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Via Ferrata recommended route

The Paternkofel Crossing with the Three Peaks Circumnavigation

· 6 reviews · Via Ferrata · Dolomiti d'Ampezzo, Dolomiti Bellunesi
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  • Blick vom Gipfel des Paternkofels auf die Nordwände der Drei Zinnen.
    Blick vom Gipfel des Paternkofels auf die Nordwände der Drei Zinnen.
    Photo: Rüdiger Kratz, St. Ingbert
m 2800 2600 2400 2200 2000 8 6 4 2 km Paternsattel Paternkofel Rifugio Auronzo Dreizinnenhütte Rifugio Lavaredo Rifugio Auronzo
The Innerkofler De Luca Climb to the Paternkofel is the technical highlight of this tour, which offers breathtaking views of the Sesto Dolomites with the Three Peaks throughout the entire tour. The clearly visible traces from the First World War provide exciting insights into the dark chapter of the history of the Sesto Dolomites.
Distance 9.9 km
8:00 h
769 m
769 m
2,744 m
2,171 m
The crossing of the Paternkofel from the south via the Paternsattel, the Paßportenscharte and on the descent from the Paternkofel via the Innerkofler De Luca-Steig offers fantastic views of the Sexten Dolomites with the Three Peaks as well as impressive remnants of the First World War. With the Auronzo Hut, the Lavaredo Hut and the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hut, there are three places to stop directly on the trail. The route runs along artificial belts, in tunnels and caverns. Traces of the First World War can be found everywhere. The front between Italy and Austria ran right through the middle of this scenically stunning panorama of the Dolomites. On the descent from the Paternkofel via the Innerkofler De Luca trail, there is a tunnel about 600 m long. We strongly recommend that you bring a headlamp.

After the traverse, the tour can be extended by walking completely around the Three Peaks. If you leave early enough, you should not miss this magnificent panoramic tour. During the traverse of the Paternkofel, passages of difficulty level I (UIAA) have to be overcome. In places, the difficult walking terrain is extremely exposed. A head for heights is absolutely essential. In the early summer months, the tunnel can still be icy in places. The route is mainly exposed on the east side. The protection in the path itself is good.

Profile picture of Kilian Müller
Kilian Müller 
Update: February 22, 2016
B/C moderate
Highest point
Paternkofel, 2,744 m
Lowest point
2,171 m
Best time of year
Cardinal direction

Track types

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Safety information

The via ferrata is suitable for experienced via ferrata climbers. Surefootedness, a head for heights and arm strength are prerequisites. It is recommended to check the current weather forecast for the destination region.

Tips and hints


Auronzo Hut



South Tyrol public transport

German Railways

Weather Service Province of Bolzano

Weather Service Austria


Parking at the Auronzo Hut (2,312 m)
46.612163, 12.296315
46°36'43.8"N 12°17'46.7"E
33T 292972 5165617
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Turn-by-turn directions



From the large car park at the Auronzo Hut (2320 m), we follow the wide and signposted path along the scree slopes below the Zinnen south walls flatly in a north-easterly direction. Shortly before the Lavaredo Hut (2344 m) we turn left and climb over scree towards the north to the Paternsattel (2454 m).


From the Paternsattel we follow a scree ridge towards the northeast. Below the walls of the Paßportenkopf we reach a path. Follow this to the left into the west face of the Paßportenkopf. A tunnel (headlamp!) leads us to a band. Here we find wire ropes and in places climbing of difficulty grade I UIAA. Our route leads us level to a rock window and through this to the right up to the Passportenscharte (2589 m). A covered, artificial ribbon leads us to the left to the east side of the Paternkofel south ridge and to a saddle. A marked path leads us north-east over scree up to the Passportenkar. We then climb over scree and stepped rock to the Gamsscharte (2650 m). On the left is the summit of the Paternkofel, on the right the east ridge. We descend briefly to the left and into the steep flank (B/C, upper part of the Innerkofler De Luca-Steige). Steep rock and scree-covered ledges lead us - finally over an unsecured little wall - up to the summit of the Paternkofel (2744 m).

From the summit we turn back along our ascent route to the Gamsscharte. From here we turn north. A gully leads us down (A/B) towards Galleria Paterno, the long and unlit war tunnel. We descend via this tunnel in the direction of the Dreizinnenhütte. Near the exit of the tunnel we see the so-called "Frankfurter Würstel", a striking, needle-like rock tower. Passing this, we reach the Dreizinnenhütte without difficulty.

Return with Dreizinnen circumambulation:

From the Dreizinnenhütte, we turn southwest and follow the marked, gently sloping hiking trail towards Forcella Col di Mezzo (2315 m) west of the Westliche Zinne. During our walk to Forcella Col di Mezzo we always have the imposing north faces of the Three Peaks in view. From the Forcella Col di Mezzo we turn south-east and just reach our starting point again, the car park at the Auronzo Hut.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

By train to Dobbiaco, continue by bus to the Auronzo Hut

Getting there

Italy: A22 (Brenner motorway to the Brixen/Pustertal exit, via the SS49 to Dobbiaco, from Dobbiaco via the SS51 to Schluderbach, continue along the SS48bis, then SP49 to Misurina, from here via the Via MOnte Piana (subject to a charge) to the car park at the Auronzo hut.


Parking at the Auronzo Hut


46.612163, 12.296315
46°36'43.8"N 12°17'46.7"E
33T 292972 5165617
Show on Map
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendations for this region:

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Via ferrata equipment with rockfall helmet and via ferrata gloves. It is strongly recommended to bring a headlamp (long, unlit tunnels in the via ferrata)!


Parts of this content were machine translated using German as the source language for the translation

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- Victor - 
October 04, 2020 · Community
When did you do this route? August 19, 2020
Mario Keitel 
July 04, 2018 · Community
Super schöne Überschreitung des Paternkofel
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Photo: Community
Mittwoch, 4. Juli 2018, 17:17 Uhr
Photo: Mario Keitel, Community
Mittwoch, 4. Juli 2018, 17:17 Uhr
Photo: Mario Keitel, Community
Mittwoch, 4. Juli 2018, 17:18 Uhr
Photo: Mario Keitel, Community
Mittwoch, 4. Juli 2018, 17:18 Uhr
Photo: Mario Keitel, Community
Helmut Rieke
October 09, 2016 · Community
Danke für die "Warnung"! Ich hab null Bock, an einem der schönsten Plätze dieser Erde an das entsetzliche Elend der armen Schweine erinnert ztu werden, die hier völlig sinnlos "für Gott und Vaterland" verrecken durften. Einstein fragt sich zu recht, was größer ist. Das Universum oder die menschliche Dummheit.
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+ 9

B/C moderate
9.9 km
8:00 h
769 m
769 m
Highest point
2,744 m
Lowest point
2,171 m
Circular route Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest


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