The Masenade and Cantoni del Duran Subgroup is the SE uttermost sector of the Moiazza Group. The Moiazza group is sometimes regarded as a sector of the adjacent Civetta, actually it is an autonomous group, situated between Val di Zoldo and Vallata Agordina, in the Eastern Dolomites. This fine subgroup is located near Passo Duran m. 1605, a col connecting Forno di Zoldo and Agordo, in a fine position in front of San Sebastiano - Tamer Group to the South. The Duran sector counts a wide number of rocky towers, needles and walls, built in a very good grey and yellow “dolomia”, just a paradise for the climbers, overlooking Passo Duran.
Torre Jolanda is one of this peaks, clearly visible from Passo Duran, but not easily distinguishable amongst the adjacent walls from here. It acquires its form of beautiful slender tower, well separated from the surrounding walls, as we are approaching it during the walk up. It's definitely a recommended destination in a remarkable setting, with excellent rock. On the walls of the tower we find different routes, among them Via del Topo, dating back to the Fifties, is an interesting itinerary of quality, not too demanding.
The starting point to climb is Passo Duran m. 1605. The nearest town is Belluno. From Belluno there are two possibilities to reach Passo Duran:
A. Via Val di Zoldo - From Belluno take the road 50 to Ponte nell’Alpi, then the road 51 getting to Longarone; in Longarone turn to left, following the road 251 to Forno di Zoldo m. 810. Passed Forno di Zoldo the road forks; turn to left taking the road 347 rising steeply to Passo Duran m. 1605 (40 km from Belluno)
B. Via Vallata Agordina - From Belluno take the road 203 to Mas, entering the Canale d’Agordo valley and reaching Agordo. Some hundred meters before the town, turn to right and take the road 347 rising to Passo Duran m. 1605 (32 km. from Belluno).
Via del Topo report - UIAA scale
Difficulty: D-, IV+ max
Length: 330 m.
A fun pleasant climb with good rock in a superb setting.
Approach - From Passo Duran take the path n. 549 that rises initially along the meadows until it joins a dirt road (Alta Via n. 1) leading to Rifugio Carestiato. Follow the road only a few meters, then, near a grasslands, leave the road and turn to right (cairn, red marks) taking a path entering the woods in the direction of the tower. Outside the wood, go up a steep scree with dwarf pines, traverse right and go up a rocky gully with easy climb (II). Up a steep scree, reaching the ledge at the base of a pedestal with pines, that forms the basal socket of the Torre Iolanda and the nearby Pala della Gigia, located on the left. The attack on the pedestal is common with the route Benvegnù on Pala della Gigia.
L1 - Climb the pedestal on easy grassy rocks with pines on the left of the big roofs, in the middle head to right to reach the ledge below Torre Iolanda (the left branch leads to the route Benvegnù), I,II, III, 60 m
L2 - On sloping rocks towards an area with several dwarf pines, avoid those to the right, reaching the ledge traveled by a path and belay to the right at the base of a chimney-crack preceded by a small overhang.
L3 - Climb the overhang with good holds, then reach the chimney-crack with a huge jammed boulder, climb it and stop on a little terrace. IV +, IV, 45 m
L4 - Climb a gully to a large terrace under the SW ridge. Stop on the right of the ridge. III, 45 m
L5 - To the right of the belay climb a dihedral slanting left, then climb straight ahead until you can traverse to the right to turn the edge (don't take the crack slanting to the left of the edge). Continue vertically until you reach a small ledge where belay. IV+, IV, 35 m
L6 - Climb directly on beautiful carved rock on small walls and cracks, then head to left again towards the ridge and belay on an exposed tiny terrace. IV, III, 35 m
L7 - After the first few meters, head slightly to the right and climb up reaching a belay on a hole on the left of a gully. IV, III, 40 m
L8 - Follow the gully, then on easier ground reach the top of the tower. III +, 15 m.
Descent - there are two possibilities:
A - Abseiling the route (six rappels)
B - Following the Normal route (advisable). Follow the ledge to the right of the summit belay bypassing the top and downclimb a few meters on easy ground, a bit exposed, then up to reach a scree. Down along the scree, following a rough track and some cairns. Skirt the base of the walls and then up to a saddle between the tower and a forepart. Descent along the underlying gully (II) until reaching the bottom nearby the starting point.
Ropes 2 x 55, helmet, some quickdraws, slings and a set of nuts
No permit no fees required.
Best period goes from early June to middle October
Passo Duran m. 1605 is the starting point to climb the routes located in the Masenade-Cantoni del Duran subgroup. There are two accommodations on the col:
- Rifugio Cesare Tomè C.A.I. 30 places Guardian: Soro Dorotei Phone: +39043765199 Guardian: Fam. Diego Favero Rifugio Cesare Tomè
- Rifugio San Sebastiano, private, 30 places, always open, located just on the pass. Phone: +39043762360 Rifugio San Sebastiano
At about 40 minutes by walking from Passo Duran:
- Rifugio Bruto Carestiato m. 1834 C.A.I. 50 places, located at 40 minutes by walking from Passo Duran Phone: +39043762949 Rifugio Bruto Carestiato
“IV grado in Dolomiti” by Emiliano Zorzi, Idea Montagna edizioni, 2010
“Primi passi da capocordata” Selected climbs in the Dolomites, Scuola Alpinismo "C.Capuis", 1995
"Civetta - Moiazza” – V. Dal Bianco – G. Angelini Tamari Editori in Bologna, first edition 1970, last edition 1984 (Last update in 1970)