the path becomes more exposed and on rock. In this section I am aided the steps more exposed. Attention, of course, in the case of a wet trail and the snow that we might find even late in the season in the stretch that separates the San Martino da Cima Immink Altarpiece.
Continuing on constant ascent we reach the Ball Pass (2443 m - 1h 45 'from the top station of the cable car). On the right you see the track ascending to Forcella Stephen and with which you can take the Gusella Aided path. We remain on path 715 to the right which descends on a moderate slope along the valley at the end of which we reach the Pradidali Hut (2278 m - 2h total) placed in one conca with wonderful views on which stands straight to us Cima Canali.
From Rifugio Pradidali we follow path 739 in the direction of Forcella del Porton. We proceed towards west initially slightly uphill and then start one steep descent in the Pradidali valley where the start of the via ferrata is located which will go up along the eastern walls of Cima Ball. We go down into the valley until we reach the start of the via ferrata (30 'from Rifugio Pradidali - 2h 30' total).
After the first horizontal meters we start to climb one series of solid metal brackets. Except for short connection sections between the ascent lines, this first section of the route it is very vertical. After this first long series of brackets the cable rises diagonally on a traverse exposed but not difficult with some pegs to help progression. We go down a couple of meters and go up another wall aided with brackets. After this long series of brackets separated with the traverse we reach one narrow ledge to the left. Let's reach a new one slab aided with brackets that we go up bending to the left in the upper part. Once around an edge we are now at travel diagonally across a traverse before meeting a new series of metal brackets that rise vertically. Turning around we notice in the distance the Pradidali Hut, the route taken and the altitude already gained uphill.
Finished on traverse aided with some pegs, we begin an ascent exposure on brackets beyond which we follow the profile of the rock diagonally in passages grazing the rock but not difficult. We continue uphill reaching one new bracket series which they rise in slight overhang. From a physical point of view we could define this as the key passage of the route, maintaining however reduced technical difficulties. We continue now diagonally until we reach a new vertical jump before getting around an edge e see the gully that we will have to go up again before reaching the Forcella del Porton.
Let's now walk down a stretch to pay attention to. There rock is slightly overhanging and it is better to go down the aided downhill section without delaying too much to avoid unnecessarily tiring the arms. Reached the detrital gully, we go back up paying attention to the trace up to notice on the left side a red stamp near which the equipment starts again with Forcella Porton visible a few tens of meters above us. We cross some rocks diagonally and we find ourselves in front of one solid metal staircase of about 8 meters. We go back up to it by going right onto a diagonal traverse with brackets and pegs to support the feet. We climb the last few meters and reach the characteristic carving of Porton saddle (2460 m - 1h 30' from the start - ca 2h 15' from Rifugio Pradidali - 4h 45' total).
From the Portcella saddle we will have to start the long return that will take us to the parking lot of the cable car taken previously. From Forcella Porton we immediately had an important crossroads:
Regardless of the option chosen, we cover path 713 until we reach the ruins of Malga Sopra Ronz. At this point, remaining on the forest road (trail sign 22) we continue on a slight slope to the north. After about 20 'we follow the 724 signpost first and 702 then to reach the parking lot by the cable car (ca 3h from Forcella Porton - about 8h total).
The Ferrata del Porton is an average difficulty ferrata. The ferrata climbs vertically but in all potentially challenging points metal brackets have been inserted to support the progression which turn out rather easy. To note 3 passages on which to pay more attention: a traverse, the slightly overhanging partition wall and the descent into the gully. These 3 steps deserve more attention. However, the climb requires good training both along the via ferrata - which rises mainly vertically as a long series of steps - and for approaching and returning - both of which are long with good gaps. Finally, pay attention to the gullies just before the start and to the one below Forcella Porton which, being closed between the high walls of Cima Ball and being mainly facing north, tend to have traces of snow even in late season.
As indicated in the report around Cima Ball, 4 very interesting aided itineraries are developed: the Ferrata del Porton, the Ferrata del Velo, the Ferrata della Vecia and the Gusella Aided path. From the Madonna del Velo Hut it is easy to reach the Aided path of the Hunter at Cima Stanga which, in turn, is often used for those coming down from the neighbor Via Ferrata Buzzati at Cimerlo. From the top station of the cable car it is possible to take the Via Ferrata Gabitta d'Ignoti at Cima Vezzana in Cima Vezzana as well as the same mountain station it is often used by those who have climbed the challenging route Via Ferrata Bolver Lugli.
Proceeding in the eastern area of the Dolomites of the Pale di San Martino we meet other aided routes. The challenging Via Ferrata Fiamme Gialle Ferrata to the Reali Shelter, the Via Ferrata del Canalone, the Via Ferrata Orsa and finally the demanding trip to the Agner going up the Ferrata Stella Alpina.