Looking down the west ridge towards Pania della Croce
Compared to the 6 routes, which ascend neighbouring Pania della Croce
, the Pania Secca
route is more difficult and exposed. Since it is rarely used, the path is not very easily visible and only a few stone cairns lead the way. It crosses a small karst plateau, in which orientation is rather difficult with all the crevices and gullies running across. The ascent itself is exposed as it dances above the abyss of the south face with the north face also being not exactly flat.
The route is short - the lower part is a steep hike through the dense beech forest beneath the Panie north faces. Above the timberline it turns into the steep scramble described above but that remainder of the route takes only about an hour to complete.
The route can also be used as a ski tour in winter but is dangerous due to the gullies and crevices in the karst plateau.
Pania Secca north face from the trailhead. The route follows the right skyline
See the main page for the itinerary to the Piglonico trailhead (north-eastern trailhead).
Pania Secca seen from the sloped plateau in its north-west
- Start altitude: 1100m
- Summit altitude: 1708m
- Prevailing exposure: North, later south and north
- Type: Steep exposed hike
- Protection: None
Power: 2 - Steep
Psyche: 3 - A lot of exposure on the west ridge
Difficulty: 2 - Steep hike
Orientation: 2 - Crossing the karst plateau there is potential to go wrong
From the Chapel at Piglionico follow the road until it ends. Here a path takes you across a rocky rib into the beech forest underneath Pania Secca. Since you are underneath the north face the forest is rather dark and contains snowfields until late in the year. The path first traverses several hundred metres to the east before steeply climbing up a wide valley. Every now and then it touches upon a limestone rib (views) but quickly returns into the deep forest. After about an hour you head above the timberline and step on the sloped karst plateau between the two Panie.
A few hundred metres onto the plateau the normal route to Pania Secca turns off to the left, heading through a kind of heath. It passes the nose of Uomo Morto (there is a possibility to climb it along the bridge of the nose - very steep grass scramble) and heads for a saddle between the Uomo and Pania Secca. Soon the heath vanishes, instead the path heads into a rocky karst-like terrain. With quite some ups and downs through and across several gullies and crevices the path winds in the direction of the saddle. There is potential of losing it since orientation is difficult an the ston cairns which lead the way are rare. Also in case of snow, the section can become very dangerous.
Once in the saddle, the route gets easier though now it turns real steep. It leads out into the north face of the mountain before leading back to the west ridge in several switchbacks, thus avoiding a big step on the ridge. Finally orientation stops being a problem as the ridge itself leads the way. The path avoids obstacles several times by passing them to the north and general stays away about 2m from the south face. Near the summit it again turns left, passing the summit to the north and finally reaching it from north-eastern direction.
Last steps to the summit
Essential GearHiking gear is sufficient.