The via ferrata Oskar Schuster (aka Oskar Schuster Klettersteig) leads to the 2958-meter summit of Sasso Piatto (Plattkofel in German, Sasplat in Ladin) in the Dolomites.
It’s a spellbinding route in the heart of the Sassolungo mountains that rewards hikers with heartstopping views.
It involves secured climbing as well as a great deal of free scrambling (unprotected grade-1 sections). The Oskar Schuster via ferrata is classified as B/C difficulty, which means it’s intermediate. A full via ferrata kit is absolutely necessary for this route.
Our guide describes the full Sasso Piatto via ferrata-hiking tour starting and ending at Passo Sella. To start the hike, take the 2-person Forcella Sassolungo gondola up to Rifugio Toni Demetz Hütte, which sits on the Sassolungo saddle.
To reach the start of the Oskar Schuster Via Ferrata, hike down to Rifugio Vicenza/Langkofelhütte and then ascend the Sasso Piatto/Plattkofel cirque to the base of the secured climbing route.
Note: There is also a normal hiking trail which leads from Rifugio Sasso Piatto/Plattkofelhütte to the summit of Sasso Piatto/Plattkofel. This is the south-west approach, and the route you’ll descend after completing the via ferrata ascent. From Rifugio Sasso Piatto, return to Passo Sella along the scenic Friedrich August Weg.
This is a spectacular full-day, heart-pumping adventure perfect for strong, surefooted hikers who have zero fear of heights.
Via Ferrata Oskar Schuster: Climb to the Summit of Sasso Piatto
- Starting Point: Parking Passo Sella | Google Maps
- Trailhead: Forcella Sassolungo / Rifugio Toni Demetz
- Distance: 11.9 km point-to-point (circuit with cableway)
- Total Time Needed: 6:10 hours
- Approach: 1:30 hours
- Via Ferrata: 2 hours
- Descent: 2:40 hours
- Elevation Gain: 868 meters
- Elevation Loss: 1346 meters
- Via Ferrata Difficulty: B/C
- Minimum Elevation: 2176 meters
- Maximum Elevation: 2958 meters
- When to Hike: Late June – Late September
- Where to Stay at Passo Sella: Hotel Passo Sella Dolomiti Mountain Resort
- Where to Stay in Selva: Garni Sunela B&B (budget), Hotel Garni Morene (budget), Hotel Freina (midrange), or Linder Cycling Hotel (luxury)
- Where to Stay in Santa Cristina: Garni Le Chalet (budget), Charme Hotel Uridl (midrange), Dorfhotel Beludei (luxury), or Hotel Touring Dolomites (luxury)
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Sasso Piatto Via Ferrata Route Map
Where to Start the Oskar Shuster Via Ferrata Tour
Passo Sella (Sellajoch in German) is the mountain pass with connects Val Gardena in South Tyrol with Val di Fassa in Trentino. It lies between the Sassolungo/Langkofel massif and the Sella massif.
How to Get to Passo Sella
If you’re based in Val Gardena, use the südtirolmobil journey planner to find the best bus connections to Passo Sella.
If you’re based in Val di Fassa, you can take the summer bus 471 from Canazei to Passo Sella.
It’s a 15-minute drive from Selva, Val Gardena, to Sella Pass along the SS242 road.
And, it’s a 20-minute drive from Canazei, Val di Fassa, to Sella Pass along the SS48 and SS242 roads
Parking at Passo Sella
The pay-on-exit Parking Passo Sella is located directly on the main road across from Hotel Passo Sella Dolomiti Mountain Resort.
Parking Fee | It’s 2.50 EUR/hour for the first 3 hours and then 1.50 EUR/hour for the next 3 hours. After the 6th hour, it’s 0.50 EUR/hour.
Payment | Cards or Cash (5 EUR, 10 EUR, 20 EUR, EUR coins). Pay for your ticket at the “Cassa” adjacent to Passo Sella Dolomiti Mountain Lodge.
Exact Location | Google Maps
When to Climb the Via Ferrata Oskar Schuster
The best time to climb the Oskar Schuster Klettersteig is when the route is mostly snow-free. Typically, that’s between late June and late September.
