Having walked through the Citta di Sassi in the rain, as we returned from the circuit of the Sasso Mountains, today we decide to go climbing in the chaotic jumble of large rocks, some of them good sized crags if translated into the English landscape.
The citta di Sassi is a huge sprawling boulderfield located directly under Sassolungo on the Sella Pass. From a climber’s perspective this ‘City of Rocks’ has an incredible amount to offer and is one of the best sport and bouldering venues in the Dolomites. The views are stunning and the location idyllic. The larger boulders have been developed with a number of excellent sport routes. Though often reasonably modest in length, the climbing is fantastic offering a wide range of climbing styles.
It is believed a huge rockfall from the Sassolungo massif is responsible for the formation of Città dei Sassi, though there is much academic debate as to how this occurred. Some believe the rockfall was caused by seismic activity, others attribute it to lack of support following the retreat of the glaciers.
There are three main paths through Città dei Sassi that branch out from the Sasso Levante lift station. Confusingly the upper track and middle path are both marked 526, but the upper route is a large track and the lower is a smaller path weaving between the rocks. the area is divided into sectors, for ease of understanding but maybe its best just to wander until you see something you like, and then try it. However, the following is a description of the different sectors –
Sector 1 is a small stand-alone boulder which is easily seen from Rifugio Malga Sella, set a little way from the main boulderfield. Sector 2 is the largest of the nearby boulders seen directly opposite Sector 1 on the other side of the path. Sector 3 is directly behind (to the west of) Sector 2. Sector 4 is located directly on path 526 lower. Following the path for 5 minutes from the lift station brings you directly under the climbing face of the boulder. Sectors 5 and 6 are the most difficult to find as they cannot be seen easily from any of the paths. Sector 7 is difficult to see from the path but is located just west of the more obvious Sector 8, which is the largest boulder visible on the right walking uphill on track 526 upper. Sector 9 (and the east face on which you climb) is easily located as it stands right beside track 526 upper thus making an excellent point of reference. Sector 10 is the largest block on the left beyond Sector 9 going uphill. Sector 11 is located uphill and behind (to the west of) Sector 10. It is the closest sector to Sassolungo.