As the whole Carnic Alps main crest, also the area around Nassfeld / Passo Pramollo / Mokrine is geologically very complex. On the web you can find many reports on research, dealing especially with the area around Auernig. In the mountaineering sense the ridge berween Auernig and Kronalpe / Monte Corona is nothing very special, but as geographically and geologically very different of the neighbouring Gartnerkofel, and because very popular and quickly reachable, I am devoting those mountains a humble page here. The summits are first of all goals of hikers, in winter and early spring this is also an attractive area for tour skiing. Especially when on the higher mountains the risk of avalanches is too high.
Regarding geology it is worth mentioning that while Gartnerkofel on the north and Rosskofel / Monte Cavallo on the south are made of Schlern dolomite, then an area of Permian limestone stretches from Trogkofel / Creta di Aip towards the northern slopes of Gartnerkofel, the crest of mountains from Auernig over Garnitzenberg / Monte Carnizza to Kronalpe / Monte Corona is built of older, paleozoic rocks (Carboniferous - Permian), but on some places also mixed with limestone.
The area around Nassfeld / Passo Pramollo / Mokrine is also nationally mixed. Today German and Italian (Furlani) people mostly live there, the Slovenians were once inhabiting the valley of Gail/Zilja and some toponimes also reflect their presence today. Around Gartnerkofel you all the time meet toponimes like carnizza, garnitzen, krnica etc., and finally the whole big area of these Alps is called Carnic Alps. The word probably has older, Celtic origin, and is today incorporated in all these modern languages and means high end of a valley, in the Tyrolean Alps also of a glacial origin (Kar).
Along the whole main crest the border between Italy and Austria runs. Crossing the border is nowadays a non-issue.
Below you can see a few panorama shots from the summit:
Trogkofel / Creta di Aip
Monte Cavallo / Rosskofel
A small streak of mountains will be described, stretching from Nassfeld / Passo Pramollo / Mokrine on the west to Schulter Sattel / Sella della Spalla on the east. The first summit on the west is the popular Auernig / Monte Auernig, 1863 m. Its characteristic layer rocks are seen by all who drive over the mountain pass. On the southern terrace on the altitude of some 1600 m Malga Auernig (alpine meadow) lies, the northern slopeas are overgrown, descending towards Nassfeld ski terrains. From Auernig the crest lowers only to the altitude of 1823 m, then it rises again to the summit of Garnitzenberg / Monte Carnizza, 1950 m. This one is connected towards the north with Gartnerkofel massif, between is the important Gartner Sattel (saddle), 1863 m. From Garnitzenberg / Monte Carnizza the ridge continues in the E-SE direction. It changes often geological structure, on the Point 1885 m it is made of limestone, then changing the nature again and lowering with broad slopes on Garnitzen Sattel / Sella Carnizza, 1675 m. This is the shortest passage between the south and north and even if a bit higher than nowadays most frequented Nassfeld / Passo Pramollo / Mokrine, it was in the past often used. More towards the east a broad, plateau-like mountain is rising, mada again of older rocks. This is Kronalpe / Monte Corona, 1832 m, where the main Carnic Alps ridge turns towards the NE and lowers considerably on Schulter Sattel / Sella della Spalla, 1432 m. On Kronalpe / Monte Corona two side ridges deter towards the south and south-east. The first one ends on Sella di Barizze, 1430 m, where already the Monte Scinauz group begins, the other one is over the Pass 1697 m connected with Monte Cerchio, also belonging to the Monte Scinauz group. The third ridge invisibly continues towards the east and swirls directly to the summit of he Monte Scinauz. On the beautiful upper Malga Cerchio it changes geological nature again and there we consider to be also one of the ends of our small mountain group.
See the main page of Carnic Alps or the page of their Eastern part how to get on Nassfeld / Passo Pramollo / Mokrine, where almost all ascent possibilities start. Garnitzen Alm, in the valley between Garnitzenberg / Monte Carnizza and Gartnerkofel can be from the Austrian side reached also by other mountain roads, but they are closed for public traffic. Along the southern slopes of all three summits another mountain road goes from Nassfeld / Passo Pramollo / Mokrine. It is a good option for approaches and returns from tours, but is also closed for public traffic.
All three summits can best be visited by one nice, panoramic tour, going simply by the main ridge. You ascend Auernig either by one of the marked paths from the north (from the saddle or from Watchiger Alm) or you can ascend it from the south, from Malga Auernig. 1 h to 1 h 15 min to the summit, all paths are easy.
Then you simply continue by the main ridge, the path is called Sentiero Bepi della Schiava and is marked by No. 501. On Garnitzenberg / Monte Carnizza also the path No. 411 comes from the north, from Gartner Sattel.
Hiking over the summit of Garnitzenberg / Monte Carnizza
On Garnitzen Sattel / Sella Carnizza paths from the south and north also come, but our Sentiero Bepi della Schiava continues eastwards. From Auernig to Garnitzenberg / Monte Carnizza you have some 30 minutes, down to the saddle some more 45 minutes.
In another 20 minutes you will reach the summit plateau of Kronberg / Monte Corona. There the path No. 501 turns sharply towards the south and descends in some 20 minutes to Casera For (alpine meadow). From there, you simply return by the mountain road to Nassfeld / Passo Pramollo / Mokrine - 1 h 15 min. You can do the whole round tour in some 4 h 30 min. By the Swiss (SAC) Hiking Scale the difficulty rating would be T2.
On Kronalpe / Monte Corona
On Kronalpe / Monte Corona
Huts and Camping
You don't need mountain huts or camping to visit these summits. The tour is easy and can be done in half of day. Otherwise there are several huts on alpine meadows, but you would get food and beverage only on Garnitzen Alm in summer.
To spend vacation, you can choose any nearby tourist resort. See the main page of the area!
When to Ascend?
You can do the tour any time of season. The road on Nassfeld / Passo Pramollo / Mokrine is due to the ski resort cleaned all the year. In winter conditions the ridge ascents would require some care and equipment, but one would anyway probably not do the whole ridge tour. One or two summit ascents would be fine. All the three main summits offer also excellent, but short tour skiing possibilities. In hard winter you will find there wonderful powder snow and also the southern slopes of Garnitzenberg / Monte Carnizza are nice for skiing (steep on a few spots below the summit). On the ridge SE of Garnitzenberg / Monte Carnizza also a chair lift reaches from Garnitzenalm. Due to remoteness and low altitude in winter people only rarely ascend Kronalpe / Monte Corona.
There's no specific restriction, except that the above mentioned mountain roads are closed for public traffic.
Guidebook and photomonography (in Slovenian): V. Pogačnik: Kar na Karnijce. Založba Narava, 2011.