The Ferrata delle Mesules is a long and demanding itinerary that climbs up the western slope of the Sella Group until it reaches Piz Selva (2941 m). The via ferrata is challenging, a technique with a great variety of passages and some unprotected key points that require a firm foot and no vertigo. Itinerary with magnificent 360 degree landscapes on the most important Dolomite groups of Val di Fassa and Val Gardena. A long itinerary that requires good planning and stable weather.
The starting point of the itinerary is the Passo Sella that connects the Val di Fassa with the Val Gardena. The ideal place to leave the car is near theMaria Flora Hotel on the slope of the Val di Fassa. In this way it will be possible to take the direct path to the start of the via ferrata and we will find ourselves on the slope where the return path leads us back.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
From the parking lot we will follow the path CAI 649 which continues in a north-eastern direction towards the suggestive Torri del Sella. We start the trail up meadow to then pass debris fund than with increasing slope takes us to thestart of the Ferrata delle Mesules (2290 - 30 'from the parking lot).
The current itinerary at the starting point is modified with respect to the original route and it is generally agreed that the difficulties have increased. Climb the first rocks without protection, climb up a wall resting in the left direction, entering the first (of a long series) of chimneys. The first meters they offer good holds for the feet and quickly climb up to meet some simple nails which indicate the increasing difficulty and the progressive reduction of the holds. We continue the climb alternating vertical sections a diagonal sections with a slit on which it is possible to obtain some support points until reaching a small terrace which is a prelude to the most demanding section of the route.
Ahead of us we see a rocky ravine in which we must go up some rocks with passages of the first degree up to a last passage of II degree to be faced in split. This passage is not protected by wire rope and therefore requires good footing and concentration in facing the passage. To tackle this step it is necessary to proceed in split looking for the good grips for the feet and helping oneself up both sides of the crevice with hands to climb up a first stone that obstructs the way until you reach some brackets. After climbing this difficult stretch, go down a few meters to reaches the first ladder of the route where you have time to turn around to see theiconic stretch just uphill.
Once up the second ladder, we soon reach a new, challenging passage on the route. We have to go up one narrow chimney stood between two walls with the brackets initially on the left side. The brackets - not particularly wide or deep - they rise by bending towards the inside of the chimney and are our only insurance in the climb, lacking even in this section the self-insurance rope. It will be noted that during the climb one is inclined to bump a little and it can be useful in some cases to widen one of the feet split on the right side of the chimney. As we go up the chimney almost completely we will notice that four brackets are positioned on the right side of the chimney and we will therefore have to turn around on ourselves. This maneuver can be complex if you have a bulky backpack. The upper part of the chimney it narrows completely and it comes out on the left side using two pegs in a very aerial passage which takes us to a small terrace from which we take a little stable metal ladder (for a video of the chimney climb, click here).
Leaving this stretch, we climb a smooth wall and then reach a more climbing stretch of the road. We climb a ladder and go up a easy chimney in which excellent supports on rock and some brackets are combined. We continue uphill facing in quick succession a couple of easy horizontal sections and rocks to finish the equipment. We are in a valley that we ascend on traces of a path. We go up this valley and meet some easy aided sections with which we reach a stretch of path exposed to the hillside to the right that makes us gain altitude and reach theMesule slabau near a large detrital saddle. Let's start a connecting path that will take us under the last section of the ferrata with which to climb the Piz Selva.
We reach an exposed ledge with which we take back the metal equipment to face some beautiful rocky leaps generally well clinging and climbing. We climb along one series of steps not difficult only at aided sections, until you reach the upper part of the Mesules Plateau, reaching the summit in a few minutes Piz Selva with magnificent view over the Sassolungo (2941 m - 3h from the start - 3h 30 'total).
Reached the Piz Selva and taking the right time to admire the spectacular panorama that surrounds us, we will have to set out for the long return. You will have to travel on long and barren Plateau of the Mesules to descend into the Val de Lasties that crosses the Sella Group and divides us from the Piz Boè and from Sass Pordoi on the opposite slopes. We will start along the slabau in a north-eastern direction trying to follow the white red signs of the CAI path 649 on the ground until we reach the Piz Miara (2964 m). At this point we will have two options:
The Ferrata delle Mesules is one of the most characteristic itineraries in the panorama of dolomitic via ferrata. It is a wide-ranging trip with an alpine character and reserved for experienced and prepared hikers.
A first part of considerations is on the key passages in the first section of the via ferrata. Both are unprotected and, although they may seem difficult for well-trained hikers with experience and lack of vertigo, they may reserve some difficulties for less-trained people. These difficulties - max grade II - are mainly psychological and due to the exposure on one side and the limited possibilities of movement due to narrow spaces. In particular, the second passage on the long chimney requires a certain agility in the final part and bulky backpacks are not recommended. If it was difficult to pass, it could be useful a quickdraw or a tape to hook the backpack to the harness and get out of the chimney managing to turn around without getting stuck.
Second note is on the planning of the trip. The Mesules slabau is wild and isolated. There are no points of support and although it does not present difficult sections within it it presents the serious risk of losing orientation in the event of bad weather, in particular fog. With this in mind, we strongly recommend that you take the via ferrata with stable weather forecasts. It would not be pleasant to be at mid-trip at almost 3000 m with bad weather and a long return without points of support.
La Ferrata delle Mesules è una delle vie attrezzate più antiche delle dolomiti. La via infatti fu costruita nel 1912 dal Club Alpinistico Tedesco e Austriaco col nome di Possnecker Klettersteig, quando la zona era ancora parte dell'impero austro-ungarico. La via si poneva l'obiettivo di collegare il Passo Sella col Rifugio Boè sul versante opposto del gruppo.
Il nome della ferrata richiama a un libro storico, magnifico scritto dall'alpinistica Ettore Castiglioni che fonde storia, alpinismo e impegno civile nel suo diario ripercorrendo gli anni delle prime salite dolomitiche, della resistenza fino alla sua morte nel tentativo di salvare alcune persone portandole in Svizzera. Il libro si chiama "I giorni delle Mesules" ed è recentemente stato ristampato.
The Ferrule of the Mesules extends on the Sella Group one of the Dolomite groups with more via ferratas and certainly some of the most iconic of the Dolomites. Although none of them starts from Passo Sella, with a relatively short journey by car it is possible to reach the starting points of the difficult Ferrata Piazzetta, the overview Ferrata Tridentina and the less jokes Ferrata del Piz da Lech and Vallon.
Instead, there are nearby the Passo Sella Via Ferrata Schuster at the Sassopiatto and the Ferrata to the Col Rodella. All the proposed itineraries can be combined only in multi-day itineraries, given the considerable physical effort required by the Ferrata delle Mesules both for the height difference and the length and difficulty of the climb.