Pale di San Martino

In this chapter we discuss one of the most incredible and famous mountain groups in the world, with a lunar-like plateau, the Pale di San Martino.

The Pale di San Martino, with its 240 km², are the largest mountain group in the Dolomites, are located between the province of Belluno and partly in that of Trento and included within the Natural Park of Paneveggio. The term "Pala" was used locally to indicate grassy areas and slopes located at the base of the mountain range.

Today this territory has a remarkable botanical richness, due to the glacial history of these places, to the acidity of the soil and to their particular morphology, of difficult penetration.The Pale Plateau is located in the central sector of the group between 2500 and 2800 meters and extends for about 50 km² going to constitute a huge rocky floor, almost lunar features, surrounded by a complex system of peaks, tips and towers.

The highest peak is Vezzana, with its 3192 meters s.l.m. reachable by a path that is not very technical, but rather tiring which, on the other hand, offers a breathtaking view. From the top of Fradusta at 2939 meters, one of the most important of the Pale, it descends the homonymous glacier with a wide surface, which ends at a cliff in a small proglacial lake at an altitude of 2650 meters. At this point on 10/02/2013 the lowest temperature in Italy was recorded, that of -49.6 ° C.

This incredible mountain group seems to have been a source of inspiration for the writer Belluno Dino Buzzati, in the setting of his famous novel "The Desert of Tartars". "The Pale di San Martino so terrifying that they seem to have to open up at any moment and precipitate the whole mass of rocks I think I can doubt that even in the Andes it is rare to find oneself in front of such an extraordinary and primordial scene" ( Amelia Edwards, Unwavering peaks and unknown valleys 1872).

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