Review of the challenging trip to the Agner climbing the Ferrata Stella Alpina (literally "Edelweiss Ferrata"). The proposed itinerary is very satisfying but long and reserved for experienced hikers with good experience not only of via ferrata but also of high-altitude trips. Itinerary of over 10 hours including the climb to the Agner. Attention to the continuation of the route at the end of the via ferrata.
The starting point of the itinerary is the town of Frassanè in the province of Belluno. The town is located right on the slopes of Monte Agner and can be reached from Agordo (Belluno) than from Fiera di Primiero (Trento). Once in the center of the village, take the small Via della Vittoria which climbs westwards (towards the Agner). After a few meters on the left, take via Domadore, follow it for a few hundred meters until we see the CAI signposts near a saddle: on the right, 771 rises, on the left, 772. We find parking in a clearing (4 -5 parking spaces) and we begin our trip. Directions for Google Maps available here.
Leave the car in the pitch (1182 m) and start the 771 uphill trail that will lead us to the Scarpa Hut. We initially follow the forest road that climbs intersecting the now disused chairlift. We continue in a steady but not excessive climb until the end of the forest road. We are now out of the woods and we start a go up steeply for meadows along the ski slopes until you reach the Scarpa hut (1735 m - 1h from the parking lot) located just below the arrival of the chairlift.
The Scarpa hut is placed in a strategic position for many trips in the Agner area. Starting from the hut it is clearly visible to us the continuation of the itinerary: approach to the steep walls, lastoni, Forcella Pizzon where the Biasin Shelter is placed and the peak of the Agner. From the shelter follow the directions already present for the Ferrata and the Miniussi Trail. We reach shortly Malga Losch and, while the Miniussi Path continues straight ahead, we keep the left out of the wood (15 'from the hut). Approaching us at high bastions of the Agner we reach a new crossroads: straight to us we see the snowfield of the gully that descends from Forcella Pizzon that we will use as a return, while to the left follow for thestart of the Stella Alpina Ferrata located at the end of a gorge with no exit (1955 m - 1h 45 'from the parking lot).
The first section of the via ferrata allows us to climb a first rocky ridge beyond which we will have a transfer stretch. The first part of the climb is vertical but rather appealing. We initially climb vertically and then bending to the right we go up to the top some rocks and then to the left. We now walk along a stretch of path initially on gravel and lawn, then on rock following showy yellow signs that accompany us along the way. After the connecting stretch we meet again the equipment where there is a singular sign warning not to move stones.
Now begins the second and more demanding section of the route. After the first meters of diagonal rope, the cable vertical part on a wall with not very evident grips even if present. After these first athletic meters there move to the right crossing in the direction of a chimney, the first in a series along the route. We climb initially on the left side to then proceed in split looking for grips on the opposite side of the carving as well as some pegs present. We go up the chimney and we go out on the left side.
After this first technical step, we continue along the road, crossing to the right towards a narrow gorge. We enter into the gorge to the right paying attention to bulky backpacks. from base of the gorge we go up on the left side and we leave this second challenging passage. Coming out of the gorge we start one series of vertical passages, in increasing exposure where it is advisable look for the various supports present so as not to tire too much in view of the continuation of the route. We go up to the vertical and exposed passages with our backs the snow-covered gully that we will travel upon returning.
We continue now facing the last section of the ferrata. We continue to the left with a traverse that leads us to a aerial edge overlooking the underlying Rifugio Scarpa. We go up again on a vertical wall and then take us under a delicate passage: the cable continues vertically and winds along a crack. The start of this passage is challenging and slightly overhanging. It is advisable to look for a foot support on the left side and to gain exit from the overhanging passage. Going up along the crack you need a certain amount of agility to look for grips on both sides of the crack. Once this passage of sure commitment is completed, the cable bends to the right and leads us below the key passage of the route: a vertical and smooth slab to be traced back looking for the few natural holds (crack along the slab) and the metal pegs present. We're at the end of the route. Let's go up the last exposures and move on to a new edge. We continue for the last meters of cable with which we reach "Le Laste" (2320 m - 1h 45 'from the start - 3h 30' total).