October is also promising, but there’s more likelihood of snow sticking later in the season, because the via ferrata is exposed to minimal sunlight in Autumn.
We completed the Oskar Schuster via ferrata in early October in very snowy/icy conditions. Even with microspikes, it was difficult.
Essential Gear for Oskar Schuster Klettersteig
You need a full via ferrata kit for this protected climbing route: climbing helmet, climbing harness, and via ferrata lanyard with carabiners. Climbing gloves like Black Diamond half finger gloves are also very useful.
- Women’s Climbing Helmet: Black Diamond women’s climbing helmet
- Men’s Climbing Helmet: Black Diamond men’s climbing helmet
- Women’s Climbing Harness: Petzl CORAX LT Women’s Harness
- Women’s Climbing Harness: Black Diamond Women’s Momentum Harness
- Men’s Climbing Harness: PETZL Corax Climbing Harness
- Men’s Climbing Harness: Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Rock Climbing Harness
- Unisex Lanyard with Carabiners: PETZL Scorpio Vertigo via ferrata Lanyard
- Unisex Lanyard with Carabiners: Salewa Ergo Core, Unisex Adult
Via Ferrata Oskar Schuster Complete Route
Forcella Sassolungo Gondola
From Passo Sella, take the Forcella Sassolungo gondola (Telecabina Sassolungo) to Forcella Sassolungo/Langkofelscharte.
This antique-looking gondola is also nicknamed the “coffin lift,” because of its shape and size.
Getting on and off this gondola is part of the adventure. With the help of attendants, you have to jump into the moving gondola and then stand for the duration of the ride. When you approach the mountain station, prepare to jump off as well.
Opening Times | Mid-June – Early October: 8:15 am – 5 pm
Gondola Pricing | Purchase a one-way ticket only (“Andata / Berg-Fahrt”):
- Adults: 20 EUR
- Juniors: 14 EUR
Other Considerations | Wear your backpack before entering the gondola.
Approach | Forcella Sassolungo – Rifugio Vicenza – Oskar Schuster Via Ferrata Starting Point (1:30 hours)
The gondola mountain station is located directly on the Sassolungo saddle, next to Rifugio Demetz. There’s a restroom inside the mountain hut should you need one (1 EUR).
From the saddle, trail 525 steeply descends the scree and gravel and scree-filled Sassolungo/Langkofel Kar (deep sloping cirque) to Rifugio Vicenza/Langkofelhütte.
Early and late in the season, snow and ice may linger here. We wore microspikes and used trekking poles for most of the descent.
- Recommended Microspikes: CAMP Snowline Chainsen Lightweight Microspikes
- Recommended Hiking Poles: Unisex Black Diamond Hiking Poles
The path twists down the steep sloping cirque, which looks more like a valley than a basin. The gradient eases as you approach Rifugio Vicenza.
Rifugio Vicenza (2256 m) is usually open from mid/late June until late September.
Follow the trail leading behind the hut up the Sasso Piatto/Plattkofel Kar, another gravel-filled cirque.
This path steadily ascends the east side (left side) of the cirque and then eventually crosses over to the west side (right side).
When you reach the rock wall, follow the waymarks along the wall to the right. The waymarks are red painted dots.
Soon, you’ll make a sharp left and follow red-painted arrows to the base of the via ferrata.
Via Ferrata | Oskar Schuster to Sasso Piatto (2 hours)
The via ferrata alternates between fixed cable passages and free scrambling.
The route is named after German climber and physician Oskar Schuster (1873 – 1917), who was one of the climbing pioneers in the Dolomites in the late 19th century.
After an hour of following intermittent cable lines, you’ll walk across a slender saddle to the base of a vertical secured section.
Rungs/stemples guide you to a short metal ladder and a series of cables.
A scrambling section steers you up a chimney to the crest of Sasso Piatto and the exit of the via ferrata.
It’s a quick ascent to the panoramic summit of Sasso Piatto, crowned with a giant cross.
For a technical explanation of the route, translate the bergsteigen tour description using Google Chrome, or purchase the Via Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites: Vol 1: 75 routes-North, Central and East Ranges.
Descent | Sasso Piatto – Rifugio Sasso Piatto – Passo Sella (2:40 hours)
Retrace your steps back to where you exited the via ferrata and then continue on trail 527 across the the south-west flank of Sasso Piatto.
It’s typical karst terrain with lots of scree and rock steps. This descent is quite monotonous.
Rifugio Sasso Piatto/Plattkofelhütte is a modern refuge which sits on the junction of many popular hiking trails, including the Sassolungo Circuit Trail. This hut is usually open from late May until mid-October.
From Rifugio Sasso Piatto, locate trail 557, the Friedrich August Weg, in the direction of Passo Sella.
This undulating path wraps around the south side of the Sassolungo Group, heading east almost the whole way. In the late afternoon/early evening, the views of the Marmolada Group and Val di Fassa are especially captivating.
Along the way, you’ll pass Rifugio Sandro Pertini (2300 m) and Rifugio Friedrich August (2293 m).
Hike up to the windy Forcella Rodella saddle and descend the wide track to Baita Miara and the upscale Rifugio Salei (2222 m).
Return to the car park, or bus stop at Passo Sella.
Where to Stay near Passo Sella
Selva di Gardena
Budget | Hotel Garni Morene is a clean and comfortable family-run guesthouse, set in an idyllic location outside the town center of Selva. Stay here for the unbeatable price, mountain views, and hospitality. Breakfast included.
Budget | Garni Sunela B&B is an immaculate bed and breakfast with spacious rooms, a spa, bar, parking garage, and a phenomenal breakfast, including fresh eggs from the resident chickens. Check-in is only until 7 pm.
Midrange | Garni Hotel Bel Vert is a B&B in Selva, located on the Biancavieve Slope, outside the town center. Rooms are beautiful and spacious. There’s even a small spa. 3 nights minimum stay.
Midrange-Luxury | Hotel Freina is a welcoming family-run hotel in Selva with an excellent on-site restaurant (serving vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free options), wonderful spa, and free garage parking.
Luxury | Hotel Rodella stands on a hill between Santa Cristina and Selva di Val Gardena, walking distance to the Col Raiser gondola. Commanding the most epic views of the Sella Group and Sassolungo, staying here is absolute bliss, especially at sunset. You can book breakfast-only or half board. Stay here for the views, newly renovated wellness area, and cozy atmosphere. 3 night minimum stay.
Luxury | Hotel Tyrol is a traditional alpine hotel centrally located in Selva. The hotel’s restaurant offers creative interpretations of Ladin tradition with a Tuscan twist. Stay here for the cozy ambience, the wellness area (saunas, indoor and outdoor heated pool, indoor and outdoor whirlpool, salt cave with chromotherapy), and comfortable rooms. Outdoor parking is free and garage parking is an extra charge.
Luxury | Hotel Sun Valley is a 4-star hotel with a feel-good atmosphere, nice rooms, friendly management and staff, and a great restaurant (half board available). The spa comprises an indoor pool, whirlpool, Tyrolean parlor sauna, Brechel bath with fresh pine branches, and a steam bath, and relaxation areas.
Luxury | Linder Cycling Hotel stands out with its bold architecture, stylish urban accents, and laid-back atmosphere. Beyond the captivating design, Linder Cycling Hotel boasts excellent facilities, including a rooftop terrace, indoor pool, bar, and the à la carte Luis Eatery restaurant
Boutique Luxury | Boutique Hotel Nives – Luxury & Design is a small 4-star-superior hotel in Selva with two restaurants, a spa (saunas and outdoor whirlpool), and an indoor pool. The 13 rooms of family-run Hotel Nives are equipped with Nespresso coffee machines, tea kettles, bathrobes and slippers. Extra perks: free garage parking, free winter ski shuttle, and bike storage. The à la carte Restaurant Nives is open all-year-long, while the Hotel Restaurant Stevia is only open in winter.
5-star Luxury | Hotel Granbaita Dolomites is an ode to alpine elegance. This 5-star luxury hotel pampers guests with its lavish rooms, extensive spa area (7 saunas, indoor-outdoor pool, fitness room, spa), and decadent tasting menus. Book half board.
Find an accommodation in Selva di Val Gardena.
Budget | Hotel Garni Ruscel is a great-value bed and breakfast in Santa Cristina. 4 nights minimum stay in high season.
