La Ferrata De Luca - Innerkofler is a medium difficulty aided route ascending to Monte Paterno in the Sesto Dolomites. The ascent route is relatively short and does not present significant technical difficulties. The return requires more attention if you go along the section that passes Forcella Passaporto. Itinerary with beautiful landscapes and traces of military activities of the First World War.
The starting point of the itinerary is the Auronzo Hut on the Veneto side of the Sesto Dolomites. To reach the hut the main and easiest access is by car from Misurina (m.1750), through the 7 km panoramic road with toll, Misurina can be reached from Cortina or Auronzo di Cadore (SR48 and then SP49) or from Dobbiaco in Val Pusteria (SS 51 and then SP49). Directions for Google Maps available here.
The goal of our approach will be the Tower of Toblin. Leave the car in the parking lot of the Auronzo Hut (2320 m) follow the wide panoramic trail 101 that leads us to the Rifugio Lavaredo (2344 m - ca 30') and then reach Forcella Lavaredo (2454 m - 45') on a slightly more steep slope. From Forcella Lavaredo a wonderful panorama opens up before us: the Croda di Passaporto, the Monte Paterno, the Sasso di Sesto and the Torre di Toblin and to the left, visible after the first meters of descent, the 3 Cime di Lavaredo.
We continue in the approach downhill remaining on the wide path 101 and we ignore the various traces of the path that come off mainly towards the left. We reach the Locatelli Hut (2450 m - 1h 15' from the car park), an important crossroads of trails in this area of the Sesto Dolomites.
From the Rifguio Locatelli follow the signs for the Innerkofler war path that goes south-east. We turn to the right and we are moving towards theclear north face of the Paterno. We pass next to the singular pinnacle called Frankfurter Wurstl and continue uphill, gaining altitude. We reach the first war gallery - rather low - but illuminated by some holes in the rock. We go up a few steps inside and let's go out on a artificial balcony with which to pass on the opposite side where we enter one second gallery. This gallery is over 300 meters long, with staircases inside and requires a torch to be covered. We reach the exit on the opposite side where one metal slab shows us the beginning of the Innerkofler via Ferrata to the Paterno to the Forcella del Camoscio (2650 m - 30 'from the Locatelli Hut - 1h 45' total).
The start on the via ferrata is near an exposed edge. After a short horizontal section, the cable continues vertically in a narrow wall with good holds, followed by a section of unaided rocks that we ascend to the right. Now we bend to the left uphill to reach a trench where we continue on a ramp and quickly gain meters. We arrive under a rocky leap of about ten meters well-positioned where we go up again moving gradually towards the outside and climbing the edge in high exposure. The cable runs on the edge between a inner gutter to the mountain and the outer wall. We bend to the right and go up now a canalino with detrital bottom standing on the right side. We quickly gain share with the Locatelli Hut now far away we reach Forcella dei Camosci, crossroads of paths where we have some options for the continuation of the trip (30 'from the start - 2h 45' total).
Our review continues with the itinerary for the summit. After having lost a couple of meters of altitude downhill we are at a crossroads. There are two routes for the climb: one on the right and one on the left both aided. To avoid crowds and complex passages, it generally goes up with the path to the right. Follow the cable that goes diagonally to the left on a well-set ground. The cable now it continues vertical on rock well set and climbing. After a few meters we reach an unaided ledge that we follow to the left following the tracks without any particular difficulty. You start to see the summit cross of Monte Paterno (2744 m) which we reach after a few minutes of ascent (20' from the junction - about 3h total).
From the peak we will have to go down along the path to the left up to the junction at the Forcella dei Camosci. We go back along the summit floor until we meet the cable that descends on the eastern side. We go down two vertical stretches, separated with an exposed but ledge with a wonderful view. We reach the junction of the outward journey (20' from the summit - about 3h 30' in total) and then in a short time we are at Forcella dei Camosci where we will have to evaluate the return itinerary.
From the Forcella dei Camosci we will have 2 return options:
The Innerkofler Ferrata is a pleasant medium-difficulty via ferrata that runs along a stretch that combines breathtaking landscapes with remains of the Great War. Overall, it is well-climbed and never excessively demanding. Pay attention to the gully before Forcella dei Camosci which can have snow and ice even in late season. Need the torch to walk the Galleria Paterno and possibly a tunnel in the return for Forcella Passport. The return for the Forcella the Passport requires some attention and a firm foot.
Come risaputo, la zona delle Tre Cime e in generale delle Dolomiti di Sesto fu una zona molto attiva durante la Grande Guerra e ne è testimonianza, ad esempio, il tunnel lungo la via ferrata. Nello specifico, il Monte Paterno fu campo di battaglia molto dura tra i due schieramenti e, stando alle ricostruzioni storiche, l'alpinista e guida alpina Sepp Innerkofler morì nel 1915 in combattimento proprio durante un attacco a questo monte. Innerkofler era molto conosciuto nell'ambito alpinistico e divenne una figura mitologica negli anni del dopoguerra in Austria e in Tirolo. La Via è altresì dedicata anche alla memoria dell'alpino Pietro De Luca che si distinse nella difesa della postazione sul Monte Paterno proprio nell'attacco che vide la morte di Innerkofler, probabilmente a seguito di un sasso scagliato proprio da De Luca nell'estremo tentativo di difendere la cima. Storia e leggenda si mischiano in questa drammatica vicenda.
The area where the Innerkofler Ferrata is developed is full of other via ferrata. Already along the same ferrata to complete the return you go either the Aided Passport Path (itinerary 1) or the Forcelle Aided path (itinerary 2). If you wish to continue on aided routes some options are: