The magnificient Ferrata Aglio extends on the ridge that connects the Dos de Tofana and the Tofana di Mezzo. The ferrata has technically medium difficulty passages in a high mountain environment with wonderful views. Long itinerary both for approach and for return to be undertaken with stable weather.
The starting point of the Ferrata Aglio for our review is the Rifugio Dibona (2083 m) reachable by paved road that branches off from the road connecting Cortina d'Ampezzo with Passo Falzarego. Going up from Cortina towards Passo Falzarego we follow the road to the right that leads to the Dibona Rifugio with clear signs. Avoid the saddle on the right along the road that leads to the Duca d'Aosta Rifugio. Directions for Google Maps available here.
It is also possible to leave from the Baita Piè Tofana. The hut is the starting point of the chair lift ascending to the Duca d'Aosta Rifugio and then to the Pomedes Hut where we will undertake the Ferrata Olivieri to Punta Anna. Following that, we will start the Ferrata Gianni Aglio to the Tofana di Mezzo. It is also possible to leave the car at the Baita Pie Tofana, walk up to the Rifugio Col Drusciè (1779 m) which is the intermediate station of the Freccia nel Cielo cable car and get off at the next intermediate station at the Va Vales Rifugio (2470 m) from which we climb the detrital valley until we reach the Dos de Tofana (2850 m). Directions to the Baita Pie Tofana on Google Maps available here.
The maps shown in this report consider the Dibona Rifugio as the starting point of the itinerary.
The Ferrata Aglio alla Tofana di Mezzo starts from the Dos de Tofana (2850 m). To reach this point starting from the Dibona Rifugio we have 3 options:
Once you reach Dos di Tofana by any of the proposed approach routes, you start the Ferrata Aglio route although there is neither a metal slab nor metal equipment. In fact the first section of routes requires us to climb a series of switchbacks to the right to reach the ridge. While we go up it is difficult not to have our eyes attracted by the impressive south face of the Tofana di Rozes . We reach the ridge where the first steps are quite simple and go up one very well set ramp with zigzag passages that leads us on awide and panoramic ledge but with impressive precipices on both sides. We continue with steps on a aided section however difficulties until you reach a sudden leap of the ridge where the first metal stairway of the route helps us refit.
Once up the ladder, we are on a second stretch of the detritus ridge straight ahead to us a rocky leap. Reaching the base of this leap we will be on his left side and we go up with a series of vertical passages. Some brackets help in the single most difficult passage (slightly overhanging) reducing notably the challenges. We pass through rocky carving and we are once again on a flat stretch of path on the path that gradually moves to the western side of the ridge. We cover a ledge in the direction of aobvious saddle entering into an increasingly majestic landscape with straight to us on the opposite side of the Forcella the distinct shape of Torre Aglio. The saddle (2920 m - 30' from the Dos de Tofana) is aided with one piece of cordwhich will give the necessary security to be crossed. We are now under a section of the route rather vertical composed of a dihedral of just about ten meters with cable on the left and some brackets that help us in the progression. We reach a small saddle beyond which we must face a wall of about fifteen meters. The cable goes up diagonally to the right and alternate passages with good footholds with single passages in which it will be necessary to proceed by pulling on the cable. We finish this vertical stretch and walk a short ledge to the right until we reach a short and easy traverse again to the right. We round it and we are on a slight stretch downhill below Torre Aglio.
Here begins the so-called "Variante Aglio" (d-tour). Although it is not a variant because the return route takes place via the ascent route, the short climb to the Torre Aglio is probably the most challenging passage of the entire Ferrata Aglio. The climb to Torre Aglio is about 30 meters on rock with few handholds, aerial and with challenging passages both uphill and downhill (20' a / r).
Back at the crossroads we continue on the Ferrata Aglio, now approaching one of the most adrenaline-fueled stretches of the itinerary. Following the sign on the rock "Tofana" we climb down a couple of meters going around the edge using also a pair of pegs present. Straight to us we see the development of a extremely exposed and slightly overhanging horizontal traverse. The traverse continues a few meters to the right, offering a recess for the feet that can be very convenient in the progression. The passage is intense and it is advisable not to wait in vain in the traverse to avoid tiring your arms. We end the traverse on a ledge where it is possible to admire the passage just made before proceeding on our itinerary towards a carving between the wall and a pulpit.
