Summit cross - Cima Tofana di Mezzo 3244 m
Cima Tofana is the last and most sensational stage of the entire journey that, with the Freccia nel Cielo, starts at 1216 m and leads to 3244 m passing from the green forests of Col Druscié to the lunar landscape of Ra Valles.
The summit of Tofana di Mezzo, the third highest peak in the Dolomites, can be reached by a short 15-minute hike suitable for all that starts from the viewing terrace with two ramps of stairs and winds up an exposed but well secured path by steel cable.
Once you reach the summit cross it feels as if you could touch the sky, enjoying a breathtaking 360° privileged view of all the Dolomites seen from above.
On the path to the summit, you will encounter several viewpoints with illustrated panels of the peaks below. From adults to children, you can test yourself to recognize the most famous Dolomite peaks or learn the names of lesser-known ones.
Every spring when the snows melt, a spectacular high-altitude lake forms in the area below Tofana di Mezzo and Tofana di Dentro. Mysteriously then, in early summer, almost all the water disappears….
As a result of the retreat of a large tongue of the Tofana di Mezzo glacier at an altitude of 2950 m, a large depression, covered by moraine debris, has remained uncovered, at the bottom of which there is a small lake that pours meltwater from the glacier into a large fracture.
Following the instructions of some managers of the Cortina d’Ampezzo National Park, in the late summer of 2003 the first descent into the cavity was attempted after a long work of cleaning the edges of the shaft, but it was stopped at -70 m and visually surveyed at over -100m. The strong presence of water drained from the pond, which was misting to the point of causing great breathing difficulties, prevented form completing the survey.
Taking advantage of the low temperatures and the consequent reduction of the pond’s water supply, an overnight descent in autumn 2004 led to stopping exploration for the third time above a ledge, with ice deposits, affected by a strong water flow that prevented exploration at a depth of about -100m.
In collaboration with the Natural Cortina d’Ampezzo National Park and the Department of Geology, Paleontology and Geophysics of the University of Padova, a fourth exploration was attempted on November 21 and 22, 2004, benefiting from the low snow cover, low nighttime temperatures of -20 degrees, absence of water circulation and good wall stability.
The cavity, consisting of a single large piece with an elongated elliptical section following the main N-S fracture, has another bottleneck at the -30 elevation.
During an overnight descent a ledge was reached at the depth of -151m, where a narrow crack of ice and rock has for now stopped any possibility of going lower.