From Vallon Popera
The Croda Rossa di Sesto
( also known as Cima Dieci
and Sextener Rotwand
) is a wonderful dolomitic mountain situated among some of the most beautiful peaks of the Alps, in the famous group of the Dolomiti di Sesto
The spectacular views, the picturesque towers, the impressive rests of the First World War, the ski tracks, the “easy” access of its summit make this dolomitic jewel one of the most popular mountains of its group. Its popularity it’s probably second only after the great Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Actually only the north side is much frequented, because of the cableway that takes you on the plateau on the northern slopes called Prati di Croda Rossa
at almost 2000 m ( if you love the Dolomiti you shouldn’t miss to go there at least once , the beauty of this place it’s almost incomparable), where you can enjoy a classic dolomitic view.
The south side towards the Vallon Popera
is still quite wild, but maybe is even more beautiful. The main reason of this wilderness is the lack of easy routes for the mountains of the valley. If you want to climb the Croda Rossa from Vallon Popera you have to be at least a via ferrata expert, because the easiest route is the very difficult via ferrata Zandonella.
From Passo di Monte Croce Comelico
Meridiana di Sesto
The Croda Rossa di Sesto is also known as Cima Dieci, because is part of the biggest sundial of the world, "la meridiana di Sesto
". The other peaks of this amazing dolomitic watch are Cima Nove
( Pala di Popera ), Cima Undici
, Cima Dodici
( Croda dei Toni ) and Cima Una
. If you go there don't miss the midday sun that shines just above Cima Dodici!
This mountain has five summits and at least a dozen of minor towers: Torre Vinatzer
( 2965 m ) it’s the highest point but it’s not the main summit, which is the Cupola Nord
( cross and summit book, 2936 m ). It belongs to the Popera group and is the main peak of a small indented massif that is composed by the following summits: Croda Rossa di Sesto
( 2965 m ), Prater
( 2745 m ), Wurzbach
( 2675 m ), Monte Castelliere
( 2168 m ), Torre Pellegrini
( 2757 m ), “Le Guglie
” ( 2850 m ), Sasso Fuoco
( 2592 m ), Dente di Popera
( 2528 m ), Gobba Grande
( 2528 m ), Gobba Piccola
( 2522 m ), “Il Castello di Popera
” ( 2511 m ), Pala di Popera
( 2582 m ), Croda sora i Colesei
( 2371 m ) and Campanile Colesei
( 2318 m ).
From Prati di Croda Rossa
The mountains of the Popera group
formed between the early and the middle Triassic age
( 240-200 million years ) and are mainly composed by three kinds of dolomitic rock: Dolomia del Serla
( early Trias – Anisic period ), Dolomia dello Sciliar
( middle Trias – Ladinic period ) and Dolomia del Durrenstein
( middle Trias – Carnic period ).
The views from the summit of the Croda Rossa di Sesto are really fantastic, even an expert of the Eastern Alps will never be able to recognize all the summits that you can see from there. If the sky is clear basically you can see all the mountains from Palla Bianca to Triglav…
The "Big War"
While going up to the Croda Rossa di Sesto you can’t help to notice all the rests of the First World War: this area was one of the most contended of the dolomitic frontline and fierce battles had been fought since the beginning of the war. Approaching the summit the view of the Torre Vinatzer ( known also as “the Polar”, dedicated to a famous officer of the Austrian army ), with all the caves, the trenches and the ladders, it’s probably the best image you can see to understand the sacrifice of this men, that fought a war not only against their enemy but also against the mountains and the elements. All this area, that today is a paradise for hikers and alpinists, was a real hell in those days and for that young Austrian and Italian soldiers fighting there was the worst nightmare one can imagine, especially in the winter season ( in particular the winter 1916/1917 was terrible, the coldest of the century ) .
Since the beginning of the war it was clear that the summit of Croda Rossa had a great strategic importance, because it dominates all the Val di Sesto, the Val Pusteria, the Val Fiscalina ( that in those years were Austrian territory ) and the Vallon Popera and the Comelico on the other side of the line. So the Austrians, that had an easier access to the summit, started to set their positions on the crest on july 4, 1915.
The Italians tried everything to conquer the mountain but eventually they had to give up, although they had some of the best mountain troops. With great alpinistic exploits ( and many lives lost in suicide attacks and for the extreme weather conditions ) they managed to conquer the wild crests of the nearby Cima Undici and the important Passo della Sentinella ( the conquer of this pass was one of the most heroic pages of the war, here
you can read the whole story in italian ), all in vain because after the rout of Caporetto, the October of 1917, all the soldiers of the italian army had to leave the mountains.
Passo della Sentinella
the warpath to Croda Rossa
Today this mountains are a monument to the stupidity of the war, but also to those heroes that died here for their ideals or for the freedom of their countries. After almost 100 years many things have changed, the border between Italy and Austria doesn’t exist anymore and Europe eventually seems to have found peace and stability. But it’s important to remember what happened in those sad years, to keep the greed and the hate far from this wonderful place forever.
There are two possible ways of access:
1) Val Fiscalina
( From Moso to the Cableway station )
2) Vallon Popera
( take the road to Rifugio Lunelli before Passo di Monte Croce Comelico )
: From the A12 Unterinntalautobahn exit Kurfstein and then Kitzbuhel-Mittersill-Lienz-S. Candido-Sesto-Val Fiscalina
Or Sesto-Passo di Monte Croce Comelico –Rifugio Lunelli
: From the Brennero motorway exit Bressanone/Brixen and then S.Candido-Sesto-Val Fiscalina
Or Sesto-Passo di Monte Croce Comelico-Rifugio Lunelli
: From the Udine-Tarvisio motorway exit Carnia and then Tolmezzo-Forni Avoltri-Sappada-S.Stefano di Cadore- Rifugio Lunelli
Or S.Stefano di Cadore-Passo di Monte Croce Comelico-Val Fiscalina
: From Venezia to Belluno and then Pieve di Cadore-Auronzo di Cadore-Padola-Rifugio Lunelli
Or Padola-Passo di Monte Croce Comelico-Val Fiscalina