SORAPISS, a mountain in the Dolomites, near Cortina d’Ampezzo, is situated within the Veneto region of northern Italy.  It is also referred as PUNTA SORAPISS.  With its huge perpendicular faces forms part of the mountainous backdrop to the resort town of Cortina, and sits roughly 9km to the southeast of the town.


The name SORAPISS, in the local dialect means “over the waterfall.”  It is a dialectal composite name :  SORA (sopra) = over and PISS (cascata) = waterfall.  It has an elevation of 10,515ft.  In its vicinity is a mountain pas of the same name, as well as LAGO di SORAPISS (SORAPISS LAKE) at the foot of the mountain.


There is a legend associated with the name of SORAPISS.  A “peace-loving” King named SORAPISS turned himself into a rocky mountain during a course of unexpected events.  A witch had bewitched the King’s impulsive daughter —- Misurina —- by promising her a magical mirror as a reward for providing shade to her house.  This was honoured by her doting father, who turned himself into a mountain.  At a later date, Misurina, demonstrating a sense of gratitude towards her father, shed tears which formed the LAGO di SORAPISS at the foot of the large mountain of SORAPISS, the immobilized form of her father.


The limestone dolomite formation, which is irregular, rugged and sharp-edged peaks, are part of the Eastern Alps.  The mountain has 3 ridges : central ridge, a southern ridge, which is part of the mountain that can be seen from Cortina, and, beyond a high pass and a little to the west, a northern ridge, that culminates in the skiing area of Mount Faloria.  There are 3 glaciers on the mountain slopes, although these have been melting considerably in recent years.  LAGO di SOPARISS, at the foot of the mountain, is a glacial lake at an elevation of 6,316ft.


There are 3 Refuges in the vicinity :  RIFUGIO TONDI di FALORIA at 7,635ft, REFUGIO ALFONSO VANDELLI at 6,319ft and REFUGIO SAN MARCO.  Paul Grohmann made the first ascent of the mountain in September 1864, taking  8hrs 30mins.  There are at least 2 routes to the summit : the GROHMANN, which crosses the mountain’s west flank, joining the S. Vito route near the summit and the MULLER-WEG which traverses the east glacier and ascends direct over the precipices on the northeast side.


Flora on SORAPISS includes : Festucetum Pulchellae (on the slopes), Euphrasio-Globularietum (at the base) and Drabetum Hoppeanae (on the range).  There are no real walk-up routes, with the exception of the paths n the Faloria Range.  Even getting to the RIFUGIO VANDELLI (the most frequented, in a fairy-tale environment with its green lake) requires a walk along a very fine path that somewhere hosts short pieces of ferrate.

Vandelli Sorapiss

Some fine hiking routes, none really easy and all requiring good training.  The complete “ring” of SORAPISS requires at least a 2-day trip, and takes place on a complex, high and somewhere very exposed system of ledges, along the 3 main ferrate of the group : BERTI, MINAZIO and VANDELLI.  The dolomite mountain is at the same time a “summit”, a “ridge”, a “range”, a “group” standing up along a ridge that stretches over many miles with a big difference in elevation from the surrounding valleys.  The best time to climb is in summer —- June to September.

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