Monte Civetta stands in the first line of the wildest Dolomites mountains - mainly because of it's huge north west face that is a symbol of the Dolomites and an eyecatcher in the Agordino valley.
Less impressive and less known is the east side of the mountain looking down into the Zoldo valley. But this is the side for the normal climbers. There is a little terrace at about 2900 m. Here Rifugio Torrani is situated so you have the oppurtunity to sleep high at the mountain.
Monte Civetta is the climax of a long ridge that carries several minor summits: SW of Monte Civetta is Piccolo Civetta; NE are Punta Tissi (2992 m) and Punta Civetta (2920 m).
Civetta is also the climax of Civetta mountain group theat exeeds between the pass roads over Forcella Staulanza and Passo Duran. There are some more interesting mountains and endless climbing possibilities - so have a look at the Civetta group page.
Three routes can be done by normal climbers:
- Sentiero Tivan: this is the route of the first ascent. Marked route with some cables and some easy scrambling, but definetely no hiking! Danger of rockfall. Nowerdays this route is mostly used for the descent.
- Via ferrata Alleghesi: This is the most popular route - a cable route, not extreme but not easy. It follows a pillar to the side-summit of Punta Civetta (2920 m), then along the main ridge to the main summit. Easier parts of the pillar (UIAA II) are not fixed. Sometimes crowded
- Via ferrata Tissi: this is a difficult ferrata that leads from the south to the plateau with Rifugio Torrani. It concentrates on a 300 m high, almost upright step. Some danger of rockfall.
All routes require good - dry - conditions and stable weather. In any case one should avoid getting into a thunderstorm
was probably done by the hunter Simeone di Silvestro in 1855 on the Tivan route. On May 31st 1867 he led the englishman Francis Ford Tuckett and his swiss guides Melchior and Jakob Anderegg to the summit again.
Civetta north west face is probably the biggest rock face of the Dolomites, with a maximum height of 1200 m and a length of 3 km. The first direct ascent was done by Gustav Lettenbauer and Emil Solleder in 1925. This is nowerdays considered as the first climb in the entire alps in UIAA grade VI.
In the 1930ies some other routes in grade VI here and on other summits of Civetta group were opened, so climber and author Domenico Rudatis called the area as "kingdom of the 6th grade". Developping did not stop decades ago - there are also some modern climbing routes here.
Routes of the NW face are:
1. to Monte Civetta or Piccolo Civetta:
a) Via degli Inglesi (Phillimore-Dimai-Siorpaes 1895) - 1.020 m drop - 3.000 m lenght - AD / UIAA IV
b) Via degli Agordini (Tomè-De Toni-Dal Buos 1906) - 980 m drop - 1.800 m lenght - D / UIAA IV
c) Via Stewart (Stewart-Pompanin-Sommermatter 1907) - 1.020 m drop - 2.000 m length - D inf / UIAA IV
d) Via degli Italiani (Cozzi-Lampugnani-Saluzzi 1911) - 1.020 m drop - 1.800 mlrngth - D / UIAA IV
e) Via dei Tedeschi (Haupt-Lompel 1910) - 1.000 m drop - 1.500 m length - D sup / UIAA V-
f) Direttissima (Solleder-Lettenbauer 1925) - 970 m drop - 1.250 m develope -TD sup / UIAA VI-
g) Comici (Comici-Benedetti 1931) - 1.050 m drop - 1.500 m develope - ED inf / UIAA VI
h) Direttissima route "Weg der Freunde" (Sepp Mayerl, Renato Reali, Heini Holzer and Reinhold Messner 1967) - 820 drop - 1.050 m length - TD sup / UIAA VI-
2. to Punta Tissi:
a) Philipp/Flamm 1957, UIAA VI - A1
b) Direct route, Martini / Leoni / Tranguillini 1970, 1200 m drop, UIAA VI - A2
c) Direct ascent, Piussi / Sorgato / Mazeaud 1965, 800 m drop, UIAA VI - A3
d) "Kein Rest von Sehnsucht", Christoph Hainz / V. Pardeller, 1991, UIAA VIII-, no bolts!!
3. to Punta Civetta
a) Andrich / Faè 1943, UIAA VI - A1, 800 m drop
b) Aste / Susatti 1954, UIAA VI - A1, 800 m drop
c) "Günther-Messner-Gedächtnisweg" Mayerl / Breitenberger 1970, UIAA VI
d) Bebak / Ferenski / Kowalewski 1968, UIAA VI - A2, 650 m
Of course the face claimed victims among the alpinists - one of the most famous was german climber and poet Leo Maduschka in 1932.
- north ridge, Graffer / Videsott / Rudatis 1929, UIAA V (one part), III-IV, 1000 m, 10-12 h from Coldai hut; long and impressive, upper part ends at Ferrata Alleghesi
- From Val die Cantoni over "Giazzer", UIAA III, 1500 m, 8-10 h from Vazzoler hut
- east face, Wiessner / Kees 1928, UIAA V- (one part), III-IV, 750 m, 5-6 h
See Civetta group page
a) Rifugio Torrani (2984 m) - 250 m below the summit. Reaching the hut is part of the climb, there is no easy access. If the weather is stable staying the night there is a great experience
b) Rifugio Coldai (2132 m) - base for the normal route and ferrata Alleghesi
c) Rifugio Tissi (2250 m) - on west side base for hikers on the Alta Via
d) Rifugio Vazzoler (1714 m) - in the SW of Civetta, base for ferrata Tissi
For hikers Civetta is a mountain to admire, not to climb. Easy but very impressive is the traverse along the NW face from Rif. Coldai to Rif. Tissi and Rif. Vazzoler. This is also part of the Alta Via Nr. 1, one of the most popular long hiking routes of the Dolomites
Best campsite on the east side is Camping Palafavera. The Dolomites are a holiday area so you can find many hotels or bed&breakfasts in the villages of Zoldo Alto or Alleghe.
At the mountain normally the huts are used. But camping is also allowed and some climbers do it to have a shorter approach to their routes.
Best map I know is Tabacco map 1:25000 Nr. 025 "Dolomiti di Zoldo, Cadorine e Agordine"
- available in almost every shop in the area
A good hiking map for the center of the Dolomites is 'Freytag & Bendt 1:50.000 WKS 5 "Cortina d'Ampezzo - Marmolada"
The normal routes require gear for a via ferrata. For the more difficult climbing routes you will know what you need. I hope that routes are posted in the future - there the necessary gear should be mentioned.