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East and west of Nassfeld / Passo Pramolo saddle the mountains of Carnic Alps main ridge rise for the last time with rocky towers and walls. Creta di Aip / Trogkofel, 2280m and Monte Cavallo di Pontebba / Rosskofel, 2240m are standing on the western side of the saddle, while Gartnerkofel, 2195m is standing on the eastern side.
Monte Cavallo di Pontebba / Rosskofel is actually a small massif, consisting of some peaks and rocky towers. Even more, on the very good Tabacco map (No. 018) the highest point of the massif is Creta di Pricot, 2252m, standing a bit towards the East of the summit of Monte Cavallo di Pontebba / Rosskofel, 2240m. Even more towards the East the main ridge of the massif is lowering, but the point 2203m is still a strong rocky peak and even the last rocky elevation, Anticima Est, 1971 looks from the eastern side like a powerful bastion. All these peaks are forming towards the North a nice, up to 500m high north face, which is so beautifully seen from the nice Winkel valley below it. When you reach the summit over the N wall, you find yourself on a nice, grassy plateau, and you wouldn't think that also the southern slopes of the massif are very steep and rocky. No normal route goes over them and only when going by the East ridge route, you realise, how steep and rocky these slopes are.
North of the summit of Monte Cavallo di Pontebba / Rosskofel the massif ridges branch. Beyond the Notch 2044m two sharp towers stand, closing the upper part of the Winkel valley. These are Torre Clampil, 2079m and Torre Winkel, 2040m. The second crest branches/continues towards the West. The first high summit in it is Creta di Pricotic, 2225m which is divided from the rest with two notches. Mountains towards the West are less significant and are lowering down into the Valle di Aip, wihle towards the South quite a strong ridge goes, culminating first in the Creta di Rio Secco, 2203m, and then lowering more significantly down to the Val Pontebana.
Like from all summits in the Carnic Alps main ridge, also from Monte Cavallo di Pontebba / Rosskofel you have a great panorama on all sides. The contrast between icy summits of Hohe Tauern on the North and rocky summits of Carnic and Julian Alps on the South is very nice. And on the West, the Dolomites mountains are clearly seen.
Also in a mountaineering sense Monte Cavallo di Pontebba / Rosskofel is very diverse. No ascent on it is just an easy hike. Probably the easiest one (I haven't tried it) is the Ferrata Contin, or perhaps the other ascent, coming from the NW from Sella di Aip / Rudnig Sattel (saddle). Over the East ridge a very demanding marked path ascends, it's actually an exposed easy climb (UIAA I), protected by a fixed rope only on one (not the hardest) place. Over the North face a very nice marked route goes. It is not protected and requires on a long section (some 200m of altitude) easy climbing (UIAA II). And finally, rocky walls of the mountain massif offer also some opportunities for harder climbs.
Summit ViewsAs said before, from the summit of Monte Cavallo di Pontebba / Rosskofel you have a great panorama. Let pictures speak...
Carnic Alps - Main Ridge (Eastern part)
For general overview, see the Carnic Alps group page and the Carnic Alps Main Ridge (East) subgroup page.
A few quick ascents come from the Winkel valley, lying on the north-eastern side of the massif. It can be reached from the road over Nassfeld Pass / Passo Pramolo. Just below the saddle, on the Italian side, there's a sharp turn (and a hut), where the forrest road deters into the valley. The road is closed for public traffic.
The second even quicker option from the North are many trails which reach the main Carnic Alps ridge from the Austrian side, from the ski arena Nassfeld. Many paths, among them the famous Karnischer Hoehenweg / Traversata Carnica, reach there, but forrest roads and alpine meadow roads on the Austrian side are also closed for public traffic. The quickest option is the upper station of Madritschen cable way. Another good trailhead is on Rudnig Alm, 1612m, where you can come by car (toll free).
The third option are approaches from the South. They all start in the beautiful and remote Val Pontebbana. From Pontebba, lying on the Udine-Tarvisio highway, a narrow and often bad road deters towards the West into Val Pontebana. One trailhead starts in Studena Bassa village, the other one by the Caserute hut, 1425m, the third option is Passo del Cason di Lanza, 1552m, from which a mountain road, closed for public traffic, ascends high towards the Carnic Alps main ridge - the trailhead is on 1750m.
Monte Cavallo di Pontebba / Rosskofel and some of its marked routes.
Hikes, Scrambles and Protected Routes
The whole area is very nice for hiking. You can do nice round tours, crossings of the whole massif ar just one-way and back tours. Due to high trailheads the tours are short, but from Pontebbana valley you can choose also very long ones. From Passo Pramollo / Nassfeld Pass you can also do easy and panoramic hikes along the Madritschen/Madrizze ridge. You will gain some 400 meters of altitude, unless coming with a cable-car just on top. Going by the ridge avoid the devastated areas due to ski terrains - keep more towards the Italian side.
1. East Ridge. This is perhaps for non-climbers one of the most interesting approaches. From Baita Winkel (hut), 1470m, towards the SE on Sella della Pridola (saddle), 1644m. This saddle can also be reached from the south, from Conca di Pricot (alpine meadow), which can be reached by the road (closed for public traffic) from Studena Bassa village). From the saddle over the E ridge over all fore-summits to the highest point. 3h from the Winkel parking place. Steep, exposed, easy climb (UIAA I).
2. Via F. Schiavi. A very nice route over the N face. From Baita Winkel (hut), 1470m, towards the W in the basin below the N face of the main summit. From there in an easy climb (UIAA II) over the wall to the main summit. 2h 30min.
3. Ferrata Contin. As in #2 from Baita Winkel (hut), 1470m, towards the W in the basin below the N face of the main summit. There continue towards the W on the notch 2044, where the ferrata starts. Over the rocky part and towards the S to the summit. 2h 30min. Ferrata is not hard, nor is it too much exposed.
4. From Sella di Aip / Rudnig Sattel, 1942m. This point on the Carnic Alps main ridge can be reached from many sides. You'll need some 2h from various starting points on the Austrian side, some 2h from Passo del Cason di Lanza or from the Caserute hut in Val Pontebana, and some 4h (?) from Studena Bassa in Val Pontebana, via Conca di Pricot (meadows) and further below the whole S and W face of the massif. From Sella di Aip / Rudnig Sattel the marked path ascends by the Austrian territory towards the SE, reaches the summit plateau close to the exit of the ferrata Contin and continues towards the S to the top. 1h from the saddle, I don't know how hard the path is.
5. Via Ferrata dell'Amicizia - "Torre Clampil"/ Kletterstieg der Freundschaft - "Winkelturm/Clampil". In the neighbouring Torre Clampil there's an extremely difficult via ferrata.
Roßkofel / Monte Cavallo, NE wall
Creta di Pricot, NE and E wall
Roßkofel / Monte Cavallo, S walls
Creta di Pricot, S walls
Torre Clampil, 2097 m, Torre Winkel, 2040 m.
There are no limitations.
When To ClimbTo ascend Monte Cavallo di Pontebba / Rosskofel it is best to choose dry seasons. The best months should be July-October. In 2005 we also had great conditions mid November. When snow and ice covers the mountain routes might become very demanding, requiring full winter equipment.
For weather conditions, see the main Carnic Alps page!
Mountain HutsThe ascent can be normally done in one day. On Nassfeld Pass / Passo Pramolo there are many hotels, but the majority of them is opened during the skiing season.
On Passo del Cason di Lanza, 1552m, there's Casera Cason di Lanza (mountain hut).
At the end of Valle di Aip, close to Sella di Aip / Rudnig Sattel, there's Bivacco Ernesto Lomasti, 12 places, 1900m.