Piz Boe (Dolomites, Italian Alps; 10,334')

Piz Boe, at 3,152m or 10,334', is the highest point on the Sella plateau. It is a very popular destination, as more than two thirds of the 3,500-foot elevation gain from Passo Pordoi can be avoided by taking the cablecar to Piz Pordoi. This leads to an endless caravan of people dragging themselves, and each other, up the fixed steel cables through the cliff bands. Still, once one is in a European mindset it's a very worthwhile summit, and one can actually get some real solitude combined with superlative scenery by descending the Val Lasties, which the map designates `for expert hikers only', hence hardly anybody ever does it. Piz Boe is also a great winter destination, with the Pordoischarte, the Val de Mesdi, and the Val Lasties all providing excellent steep ski descents.

Routes: Trail from Passo Pordoi (Grade I, Class 2)
Val de Mesdi (ski descent)

Piz Boe from the trail just below Piz Pordoi.

Date: July 30, 2004

Party: Dietrich, Paul, and Monique Belitz

Route: Up via Pordoischarte, down through the Val Lasties

Time: Passo Pordoi - Summit: 2 hrs 30 mins
Roundtrip from Pordoi Pass: 7 hrs

Trip report:

This was our last day in the Dolomites. I would not have minded doing another technical route, but Monique needed a rest day, and Paul's toes had trouble taking another day in climbing shoes. So we decided to hike Piz Boe, and make it a round trip by going up the Pordoischarte and down the Val Lasties. Monique actually cheated by taking the cable car to Piz Pordoi, while Paul and I ran up the trail in a bit over an hour, which gave Monique just barely enough time to paint two watercolors. On the way up we admired a helicopter hauling kegs of beer to some hut, then returning and hauling some more beer. After taking in the view from Piz Pordoi, we, among a few hundred other people, started out over the plateau to Piz Boe. There was a major traffic jam in the cliff bands, which we circumvented by scrambling up the cliffs as far from the fixed steel cables as we could. The view from the summit is superb, as Piz Boe is the second-highest peak in the area, after the Marmolada. After scrambling back down to the Pordoischarte we took the trail that leads down into the Val Lasties, and within minutes we were by ourselves, a welcome contrast to the circus on the plateau. The hike down some snow fields and scree slopes proved extraordinarily scenic. About halfway down we stopped at a nice boulder, where Paul and I did not get anywhere due to a lack of rock shoes, while Monique did some more painting. Then we continued down, and shortly after the trail split into a branch going to the Sella Pass, and one going down to Canazei, we split up. Monique and Paul continued down to our Pensione, while I started to traverse cross-country in order to get back to the Pordoi Pass and retrieve our car. This turned out to be rough going. There were some nasty ravines to cross, then I got into an area where large boulders with huge gaps in between them were overgrown with thick vegetation, so one had to be really careful to not fall into a gap. Eventually I intersected the mule trail the topo map shows, and a short hike brought me back to the pass.

Nice hike. We got to come back and climb some more of the technical stuff, though!

Photo Gallery:

Click the thumbnails to see a higher resolution image.

Paul on the trail to the Pordoischarte. Paul near the summit of Piz Pordoi View of the Bindelgrat (foreground) and the Marmolada from the Sella Plateau. (A panoramic composite of the Marmolada is here .) View South from near the Pordoischarte View of the Langkofel from Piz Pordoi Monique and Paul on the Sella Plateau, Marmolada in background

Dietrich on the way down into the Val Lasties View back to the Pordoischarte Dietrich on the way into the Val Lasties A little drip pool in the Val Lasties View back up the Val Lasties View of Piz Ciavazes and Langkofel from the Val Lasties