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Valscura - Sassongher

By: Francesco Tremolada, Mountain Guide. Translation by Alexandra Ercolani.
Area: Dolomites, Group: Puez - Geisler, Height: 2500m, Country: Italy, Region: Trentino Alto Adige

A perfectly aesthetic couloir which goes straight down carving out the walls of Sasshonger: if you look at it from the front it seems almost too narrow and vertical to ski down. In reality this fascinating “line” is a steep and difficult descent, but never extreme. The difficult ascent and the abseil, almost always needed, require mountaineering experience.


By using the lifts or by car reach the village of Colfosco, along the road from Corvara (Val Badia) to Passo Gardena. The itinerary begins at the top of the Col Pradat bubble car.


From Col Pradat traverse downhill till you reach the middle of the valley, along a path to the right of the piste. Start the ascent near the ski lift, soon reaching a steeper area with large boulders. Just above this area make a detour to the right (sign posts for the summer path leading to Sassongher) and head up towards the rocks above to start the long exposed traverse which diagonally leads to the right of the Sassongher couloir (keep up high beneath the rocks, following the summer path itinerary). This section should be covered with care since it is tackled on steep terrain above high rock cliffs: it is best to proceed with crampons and ice axe. To reach the start of the couloir keep heading uphill along a ridge which leads to the top, till you reach the evident saddle where you find the couloir’s entrance.


After a first brief section you face on to the steeper part of the descent, looking at the change in gradient as well as the vertiginous couloir below. After dozens of metres the gradient diminishes and the slope becomes wider allowing, with good snow, a great descent. Before the end of the couloir you need to overcome a drop with a brief abseil (roughly 15 metres, anchor on the left, bolt and chain). After this last difficult section proceed along easy terrain, but often covered by tricky snow, along the river bed and turning to the left (beside a water hydrant) into the forestry road keeping to the left all the way to the hotel Cristallo until you reach the state road which connects Corvara to La Villa (from here you will need a taxi or a second vehicle for your return.)


Skins, ice axe, crampons, rope and mountaineering gear


For this itinerary it is fundamental to wait for just the moment to combine the right amount of snow with safe conditions. In late season, it is worth leaving early in the morning before the lifts open to avoid high temperatures and climb up the whole valley from Colfosco.


Maps: Tabacco 1:25.000 foglio 7 Alta Badia
Guidebook: Francesco Tremolada, “Freeride in Dolomiti”, ed. Versante Sud
Alta Badia Tourist Office: www.altabadia.org
Alta Badia mountain guides, Corvara: www.altabadiaguides.com

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Colfosco – Col Pradat


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