The tour of the Castelletto War Tunnels is a fascinating hiking ring located at the foot of the Tofana di Rozes and which allows to mix elements of the history of the First World War, military tunnels, and some short sections of “via ferrata” in a great Dolomites scenario.
The Castelletto via ferrata is quite easy, but of course you need to know the basis of climbing in mountain, for your (and others) safety. In this area, the Italian Alpine troops dug a long tunnel which they then filled with explosives to blow up the Austro-Ungarians troops located higher up. A terrifying and terribly effective solution to unlock the long mountain war, which the Italians used on several occasions.
Italian Alpini headquarter in this area was on Cinque Torri, on the other side of the valley, in front of Tofana di Rozes, where today you can visit a beautiful open-air war museum. The tour of the Castelletto is not considered a real via ferrata as the equipped sections are very short, but must be approached with caution and by hikers who have a safe pace and no dizziness. The experience of visiting the war tunnels where Alpini and Kaiserjager faced each other a hundred years ago in the presence of the superb group of the Tofane is definitely rewarding.
It is necessary to have a helmet and a torch as the tunnels are often very narrow, and not to suffer from claustrophobia or dizziness. Be very careful, at the end of the tunnels, not to take the via ferrata “Lipella” (signposted) as it is an absolutely hard climbing that goes to the top of the Tofana di Rozes, not suitable for hikers, and instead bend on your left towards the nearby fork and then descend steeply towards Val Travenanzes reaching Forcella Col dei Bos, where it is still possible to find fascinating remains of barracks and war trenches. From there then continue the ring following the signs for the Angelo Dibona Hut which is the starting and finishing point of this wonderful hike.
Hike starts from Angelo Dibona Hut. Take path number 403-404 that steeply bring you on the basis of the huge Tofana di Rozes south face. Then patn 404 goes on at the same altitude until a fork. Take the right side of the fork that goes up until the Castelletto war tunnels start. Wear your helmet, torch and “via ferrata” kit and climb into the tunnels. After around 20-30 minutes you will be at the end of it, and be careful to take the left side of the path that quickly takes you down to a small rock valley. Avoid to take “via ferrata Lipella” path.
Then a steeply downhill in a severe rocks scenario takes you down to Col dei Bos fork, 300 metres lower altitude. Be careful because of some not easy passage between rocks. Then, in a beautiful Dolomites valley with a lot of rests of trenches and war barracks, take the path 4o2 and then (after Rozes fork) number 412, that easily takes you back to Dibona hut.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||“Angelo Dibona” Hut (30′ from Cortina d’Ampezzo)|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Recommended not after 10:00 AM.|
|LENGHT OF HIKE||Approximately 4 hrs.|
|WEAR||Comfortable athletic clothing (according with the weather), hiking boots, hat, rain jacket and sunscreen. I recommend warm clothes for the tunnels. Helmet and torch needed. Via Ferrata security kit with harness also needed.|
|ELEVATION GAIN||+568 mt.|
|DANGEROUS POINTS||No one in particular. Very careful on tunnels and on metal rope (via ferrata) at th end of the tunnel. In case of foggy/rainy weather do not start this hike. Risk of lightinhg and dangerous slippery path.|
|SEASON||From July to September. Check with the Huts before starting if the tunnels are free from snow residuals that can be dangerous.|
Car Park at Angelo Dibona Hut, 2.083 mt, Ready to Start
Castelletto Tunnel start 2.459 mt
Castelletto Tunnel end 2.633 mt
Forcella Col dei Bos, 2.331 mt
Rozes fork, 2.183 mt
Angelo Dibona Hut, 2.083 mt
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