Challenging trip to the Reali Shelter below the Croda Grande in the Pale di San Martino Dolomites with the demanding Ferrata Fiamme Gialle. Long itinerary with challenging approach and return and should not be underestimated. Technical and athletic via ferrata although not long. Optional return via the Vani Alti is an alpinistic trail. To undertake in excellent training and with stable weather.
The starting point of the Ferrata Fiamme Gialle at the Reali Shelter is located in Val Canali, a valley within the Pale di San Martino group. To reach Val Canali we will have to take the Strada Statale 347 of Passo Duran which connects the eastern slope of the Dolomites of the Pale di San Martino with the western slope. Coming from Fiera di Primero (Trento) we follow for about 5 Km towards Agordo up to a wide hairpin bend with clear indications for Val Canali. We follow the road going up Val Canali, we walk all the way, we ignore a left-hand bend and continue straight. We reach a crossroads near a small church and we keep to the right until we find Malga Canali, near which there is a parking lot where to leave the car. Directions for Google Maps available here.
After leaving the car near Malga Canali (1302 m) we continue on the wide dirt road that continues into the wood initially on a slight slope. We reach a couple of crossroads: to the right for the Troi del Todesch path and to the left for the Minazio Shelter. We ignore both and continue along path 707 which crosses the Canali stream and, still on an easy path, climbs steeply with a long series of hairpin bends until it reaches the Rifugio Treviso (1631 m - 1h from the parking lot).
Leaving the hut we continue on the path 707 to the north with Forcella dell'Orsa (end point of the ferrata) and Forcella Miel. The path continues along the hillside alternating some steeper tears with stretches of path without difficulty. We go around the western wall of the Pala del Rifugio and continue north. We cross a lower valley to the north of the Pala del Rifugio where we can meet the first snowfield. We continue going up a first easy groove and after a few minutes we reach the Vallone dei Vani Alti on our right with a clear view at the top left the Forcella dei Vani Alti from which begins the homonymous path that can be used with a return path. We remain on the 707 northwards where it is possible to meet a new snowfield and we continue until we reach the Vallone del Coro. Here we meet a signposted junction where we keep to the right following the clear signs for the Reali Shelter and the Ferrata Fiamme Gialle (1h 15 'from Rifugio Treviso - 2h 15' from the car park).
The approach path up to this point has been a hike and without difficulty. Now it becomes more challenging and begins climbing up the decided Vallon del Coro. Let's go up scree with steep serpentines. In case of snowfield go up paying attention to the trace on the left side (sign on stone) that we will have to follow to reach the start. We climb a few short rocky stretches following some red markings and we take the flat section where we will notice the start of the via ferrata (1h 15 'from the junction - 3h 30' from the parking lot).
The via ferrata starts at the classic red slab with a traverse to the left of about 5 meters in good exposure beyond which the cable rises upwards. The ferrata now rises on the right side of a gully, alternating some vertical strokes well climbable with traverses. This initial section of the route is very pleasant and goes up without too much difficulty techniques. We then reach a first vertical wall of one fifteen meters with some brackets in the first half to facilitate the climb given the initial lack of good holds. We continue on the diagonal stretch going up and bypassing an edge beyond which we climb another vertical wall similar to the previous one with brackets and vertical wall to climb. We continue going up some inclined ramps with which we quickly gain altitude going up the canyon on its right side. At the end of the gully we climb a beautiful wall challenging on a dihedral from which we go out to the left.
Now move on traverse to the right in the direction of a groove closer than that we return to the left side. Let's go up the gully beyond which we must cross it without equipment, paying attention to the fund not completely stable. We continue going up some aided vertical jumps in some cases with metal brackets.
We are in the final section of the aided route. We will now have to go up a gully that takes the form of a chimney initially for then spread out in the upper part. We remain on the left side and reach the red slab which is the prelude to the end of the via ferrata at the Forcella the Mormor (2600 m). We continue to right of the saddle following the signs on track in climb between rocks until you see the slabau on the opposite side where it is already in sight on the left the Reali Shelter (2650 m - 1h 15 'from the start - 4h 45' total).
Reached the Reali Shelter it is possible to continue uphill towards the obvious peak of Croda Grande not far from the shelter. The eventual climb to Croda Grande requires a good 1h 30 'round trip. In this case the trip becomes very long and, considering the long and demanding return, it is advisable to stay overnight at the shelter.
