Looking towards the third summit
The route along the exposed east ridge of Monte Sumbra
is the principal attration of the mountain. It is a balancing act above the huge south face of Monte Sumbra with incredible views down the face. The north face is not as high and starts only after a steep slope of some 100m so that the route can be done by anybody without too much fear of heights.
More than half of the route, however, runs through a dense forest. There is a short lookout break west of Monte Grotti before it returns into the forest, this time the north of the east ridge. The second half of the ascent follows the ridge directly. There are some spots, where the biggest obstacles on the ridge can be avoided but they are not strictly necessary. The ultimat end of the ascend is a stroll along the round-topped sommit towards the cross.
The trailhead is Vilanova, a hamlet to the east of the mountain. See the main page for the itinerary.
The second summit ridge with Pania della Croce in the back
- Start altitude: 1100m
- Summit altitude: 1765m
- Prevailing exposure: South
- Type: Exposed scramble
- Protection: None
Power: 1 - Easy
Psyche: 3 - Intense in one short section
Difficulty: 3 - Exposed Scramble on the ridge, some easy climbing passages
Orientation: 1 - Marked and easy
In Vilanova park the car at the parking lot near Risorante la Gatta. Turn back to the road and follow it westward, heading up through the village passing summer houses. The road ends and a forest road soon leads under the trees. Shortly thereafter a path turns off to the left, cutting short a long switchback loop of the road. The road is passed 5 more times until a ridge (the east ridge of Monte Sumbra) is reached. Still inside the forest, several paths join from both sides and you finally reach a saddle (between Monte Grotti and Monte Sumbra).
The Monte Sumbra ascent route stays on the ridge but in order to take in the wonderful view of the Panie, head out onto a sloped meadow from the saddle. Hike about 300m for the best view of Pania della Croce, Uomo Morto and Pania Secca. Return to the saddle and turn left, climbing a few steps on the east ridge. The path turns right onto the north slopes and dives back into the forest. In May there still can be big patches of snow there, which accompany you until you regain the ridge.
This is done at the eastern end of the huge south face. Again it can be recommended to step out a bit to take in the impressive view of the whole curved face. The path avoids a tree covered part of the ridge and finally joins it for good in a first saddle. At first exposure is moderate but as you follow the ridge the abyss deepens until you have 700m of void beneath your feet. There are several false summits on the ridge some of which are avoided by the regular trail. However, you can go the direct way.
A first ascent takes you to the first of these summits. The ridge is still broad and far from steep. However, the descent into the next saddle is a more difficult matter. The ridge narrows to about 5m width and gets real steep. The second summit still can be reached fairly easily though exposure starts to worsen. A long stroll along its round top and suddenly the ridge drops towards the next saddle. The path passes to the north side and an UIAA II section takes you into the col.
Here the most difficult and exposed section awaits you. The ridge gets even narrower, now with a width of about 2m. A scarcely marked path (blue signs) leads up and finally reaches the third summit, a sharp peaked bump on the ridge. Again, the descent is more difficult than the ascent and another climbing section takes you into the next saddle. The remainder of the climb is easy again, the path follows the ridge a few metres to the north until it reaches a fals summit of Monte Sumbra. There the ferrata through the south-west face joins and both head northward across the summit meadow to the summit cross of Monte Sumbra.
Essential GearHiking gear is sufficient though you might want a rope and harness.