The short Ferrata Ombretta is an aided stretch within a long itinerary that goes up the Val de Contrin and leads us to the summit of Cima Ombretta. This challenging itinerary offers a wonderful view of the impressive south face of the Marmolada. Itinerary with high altitude difference to be followed in good physical shape.
The starting point of the itinerary is the parking of the Ciampac cable car between Alba di Canazei and Penia in Val di Fassa, province of Trento. Once in Canazei follow the clear signs for Passo Fedaia and upon reaching Alba we will see the Ciampac cable cars on the right. We park in the large square. Directions for Google Maps available here.
Park the car (1500 m), take the CAI 602 path that goes southward into the woods. We pass a stream, we ignore the junction for 602A which descends to Penia and we climb up steeply between hairpin bends until we reach the Baita Locia Contrin (1736 m - 30 'from the parking lot). We continue now in a wide valley - the Val de Contrin. We continue on CAI 602 which is maintained for long stretches alongside the homonymous stream ignoring the paths ascending to the Colac and to the Passo San Nicolò e Col Ombert. We reach the Contrin Hut (2016 m - 1h 30 'from the parking lot) where it is possible to stop before continuing the approach itinerary. From the Rifugio Contrin we will keep the CAI 607 trail markers along the forest road that continues south south east. We ignore the signs 606 and 610 which go up to the left in the direction of Passo Ombretta and Forcella Marmolada.
We continue on the CAI 607 up to a crossroads: straight ahead continues the CAI 609 towards Passo Paschè, we will keep the left with the 607 that goes up in the direction of the Ferrata Ombretta and of the Sasso Vernale. We set off for the detrital Val di Cirelle. Going up we will have to pay attention to a crossroads - not signposted - where continuing in south south-east direction on 607 we continue towards Passo delle Cirelle, while we keeping the left we go up gravel and debris in the direction of Passo Ombrettola. We continue the climb up to a new saddle (1h 15 'from Rifugio Contrin - 2h 45' from the parking lot): straight on to Passo Ombrettola on 607 while we will keep to the left the CAI 650 that along the hillside will lead us to the Ferrata Ombretta.
We continue in the direction of one rocky bastion where the ferrata will develop. It is possible to put the harness in the cave just below the start marked with a written in dark paint on rock (2570 m - 15 'from the CAI junction 650 - 3h from the parking lot).
Following the directions and white-red signs we approach the start of the short ferrata. The via ferrata follows a logical line and goes up a stretch with a less pronounced slope than the bastion over the cave. Initially we go up one wall with good holds. We continue on an easy rocky ledge up to take a long diagonal canal, sometimes slightly narrow, which helps us to easily gain altitude. Let's continue on one series of rocks with debris bottom and potentially unstable with which we will finish the climb of this rocky wall (2620 m - 20 'from the start - 3h 20' total). From the end of the via ferrata we can look down the Val Contrin just back up.
The return from the Ferrata Ombretta continues in a circular itinerary in an increasingly exciting landscape. We continue eastwards on the CAI 650 between gravel and debris in the direction of a saddle. To our right we will have the impressive north wall of the Sasso Vernale in which once was present a glacier, now reduced to a few patches of snow. We go up the moraine basin well marked up to a saddle (2950 m - 45 'from the end of the ferrata) where we can take to the right the deviation highly recommended to climb to the Vetta Ombretta Orientale (3011 m - 15' a / r). From the summit you have a wonderful view of the bastion of the south wall of the Marmolada and on others nearby dolomite groups.
Continuing to the left on a trail, continue with CAI 650 up to one new saddle from which we will descend on a steep path to the right near a building dating back to the First World War towards Passo Ombretta and the Dal Bianco Shelter. At this junction it is possible to go straight on towards the summit of the Western Ombretta. We go down in a northerly direction and we reach the clearly visible shelter (2730 m - 1h 30 'from the end of the via ferrata - 5h total) after which we reach the Passo Ombretta (2702 m).
To complete our itinerary we will keep the left with the CAI 610 in constant descent leads us to Rifugio Contrin (1h from Passo Ombretta - 6h total) and then backwards for the parking approach path (1h 30 'from Rifugio Contrin - 7h 30' total).
A possible detour - possibly to stay overnight - consists in reaching the Falier hut (2074 m) keeping right from Passo Ombretta. In this case, stay at the base of the south wall of the Marmolada, unique show.
The Ferrata Ombretta - or as it is sometimes called Ferrata Vernale - is a short, not difficult via ferrata that is suitable for newcomers to aided routes. However it extends in a high mountain environment and allows to reach a 3000 m that, despite being easier than other surrounding areas, should not be underestimated. The trip is long with a considerable difference in height that make it a definitely challenging and tiring itinerary. However, the environment is well worth the long approaching march because the view from the Ombretta ridge is breathtaking on the impressive south face of the Marmolada. The equipment has been recently renovated and is in very good condition.
The Ferrata Ombretta could be combined in a multi-day itinerary to the ascent of two via ferrata easily reachable from the Val de Contrin: the Via Ferrata Financiers at Colac and the Via Ferrata Kaiserjager at Col Ombert. Another option, definitely recommended for those who experience glaciers is the ascent of the Ferrata in Punta Penia on the Marmolada reached by the path 606 from the Contrin Hut. In this case it is necessary to have crampons and ice equipment with you, then having to descend along the Glacier Marmolada along Pian dei Fiacchi. From Passo Fedaia it is also possible to undertake the Ferrata delle Trincee.