After climbing the Sella and Marmolada in 2002, doing this grand ski circuit in the Dolomites had been on my wish list for several years. I had missed an excellent opportunity in February of 2007 just because of a slight rupture of a muscle fiber, due to overstraining myself when ski-mountaineering the Zuckerhütl. Now, almost three years later, I was again on a meeting in Verona, which was another ideal opportunity for the Sellaronda on the way back to Munich. I am very thankful to God that he provided me just in time with wonderful weather, and on top of that with the pleasure to stay with friends who had recently moved from Bavaria to Merano and who also love mountaineering and ski(tour)ing. I knew that, given good weather, the Sellaronda provides a fireworks of most spectacular views of that gorgeous world-famous mountain range, and my expectations were absolutely fulfilled.
We decided to start our loop from Selva di Val Gardena (Wolkenstein) to do it clockwise (following the "orange" markers) because this is supposed to be the easier variant and because we expected better light conditions when taking into account the movement of the sun during the day. We prudently started it as early as possible (8:30 AM), taking the Dantercepies ski lift near to the northern edge of the circuit. Over a cappuccino with great views from Rifugio Boè on the eastern edge we considered to possibility of extending the 42 km loop by a side trip from the southeastern corner to Punta Rocca, the eastern summit of the Marmolada. Although my skiing speed is rather low, this turned out to be feasible, sacrificing any further breaks except for taking photos, though we missed the very last (short) lift ride (at 16:30 PM) by just a few minutes.
As one can see below, the visibility on that day was excellent (ranging some 100 km). The blue sky matched perfectly with the reddish rocks of the Sella massif, and the bright white of the fresh snow marking the horizontal cracks among the steep cliffs and covering the hills around. The snow conditions were very good for skiing, except for the final rather steep slope down to Wolkenstein, which was partially icy. Although we went on a Saturday, we barley had to wait queuing at the ski lifts, and the day pass costing 40€ was by far more than worth every Euro spent.
Unfortunately, I forgot taking my GPS logger with me. Yet here you can download a (slightly enhanced, mostly by downsampling) GPX file recorded on a similar trip by Sonja&Bertl. You may view it e.g. with Google Earth or on GPSies (OSM Cycle Map with waypoints and statistics).
|Morning view to the west|
Gran Zebru and Ortler
|Gardena Pass to Corvara|
|Along the eastern edge|
|transfer to the Marmolada|
|on the Marmolada: Punta Rocca|
|transfer back to the main Sella circuit|
|afternoon views from the west near Sassolongo|
|late afernoon on the northwestern section|