Easy snowshoeing and sledding on Monte Piana

Easy snowshoeing on Monte Piana

Introduction

If you’re looking for an easy snowshoeing adventure combined with sledding fun, exploring Monte Piana with snowshoes and sledding down to the valley is an excellent choice. Despite its name suggesting otherwise, the morphology of Monte Piana (2.324 m) doesn’t make it particularly suitable for climbing. However, it’s the perfect place for an easy snowshoe walk.

Monte Piana is a popular destination for hikers and mountain enthusiasts, offering relative accessibility and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain range. The panorama from the top of Monte Piana is spectacular, with the surrounding valleys and the majestic peaks of the Dolomites towering on the horizon.

In addition to its natural beauty, Monte Piana bears historical significance as it was the scene of clashes between Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops during World War I.

Today, numerous remnants of trenches, tunnels, and military positions remain, serving as poignant reminders of that tumultuous period in history. However, to see them, you need to climb Monte Piana in the summer when the snow doesn’t conceal these sad war testimonies.

There is no precise count of casualties on the individual fronts, but it is estimated that 14,000 soldiers lost their lives during the fighting on Monte Piana and the surrounding areas. The exact figures vary depending on sources and estimates, but it’s clear that the war caused enormous human losses on both sides involved. In summary, Monte Piana is not only a mountain of great natural beauty but also a place steeped in history and historical significance linked to the Great War.

Access

From Cortina, cross the Tre Croci Pass via SR 48, and continue to Misurina. Pass Lake Misurina and shortly after, turn right onto the road leading to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Before the road begins to ascend, park on the left in the large square where the snowmobiles depart for Monte Piana.

While it’s obviously possible to hike up Monte Piana on foot, in this article, I propose taking the snowmobile ride up to Rifugio Bosi. This choice is because the most scenic part of the trip begins precisely from the refuge, at the end of the road itself. The road is 3,8 miles long, with an elevation gain of 560 meters.

I suggest avoiding the ascent so you can spend more time on Monte Piana and Monte Piano.
This choice allows more time to be spent exploring Monte Piana and Monte Piano, making this easy snowshoeing excursion even more enjoyable.

Sledding down adds an extra element of fun to the adventure, and the gentle slope of the road makes it suitable for sledding enthusiasts of all skill levels.

As for transportation costs, the price is 25.00 Euro per person (as of 2024), which includes transportation uphill and, if desired, downhill as well. Sledding equipment is provided and included in the price.

The easy snowshoeing excursion on Monte Piana and Monte Piano

The Rifugio Angelo Bosi is located at 2.205 m, slightly below the summit of Monte Piana. Inside, there’s a small private museum displaying artifacts, photographs, and documents from the Great War. Additionally, you can purchase local and area guides, books recounting the war events that took place there, postcards, and other souvenirs. In front of the refuge is the Chapel of the Heroes, a tribute to the Fallen of Monte Piana.

We start our walk immediately uphill, following the usually well-trodden path. This first ascent, followed shortly by another, represents the only slight effort of our excursion on Monte Piana. Soon, the terrain becomes almost flat, allowing us to reach the Stele Carducci in a short time.

This easy snowshoeing terrain makes the hike enjoyable for all levels of hikers.

The Stele Carducci is a small rock pyramid erected by the alpine troops in memory of the great poet Giosuè Carducci who in 1892, during his stay in Cadore, wanted to climb this mountain on the border first of the Venetian Republic then of the Kingdom of Italy with the Austro-Hungarian Empire. To this region, Carducci dedicated his poem “Ode to Cadore,” where he praised the beauty of the places.

Leaving the pyramid behind us, we now need to head north. Sometimes the beaten track ends here, but the path to follow is quite evident: we must reach the summit of Monte Piano, clearly visible and not too far away. Indeed, the northern peak of Monte Piana is called Monte Piano (2,305 m). During the Great War, this mountain was occupied by the Austrians, while the Italian troops were on Monte Piana.

As I mentioned earlier, the flat summit of Monte Piana is crisscrossed everywhere by trenches, walkways, and shelters, which, however, at that altitude, especially in winter with 30 degrees below zero, could do very little.
We resume our journey towards Monte Piano, aiming for the saddle that divides Monte Piana from Monte Piano. More than a saddle, it’s a real fork, the “Fork of the Castrati.” The Vallon of the Castrati takes its name from ancient times when the shepherds from Pusteria brought their flocks here to graze. At the beginning of the war, due to the uncertainty of the borders, the area around the Fork of the Castrati was known as “No Man’s Land.” A commemorative monument stands right here, narrating the tragic story of Lieutenant Ruggero De Simone. He was killed in the final days of the conflict by a blow from an iron club.

From the fork, we climb the slope, dotted with barbed wire fences, and sad memories of war. In a short while, we reach the “Bell of Friendship“.

The creator, Sergio Paolo Sciullo della Rocca, Gold Mauritian Medal of the Alpine Corps, wanted the bell as a lasting reminder of peace among people.

It’s positioned on a trench spur, between the Italo-Austrian front lines.

A few more steps, and we’re at the top of Monte Piano. The view of Tre Cime di Lavaredo is spectacular. To the north, the village of Dobbiaco is visible, and all around us, a wonderful panorama of snow-capped peaks is on display.

After a well-deserved break, we resume our journey back to the Fork of the Castrati. We briefly climb the slope, and shortly after the monument dedicated to Lieutenant De Simone, we turn left, heading southeast. Once back on the plateau, we continue without a specific route to the south, thus closing our loop path back to Rifugio Bosi, where we’ll decide whether to walk down, take the snowmobile, or, more cheerfully, sled down.

Conclusion

Embark on an easy snowshoeing and sledding adventure on Monte Piana and Monte Piano, where stunning landscapes and historical significance await. Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or new to mountain adventures, this excursion promises unforgettable experiences amidst the breathtaking scenery of the Dolomites.


Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 150 meters
Length: 2,8 miles
Average time: 2 h (the time varies depending on how much we want to wander around Monte Piana and Monte Piano)


Sled ride downhill.

Related pages:
Snowshoes, everything you need to know.
Itineraries with snowshoes in Cortina.


Enrico Maioni Mountain Guide Dolomiti

Enrico Maioni

Certified Mountain Guide, with a wide know-how of the Dolomiti.
I was born in the heart of the Dolomites, where I live and work to this day.
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