The Dibona Aided path is a wonderful ridge itinerary that extends on the Cristallo Group. Starting from Forcella Staunies, it runs along the entire ridge that descends to Col de Strombi along a route of great scenic interest with indelible traces of the fighting that set fire to this area in the Great War. Itinerary without high technical difficulties but in some places exposed. It requires very good training given the high altitude to go.
The starting point of the itinerary is the car park near the Rio Gere restaurant from which the ski lift with chair lift connects Rio Gere (1700 m) with the Son Force Hut (2215 m). You will reach the start of the lifts by following the road to the Passo delle Tre Croci which connects Cortina d'Ampezzo with Auronzo di Cadore. The facilities are on the Ampezzo slope of the pass. Directions for Google Maps available here.
The starting point of the Ivano Dibona Ferrata Trail is Forcella Stounies (2932 m). To reach it we will have to bridge the almost 1250 m difference in altitude from the Rio Gere. The climb is very steep and it is therefore highly recommended to take the lifts up to the Son Forca Hut (2215 m). Until July 2017, we could have used old and characteristic cable car that arrived up to the saddle. It has been dismantled and will be rebuilt (date to be decided but project in progress) and therefore the only possible solution to undertake the path is to climb the detrital valley of the Gran Stounies. The valley is steep and on unstable gravel so it is necessary to hike with caution and taking into account at least 2 hours for the climb from the end of the chairlift.
Once we reach the Forcella Staunies we see the outline of the Rifugio Lorenzi - placed in a wonderful location but currently closed after dismantling the cable car. We reach it and behind it we find a metal ladder set in the rock where the Dibona Aided path begins.
We pass the metal ladder, with which we begin the first section of the ferrata, definitely the most "via ferrata" part of the route. We cover a stretch of ledge with a passage on a wooden walkway and then we cross a short traverse bypassing a rocky prominence with a couple of ups and downs without difficulty. We climb some rocks in the direction of a rather short war tunnel that immediately bends to the left from which it comes out (torch is not necessary) and then let us travel a comfortable ledge with a wooden walkway. We continue along the path going up some small rocks which are followed by a section just below the ridge with wide passages for the feet and where they narrow we are on wooden walkways. We are near the suspended bridge of about 30 meters which represents one of the most iconic part of the tour. Turning around before crossing the bridge we see the Rifugio Lorenzi just left and the beginning of Via Ferrata Bianchi at Cristallo that proceeded in the opposite direction to the Dibona Aided path (15 'from the start to the Hut - 2h 30' total). The bridge is very large and built with wooden sleepers (a couple not fixed).
Finished the bridge we are facing one long metal ladder divided into two sections that makes us gain height and brings us on long ridge which will characterize this section of the route. The ridge is all excellently aided with wire rope that will feel more secure despite the ridge being in almost all points wide enough. We continue on the ridge reaching after a slight descent towards the Forcella Grande. Before reaching it, however, we will notice a saddle (2980 m - 15' from the end of the Suspended Bridge - 30' from the start) where we will have two options:
We continue down the steep aided Dibona Path that descends under the visible saddle of the Forcella Grande that we reach without particular problems (2874 m) where on the right the marked path for the Ferrata Renè de Pol at the Punta del Forame detaches. Before reaching the saddle we meet some remains of sniper positions dating back to the Great War. If we proceed by the Ferrata De Pol follow it downwards. At the Forcella Grande we keep the left and proceed on the Dibona Aided path. We continue on the left side of the mountain meeting after a little ruin of an former Italian military shelter of the Great War and we begin a stretch of the path under the White Crest where some stretches of path alternate with ledges, easy crossings e aided walkways with modest height difference. We continue on the path in the direction of Forcella Padeon (2762 m - 2h from the start including detour to Cristallino - 4h 15 'total) reaching another iconic point of the route: the Buffa of Perrero Shelter, originally a war barracks now restored and converted into a shelter in an excellent panoramic position, ideal for a break along the route.
From this point we continue along the southern slope of the Vecio del Forame. This trait is characterized by some exposed ledges in some places unprotected. The path continues until you find a detrital gully on which we continue downhill on the left for a long aided stretch that leads us first to Forcella Alta (2650 m) then to a saddle (2490m - 1h from the Bivacco Buffa di Perrero - 5h 15 'total). At this crossroads, if we take the steep path to the left that descends the crumbling ridge of the Val Padeon, we descend to the valley until we cross the forest road that we can use to return to the chairlift. This path is to be considered a rather difficult way of escape and therefore not ideal to go.
