Review of the trip ascending to Ponza Grande in the Julian Alps along the via ferrata that goes up from the Fusine lakes. Technically speaking is of medium difficulty which becomes exposed in the ridge section and downhill along the path in the gully. The view of the Julian mountains is amazing both on the Italian and Slovenian side.
The starting point of the itinerary is the car park on the Fusine lakes in the province of Udine. To reach the lakes, you must reach Fusine Valromana, inhabited near Tarvisio. You reach Tarvisio with the A23 and the motorway exit of the same name. Once in Fusine Valromana, we will notice on the right the deviation for i Fusine lakes.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
Leave the car in the parking lot and follow path 512 with clear signs to the Zacchi Hut. The path in an initial part is very wide and runs along a narrow road to then bend to the right and exit the small road entering the wood. We go up about 400 meters in altitude and then reach the Zacchi hut (1380 m - 1h 15 'from the parking lot).
The hut is located at a crossroads of paths. We will keep the directions to the Ponza Grande (already signed ferrata) eastwards following the signs for the Forca Rossa and the crag. Soon you come out of the woods gaining altitude on stony ground surrounded by mountain pines, meeting one first series of aided sections not difficult. We follow some signs and indications on rock and we approach the west wall of the Ponza Grande. The trail is now steep, unprotected and exposed so care is needed and a firm foot. We walk until we find a big red stamp on the priest: on the left the indications for the Ponza Grande, on the right those for the Ponza di Mezzo. We continue to the left with indications for the start of the route with the wall that stands out before our eyes. We cross again a landslide, another aided stretch and the path narrows further while takes share. The last stretch is disturbed by a landslide which makes it difficult to pass but we are on the home stretch with a red stamp clearly visible to us (1h 30 'from the hut - 2h 45' from the parking lot).
The way starts on one vertical slab with which we bypass a rocky spur. Very good rock which, except in a couple of points, will give great satisfaction to those who try to climb it. We alternate some rocky leaps with stretches of traverse until reaching an old, but solid, metal ladder. Turning around we will see the Mangart in the distance appear in the intaglio that is Forcella Planiza where we will begin the return later. We cover a ledge with which we bypass an edge and find ourselves at theinternal of an detrital gully that we will ascend without the aid of equipment until we reach the ridge and then we reach the summit of Ponza Grande (2274 m - 1h 15 'from the beginning of the via ferrata - 4h total).
From the summit of the Ponza Grande we will follow the white red signs that will lead us on the Slovenian side a few meters below the ridge. This stretch is rather exposed and only partly aided. We lose slightly altitude and then return to the ridge thread - narrow and adrenaline-fueled - before descending to a saddle from which we will follow the path to the right that takes us back to Italian territory and further down to the hut. There downhill is steep and with some exposed traverse. Then we reach a saddle in the road, coming back and back to Rifugio Zacchi. From the shelter to the parking for the same itinerary of the outward journey (2h 30 'from the summit of Ponza Grande - 6h 30' total).
The Julian Alps are a generally austere and exciting environment. La Ponza Granda is no exception and is definitely worth a visit. The ridge that from the Ponza Grande leads up to the Mangart is very beautiful but rather exposed and with sometimes precarious equipment so it is not recommended for those who are not experts. From the ridge you can see a wonderful view of the Julian massifs both in Italian and Slovenian territory. Attention in approaching the crossing of some colanders that risk to be covered with snow at the beginning of the season with further risks of stability.
Still from the Fusine Lakes it is possible to undertake two other beautiful ones via ferratas in the Julian Alps on mountains located on the Italian-Slovenian ridge: the Via Ferrata Vita and the Mangart Ferrata. Returning to the A23 and proceeding downstream, we can reach the recent one Ferrata Tenente Ferrante of Ruffano, short and athletic itinerary. On the slope of Sella Nevea, on the other hand, we encounter the following difficulties in increasing order Aided path King of Saxony, the Ferrata Julia and Grasselli and the Ferrata Anita Goitan.
Approach: 2:45 h
Ferrata: 1:15 h
Itinerary: 6:30 h
Ferrata height difference: 330 m
Route difference: 1337 m
Max altitude: 2274 m
Length: 10 Km