From Cian Zopè to Dibona refuge with snowshoes
The excursion from Cian Zopè to Dibona refuge with snowshoes, at the foot of Tofana di Rozes, is certainly to be counted among the classic trips you can take here in Cortina. Along the route, you have good chances of encountering agile chamois, abundant in this area of the Tofane. And with a bit of luck, frequently turning your gaze to the sky, it’s also possible to spot the eagle, which nests in this area.
Tofana di Rozes, with its 10580 feet in height, is one of the most famous and fascinating peaks in the Dolomites. In summer, the ascent to the top of Rozes takes about 3.5 hours of walking along a trail and marked path. The summit can also be reached by traversing the magnificent Lipella ferrata.
Lastly, on the imposing south face, numerous highly appreciated and coveted climbing routes unfold.
Snowshoeing is a fun and thrilling way to explore snowy landscapes, suitable for both beginners and experienced hikers. It allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature in winter and engage in outdoor physical activity. However, it’s important to have adequate physical preparation and the right equipment, proper clothing, suitable shoes, a water bottle, and a map of the route.
The excursion begins at the Cian Zopè location at an altitude of 5690 feet, along State Road 48 that ascends from Cortina to Passo Falzarego. On the right side of the road (coming from Cortina) there is a large car park, often without snow. It is located about 500 feet after the intersection with the small road which in summer allows access by car to the suggestive Cinque Torri refuge.
Itinerary from Cian Zopè to Dibona refuge with snowshoes
Once you’ve parked your vehicle, start walking with snowshoes along trail number 414, which gradually ascends through a dense forest of spruce, pine, and some larch trees. The trail becomes steeper and more challenging as you ascend, but the beauty of the surrounding nature and the view of the summit of Tofana di Rozes, getting closer with every step, make it worthwhile.
The path runs alongside the Ru Bianco for a long stretch, a tiny stream that springs from the Còrdes. The stream owes its name to the color of the rocks in its bed, which, being almost always dry, stand out prominently against the dark surrounding vegetation.
On the other hand, the Còrdes (Còrdes means Ropes in Ampezzo language) are the two long rock bands located at the base of the Rozes.
After about an hour of walking, you’ll reach Cason de Sotecòrdes, nestled beneath the impressive Còrdes at an altitude of 2,026 meters. Here, take a moment to pause, relishing the panoramic view of the imposing southern wall of Tofana di Rozes.
More than 120 years have passed since August 1901 when the Ampezzo guides Antonio Dimai “Deo” and Agostino Verzi pioneered the first route up the majestic wall of Tofana di Rozes. To this day, their ascent is revered as a true masterpiece.
While the climb itself doesn’t pose significant technical challenges, it’s crucial to consider the era in which these events unfolded: thick hemp ropes, footwear that would challenge even modern climbers, precarious or non-existent safety measures, and belay points without bolts. Moreover, the route is winding and not easily discernible, situated in the heart of an immense wall. For a more in-depth exploration of this feat, refer to the article dedicated to the anniversary of the first ascent.
After a well-deserved break on the sunlit small terrace of Cason de Sotecòrdes, we resume our journey. Beyond an initial short, somewhat steep stretch, the trail gently ascends, leaving the forest behind. Now, a spectacular panorama unfolds, revealing not only the Tofana di Rozes but also some of the grand Dolomite peaks—Antelao and Sorapìs—along with other minor peaks like Croda da Lago and the mythical Cinque Torri.
In a short while, we reach an elevation of 6900 feet, the highest point of our snowshoe excursion from Cian Zopè to Dibona Refuge. Here, our trail intersects with trail number 403.
The refuge Angelo Dibona
Descending the comfortable pathway, the Dibona Refuge is reached in just a few minutes. Positioned in a privileged location, the refuge was erected in 1932 and is dedicated to the mountaineer Angelo Dibona, an emblematic figure among the Ampezzo Guides and one of the pioneering climbers to conquer the summits of the Dolomites.
The refuge serves as a launching point for numerous excursions, making it an ideal base for via Ferrata and alpine ascents in the Tofane region.
Offering an array of amenities, the refuge boasts an impressive kitchen. I highly recommend taking advantage of this and indulging in a delectable pause to savor the exquisite dishes crafted by the chef!
During the winter season, the Dibona is open every day during the Christmas and Easter periods. Throughout the rest of the winter season, it closes one day a week, usually on Wednesdays. However, it’s advisable to check in advance (see link at the end of the page). The average time from Cason de Sotecòrdes to the Dibona Refuge is approximately half an hour.
From Rifugio Dibona to Cian Zopè
Now, let’s begin the descent towards Cian Zopè, our starting point for the excursion. Following the well-trodden pathway, especially during the refuge’s opening periods, you’ll soon reach a hairpin turn. Here, take a right onto trail number 442, clearly marked at an elevation of 2,013 meters. The descent to Cian Zopè includes some steep sections where a fall could have unpleasant consequences.
If you encounter icy or frozen stretches, and you haven’t mastered your technique with snowshoes yet, I recommend a more comfortable descent route now.
As an alternative to the steep descent, you can easily and without any difficulty follow the pathway until you reach the main road. Once on the road, if you haven’t left another service vehicle here, you’ll need to follow it with a slight ascent (115 feet in elevation gain) for 2.5 km until you reach the parking lot, which marks the starting point of our snowshoe excursion.
Keep in mind that estimated times are always subjective. In the absence of a pre-existing trail, the ascent can be quite challenging, and the duration may be significantly extended.
Do not underestimate the descent. As mentioned earlier, the trail from the Dibona Refuge to Cian Zopè includes steep sections. If the terrain is icy, the path can be treacherous. Exercise caution during the descent.