Budget | Bed & Breakfast Kaserer is a charming B&B with clean, traditional rooms and excellent hospitality. 3 nights minimum stay.
Budget | Smart Hotel Saslong is a no-frills hotel in Santa Cristina featuring modern, minimalist interiors decorated in local wood. Guests have access to a self-service bar, free parking (indoor and outdoor), and on-site restaurant serving local cuisine. This is a perfect place to stay if you’re traveling with friends. Book breakfast!
Midrange | Charme Hotel Uridl is a family-run hotel set in a mountain chalet dating back to the 17th century. Stay here for the cozy and quaint atmosphere and delicious breakfast buffets and dinners.
Top Choice – Boutique Luxury | Dorfhotel Beludei is a 4-star-superior boutique hotel set in a quiet location above the village church. Stay here for the innovative cuisine (half board only), Ladin hospitality, and spacious suites. Complimentary Perks: garage parking, winter shuttle to ski slopes, guided hiking tours, and afternoon snack. Read our Dorfhotel Beludei Hotel Review.
Luxury | Hotel Touring Dolomites is an excellent, family-run hotel with a new spa, rooftop pool, modern rooms, and a fine dining restaurant (half board available). 3-5 nights minimum stay.
Find an accommodation in Santa Cristina.
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Dolomites Trip Planning Essentials
Use our Dolomites Travel Guide to plan an unforgettable trip to Northern Italy.
When to Hike in the Dolomites
The best time to hike in the Dolomites is between mid-June and mid-September. If the weather is stable, the hiking season can extend until late October.
The easiest way to travel between hiking destinations in the Italian Dolomites is with your own car. Check out our 7-Day Dolomites Road Trip itinerary for trip inspiration.
We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.
Tip: If you can only drive automatic transmission cars, as opposed to manual transmission cars (stick shift), book your car rental as early as possible.
Best Places to Stay
Figuring out where to stay in the Dolomites is probably the biggest hurdle to planning a trip to the Dolomites. We’ve created three guides to help you decide where to stay:
- Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer: best villages and towns in South Tyrol, Trentino and Belluno
- Best Hotels in the Dolomites: best boutique and luxury hotels in the Dolomites
- Dolomites Accommodation Guide: farm stays, mountain huts, wellness hotels, aparthotels
- Best Val Gardena Hotels: best accommodations in Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva di Val Gardena
We suggest choosing 2-4 bases for your Dolomites trip and spending 2-4 nights in each base.
- Base 1: Val Gardena
- Base 2: Val di Funes
- Base 3: Alta Badia
- Base 4: Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Base 5: Alta Pusteria
- Base 6: San Martino di Castrozza
What to See & Do
During your trip to the Dolomites, you can go via ferrata climbing, culinary hiking, hut to hut hiking, cycling, paragliding, and so much more. We’ve highlighted our favorite experiences in Best Things to Do in the Dolomites.
Wherever you decide to stay, you’ll be surrounded by glorious mountain scenery and incredible natural landmarks.
In Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites, we’ve outlined the most iconic attractions as well as lesser-known destinations across the Dolomites, including Alpe di Siusi, Lago di Braies, and Lago di Sorapis.
Dolomites Packing List
- Day Pack: Osprey Tempest 30 Women’s Backpack / Osprey Talon 33 Men’s Backpack
- Grade B/C high-cut hiking boots: Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)
- CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
Outdoor Photography Gear
- Camera Body: Sony Alpha a6400
- Mid-range Zoom Lens: Tamron 17-70mm 2.8 Di III-A VC RXD
- Wide angle Zoom Lens: Sony – E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
Dolomites Hiking Guides
Hiking in the Dolomites is our passion. Year after year, we love discovering new trails and expanding our knowledge of the area. For day hiking, check out 25+ Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites. For trekking, take a look at our guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites and Alta Via 1.
For region-specific hiking trails, check out:
- Best Hikes in Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Best Hikes in Alta Badia
- Sexten Dolomites Hiking Guide
- Puez-Odle Nature Park
Recommended Hiking Guidebook: Cicerone Guide: Shorter Walks in the Dolomites
Recommended Via Ferrata Guidebook: Via Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites: Vol 1: 75 routes-North, Central and East Ranges.
More Val Gardena Travel and Hiking Guides