Croda Rossa d’Ampezzo – 20 June 1870

Today is the anniversary of the first ascent of Croda Rossa d’Ampezzo

An imposing yet elegant mountain, it is the highest peak (3146 m) in a structured Dolomite group on the border of South Tyrol and Veneto; it stands in both the Natural Park of the Dolomiti d’Ampezzo in the province of Belluno and the Natural Park Fanes-Sennes-Braies in the province of Bolzano, an area of outstanding natural and environmental value. It is a mountain of many colours, but most specifically red because, according to legend, it was stained with the blood of a dragon killed up there. Its colour, and its name, are actually due to the Jurassic limestone and chalk marl you can find there.


Croda Rossa d’Ampezzo has a reputation for being an extremely challenging mountain, as its rock crumbles easily so is hard to climb. The normal approach is from the northwest and was originally attempted in 1865 by Grohmann, who very nearly made it to the summit; this approach offers the easiest orientation with the fewest technical difficulties but it crosses a steep, slippery basin of clay and reddish rocks that is subject to landslides. The summit was conquered for the first time on 20 June 1870 by Whitewell, accompanied by guides Siorpaes and Laneuer.

Foto della Croda Rossa, 3146m, Dolomiti UNESCO


As far as safeguarding this massif is concerned, Croda Rossa d’Ampezzo belongs to important protected areas so enjoys more protection than other mountains in the Dolomites.

The Club Alpino Italiano (CAI) not only supports and promotes climbing and hiking here as it does throughout the Alps, it also takes the enhancement and safeguarding of the natural landscape, tourism and the environment very seriously; the institution it uses in the Dolomites is the Commissione Interregionale TAM (Tutela Ambiente Montano – Protection of the Mountain Environment) of CAI Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. This technical and operational body was set up to develop the association’s environmental policies, following the general guidelines of the CAI statute and the documents defining its activities. It was also, more specifically, established to act as a consultant for the CAI policy-makers to raise awareness and teach about the environment, train its members, monitor and report critical situations, and develop projects focusing on sustainable growth.


In 2009 the Dolomites, including Croda Rossa d’Ampezzo which lies within their territory, was named a UNESCO Property, an important achievement for the area. This recognition not only offers further opportunities to promote these beautiful places, but it also provides the chance to transform the mountains into open-air workshops where new management strategies and sustainable development policies can be drawn up to benefit this globally significant site. CAI and TAM strongly believe that it is only through dialogue and synergy with all the people operating in the territory, not only from the world of politics but also and most importantly associations, specialists in the field and residents, that they can come up with virtuous management models, assisted by the coordination of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation.

Simone Papuzzi

Chairman of the CAI TAM Inter-regional Commission of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia

Photo credit: Dinaer | Flickr