Monte Piana is a large, flat-topped mountain at the western edge of the group Dolomiti di Sesto / Sextener Dolomiten. It is neighboured by the groups of Cristallo, Drei Zinnen, Croda Rossa, and this way its summit has a perferct 360° panorama to these mountains.
This mount served as a big natural fortress during the First World War. From its top all the surrounding valleys (Valle di Landro / Höhlensteintal towards Dobbiaco / Toblach on the north, Val Popena towards the pass of Misurina on the southwest and the pass of Cimabanche / In Gemärk on the west) were easily controllable. The northern peak (Monte Piano, 2305m) was held by the Austrian-Hungarian army, while the southern (Monte Piana, 2325m) by the Italians. The several trenches, bunkers and caves on the mountain are all the monuments of this period. There is an open-air museum at the top, which intends to introduce the history of the mountain.
Despite the flat top, the slopes of the mountain are rather steep. The only excuse is the southwestern side, from where a paved road ascends to the Bosi Refuge. The paths on other sides are steep, with some secured passages but all of them are well maintained and are passable for anyone.
The best starting point is Schluderbach / Carbonin. Another option is Misurina, from where the paved road starts to the plateau. According to the information on http://www.montepiana.com/
, the road is closed for the public, even for cyclists.
Sentiero d. Pionieri – Pionierweg
(No. 6 and No. 3 in a triangle)
This route ascends from the northwest, mostly using an old mule-track. The starting point is near the northern end of Lago di Landro / Dürrensee. There are a few short cable-secured parts, but the path is easy. It is advisable to take a lamp with you as near the upper end the track goes through an old tunnel.
As an alternative one can ascend on a via ferrata branching out from this track at the upper part. Unfortunately an approaching thunderstorm stopped us trying that way, but it seemed to be excellently secured.
The whole ascend requires two hours.
Sentiero d. Turisti – Touristensteig
This path departs from Schluderbach / Carbonin and approaches the peak from the west. Despite of being a bit narrower than Pionierweg, this route is also easily passable. The few exposed parts are totally (over-)secured by ladders, cables etc.
Count two hours for ascent.
Track no. 111
This is the eastern approach. I’ve never tried this one, but seemed to be easy from above, too. The track deviates from the path no. 108 which is running in the valley of Rinbianco. The possible starting points are the ends of this path: a hunting lodge in Rienztal on the north or the restaurant of Malga Rinbianco.
Paths of the summital plateau
The summital plateau has a dense network of tracks. If you have time, it is a good idea to discover as many as you can. My favourite is the one running under the eastern edge of the plateau. Although the Tabacco maps indicate this path as a via ferrata, don’t wait big difficulties. It’s simply an interesting track with a rare wiev of Drei Zinnen / Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
The road from Misurina
Surely the easiest route, but walking along an asphalted road doesn't seem to be too interesting...
Camping / HutsRif. Monte Piana – A. Bosi