Though Monte San Calògero with its steep faces looks as if it would cast off any casual hiker, there is a route to the mountain which requires only a small amount of skill. Both summits, however, are exposed to two sides so that a moderate amount of experience is required. The most difficult aspect of this route is finding the correct trailhead, and not losing your way on the ascent to the Monte del'Uomo plateau.
The more beautiful of the summits is the lower north-eastern one, which you can reach via a trail-less scramble from the main summit. Here you have to cross a small saddle, from which a deep gully drops off towards the north-western base of the mountain. The saddle offers great views but is rather dangerous to walk through, especially in wet weather. Most of the rocks are covered with grass and can become really slippery.
See the getting there information on the main page. The trailhead is near the hamlet of Madonna Santa Nicola, a farm with a small chapel attached. You can drive an additional 3km with your car, though on a very rugged road.
- Start altitude: 630m
- Summit altitude: 1326m
- Prevailing exposure: SW
- Type: 45 min on a dirt road - 2h on scarcely visible trails
- Protection: unprotected
The route to Monte San Calògero starts at the hamlet of Madonna Santa Nicola, which in fact consists of a farm with several buildings, among them a little chapel. Follow the road which heads towards Monte San Calogero. It soon turns into a dirt road which winds between gorse bushes towards a plateau. It keeps level from here until it ends. At the endpoint a mall trail heads further on, climbing the western slopes of Monte dell'Uomo.
From here, Rocca Fera comes in sight, a limestone rock in the flank of the mountain, which has to be passed in a wide circle on its right (eastern) side. In the ascent to Rocca Fera the path multiplies into many cattle paths, which recombine and split several times. Keep near the highest trails which will lead you to the base of Rocca Fera. Between the rock and a small beech grove the path winds up onto the plateau.
On the plateau the trail forms a wide circle which quickly vanishes. Finding the correct path again is the hardest part of the climb. It runs along a step in the terrain, first turning north, then east. A final northern turn leads you into the Monte San Calogero west face - rather a steep slope than a vertical rock face. Thanks to its steepness the views westwards are extraordinary, which makes the traverse one of the greatest funs.
Finally you will reach the southern side of the Monte San Calogero main summit which can be reached by a short steep scramble. For the side summit descend into the saddle between the summit and up again.