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Porze / Cima Palombino

Porze / Cima Palombino

Porze / Cima Palombino

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Carnic Alps, Austria/Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 46.65000°N / 12.57000°E

Object Title: Porze / Cima Palombino

Elevation: 8494 ft / 2589 m


Page By: Gangolf Haub

Created/Edited: Nov 15, 2004 / Dec 2, 2004

Object ID: 153348

Hits: 6549 

Page Score: 81.84%  - 14 Votes 

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Geographical Classification : Eastern Alps > Carnic Alps > Carnic Alps Main Ridge (West) > Porze / Cima Palombino

Porze photo_id=118971

The massive form of Porze, which in Italy is called Cima Palombino, dominates the western central part of the Carnic Alps Main Ridge. It is a castle like structure, rather wide than high, a limestone fortress rising out of the surrounding volcanic formations. Similar to the trinity of Königswand, Grosse Kinigat and Kleine Kinigat Porze can give you a lesson about the formation of the Alps in general and of the Carnic Alps in particular. Here, where the North-African and European tectonic plates crashed into each other rock got thrown up much like the water does when waves break on a beach. It is a powerful contrast which hopefully is shown on the pictures of this page.

Porze also has been part of Europe's recent history. Like the entire Carnic Alps main ridge, during World War I, this was part of the front between Austria and Italy. Heavy battles were fought here and in fact Porze was the only mountain which was conquered during the whole war. The Italians took it in 1915 (I'm not sure the date is correct) but luckily for the inhabitants of the Austrian village of Obertillach 7km to the north had trouble reaching it with their artillery.

The War - like in so many parts of the main ridge has left a multitude of supplying trails around the area. Many of these war trails have been maintained in the seventies; most noteworthy the 140km "Karnischer Höhenweg" trekking trail on the Austrian side. Since Porze was Italian during the war the Austrian trails circle it from afar so that this is one of the few places where the trekking trail actually runs along far from the border.

Two of the WW I ascent routes have been transformed into ferrate - climbing trails protected with fixed cables ladders and bolts. They both run along the ridge, one from the Porzescharte Pass in the west, the other from the Tillacher Joch Pass in the east. The latter extends far south to climb the mountain from the Italian side.

Also, Porze is one of the mountains in the Carnic Alps Main Ridge, which is interesting to climbers. Most of the routes are loose and brittle, the direct east face route, however, is worthwhile. See the "Climbing Porze" section below

Climbing Porze

Porze photo_id=118980

There are several routes onto Porze the two main ones ferrate, equipped with fixed cables and ladders. Most of the routes are along loose rock. None of them is rated more than UIAA IV but all are dangerous because of rockfall. Good descriptions can be found in the German Alpine Club Guidebook (German): P.Holl: Karnischer Hauptkamm, Rother Verlag, ISBN: 3-7633-1254-4. Here I will only give short abstracts.
  • Western Ridge
    Rated: II
    First climbed: 1926 (Rudovsky, Hitzker)
  • North Face
    Rated: IV
    First climbed: 1927 (Kaser, Steinmann)
    Length: 400m
  • North-eastern Ridge "Austriasteig"
    Rated: III
    First climbed: 1926 (Thurner)
    Length: 450m
  • Direct east face
    Rated: IV+
    First climbed: 1926 (Holl, Bieber)
    Length: 400m, 13 pitches
  • East face
    Rated: III
    First climbed: 1929 (Le Bel, Rudovsky)
    Length: 300m

Getting There

Western Main RidgeWest Central Main RidgeCrode dei LongerinPeralba - Chiadenis - AvanzaEast Central Main RidgeBiegengebirgeKellerwand - Hohe WarteMooskofel GroupRinaldo Group
Interactive map of the western part of the Carnic Alps Main Ridge. The numbers refer to the respective subgroups as given on the Carnic Alps Main Ridge (West) Page. Click on them to get the subgroup description. Porze is located in subgroup 2 at the bend to the south of the Austrian - Italian border (left).

I'm afraid I can only give reliable directions for the northern trailhead at Obertillach. There are two possible trailheads in the south - I will try to give directions but am not sure if they are correct since I haven't been to the southern side of the main ridge.

Northern Trailhead at Obertillach
You can either start in the village itself or drive by car into Obertillacher Tal, starting the ascent from Hirtenhütte. I'm not quite sure if the forest road extends to Neue Porzehütte since we hiked and used a trail running along the eastern slopes of the valley.

From the West (Brenner Motorway A22)
Leave the Brenner Motorway near Brixen / Bressanone and follow SS49 to the east through Pustertal / Val Pusteria. To the east of Innichen / San Candido you cross the Austrian-Italian border and follow the road (now B100) to Tassenbach. Turn right (south-east) here onto B111, which you follow to Obertillach. There is a parking lot near the postal office in the centre of the village

From the North
There are two possible roads:
  • From Kitzbühel over B108 through the Felbertauern Tunnel to Lienz, then southeast to Oberdrauburg and Kötschach-Mauthen (B110), where you turn on to B111 west into Lesachtal.
  • From Salzburg along motorway A10 to Spittal. Turn west on B100 to Oberdrauburg, there south to Kötschach-Mauthen were you turn east on B111.

Southern trailhead near San Pietro di Cadore

From Belluno
Take Motorway A27 to its end north of Belluno. Go straight on SS51 to Pieve di Cadore. Here turn right on SS51bis to Sta Caterina di Cadore. Turn east through a tunnel to San Pietro di Cadore. Go on for 2km, then turn north onto a side road which takes you to a parking lot at Costa d'Antola. A side road turns of north-west 1km before you reach Costa d'Antola. You can follow this on foot. It heads directly for Porze / Cima Palombino.

Red Tape

Porze photo_id=118991

There is no Red Tape here. However, the mountain is located on the border between Austria and Italy so have your ID ready and don't try to camp out. Go to Neue Porzehütte in Austria or to Bivacco Amando Piva on the Italian side.

When To Climb

The mountain can be climbed in the usual season from June through late September. Winter ascends are difficult because of the loose underground. With proper equipment and experience they are possible, too


I'm not too sure about camping on the Italian side of the border. In Austria you'll find a small campground in or near all of the villages. They are associated with the inns or hotels, where you can book a camping place. For hotel rooms or apartments, look at the following links:


For Mountain Huts and Refuges look at the corresponding section on the Carnic Alps Page.

Weather Conditions

The Carnic Alps Main Ridge serves as a weather divide between the Austrian north and the Italian south. The weather can change rapidly so that definite predictions are difficult. Look for information from both sides of the border. Head out early since the weather tends to change around noon. For weather info lookup the following sites:

Maps 'n' Books

I have been using maps by Kompass Verlag, which are very good for the hiking trails.
  • Lienzer Dolomiten / Lesachtal
    Kompass Map WK47
    Kompass Verlag

    ISBN: 3-85491-053-3
  • Sappada - S. Stefano - Forni Avoltri
    Tabacco Map 01
    Editione Tabacco

As for books please look at the corresponding section of the Carnic Alps page.