The return begins on the wide Foch slabau which is at the base of Croda Grande. We continue in a slight slope following the few signs and the track to Forcella Sprit (2573 m). We follow the track at altitude going up towards an edge to descend along a basin and then up to a small pole (2528 m - 45 'from the Shelter Reali) where we meet a saddle:
The first option is a challenging and aerial but shorter itinerary, the second longer but less exposed and difficult.
Non-aided Vani Alti Alpinistic Trail
The descent along the Vani Alti path is to be considered a mountaineering route. We meet along the non-aided route some taproots where you can ensure yourself independently with a rope to increase safety along the exposed descent. Recently some mountaineering ropes have been applied among the taproots but the presence of these ropes from season to season is not guaranteed. The trail of the Upper Villages in the upper part descends diagonally to the right on a well-gripped bottom. The next stroke is perhaps the most difficult, especially when going downhill. We will find ourselves walking in descent an exposed and steep ramp / ledge to the left for then descend into a narrow canal. The exposure is high and the foot space is sufficient but certainly narrow. Going down to the bottom a bit slippery is absolutely necessary pay close attention. This step - easy if it was aided with a wire rope - must not be underestimated. The trail now continues on steep but wider descent again to the right. We now face the last difficult passage near a metal slab. We have to descent for a couple of meters an aerial edge. Now let's go down the steep and unstable gully until this expands and the difficulties actually end. Now we go down the lower part of the Vallone dei Vani Alti up to the junction on the path 707 encountered during the approach. At this point we walk back along the path of the outward journey to the Treviso Shelter (2h from Forcella dei Vani Alti - 2h 45 'from the end of the ferrata - about 8h total).
Sentiero della Scaletta
the option to return along the Sentiero della Scaletta is less difficult and exposed than the option described above but it is still a long, demanding return with some sections of free climbing (I degree). From Forcella dei Vani Alti we will stay on the eastern side of the ridge, bypassing the High Peaks. We continue going down the Conca dei Vani Alti from which we reach a steep descent in a south-westerly direction towards the Sasso d'Ortiga. We meet here on characteristic passage (15m) of the ladder. A free descent (I degree) where to pay close attention. Continue on well-grabbed rocks and you reach the path that leads us to Forcella Sant'Anna (2445 m). Now the path it goes down steep but not excessively difficult up to the junction with the path 720. We will keep the right in breathless climb on a landslide valley until then you reach the Forcella the Mughe (2244 m - 2h 30 'from the end of the via ferrata) after having traveled some gullies with rocks.
We follow the clear directions to reach the Rifugio Treviso downhill. The difficulties are not over and you have to go down a steep path on stones that goes down the gully that separates Sasso d'Ortiga from Pala della Madonna. We go down this stretch paying attention until we reach the scree below which first on gravel and then wood leads us to Rifugio Treviso (1h 15 'from Forcella delle Mughe - 3h 45' from the end of the ferrata - about 9h total).
From the Treviso hut, return to the parking area along the same approach path (45 '- about 9h with return from the Vani Alti - about 10h with return from the Sentiero della Scaletta).
The Ferrata Fiamme Gialle at the Shelter Reali is a via ferrata inserted in a long and demanding itinerary. The via ferrata is currently in excellent condition and a few years ago it was modernized by inserting some brackets in some difficult points, making it now less technically difficult than many years ago. That said, the approach is long and, in particular the Vallone dei Cori, is tiring. The return to both the proposed options is absolutely not to be underestimated, with passages in free in both cases and a mountaineering itinerary in the case of the High Trees. The view from above repays the efforts made, especially if you reach the summit of Croda Grande. In this case it is advisable to stay overnight at the Shelter Reali or to leave early from Rifugio Treviso.
The itinerary proposed in this report is long, demanding, with a long approach and return that do not allow alternative detours for a day trip. If, on the other hand, you wanted to stay overnight and take a two-day itinerary, you could go up the short but difficult route Via Ferrata del Canalone near the Rifugio Treviso as always from Val Canali it is possible to reach the Ferrata Buzzati and Aided path del Cacciatore. From the junction of approaching the Ferrata Fiamme Gialle it is possible to reach the Forcella dell'Orsa arrival point Via Ferrata Orsa. Still on the eastern side of the Pale di San Martino you can reach Monte Agner for the challenging ascension with the Ferrata Stella Alpina.