The Cirques of Vette Feltrine

Vette Feltrine
(photo by: Enrico Canal CTA-CFS)

Busa delle Vette, Busa di Pietena, Busa di Cavaren-Val Caneva, Busa di Monsampiano, Circo delle Sere, Circo dei Podoch, Busa dell’Orso

Access: From Croce d’Aune Pass to Dal Piaz Mountain Hut (trail no. 801); from Dal Piaz Mountain Hut, mountain ring-route (trail no. 810), across the series of glacial cirques.

An unusual series of suspended glacial cirques
Circhi delle Vette, isolated and solitary nival basins, represent a unique series of suspended glacial cirques, shaped by small cirque glaciers during the latest glaciation and, subsequently, by snow and karst phenomena (karst-nival basins). In some cases, the bottom of the cirques (Busa delle Vette, Busa di Pietena) has been overexcavated by the karst corrosion (glacial-karst basins) and often minutely sculpted by karst phenomena (glacial-karst environment).

Rocks, environments, and other features

Rocks: Gray Limestones (bottom of the cirques of Cavaren-Valcaneva and Monsampiano); Red Ammonite inf. (malga Monsampiano, Circo delle Sere); Fonzaso Formation (along trail no. 810); Red Ammonite sup. (reddish rocky framework on the sides of the cirques); Biancone (upper ridges of Pavione, Col di Luna, Vallazza)
Landscape features:
Glacial features: relict glacial cirques; morainic banks (Busa delle Vette, Circo Podoch);
Karst features: limestone pavement and karst fissures, dolines, glacial-karst basins (B.Vette, B.Pietena); “città di roccia”, that is rock towns (Busa di Monsampiano)
Periglacial features: screes (B.Vette, B.Orso); nival banks (B.Vette, B.Pietena); nival runoff.

Environment / Landscape

High-mountain karst-nival environment
The landscape of Vette Feltrine is clearly marked by two morphological areas: a lower area characterized by high rocky drops, carved in the hard rocks of the Gray Limestones; an upper area (over 1,900m) characterized by gentle shapes and rounded silhouettes in the slightly stratified and degrading rocks of Fonzaso Formation and Biancone (“prealpine landscape” of the Vette). The meeting point between these two areas consists of a small plateau made with big basins (south) and smaller niches (north). This unique series of cirques shaped by glaciers and karst phenomena (glacial-karst environment of the Buse) is the morphological feature connoting and characterizing this section of Dolomiti Bellunesi.

Notes:very demanding itinerary (total difference in height 1,300-1,400m), in part without trail markers (northern slope), to preferably carry out in two days (with overnight stay in the mountain hut), eventually combining the uphill trail to Mt. Pavione.