Col del Cuc, also Col da Cuch is the westernmost summit of the Padon Chain (excepting standalone Sasso Beccé), which is the northern boundary of the vast Marmolada Group in the central Dolomites. The chain is special as it is not made up from limestione or dolomite, like the surrounding mountains, but rather consists of dark - almost black - volcanic rock, which rises above wonderful green meadows. The rock quality differs from solid basalt to almost sand-like sintered tuff, which is best seen when you take a look at the north faces of the chain. Here erorsion has cut away the soft soil to expose the soft tuff in near vertical faces.
On the other side, to the south of the ridge, you will often find hoodoo-like towers, also made up from tuff, albeit a harder variation. Some of the most prominent of these towers can be found on the south slopes of Col del Cuc, between the Bindelweg / Viel del Pan hiking trail and Alta Via della Cresta, the scrambling path along the very tops of the summits. The form two chains of formations, thus protecting Col del Cuc from access from the south.
Col del Cuc can be reached along Alta Via della Cresta from either east or west. The western approach is the shortest one, requiring little more than an hour from the big parking lot on Passo Pordoi. The eastern access requires a hike along Bindelweg / Viel del Pan to the notch between Cresta Larice and Sass Capel, from where a steep and exposed trail leads back to the summit. On the way it tops on Cresta Larice, a secondary summit, which often is considered part of Col del Cuc, even though it is separated from the main summit by a profound saddle.
Like all summits of the Padon Chain, Col del Cuc is a wonderful lookout summit. Wedged between the Sella- and Marmolada Grpups it offers great close-up views towards its neighbours. Also, thanks, to itscentral location in the Dolomites it offers good views to the west (Rosengarten and Langkofel Groups) as well as the east (Fanes Group, Cortina Dolomites, Civetta).
In general the mountains of the Padon chain also look like good tour skiing destinations. However, the south sides of the chain are avalanche prone and the most dangerous section is right at the base of Cresta Larice and Sass Capel. There huge funnels have been installed, to induce avalanches by small explosions. To come across one on these funnels while it is firing jets of flame is dangerous in itself.
Getting ThereThere are several possible trailheads for Bindelweg and Alta Via della Cresta.
- Passo Pordoi
Most hikers start from this pass which can be reached from Canazei or Arabba by SS48. A dirt road leads to the huts along the Padon Crest.
If you prefer to get to the trailhead by lift and cable-car you can start from Canazei, where a two stage lift takes you close to Passo Pordoi
- Porto Vescovo
Another cable-car starts at Arabba and takes you to the Porto Vescovo Saddle. Here both Bindelweg and Alta Via della Cresta have their eastern end.
- Lago Fedaia
Though located about 800m beneath the Padon Crest, Lago Fedaia is still a good starting point. There are two paths, one leading to Porto Vescovo, the other traversing up the Padon south slopes until it reaches Bindelwegbetween Belvedere and Le Forfes.
Red TapeThere's no red tape here. Be prepared to pay fees for parking lots, especially at Passo Pordoi. The lot there can also be overcrowded. On Bindelweg, take care of the avalanche devices. When fired, they create a thunder-like boom and long jets of flame issue from their mouths.
AccommodationVal di Fassa
Grödner Tal / Val Gardena
- St. Ulrich / Ortisei
- St. Christina / Santa Christina
- Wolkenstein / Selva di Val Gardena
Maps & Books
- Höhenwege in den Dolomiten
ISBN: 3 7654 3860 X
ISBN: 3 8705 1409 4
- Dolomiten 3
- Dolomiten 4
- Val di Fassa, Marmolada, Gruppo di Sella
Kompass Map WK 686
ISBN: 3 8549 1768 6
- Sellagruppe / Gruppo di Sella
Kompass Map WK 59
ISBN: 3 8549 1066 5
- Val Gardena & Alpe di Siusi
Tabacco Map 05