Geographical Classification : Eastern Alps > Dolomites > Latemar Group > Schenon
Most of the mountains in the Latemar Group are an assortment of scree and broken rocks, occasionally putting up the show of an impressive spire. The northern ridge however, while also being composed of talus slopes to the south, shows impressive 800m faces to the north. The view from Karersee / Lago Carezza, which is featured above, is one of the best known and most popular one of the whole Dolomites. There are a multitude of towers, the Campanili di Latemar / Latemartürme, and one massive north-west face, the one of Schenon.
There is a lot of confusion, especially in German literature, about the names of the various towers of the Latemar north face. Schenon is a case in point: in German it is called "Östliche Latemarspitze" (eastern Latemar Peak) an name it sometimes shares with neighbouring Cornon or Torre Christomannos. Being located on the border of South Tyrol (mostly German speaking) and Trentino (Italian and Ladinian speaking) I feel I have to report all names but will stick to the shorter and more unique one: Schenon.
Schenon's north-west face is the most impressive feature in the Latemar northern view, dropping about 800m from the summit cross (which is located a bit west of the true summit) to the labyrinth-like rock meadows around Mitterleger Alm. But on closer inspection you can already see that the rock quality is rather poor. None of the Latemar north faces get climbed nowadays - there is just too much rubble.
But why? The climb to the summit along the southern talus slopes and ledges reveals the reason. Among the quite solid main dolomite rock you find porphyritic inlays. These rocks of volcanic origin erode much faster than the dolomite, so that the mountain range is veritably crumbling away from the inside. Back below the north faces you notice this by rock fall which occurs very often, even in warm summer conditions.
Still Schenon, together with its neighbour Cornon (2791m), is one of the few mountains which can be climbed. You have to start at Karerpass / Passo di Costalunga, more than a thousand meters below. While the climb is easy it gets scary above Forcella Latemar Piccola. Here the "trail" runs along scree covered ledges, occasionally climbing a chimney or two. It is very hard to keep your footing and a slip would send you down the talus gullies in no time. Also the broken rock gives you no real possibilities where to set up protection. Most of the climbers / hikers we observed up there returned after a couple of hundred meters.
We also did not reach the summit. We had to turn around at an elevation of 2740m (GPS reading) because I was dumb enough to knock my right knee against one of the rocks when climbing into one of the chimneys below the summit. Not being able to walk for quite a while we decided to call it quits. We made it into a little pass below Schenon so that we could enjoy part of the summit view. Which is the main reason why I still can recommend this climb. Latemar is the westernmost group of the Dolomites and its summits offer great views towards the Dolomites as well as the Ortler / Cevedale and Ötztal Alps Groups. Most famous is the view towards Rosengarten / Catinaccio but popular Karersee / Lago Carezza is just an emerald dot in the dense Karerforst.
As said above I had to turn around 60m below the summit. I made it to a little Forcella (unnamed) from where I took a couple of shots towards Rosengarten and the Pale di San Martino. Unfortunately the day was hazy as hell ,,,
The Latemar Group has two access points. One is Rifugio Torre di Pisa in the west of the group (two chair lifts facilitate the ascent there, the other is Karerpass / Passo di Costalunga. For Schenon you need to start from the latter.
From the North
Take the Brenner Motorway A22 south toward the exit Bolzano / Bozen north. Turn onto SS241 direction Vigo di Fassa which leads to Karerpass / Passo di Costalunga.
Take Brenner Motorway A22 to Ora /Auer (naturally you can go to Bolzano / Bozen North as wel and follow the "northern" instructions) and get off onto SS48. This road takes you to Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa going though Predazzo and Moena. At Vigo di Fassa take SS241 west which will take you to Karerpass / Passo di Costalunga.
There is no red tape here. The meadows around Karerpass and Karerforst are used for cattle grazing so there is a lot of electroshock fence. Close all the gates. The two routes to Forcella Latemar Piccola are rather popular and people not always keep them clean. Please take your own stuff with you.
When To Climb
Schenon should only be climbed in summer in snow-less conditions. The scree covered ledges and gullies get to dangerous with an additional snow cover. Also the climb to Forcella Latemar Piccola which runs along the northern slopes will have snow and ice fields late into the year. The best time should be late June through early September.
You might want to look up this information on the Latemar Group Page. There you will find links to accommodation sites, phone numbers and location of campgrounds and infos on Huts (Rif. Torre di Pisa) and Bivouacs.
Weather and avalanche conditions in Trentino: www.meteotrentino.it
Weather conditions in South Tyrol: www.meteoalpin.com. For the English text you have to scroll down the right frame.
Maps 'n' Books
I am having trouble naming books in other languages than German. I welcome any helpful addition.
- Klettersteige Dolomiten
H. Höfler, P. Werner
ISBN: 3 7633 3096 8
Hiking and Trecking
- Höhenwege in den Dolomiten
ISBN: 3 7654 3860 X
- Dolomiten 2
ISBN: 3 7633 4059 9
The following two books have been provided by livioz:
- Luca Visentini
Casa editrice Athesia - Bolzano (1985)
- Luca Visentini
Ein Alpiner Führer durch eine der Schönsten Gruppen der Dolomiten
Athesia - Bozen
I have been using the maps by Kompass Verlag:
- Rosengarten / Catinaccio Latemar
Kompass Map WK 629
- Pale di San Martino
Kompass Map WK 76
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