Fratòn 1645 m, rising inside Forni Alti Subgroup, is one of the finest needles lying in Pasubio Group, a fascinating prealpin range running along the border between Trento province on NE side and Vicenza province on SW side, close to Piccole Dolomiti (Little Dolomites). Pasubio, as Piccole Dolomiti, is rich in history, in fact it is famous because it was the scenario of the Great War: in fact since 1916 this massif found itself in a strategic position until the end of the war.
It is an amazing rocky spire that dominates sovereign the Val Sorapàche, a hidden gem in its wild ravines and therefore even more fascinating; someone thinks that its place name may refer to a big monk ("fratòn" in Veneto dialect means "big monk"), but it seems that instead the name originates from a place name of the valley.
Two possible approaches, from Rovereto (Trentino) or from Vicenza (Veneto):
Trentino Alto-Adige side (NE side)
From Rovereto mt. 201 take the road SS46 rising along the green valley named Vallarsa and reaching San Colombano – here is situated an ancient hermitage with the same name - Valmorbia mt. 649 - a little village celebrated by the poet Eugenio Montale in “Ossi di Seppia” - Anghebeni mt. 632, Foxi mt. 674, Raoxi mt. 724 and finally Pian delle Fugazze Pass mt. 1162 (km. 26 from Rovereto). From the pass follow the road to Vicenza, going down from some kilometers and reaching the locality named Ponte Verde. From Ponte Verde leave the main road and turn to left, following the road to Colle Xomo, then to Bocchetta Campiglia. Paying parking.
Veneto side (SW side)
From Vicenza take the road SS46 to Schio mt. 209, rising along Val Leogra and reaching Valli del Pasubio mt. 342, S. Antonio mt. 567, lower Ponte Verde and upper Ponte Verde mt. 901. Turn to right following the narrow road to Colle Xomo, then to Bocchetta Campiglia. Paying parking.
Fratòn North Face - El duro del Fratòn report (UIAA scale)
Summit altitude: m. 1645
Difficulty: VII- (VI and A0)
Equipment: equipped belays, pegs along the pitches
Climbing length: 285 m.
First ascent: T. Balasso - A. Cadorini 14-10-2006
Starting point: Bocchetta Campiglia
A superb climbing on good rock getting an awesome summit within a wild environment (Val Sorapache)
Approach: from the parking lot follow at first Strada degli Scarubbi, when getting the fifth hairpin leave the main road and descend into the valley, following the path between the pines, cross the ridge and with easy access to the starting point, at the base of a sloping slab along an obvious spur, just to the right of the lowest point of the wall (2 pegs with a sling). Cairn. 1 hour from the parking lot.
L1 - Climb the spur of solid rock (pegs and holes) up to the first belay, V, IV, 40 m.
L2 - Always along the spur (pegs and holes) to the second belay, V+, IV+, 30 m.
L3 - Directly on easier ground to the large grassy ledge, IV, 15 m.
Take a track slanting right to get the base of the impressive upper wall - 100 m
L4 - From a peg overcome a difficult slanting right move, then traverse right to a belay near a large flake, VI+, 13 m.
L5 - Climb a crack, at first overhanging, then vertical, VI+, V+, 30 m.
L6 - Up again along the crack to the belay, IV+, V, 20 m.
L7 - Climb a vertical wall, at first straight, then slightly slanting left to a belay on easier ground, VI+, VII-, 30 m.
L8 - Climb a large chimney and then some walls to a stance under a sharp crack, IV, 30 m.
L9 - Climb entirely the crack, exiting on a shoulder below the final needle V+, VI+, 40 m.
L10 - Climb directly a few meters, then traverse horizontally in great exposure to the belay, VII-, VI, 30 m.
L11 - Slightly slanting left you reach the summit, 15 m.
Well, you just have to ring the bell and sign the summit book!
Descent: abseil down the route "Una per Quattro". From the exit of the route (sling on some warf pines) with 4 abseils along the East face you will return to the base of the needle in the vicinity of the access path.
See also here the route topo: El duro del Fratòn
- Una per Quattro VI+ (VI and A0), 225 m - T. Balasso, S. Antoniazzi 2011 - Interesting combination of three routes
- Via del Barba VII+ (VI and A0), 220 m - T. Balasso, P. Balasso 2007 - In the middle of East wall, on good rock
- North-East Ridge, Pozzo-Giordani VI-, 190 m - P. Pozzo, L. Giordani 1936 - Classic route along the obvious NE ridge
- Linea Rossa VII+ (VI and A0), 260 m + 70 m - T. Balasso, A. Cadorini 2008 - A fine route on the left of "El duro del Fratòn"
- Garrincha VI+, 340 m. - T.Balasso, P. Balasso, L Franceschi 2008 - A fine line on excellent rock, some pitch common with "El duro del Fratòn"
Pasubio and Piccole Dolomiti are a Natural Reserve, anyhow there is no particular restriction in climbing and hiking. Be aware about the paying parking on Bocchetta Campiglia (only cash).
Best season goes from June to October.
"Piccole Dolomiti e dintorni - Arrampicate scelte" by Guido Casarotto - An updated and complete selection of the best climbing routes in Little Dolomites, Ed. Cierre 2015
“Piccole Dolomiti – Pasubio” by Gianni Pieropan - Collana Guide dei Monti d’Italia, CAI TCI