Cresta de le Sele

 
 

FACTS

Country: Italy

Location: Dolomites

Round trip: 5.5 km

Start elevation: 2273 m

Final elevation: 2582 m

Map: Tabacco 06 1:25,000

Contributor: David Sellars





getting there

Take the Costabella chairlift from Passo San Pellegrino.



featured plant

Androsace alpina





partial plant list

Saxifraga oppositifolia

Eritrichium nanum

Androsace vitaliana

Saxifraga bryoides

Primula glutinosa

Androsace alpina

Ranunculus glacialis

Phyteuma sieberi

Saxifraga paniculata

Saxifraga moschata

Linaria alpina

Saxifraga caesia

Leontopodium alpinum

Gentiana terglouensis

Androsace helvetica

Potentilla nitida

Arabis alpina

Saxifraga androsacea

Thlaspi rotundifolium

Thlaspi alpinum

Armeria alpina

Pedicilaris rostratocapitata

Pedicularis verticillata

Achillea clavennae

Myosotis alpestris

Papaver rhaeticum

Aster alpinus

Helianthemum nummularium

Geum reptans

Cerastium latifolium

Oxytropis campestris

Draba aizoides

Doronicum clusii

Silene acaulis

Leucanthemopsis alpina

Dryas octopetala

Armeria alpina

Erinus alpinus

Veronica sp

Arenaria sp



 
 


The narrow ridge southwest from Pas de le Sele is marked as Cresta de le Sele on the 1:25,0000 map.  The ridge crest is mostly shattered rock outcrops and alternates between limestone and rocks of volcanic origin.  The boundaries between the rock types are very defined and the difference between the calcifuge and calcicole plant communities is very striking. The richness of the flora appears to be enhanced by the presence of the two rock types; both the limestone and the volcanic rocks host a higher density of plants than in other areas where only one rock type is present.


From Passo San Pellegrino, the Costabello chair lift takes you to 2273 m and it is an easy 45 minute walk up to the Pas de le Sele at 2530 m and the nearby Refugio Passo le Selle. The ridge extends southwest of the pass from the Refugio to Cima Acholet at 2582 m, a distance of just over a kilometre.  The crest is very narrow in parts but there is often a choice of paths either side of the ridge.  Beyond Cima Acholet the rock is solely volcanic and the path becomes more challenging with sections of aided climbing.


One of the reasons the ridge has such an abundance of alpine flowers is that the sharp crest provides northerly and southerly aspects.  For example on the more shaded north side on volcanic rock there are plants such as Androsace alpina, Androsace vitaliana and Ranunculus glacialis.  On the south side in the same volcanic strata are various Arenaria species, Eritrichium nanum and Saxifraga bryoides.  Where there are limestone crevices the plant community is quite different and includes Potentilla nitida,  Saxifraga caesia, Leontopodium alpinum and Androsace helvetica


At the summit of Cima Acholet, the acidic metamorphic rock becomes very dominant. Numerous Primula glutinosa cling to tiny cracks in the rock face on the north and west side of the peak.


The ridge was the Austrian front line in the 1914-18 war and the crest is narrow enough that a number of tunnels were excavated right through the ridge to create defensive positions.  A series of metal plaques beside the trail record some of the events.  For example on June 18, 1915, an Italian regiment stormed Cima Acholet but was driven back by Austrian rifle fire.



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