Latemar, Italian Dolomites, from NE

Date walked: 27/07/2021

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 13km

Ascent: 865m

27 July 2020. This peak (2842m with 1097m prominence - a P1000m "Ribu") was climbed as part of a two month peakbagging trip which included six days in the Dolomites (before the weather chased me out). Latemar is one of the more doable of the main Dolomites peaks, but has a moderately challenging via ferrata (seemed like grade C to me, but apparently bypassable), and on the route from the NE, involves plenty of semi exposed contouring, some easy scrambling, following a clear paint marked trail all the way. 4h up, 7h30 round trip including 30mins at summit, but folk were generally moving more slowly, so plan for a longish day. The Obereggen route from the W apparently has easier terrain, and a chairlift. Helmet and ferrata kit are recommended - and a head for heights.

20200727 Latemar route on OpenTopoMap

NE of the peak, at Costalunga/Karerpass, is a large car park at road highpoint (soon filled up on a Monday).

Latemar trailhead: Signalkopf in cloud: my ascent route passed to its L

From car park, I followed a chairlift access track to its top,

Latemar ascent: trail sign beneath Signalkopf

then a nice trail skirts L (E) of Signalkopf

Latemar ascent: bypassing Signalkopf

then I turn R onto trail 517B which climbs to Forcella del Latemar piccola (pass).

Latemar ascent: Forcella del Latemar piccola

A sign here says Latemarspitze 0h50 (but that is the tourist summit, the main one is a good bit further on). The path initially climbs the crest

Latemar ascent: above Forcella del Latemar piccola

then takes a contouring line L, never difficult, always well marked but needing care in places. Latemarspitze / Schenon del Latemar 2791m is a small out and back marked with cross and cairn.

Schenon del Latemar summit

The onward route to the higher peak is due S, down an improbable looking ridge but again not difficult, well marked, needing care as it's exposed in places.

Schenon del Latemar S ridge descent

The trail then cuts back sharp R and descends steeply

Descending towards Biv Rigatti hut: Latemar is beyond, in cloud

to pass the bright orange Biv Rigatti hut.
Latemar ascent: Biv Rigatti hut

The trail zigzags up a short scree slope. Looking back, Schenon del Latemar is towering above, with the descent from its ridge showing as a diagonal ledge climbing steeply R

Latemar ascent: beyond Biv Rigatti hut

Latemar ascent: Schenon del Latemar W face retrospect

to the start of the via ferrata,

Latemar ascent: warning sign at start of via ferrata

the cabling then continuous for some distance, some passages vertical or almost so, crossing the impressive chasm of the Forcella del Latemar grande,

Latemar ascent: via ferrata: Forcella del Latemar grande

then exposed cable-protected ledges give way to an easy zigzag path leading to the summit. The highest point is an outcrop 8m W of a small madonna statue,

Latemar summit madonna

initially in cloud, but that clears during my 30mins stay, revealing the dramatic west ridge,

Latemar summit ridge, looking W

Several other parties arrive;

Latemar summit

some seem to have arrived via the lower level route (see eg OpenTopoMap, apparently passing below (S of) the ferrata); two I speak to, who take the ferrata in descent, have come up from Obereggen, ie from W, avoiding the semi exposed excitement of the Schenon del Latemar with its extra reascent. I consider the lower level return to the Rigatti, but the ferrata is a known quantity and fun, with fellow climbers making the photos more interesting.

Descending towards the Forcella del Latemar grande

Down into the Forcella del Latemar grande

Down into the Forcella del Latemar grande

Ferrata crux: downclimb into Forcella del Latemar grande

Ferrata climb out of Forcella del Latemar grande

Latemar ferrata: descent to Biv Rigatti hut

Latemar ferrata; Schenon del Latemar above

On the descent to the little orange hut, the reascent route takes an improbably steep-looking traverse climbing R across the opposite wall,

Latemar descent: beyond Biv Rigatti hut the route takes the steep diagonal ledge R

but in reality it's a straightforward scramble, with impressive views back to Latemar now the cloud has cleared.

Latemar retrospect from Schenon del Latemar reascent

I enjoy the return over the Schenon del Latemar ridge, with another party for company on the scrambly traverse bypassing the Col Cornon ridge

Latemar descent: traversing below Col Cornon

then from the Forzella piccola saddle

Forcella del Latemar piccola: looking down on Karerpass

I descend L on route 18: a clear trail but delicate in places (exposed YDS2+ scrambling - probably easier to come up this way, descending the way I came up). The route then crosses easy pasture with excellent views especially of spectacular Rotwand group opposite.

20200727_150734 Latemar descent: Rotwand view

Latemar descent: viewfinder

It's been a superb route; weather dry with the early cloud keeping the sun at bay and adding to the atmosphere: ideal conditions.

Route description and GPX route is at https://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ascent.aspx?aid=1438787.

Tomorrow's Cima della Vezzana will be equally dramatic, a little less technical and without the cooling cloud cover.

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Location: Cambridgesghire
Occupation: Hydraulic network modeller
Interests: Bagging hills & islands, trig points & benchmarks; plants & birds
Activity: Hill Bagger
Mountain: Grande Tete de l Obiou
Place: Torridon
Member: Peterborough MC; Austrian Alpine Club; Relative Hills Society; RSPB; Woodland Trust; BTO; Plantlife
Ideal day out: Not too scary scramble
Munro rounds: 1
Corbett rounds: 1
Graham rounds: 1

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 222
Grahams: 23
Donalds: 89
Islands: 151

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Trips: 2
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 865m


Trips: 5
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 1223m

Joined: Dec 16, 2020
Last visited: Jan 21, 2021
Total posts: 22 | Search posts