We now face a new section of the ridge where we meet a downhill section of path and rocks up to a saddle above the Bus de Tofana (2900 m - 1h 45' from the Dos de Tofana). On the saddle there is an escape route to the right which, after an aided stretch, makes it possible to return to the scree below the Rifugio Ra Vales with an intermediate station of the cable car. We continue following the traces and the indication "Cima" written on the rock that makes us lose slightly altitude and covering a long section of the via ferrata with almost horizontal development alternating ledges and short jumps.
We go around an edge with an arrow that shows us the climb to follow on a slab aided with some brackets. After a short connecting path we find ourselves under a long inclined slab to be climbed up to reach a chimney. The chimney, in itself very demanding, it is aided with numerous support brackets which reduce the degree of difficulty. We remain on its left side along the slope and we go out on the right side in a exposed horizontal traverse where we use again some brackets. We end the traverse with the cable that continues rising sharply vertically. We use many brackets present in this aerial passage and exposed but not technically difficult. We reach a ledge which we take to the right in the direction of the smallest Bus de Tofana.
From the Tofana Bus there we move to the opposite side (eastern) where we meet two stairs to climb to the ridge. The two stairs leave us on a very exposed vertical stretch and with a smooth wall in which some brackets are very useful to take us on the section of the ridge above the Bus de Tofana. We cover the wide ridge until we reach a ledge that continues on the right side until we turn right uphill passing some avalanche barriers followed by a rather leaning slab that we face following the wire ropes that rise to the right. We reach a new vertical wall in which two metal ladders help us again to gain altitude. We are now back on a wide ridge and we walk towards the obvious peak.
We do not go up the vertical line at the top, but we remain on the right side going up a couple of not difficult leaps and the last route lineup. We are in the final stretch of the route which is devoid of equipment. We climb a few hairpin bends and after the last strenuous meters we reach the coveted summit cross of the Tofana di Mezzo (3244 m - 3h from the Dos di Tofana where the ferrata Aglio began).
From the summit we begin the descent gradually losing altitude in a northerly direction towards the top station of the cable car. After the signpost, we come to a crossroads:
The Ferrata Aglio is often combined with the nearby Ferrata Olivieri in Punta Anna. The Ferrata Aglio is more "assisted" than the previous one. In fact there are many artificial aids, among which ladders and plenty of brackets stand out. If compared, we can therefore say that the Ferrata Olivieri is technically more demanding. However, the Ferrata Aglio maintains a good level of difficulty due to the environment in which it extends, the gap and the overall length of the itinerary and the high exposure to which the hiker submits along the entire route. This itinerary is one of the most panoramic routes in the entire Dolomite landscape and in high season gets very busy. So be careful to follow it in the late morning hours when it is easy to find traffic jams.
As mentioned in the report, the Ferrata Aglio extends in an area - the Tofana di Mezzo - where it is possible to chain together several aided routes. The classic itinerary combines the Ferrata Olivieri, the Ferrata Aglio and the Olivieri Aided path. If you go straight up the ferrata Aglio shortening the route (for example by taking the cable car from Cortina to Ra Vales directly) you could combine the entire Ferrata Formenton with the Tofana di Dentro for an alternative return going down to the intermediate station of Ra Vales. If you opt for a multi-day itinerary, you can take the via ferratas to the Tofana di Rozes (Ferrella Lipella and Menighel ladder) as well as covering the easy Aided path Astaldi between the Pomedes and the Dibona. In the direction of Passo Falzarego, we can instead take the Ferrata Tomaselli, the recent one Via Ferrata Fusetti at Sass de Stria, the Ferrata to the Col dei Bos and the Ferrata to the Averau.
Approach: 2:45 h
Ferrata: 3:00 h
Itinerary: 8:30 h
Via Ferrata gap: 594 m
Route difference: 944 m
Max altitude: 3244 m
Length: 3.2 Km