Now begins a particular stretch of the climb to the Agner. Behind us we see the difference in height compared to the Rifugio Scarpa. We will have to walk a long stretch of path initially up stones and lawn then increasingly on rocky bottom that make up Le Laste dell'Agner. Despite the Biasin Shelter seems relatively close, the path to go it is far from trivial (prohibitive with fog) and needs attention. We follow the signs (often faded) and the cairn that indicate the way. We meet some rocks to climb in free as well as some sections aided on slab and ledge. In general it can be said that thecrossed Laste it is generally rather exposed and crossing several smooth stretches it is definitely not advisable to follow it with wet rocks. We walk all the Laste until we reach the upper part of the gully and under the Biasin Shelter. We go up some aided sections and the last meters of path reaching the shelter place in Forcella Pizzon (2645 m - 1h 45 'from the end of the via ferrata - 5h 15' total).
At this point it is possible to start the re-entry avoiding the climb to the Agner. We continue the review of including the climb to the Agner. We begin to get around the south-west wall of the Agner going up from the saddle on a series of aided sections. We reach aexposed ledge aided in a stretch definitely airaerial and adrenaline. We leave the ledge and we begin to rise on a exposed stretch of ramp but not difficult. We follow the track in steep slope until you reach the summit and the cross, placed on thesmaller peak that yes reaches by path, dell'Agner (2872 m - 1 h from the Biasina Biasin - 6h 15 'total).
The descent from the Agner is definitely challenging and must be taken into due consideration when planning this trip. From the Agner to Forcella Pizzon you go back along the same route paying particular attention to the stretch of path between the summit and the aided ledge. Since there are no abundant signs and the few are faded, it is advisable to pay attention during the ascent to the route to be able to identify the descent path from above. We retrace the various aided sections and reach the Biasina Biasin again (2645 m - 45 'from the summit - 7h total). If you wanted to stay overnight, the shelter is in good condition.
From the shelter we start the steep descent standing on the left side of the gully, remaining initially above the gully below. The bottom is slippery and deserves a lot of attention. We go down for about 200 meters (20 '/ 30' from the shelter) with some aided sections where we meet a saddle marked with writing on rock rather faded. To the right it goes down with red signs the path along the gully, to the left it goes down with yellow signs the normal way. We describe in relation the demanding descent along the gully. There descent takes place on steep hairpin bends with gravelly bottom and sometimes unstable. It is definitely advisable to have hiking sticks with you to increase stability in some parts of the descent. The lower part of the canyon is generally covered by a snowfield. We finish the gully and see straight to us the Scarpa hut. Following the directions on a stone, we gather on the path traveled to the outward journey with the junction for the start of the Stella Alpina Ferrata on our right (1820 m - 1h 30 'from the shelter - 8h 30' total).
At this point we walk back along the entire approach path already traveled, reaching the Scarpa Hut (15 'from the junction for the start of the ferrata) and descending to the parking lot along the easy path 771 to the parking lot (1h 15' from the hut - about 10h total).
In terms of trip, the overall difficulties are perhaps among the greatest in the Italian panorama of aided routes. If on one hand the technical difficulties of the via ferrata part of the route are to be considered "Very Difficult", to these must be added the objective difficulties in the stretch of the Laste, the climb to the Agner and finally the difficult descent along Il Canalone. To these challenging stretches must be added a long approach and return. It is advisable to break the trip in two days. Absolutely to take into consideration the forecast weather conditions considering that fog and rain could be very dangerous both in the Laste and along the descent. Keep in mind that along Il Canalone there is often snow and it may be prudent to have crampons with you. Ferrata to be undertaken in a good state of training and with stable weather.
The Stella Alpina via Ferrata is a long and demanding itinerary. Alone it can comfortably spend two days. For those wishing to combine it with several itineraries, you can proceed in two directions:
Approach: 1:45 h
Ferrata: 1:45 h
Itinerary: 10:00 h
Via Ferrata gap: 346 m
Route difference: 1692 m
Max altitude: 2872 m
Length: 14.4 Km
Dolomites of the Pale di San Martino