The hardest via ferrata in the Dolomites

Or so my guidebook says, Magnifici Quattro (The magnificent Four) is a grade grade 6BVF, and is named in honour of four members of mountain rescue who tragically died whilst on a rescue mission. Jess and me both felt as though we had the ability to climb this route and so set our alarms early and watched a magnificent red sky as the sun set behind the mountains.

Trying to capture the amazing deep red colours and failing

We slept through our alarm, and eventually arrived at the car park near the walk in at about 10.30, it was freezing cold and we set off fully layered up, even though we knew for this comfort now, I would have to drag it around with me for the rest of the day. The approach was relatively short, although some sections were steep paths that zig zagged their way through the Forrest, until you entered a cave mouth and you could see the cable and the start of the route.

Near the beginning of the climb!

The Via Ferrata started as it meant to go on, steep and sustained from the off. On all the previous climbs we had done I had climbed on the rock for the majority of the time, however this route was an exercise in wire hauling for much of the time, where there were holds they were covered in a layer of silt which made bad holds worse. I would say I pretty much always had one hand on the wire or staples on the entire route, only a couple of times was all four points on rock.
The route worked its way up to the crux traverse, that was overhanging, although they had been kind enough to put some SWR for your feet as well! Jess held back to get some action shots, however as soon as I was on the traverse, the cameras battery died and these action shots will have to be saved for another day! It was a tough section, by the time I was across I had a decent pump in my arms, it had been hard work! 

Jess working hard on the crux

After this, the route eased to tree lined slopes, we had a fantastic view over the valley opposite and had a break. It’s not a bad thing sometimes to take a couple of minutes to sit back, chill out and just be happy in the moment. It’s not often on a climb I can do this, as I’m too busy shitting myself or concentrating, the greatness of those times comes from the memories after, however sat on this slope, after some hard work hauling myself up the wire I was happy.

Nearing the finish

The path continued east towards a looming wall, it had wire where needed and occasionally where it was not. Although I was looking up the face I could not see the wire until we got close. Soon enough and I was starting up the final tough section of wire. It had better rock, without as much crap, but still not great! The wire hauling continued until we topped out. As we are out of season and everything is closed the refuge was not open, so we sat on the grassy piste and snacked. 

Jess on top!

The descent was a simple task of following the road down, so not much to say there apart from the fact I was able to take some nice pictures of water features. We got to the van at about 15.30, so we took five hours all in, which I think is good timing! All in all, I had a great time on this route, I’m not saying it was a classic, too little quality rock to climb on for that, but it was definitely hard, fantastic fitness and a great day out! I don’t think I’ve ever done the hardest of anything in my life, so it a good feeling to know I’ve done the hardest VF in the Dolomites! 

Some of the lively natural water features
After the crux, looking down on the cave we climbed out of!
Our climb from a distance!

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