For some time, I had eyed the top of Monte Stivo, which looms over Arco di Trento, north of Lake Garda, in Trentino, sensing the beauty of the panorama that can be enjoyed from its summit. Its winter ascent gave me a simply perfect day.
Trekking: Mount Stivo, Trentino, in winter time
As a famous italian journalist (Mario Calabresi) writes in one of his recent books, you must know how to seize the unexpected as an opportunity. Saturday 14 January 2023, I had to go windsurfing at Lake Garda. But the absence of decent wind led me to quickly reschedule the day, also having the trekking equipment in my car. So, after having bought my usual speck and Tremosine cheese sandwich (only for 2.70 euros!) at the Conad Supermarket in Limone, I started consulting my guide with the possible excursions around Lake Garda, and I raised my head, noting the beautiful snow-capped peak of Mount Stivo, above the profile of Riva del Garda and Torbole. Having rejected, after some hesitation, the hypothesis of an easy trip to Mount Bestone from Tremosine, I decided to head towards Mount Stivo, possibly considering the possibility of a partial but nonetheless suggestive ascent.
In the end, I did the full excursion to the mountain top, and the beauty of the landscape and the sensations I enjoyed exceeded my expectations. My guide recommends the excursion from May to September. But I think it's even more beautiful in winter, due to the better visibility and the brightness of the snowy landscape.
To reach the summit you start from Santa Barbara (see our map below). This locality can be reached either by going up from Arco di Trento, with a narrower but well-maintained road, or from Vallagarina, and from Ronzo Chienis. Once you reach the Santa Barbara pass, however, turn north (Via Castil), and continue until you park near the K2 Mountain Bar, or the stables located shortly after (Via Sant'Antonio). There are wide open spaces on the side of the road where you can leave your car.
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For the descent, I asked for advice from a guide at the Refuge, and after being reassured about the practicability of the track even without crampons (left at home...), as mentioned, I decided to take the steepest ridge.
What beautiful sensations! The route is not difficult, but be careful, and don't get too distracted. Follow, at an adequate safety distance, the edge of the East ridge which descends from Mount Stivo, and which then veers towards the South West, becoming steeper below an altitude of 1900 metres a.s.l.. Going down, the snow was less deep, but wetter, or powdery, and less consistent. I descended calmly, experiencing a few harmless slips. After 7 km, I then rejoined the trail I followed going up, in Le Prese.
The descent, therefore, concludes by retracing, almost melancholy, the same road as the outward walking, with the warm light of the sunset filtering through the trees, and coloring the meadows with orange shade.
Good things should never end. But the San Barbara pass, Mount Stivo, and the Refuge Stivo are always there, and I will definitely go back as soon as possible. In scarce 2 hours (and almost 10 km), you are back at the parking lot where you left your car.
Have a nice walk. Fabio Muriano
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