|Sella Group from Sella Pass
Sass Pordoi is easily one of the most visited mountains of the Dolomites. At 2952m not much is missing for the mountain to be a 3000er and a cable-car leads up from the road pass Passo Pordoi / Pordoijoch to its very summit. There is a restaurant up there and a lookout platform, famous for its views towards the Marmolada and Langkofel Groups. The cable-car is free hanging - there are no pillars on the 800m ascent! Sass Pordoi is one of the southern ramparts of the huge fortress of the Sella Group, together with Piz Chiavazes it goards the entry to Val Lasies the biggest valley of the group.
The mountain is directly connected to the Sella plateau - the desert-like karst moonscape which makes up a big percentage of the whole group. There are only two faces - one on the southern, one on the western side. Both are vertical, the western face rises for 800m out of Val Lasties while the south face is divided in two parts by the famous Sella ring-band, a giant ledge which surrounds the whole group.
Apart from the cable-car there are several worthwhile routes (see below for the climbing routes). The shortest one is a hike from Passo Pordoi to Forcella Pordoi (to the east of the mountain) and to its top. This route is far from difficult but strenuous by hiking standards. It is very brittle and a lot of scree covers the tracks. Also, it is a very steep ascent route. The second, much easier but also longer route starts in Passo Sella / Sellajoch and climbs the broad Val Lasties before heading back the eastern part of the Sella plateau to Sass Pordoi. This route takes a long day to complete both ways but is absolutely incredible due to the excellent changing views. This route is also often done as a ski tour in winter.
Sass Pordoi also - again thanks to the cable-car - is the trailhead for Piz Boè, the highest mountain of the Sella Group as well as the easiest Dolomites 3000er. In summer be prepared for ant processions from Sass Pordoi to Piz Boè with the short protected sections as choking points.
Sass Pordoi and Piz Boè
The Sella Group is located in the heart of the Dolomites and thus longish to get to. The shortest itineraries use the Brenner motorway A22. There are other routes (from Belluno or Brunicio / Bruneck) but I'll describe only the two shortest ones:
- From the north
- Take the Brenner motorway A22 to the exit Ponte Gardena / Waldbruck.
- Take SS242 eastward through Val Gardena / Grödnertal
- The road crosses the Sella Pass (trailhead for Val Lasties)
- At the intersection with SP238 follow the signs to Passo Pordoi (trailhead for Sass Pordoi direct and the cable-car)
- From the south
- Take the Brenner motorway A22 to the exit Ora / Auer.
- Follow SP232 through Val di Fiemme and SP238 through Val di Fassa
- At Canazzei follow the signs to Passo Sella / Passo Pordoi, depending on your trailhead
Piz Chiavazes, Piz Boè and Sass Pordoi
No red tape. Hefty fee for the cable-car, but this can be avoided if you hike up.
Val di Fassa
Grödner Tal / Val Gardena
Sass Pordoi in winter
On Maria Kante
There are many routes to Sass Pordoi, here some of them:
Regular route: a harmless hike on a well marked path from Passo Pordoi / Pordoijoch to the summit (2 hours).
S-butress (aka "Maria-Kante"): 300m, 4+, 9 pitches, 3-4 hours (G.B.Piaz and V.Dezulian, 1932)
S-face: 300m, 4+, 10 pitches, 3-4 hours (L. Scheibler, B. Seligmann, G.B.Piaz, 1930), uncommon
S-edge of the S-butress: a variant of the S-butress, 6, 10 pitches, 5-6 hours (G.B. Piaz, S. Del Torso, R. Springorum, F. Piaz, 1933), this routes joins the S-butress after 6 pitches.
NW-face: ("Fedele"), 800 m, 4+, 26 pitches, 8 hours (F. Bernard, G. Masè Dari, 1929)
NW-face: ("Via Niagara"), 800 m, 5+, 28 pitches, 8-10 hours
Be aware that the use of bolts isn't common at many of the classic routes of the Dolomites. The stances most times are not bolted either! So bring a medium rack and some slings and even (especially on the harder routes)
The rating of the climbs of the Dolomites are often quite hard.
Maps & Books
There is one very recommendable book, Sella - Langkofel Extrem, which the original submitter kletterwebbi used to help put up this page. It gives an overview over hundreds of climbing routes in the area. Two thirds of the book deal with the Sella Group.
- Sella - Langkofel Extrem
- Val di Fassa - Guida alle arrampicate sportive
Renato Bernard/Gabriele Bonnano
Dora' Publisher, Bolzano
- Sella e Sassolungo
Ed. Athesia, Bolzano/Bozen. (both in Italian and German languages)
- Classic Dolomite Climbs: 102 High Quality Rock-Climbs Between the Uiaa Grades III and VII (also available on CD)
Anette Kohler, Norbert Memmel
ISBN: 0 8988 6693 6
- Vie Ferrate
- Klettersteige Dolomiten
H. Höfler, P. Werner
ISBN: 3 7633 3096 8
- Hülslers Klettersteigführer
ISBN: 3 7654 4161 9
- Hiking and Trecking
- Höhenwege in den Dolomiten
ISBN: 3 7654 3860 X
ISBN: 3 8705 1409 4
- Dolomiten 3
- Dolomiten 4
I have been using the maps by Kompass Verlag. There are two which differ in scale:
- Val di Fassa, Marmolada, Gruppo di Sella
Kompass Map WK 686
ISBN: 3 8549 1768 6
- Sellagruppe / Gruppo di Sella
Kompass Map WK 59
ISBN: 3 8549 1066 5
- Val Gardena & Alpe di Siusi
Tabacco Map 05
In Memory of Stefan "kletterwebbi" Weber
A note from the SP staff
Stefan Weber, the member we all used to know from his climbing pseudonym kletterwebbi, died on May 28th 2004 in southern France at the age of 37.
Stefan joined SP early on in 2002 and contributed a number of excellent pages and routes to this site. He was an accomplished climber excelling in difficult alpine and technical routes. The Dolomites, especially the area around Gröden / Val Gardena were special to him, as it was his old ancestral home.
kletterwebbi was always willing to share his knowledge and experience with other climbers, mainly here on SP, but also on other sites. He contributed his IT expertise as webmaster of his local section of the German Alpine Club, where he also engaged in leading trips for fellow members. Besides his climbing and mountaineering activities he was a musician, a composer of contemporary music. Stefan will be greatly missed by us all.
This page will be kept in honor of kletterwebbi, one of SP's most talented, knowledgeable members, and without a doubt, one of our greatest fellow mountaineers.
The picture was taken on the summit ridge of Lyskamm.