The Northern Chain of the Brenta Dolomites
Sasso Alto is one of the highest summits of the northern chain of the Brenta Dolomites. This northern chain is much less developed (in terms of trails and ferratas) than the central parts of the Brenta but nevertheless offers some great possibilities for climbing as well as hiking. There are only two Rifugios on either side of the chain, Rifugio Peller to the north and Rifugio Graffer al Grostè at Grostè-Pass to the south. Two additional bivouacs may be used for starting points for serious climbs.
The northern chain is much less frequented than the central part of Brenta. Aside from the Ferrata Gustavo Vidi you rarely encounter other climbers, even in the main season in August. However, the summits in the center of this chain cannot be easily reached, some serious climbing along ferratas is needed to start the principal ascent.
The main summit of the northern Brenta chain is Pietra Grande, which at 2937m towers more or less directly to the north of Passo Grostè. To its north there is Cima Vagliana (2862m) best known to many climbers because of its keyhole shaped window (see pictures). Separated by Bocchetta dei Tre Sassi follow Cima Flavona (2916m) and the twin summit of Sasso Alto (2890m) and Cima Sassara (2894m).
There are three ferratas in the northern Brenta chain:
- Sentiero Gustavo Vidi
- Sentiero Claudio Costanzi
- Sentiero delle Palete.
All three can serve as ascent routes to Sasso Alto.
OverviewSasso Alto is located in the center of Brenta's northern chain and - together with Cima Sassara - forms a twin summit. It affords real great views towards the Adamello- and Presanella- as well as the Ortles/Cevedale-Groups. The view towards the central Brenta peaks is somewhat obstructed by Pietra Grande and Cima Vagliana but to the east the eastern groups of the Dolomites are clearly visible.
Moreover the ascent is in itself worth the trouble. From Passo Grostè you have to follow two ferratas (Vidi and Costanzi) to reach Sasso Alto. Together with a return route along Sentiero delle Palete a neat "Tour de Pietra Grande" can be accomplished. The ferrata Claudio Constanzi has quite a lot of patches that are not secured by cables and ladders so that you need to have some climbing experience to reach the summit.
Getting ThereTake the Brenner Motorway A22 to the exit Bozen (Bolzano) South where you take S38 in direction of Meran (Merano) for a short way. Get off on S42 in the direction of Eppian (Appiano) and on to Medelpass (Passo di Mendola). Drive down from the pass and stay on the road until Dimaro.
Depending on the ascent route there are now two possibilities:
- Rifugio Peller: From Dimaro (or even Male a little ahead on S42) climb toward Rifugio Peller. The trails are makred and you'll encounter quite a lot of signs. From Rifugio Peller follow mark 336, Sentiero Claudio Costanzi.
- Passo Grostè: In Dimaro turn left on SS239. This road climbs to Passo Campo Carlo Magno (and on to Madonna di Campiglio). At the pass either take the cablecar to Passo Grostè (2442m) and then take Sentiero Gustavo Vidi; or take trail 344 through Val Gelada di Campiglio towards Bocchetta dei Tre Sassi. In the Bocchetta the real ascent to Sasso Alto starts.
Red TapeNo permits required. Like all Brenta peaks Sasso Alto belongs to the Parco Adamello Brenta and thus you should behave like in any other natural park. If you park at Passo Campo Carlo Magno you're in for a small parking fee.
When To ClimbAs with all summits in the Brenta Dolomites the best season is late May through early October. With the appropriate gear winter ascents are surely possible. Tour skiing is no option due to the narrow ledges that have to be crossed.
CampingThere are campgrounds in the valley (Val Rendena at Madonna di Campiglio and Pinzolo).
There are two rifugios, one to the north, one to the south of the northern Brenta chain:
Tel: +39 0463- 536221
Open: 20.6 - 20.9
Rifugio Graffer al Grostè
Tel: +39 0465- 441358
Open: 20.6 – 20.9 , 1.12 – 25.4
In Addition there are three bivouacs:
Biv. C.A. Costanzi
Open: All year
Biv. G. Pinamonti
Open: All year
Open: All year
All bivouacs are to the north of Sasso Alto.