August 16, 2014
The Pontebba - Cason di Lanza - Creta di Aip is a three different speciality route: mountain bike, trekking and via ferrata (path to climb with a fixed to stone security iron rope), to climb up to one of the best region peaks, Creta di Aip.
It gets going in Pontebba town, starting on tarmac road. At the begin, the uphill slope is weak, growing at higher altitudes. The road is low travelled and, in the highest part, crosses Malga Casarotta and Cason di Lanza fields.
Reached Cason di Lanza Hut, you go ahead along the dirt road that guides to Val Dolce Hut first and to the next saddle after. This uphill hasn't particular difficulties and the slope is low. The Cason di Lanza Hut can be used as a foothold for taking sandwiches of having lunch.
When Val Dolce Saddle is reached, we suggest to leave the bike there and go ahead walking: the dirt road goes on to Casera di Aip ruins, but the trail that you'll going to do in descent crosses the uphill road a few tens of metres before the saddle.
Trail CAI 440 begins at Casera di Aip, it brings to Bivouac Lomasti and Aip Saddle. The low trail part is inside the noticeable rivulet bucket: it could be very moist and muddy. Uphill continues beside the scree, enlarging the slope and lowering the trail quality, arriving finally to Bivouac Lomasti, where you'll see a wonderful landscape of Valle di Aip valley and surrounding peaks.
After, at Aip Saddle, you'll continue on the ridge with the Italian-Austian borderline along the trail CAI 403 - Alta Via CAI Pontebba. Reached the crossroad, you'll go ahead on the left side - on the same trail number track, in Italy, on the South-East Creta di Aip slope, arriving in a few minutes to the attack of the via ferrata Crete Rosse. ("Crete Rosse" means "red clay", the name would be clear during the ascent)
The via ferrata effort is medium-low, mainly it develops inside a canal to exit, at the end, on a few metres vertical pitch and passing so to the trail. Basic equipment is needed: harness, helmet and via ferrata set (longe, moschettoni, dissipatore) are required.
Via ferrata ended, you'll proceed on rocks until reaching the peak, 2279m.
The (possible) Creta di Aip peak landscape is awesome: the mountain is in the middle of Carniche and Giulie Alps, with an open field on Friuli plain and Tirol and Kärnten (Austian) Alps.
The descent would be done on the South mountain slope trail, it's easy and difficult at the same time: it has some "jumps" and some small parts where you'll have to use also hands. You need to pay attention to the bottom of the trail, with stones and rocks. When a lot of people is on the trail, it wouldn't be a bad idea to wear the climbing helmet again.
Ended the peak descent trail, you'll take the CAI 439 trail, that brings you quickly to the dirt uphill road, some tens of metres close to the saddle where you left the bike.
The bike descent would be done on the same uphill track.
At all, the route is 49km long with 2000m of elevation gain.
Separately, are 19.6km of uphill by bike with 1150m of altitude gain; 9.4km by foot at all with 850m of uphill.
The initial part, in light uphill, of Pontebbana valley.
This road had been covered a lot of time by landslides caused by adjacent stream flood.
One of the more steep parts of the ascent to Cason di Lanza Hut.
Also Giro d'Italia drove this road. In descent.
Cason di Lanza.
It can be used as a foothold for both food and overnight.
The dirt road uphill towards Val Dolce Saddle.
Creta di Aip peak at the background.
Pian di Lanza.
Very nice high height mire with the visitable Attila cave.
Reached Val Dolce Saddle.
The road has a not well kept bottom, but not inconvenient for mountain biking; the CAI 439 trail junction, the descent from the Creta di Aip peak.
Valle di Aip - Aip Valley.
The trail goes through the bottom, rises on the left of the scree and passes beside the Bivouac Lomasti to reach the Aip Saddle, Italy-Austria borderline.
This zone is dwelled by wild fauna.
As in the picture, you can see marmots and chamoises.
Bivouac E. Lomasti.
Creta di Aip mountain at the background.
The trail that drives from Sella di Aip (Aip Saddle) to Creta di Aip Mount and so to via ferrata.
It's a part of Alta Via CAI Pontebba.
The CAI 403 trail, that drives from the ridge to the begin of via ferrata Crete Rosse.
On the background Zuc della Guardia and Zermula Mounts.
Ascent on via ferrata Crete Rosse.
Usually it's used for the descent from the peak, after making the uphill on the Austian via ferrata Uiberlacher.
The best via ferrata passage with the "libro di vetta" (summit book).
Going ahead on the trail towards the mount peak.
It's all a crossing between Italy and Austria.
Creta di Aip Mount peak.
In a good day you'll see Friuli plain, all of the regional Alpine arc and the highest Austrian mounts.
The beginning of the descent along the South slope.
You must pay attention to the signals; if a lot of people is on the trail, it wouldn't be a bad idea to wear the climbing helmet again.
Grauzaria and Sernio Mounts.
Friuli plain on the background.
Zuc della Guarda Mount on the left and Zermula Mount in the middle.
On the pass there is the Cason di Lanza, passed beside during uphill.