A via ferrata for experts that brings you to the summit of Cristallo di Mezzo, where the traditional cairn confirms that you have reached the top of one of Cortina’s most iconic peaks, over 3,000 metres high. The magnificent view from the top comprises the Ampezzo Valley on one side and the superb Valle di Landro valley on the other. The route is on mount Cristallo, to the east of the Ampezzo Valley.
To reach the start of the via ferrata from Cortina, head towards the Tre Croci Pass until you reach Rio Gere; here there is a large car park where you can leave your vehicle. Take the chair lift from Rio Gere to Son Forca, where the like-named mountain lodge offers incredible views.
From Son Forca, take the steep track that leads you up along the scree-strewn gully to the saddle Forcella Staunies: this section along the rocky gully takes about two hours, for a total ascent of 900 metres. Once you have reached the saddle, behind the historic mountain lodge Rifugio Lorenzi (closed), you will find the first fixed ropes and the start of the via ferrata.
To reach the top of Cristallo di Mezzo, you are faced with a high-altitude via ferrata that often runs along the ridge: considering the route’s height, take care on the snow and ice that you may find on the path.
The via ferrata begins with some sections along the ridge with alternating ascents and descents, bringing you to the saddle between Cima Nord (north peak) and Cima Centrale (central peak). Continue the climb, using the ladders that enable you to scale some vertical slabs. Then you will encounter the most difficult part of the via ferrata: a smooth, fissured, overhanging cleft. After completing this challenging section, the last part of the route continues on the ridge and enables you to reach the summit with the traditional cairn at the top of Cristallo di Mezzo at 3,154 m. The view that opens up in front of you is very impressive: the peak that you have just reached is one of the most iconic in Cortina. On one side there is the entire Ampezzo Valley, and on the other the superb Valle di Landro valley. It makes all the effort worthwhile.For the descent, go back the same way as you came.