The Ferrata delle Trincee (literally "Ferrata of the trenches") is a long and pleasant itinerary that extends along a ridge that separates the Marmolada from the Sella Group. Extremely interesting landscapes that combines the remains of the Great War with a itinerary not suitable for beginners in the first part of the via ferrata.
The starting point of the itinerary is the Fedaia Pass which connects Canazei (Val di Fassa) with Malga Ciapela. Arrived at the Pass on the Trentino side, near the dam we park, noticing on the northern side in front of the Marmolada the red and white CAI signs of path 698 uphill towards Porta Vescovo. Directions for Google Maps available here.
Starting from Passo Fedaia our goal is to reach Porta Vescovo from where we will reach the start of the Ferrata delle Trincee. The trail initially with trail marker 601 for a few meters then keep right for 698. The trail is well marked e steep part in the meadows, go up following the path 698 that in sustained slope it makes us quickly gain altitude. We ignore the deviations and we climb up to reach Porta Vescovo (2486 m - 1h from Passo Fedaia) where we will keep the right in the direction of the rocky wall from which the ridge on which the ferrata extends starts. We will arrive at a crossroads where, ignoring the detour to the Padon Hut (possible return path) we will go up leaving behind Porta Vescovo for tracks in direction of the start of the via ferrata signaled with one white slab (2580 m - 1h 15 'from Passo Fedaia).
The start of the Ferrata delle Trincee and more generally the first wall of about fifty meters is certainly the key passage of the route. This step definitely deserves to be classified as difficult requiring good strength and preparation. The difficulties will then be reduced along the way.
Let's start with the cable that after the first horizontal meters vertical part for a smooth slab in which it will be necessary to proceed in adherence with the boots. After about fifteen meters the technical difficulties decline and you can start climbing the rock without too much difficulty. We reach a not pronounced dihedral where some brackets they help us to go up the slope. Now we continue on a short traverse to the left and then to the right. The rock is compact and in adherence one proceeds well although the opportunities for climbing are rather limited in this section. We continue a traverse to the right in slight descent with which we go around an edge and we find ourselves in front of the Marmolada glacier before starting vertically up a vertical wall. Climb up the wall we have some easy rocky jumps to the left that lead us to theiconic ridge thread that separates the Pordoi Pass from the Fedaia Pass with the Sella Group on one side and the Marmolada on the other to make a wonderful frame for the itinerary.
We walk briefly on ridge edge standing on the right side in strong exposure for a few meters until you get around an edge and find us on a panoramic terrace. Let's now go on another exposed ridge stretch which leads us to a suspended bridge which presents no difficulty being very broad. We now remain on the left side of the ridge on a comfortable ledge from which we will descend towards a saddle. We climb on the opposite side staying on the right side of the ridge before climbing a chimney that is tightening as we go up. We go out on the ridge and we will change again the slope remaining on the left side. We continue without problems on a ledge until we meet a long downhill section where a sections are present metal brackets to the junction where the first section of the ferrata ends (2676 m - 1h 30 'from the start).
One was built in this area variant on its own that rises the rocky prominence of the Torre Hermit. This variant consists of an ascent and a descent route with directions to the start. The equipment is excellent and recent with a tight rope and some brackets supporting both the uphill and the downhill sections. The climb is, although short, beautiful, demanding and exposed and leads us to the narrow summit that will offer us a magnificent panorama (journey time of the variant approx. 30 minutes round trip). The itinerary can also be followed as a separate itinerary without going through the first part of the ferrata or the second one but going up from the Lago Fedaia.
Now the second section of the via ferrata begins, less demanding than the first with many sections of historical interest dating back to the positions during the Great War. Continuing along the ridge path we alternate easy stretches of trail, downhill stretches and short ascents with exposed protected ledges and some rocky leaps until you meet a new one signposted junction: you can go down to Porta Vescovo or lose slightly altitude to visit one stone shack or continue following the signs along the aided path that will lead us to the first gallery (2h from the start) - about 25-30 meters long - which leads us to the north side. Continuing along the ferrata we reach the second gallery (2h 15 'from the start) - far longer than the previous one - which requires the use of electric torch being about 150-200 m long and having to go up a few steps inside it and some aided section. Pay attention inside the tunnel and do not miss the main tunnel, which is well marked with reflectors.
We continue the route up to glimpse the Bontadini Shelter (2550 m - 2h 30 'from the start) with beautiful panorama with which in fact the line on the ridge ends. We ignore the shod line that leads to the nearby Padon summit and we always go down for sections aided towards the Padon hut (2390 m - 3h from the start - 4h 15 'total).
From Padon Hut we follow the CAI 680 path which, with red yellow signs, runs parallel to the ferrata along the backward path along the hillside. The path is not difficult and offers a wonderful panorama with the Lago Fedaia below us and the Marmolada above. We reach the junction on the outward journey (1h from Rifugio Padon) with which we descend to the Fedaia Pass for the CAI 698 route during the approach (45 'from the junction - 1h 45' from the Padon Hut - 6h total).
The Ferrata delle Trincee is a wonderfully scenic route that can be divided into 3 clear sections: the first section is very physical and requires good training due to the lack of holds. The central section is adrenaline-pumping due to the exposure but does not present particular difficulties. The last section includes the tunnels and the downhill stretch towards the Padon Hut requires attention because it landslides. Attention to the second gallery that surely requires a torch to be covered.
La ferrata è stata inaugurata nel 1972 e ripercorre una linea di trincea austriaca lungo la cresta della Mesola e della Mesolina. Questa catena era un importante baluardo del fronte austriaco che avrebbe sbarrato il passo agli italiani se la Marmolada fosse passata in mano al nemico. A Porta Vescovo, al posto dell’attuale funivia vi era in tempo di guerra una teleferica che riforniva le posizioni austriache attestate sulla cresta della Mesola. Gli austriaci non occupavano tutta la catena montuosa del Padon: sulla cresta della Mesolina si posizionarono infatti la truppe italiane dove sono ora numerose le testimonianze della Grande Guerra con posizioni, fortificazioni, e caverne scavate nella roccia dagli alpini.
La via è stata ideata da Gilberto Salvatore nel 1972. Gilberto Salvatore - alpinista, grande appassionato di montagna e per anni presidente della sezione del Cai di Livinallongo - è stato ideatore anche della vicina Ferrata Piazzetta al Piz Boè così come del bivacco Bontadini al termine della galleria.
Nel 2003 la via ferrata e il bivacco bontadini furono ristrutturati. Nel 2019 è stata aperta la salita alla Torre dell'Eremita dal CAI di Arabba.
The Ferrata delle Trincee extends along the ridge that separates two important Dolomite passes: the Fedaia Pass under the Marmolada and the Pordoi Pass under the Sella Group. From Passo Fedaia it is possible to undertake the Ferrata Eterna or the Ferrata della Cresta Ovest in Punta Penia. From Passo Pordoi it is possible to take the demanding route Via Ferrata Piazzetta at the Piz Boè. Going downhill from Passo Fedaia you reach Alba di Canazei where with the Ciampac cable car you can reach the foot of the Colac and walk along the Ferrata dei Finanzieri at Colac.