Via ferrata Passo Santner is a short but exhilarating route amongst the chimneys and gullies of the western part of the Rosengarten group in the Italian Dolomites.
The ferrata leads to one of my favorite views in these mountains - the Vajolet Towers.
A Climbers playground and a landscape photographer's dream, the Vajolet towers are the proof that Mother Nature is the perfect sculptor.
Via ferrata Passo Santner was a part of my multiday traverse across the Rosengarten Nature Park. If you are looking for a backpacking trip itinerary make sure to check out my other article.
Via Ferrata Passo Santner In The Italian Dolomites
2-2,5 hours one way
ca. 450 m /
ca. 1480 feet
Top of König Laurin chairlift
Getting to the start of the via ferrata
The via ferrata Passo Santner starts at the top of the Laurin Chairlift next to the Rosengarten hut and it's clearly marked. I recommend purchasing the map Tobacco nr 6 beforehand and bringing it along with you to better visualise the trail.
The roundtrip ticket for the chairlift costs 13 Euros (9 Euros one way) and the return journey can be done within a week of purchasing the ticket. The summer operating times can be found here.
To get to the bottom of the chairlift just search for the Albergo Frommeralm near Carezza in your GPS or google maps. There is a decent size and free parking lot at the bottom of the chairlift.
Via Ferrata Passo Santner: Route Description
starting right behind the Rosengarten hut and after a short but intense scramble with some intermittent cables on path nr 542/550, you will reach a fork. Follow the signs left for Passo Santner. Soon you will emerge onto a path right underneath the western wall of the Rosengarten/Catinaccio group.
From here you will get a clear view ahead of where the route is leading. After 15 minutes, of mostly flat walking, the path starts climbing steadily again and the fun begins.
The ferrata is very well marked and easy to follow. The cable protection is placed nicely in difficult sections. You will also come across ladders and stencils coming out of the wall. They help tremendously with tackling the tricky parts.
The route isn't as exposed as other via ferratas I've done in the Dolomites, but still makes up for an exciting excursion in the mountains.
Around two thirds of the way to Passo Santner you will find yourself in a gully with a fantastic view of the spires, typical for the Dolomites. This is a great introduction of what's coming ahead - The Vajolet towers!
Although Via Ferrata Passo Santner is officially marked as 2A in the Via Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites: Volume 1 guidebook, personally I found it more difficult than for example via ferrata Catinnacio D'Antermoia (marked in the book as 2B).
For a more thorough route description I do recommend that you purchase the guidebook.
After around 2-2,5 hours you will reach the end of the via ferrata and the objective for the day - Passo Santner. There is a newly built mountain hut right on the pass with amazing views to the West. It's scheduled to open in the summer of 2019.
The morning after completing the via ferrata I hiked back up to Passo Santner from the nearby Gartlhütte (rifugio Re Alberto Primero) and photographed a cloud inversion hugging the walls of the Rosengarten group, with only distant peaks sticking out above the clouds. I love it each time it happens!
Directly behind the Passo Santner hut you will find the continuation of route 542 which leads down to Gartlhütte (Rifugio Re Alberto 1) and the magnificent Vajolet towers standing proudly right above it. This is certainly one of the most photogenic huts in the Dolomites.
The hut stays open from mid June until the end of September and if you have time you should definitely consider staying there! It's privately owned, but typically for the huts in this area, the fees are reasonable and the fact that the price includes food means less you have to carry in your backpack!
To get back to the top of the chairlift and to avoid going back the same way, you can use path 542 down to the Vajolet hut, then turn onto path 541, followed by nr 550 via the Baumannpass (Forcella di Davoi). This should take you another 2-2,5 hours.
Do you have any questions about the via ferrata? Post them in the comments below and I will be happy to answer! Make sure to also check out my Italian Dolomites Guide, for more photography, hiking and via ferrata ideas.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I am Marta Kulesza - the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.