Kleine Kinigat (Italian Monte Cavalatto) is the lowest of a trinity of peaks on the Carnic Alps Main Ridge. Though it is overshadowed by the slightly higher Große Kinigat (2689m) and Königswand (2686m) from an aesthetical standpoint it is the most beautiful summit of the three. While Große Kinigat and Königswand are located so close to each other that in Italian literature they are seen as a single mountain (Monte Cavallino), Kleine Kinigat stands apart and shows a fine summit pyramid from most sides.
The rock composition however is very fragile - a lot of debris covers the steep rocky slopes. Therefore only a small number of climbing routes are known, none of which can be particularly recommended. There are only limited possibilities to place protection and you have to beware of rock fall on all of them. The situation is far different on the other two summits were lots of climbing routes crisscross the more solid faces.
The normal route to Kleine Kinigat follows the routes to Pfannspitze or Große Kinigat (please wait until they will be posted with the summits). Both head for the Carnic Alps Main Ridge and from either side close in on the mountain by trail 160. Directly to the south of the summit you can see a narrow path heading up northwards. This is the entry point to a small and narrow gully. There is a lot of scree, gravel and other debris there. Apart from that the ascent is rather easy, only once reaching UIAA grade I (need your hands). The summit view easily compares with Große Kinigat's since the mountain is only about 20m lower. However, you'll certainly have it to yourself - all other climbers will go to the taller mountain.
The whole group was the scene of heavy fighting during World War I, like so many other places on the ridge. Here the saddle between the two Kinigats, Sandiger Boden (= Sandy Hollow) was held by Austrian troops. You are able to see the positions, still. Both Kinigats still show ascent routes which were established during this war and which have been maintained ever since 1971 when a final treaty was signed by both nations and the border was finally marked by mile (rather km) stones.
Climbing Kleine Kinigat
As already mentioned in the overview section, Kleine Kinigat is not the perfect climbing destination due to the brittleness of the rock. However there are a handful of classical climbs which I will list here. For more information see the following excellent book (in German): Karnischer Hauptkamm
Normal route, rated I in a short section. Lots of debris.
Rated III, 250m length, very fragile
Rated III, 300m length, very fragile
Rated III, 100m length, very fragile
The location of the Kinigat Group close to the Sexten and Lienz Dolomites as well as the southern parts of Hohe Tauern makes all three summits great lookout peaks. Kleine Kinigat is probably the best because its relative loneliness.
"If you had died in that crevasse those little black worms would have eaten you."