Punta Col de Varda is a bicuspidate tower, often climbed, lying inside the enchanted Cadini Group, a peculiar range built by an endless number of slender towers, needles, pinnacles, huge sharp flakes of dolomia, situated in the Northern Dolomites. This small but fascinating peak belongs to the Misurina branch of Cadini, just overlooking the village of Misurina and its lake, from which its fine and grey North-West face is just well visible. NW face keeps some satisfactory and pleasant climbing routes; mostly the direct Comici route is well known in reason of its exposed climb, the classic style, the beauty of the line and the excellent quality of the "dolomia". It really deserves a visit, also in reason of its quick approach: an excellent choice to spend a not too long climbing day in a very satisfactory way.
The starting point is Misurina m. 1752, a small village situated on the shore of the namesake lake.
Road access to Misurina
- From Bolzano
Take the Brennero Motorway, exit to Bressanone and then follow the road SS 51 along Pusteria Valley, reaching Brunico and Dobbiaco; from Dobbiaco follow on the right the Val di Landro, reaching Carbonin m. 1432. At the fork road in Carbonin turn to left towards Misurina m. 1752.
- From Belluno
Follow the road SS 51 towards North reaching Longarone and Pieve di Cadore; from Pieve the SS51 turns to left, reaching San Vito di Cadore and Cortina d’Ampezzo, here follow the road SS48 to Passo Tre Croci, getting to Misurina m. 1752.
Walking approach to the NW face routes
From Misurina follow the path to the Capanna Col de Varda m. 2115, 45 minutes by walking; otherwise you can getting there by chair-lift from Misurina (Chair lift Seggiovia Col de Varda Summer: 9.00 - 17.45; Winter: 9.00 - 16.30). From the hut follow towards left the Bonacossa path n. 117 towards Rifugio Fonda Savio for about ten minutes; when you’re getting below the peak, leave the main path turning to right and rising steeply on the scree-slope with poor vegetation as far as the bottom of the peak (about 20 minutes from Capanna Col de Varda).
All the routes on Punta Col de Varda (UIAA scale)
North-West face (from left to right).
- North Ridge
- Via Pagani – Falconi IV, V 220 m.
- Via Obliqua II, III, 260 m.
- Via Comici - Del Torso IV, V, 250 m.
- Via Quinz – Rizzi V-, 240 m.
- Normal route SE side - It's climbed only as descent route
Comici – Del Torso Route report (UIAA scale)
Summit altitude: m. 2504
Difficulty: D, max V UIAA
Climbing length: 250 m.
Equipment: some pegs
First ascent: Emilio Comici - S. Del Torso September 1th, 1934
Starting point: Capanna Col de Varda m. 2201
An amazing route on excellent rock which absolutely deserves a visit, also in reason of its exposed climb, its logical line and its short approach.
L1 – Climb the pleasant basal rocks slants ro right heading to the crack cutting the middle of NW face, getting it on a comfortable stance below it. III, 30 m.
L2 - Slants to right climb a yellow niche leading into the crack; climb it with nice moves and reach a small ledge on the right of the crack. IV, 45 m.
L3 – From the ledge climb again the crack, then a rocky gully. Belay on a stance inside the gully. IV, 40 m.
L4 – Climb the wall on the left, then enter again the crack 10 meters above the stance and climb it to a little terrace. IV, IV+, 45 m.
L5 – Up again the crack, slanting to right towards the upper overhangs, then enter a niche and belay there. IV+, 25 m.
L6 – Up a steep yellow wall, then climb slants to left skirting the overhang above the stance (crux). Easier rocks lead to a ledge below another overhang. V, IV, 15 m.
L7 – Traverse left the ledge on perfect rock towards the NW ridge; a bit before getting to the ridge, climb a crack and belay on a flake. III, 30 m.
L8 – Climb the easy ending rocks to the summit. II, 20 m.
Descent: two possibilities
1 – rappelling on the North side (4 abseils). The starting point of the rappelling is a very good anchor just on the top of the peak (3 abseils 35 m. + 30 m. + 35 m.). The rappelling line leads into a deep rocky gully lying North to the tower. Another 30 m. rappel inside the gully (anchor nearby a huge jammed block) leads to easier rocks. In early summer, in the occurrence of the possible presence of snow – being the gully facing North - it’s convenient to do a 60 m. rappel instead of 30 m. Without snow it’s more convenient easily downclimbing towards the scree slopes at the bottom of the peak.
2 – downclimbing on the Normal route. From the main summit head to SE, getting to the rocky notch between the two summits (2° UIAA). Downclimb a chimney, then follow a ledge leading to a wide scree gully and to the approach path. This descent – facing South - is the best choice in early summer.
There are not particulary restrictions in hiking and climbing; Cadini and the whole Northern Dolomites area has been acknowledged inside Unesco World Heritage and requires the best care and respect.
On SP you can find more info about Dolomiti Unesco World Heritage in my article: Dolomites living mountains
Unesco official website: Dolomiti Unesco
Best season goes from the middle of June to the end of September
ARPAV DOLOMITI METEO Phone +390436780007 fax +390436780008 CENTRO VALANGHE DI ARABBA Phone +390436755711 fax 043679319 e-mail email@example.com
“Dolomiti Orientali Vol. I – Parte II” by Antonio Berti - Collana Guide dei Monti d’Italia, CAI TCI
“IV grado in Dolomiti” by Emiliano Zorzi - Ed. Idea Montagna
“Arrampicare a Cortina d’Ampezzo e dintorni – Le vie più belle nelle Dolomiti” by Mauro Bernardi Ed. Athesia
Map: Tabacco 017 – Auronzo di Cadore 1:25.000