We continue straight downhill on the Dibona Trail until we reach Forcella Bassa (2450 m) where we continue for a while on hillside trail downhill without equipment along the Zurlon Ridge. We reach a ladder to climb that leads us to some military ruins (2360 m - 40 'from Forcella Bassa - 6h total). We walk a short uphill section to a saddle where a steep descent begins on a gravelly gully that leads us to the Col dei Stombi (2017 m - 40 'from the Zurlon ruins - 6h 45' total) in which the environment ends rocky and you start to meet pines and pines.
The Dibona Trail is coming to an end and from the Col dei Strombi we descend steeply in a path with which we reach the bends with the forestry after bends and serpentines (CAI 203 - 1700 m - 30 'from Col dei Stombi - 5h from the start included) the climb to the Cristallino - 7h 15 'total).
When you reach the forest road, keep to the left and follow path 203 ignoring all the detours we come across until you reach Passo Son Forcia (2109 m - 1h 45 'from the graft onto the forest - 8h total). We can go up to the San Forcia Hut to take the chairlift that goes down to the Rio Gere (pay attention to the opening hours of the lifts) or keep to the right continuing on 203 meeting after a few minutes the detour to the left for CAI 206 (1948 m - 20 'from the Pass San Forcia) which continues in the direction of Malga Lareto. We take the 206 downhill until we find a thin, unmarked trail that descends to the Rio Gere (30 'from the junction on CAI 206 - 2h 45' from the end of the Dibona Aided path - 10h total).
The Dibona Aided path is generally a path downhill from the Lorenzi hut downstream. The main reason was to earn Forcella Staunies with the ski lifts and walk the route - long and challenging - downhill. With the dismantled cable car and to be rebuilt at a later date, it may make sense to walk the aided uphill path. and descend at the end of the itinerary along the detrital gully. At this time also the Lorenzi Hut is closed so it is necessary to consider that there are no intermediate support points - except for the Bivacco Buffa di Perrero along the route.
The intermediate escape route is a path that is partly difficult and exposed. It can be useful as an escape route in case of sudden bad weather but it is not advisable to follow it. Other stretches not aided along the route are simple but rather exposed.
La via Ivano Dibona, che corre lungo la cresta del Zurlon nel gruppo del Cristallo, è un percorso storico utilizzato dalle truppe italiane durante la Grande Guerra. Ben visibili lungo la via sono i resti dei barricamenti di oltre un secolo fa. Terminata la Grande Guerra il sentiero venne riesplorato negli anni '60 da Freddy e Ivano Dibona, successivamente reso sicuro per i turisti e riaperto nel settembre 1970. Prende il nome appunto da Ivano Dibona, che era morto sul Cristallo nel 1968.
Una curiosità riguarda il ponte sospeso vicino a Forcella Staunies. Il ponte è il più lungo delle vie ferrate dolomitiche - 27 metri - ed è stato inserito nel film d'azione Cliffhanger con Silvester Stallone. Si dice che il ponte venne fatto effetticamente saltare durante le riprese e con i rimborsi ricevuti, venne ristrutturato completamente il sentiero attrezzato.
The Ferrata Dibona is a long itinerary that requires a whole day to be accomplished above all without being able to use the cable car ascending to Forcella Staunies. From Forcella Staunies there is a Via Ferrata Bianchi at Cristallo which runs along a ridge until it reaches the summit of Cima di Mezzo al Cristallo and is a classic itinerary that can be combined with the Dibona Aided path. If you would like to use more days in the Cristallo massif, once the Dibona Aided path has ended, we could continue in the direction of l'Ospitale on the eastern side of the massif from which you can take the Ferrata Renè de Pol to the Punta del Forame. Going further south on the Pomagagnon we meet the Ferrata Strobel at Punta Fiames in Punta Fianes and the Ferrata to the Third Cengia. Alternatively, descending from the Passo delle Tre Croci in the direction of Misurina we meet the Ferrata Merlone and Aided path Bonacossa both in Cadini.