The summit of Monte RoenMonte Roen is a cardinal summit* in the Nonsberg Group (Mendelkamm / Costiera della Mendola) and is well worth a visit. Even if the ascents from the north, west and south are just easy and short, you can get on the summit also by a short, easy ferrata and, if you really wish to stretch your legs and lungs, you can ascend it from the east, where you'll need to overcome more than 1500 m of altitude. In winter time it's a perfect and easy goal for tour skiing or snow shoeing. The panorama from the summit is very broad.
By some classifications it's even the highest in the group, but into the Nonsberg group we should put also the small group of Monte Luco / Laugenspitze, which is higher than Monte Roen.
The Roen Massif
The whole mountain group is one long, massive ridge, stretching in a long arc in the south-north direction, along the western side of the Adige/Etsch
valley. In the ridge, there are many summits and marked paths are running all along it. The western side
of the ridge is gentle, grassy on top and ovegrown with broad forrests in lower parts. And yet, in lower parts, many wild gorges and canyons are cutting this side. The eastern side
is completely different. Millions of tourists driving from the Central Europe and by the Adige valley towards the south, are seeing a high ridge, having on its top a few hundred meters of complete vertical walls, below which steep rocky ravines and overgrown slopes are falling down on the fertile, with vineyards and orchards overgrown slopes just above the valley bottom.
Across the main ridge one good road goes, connecting the Adige valley (Bolzano) with the Val di Non. That's the picturesque road over the Passo di Mendola / Mendelpass
, 1363 m.
The same is the situation in the narrow area of Monte Roen. The map reveals wild eastern walls and steep gorges, which also all the eastern routes avoid, either by the northern, or the southern side. The summits in the main ridge, other than the Roen itself, are not much important. They have their names, many of them can be easily crossed by marked paths, or reached in short ascents by deterring from the paths, but a real hiking objective is actually only the highest point.
The summit part of Monte Roen is built of triassic dolomites of various ages and characteristics. Older (paleozoic) rocks can be found only in lower parts on the eastern side.
San Romedio Sanctuary
The access path
I don't want to deter too much from hiking and mountaineering topics, but the fascinating San Romedio
sanctuary must be mentioned. Read the amusing story about this saint and about the history of sanctuary, here are just a few tips how to visit this once popular pilgrimage, nowadays touristic site.
The sanctuary is built on an impossibly steep, rocky side spur, deep in the canyon of Romedio creek
. The road reaches till below the rock, but it's more nice to walk there from the Sanzeno
in the main valley. Park above the village, at Museo Retico
, where the amusing gallery path starts. The ancient aquaduct was converted into an exposed, but completely secured path
, suitable also for children. After some 45 minutes you reach below the sanctuary
and then you need to ascend steeply up to it. After visiting it, it's very worth going another 5 minutes up, to a small cemetery
, from which you have a great view down on the monastery.
The panorama from Monte Roen is really immense. On the east, already quite far away, on the other side of Adige, the rugged flank of the Dolomites rises. More towards the south there are Lagorai mountains and on both sides of the valley, further southwards the Monte Lessini and mountains around Garda lake can be seen. Higher are the groups of Brenta and Ortler, clearly seen more towards the west. The northwestern and northern horizon is packed with the mountain of Central Alps - Oetztal, Stubai, Zillertal Alps. In front of them, just above Bolzano, more humble Sarntal Alps can be distinguished. And finally, fascinating is the view down into the deep, broad vally of Adige - the river is flowing almost 2000 meters below us.
Dolomites across the Adige/Etsch valley
Monte Roen can be reached quite easily from more far away, but there are also very close trailheads. One would naturally think of hiking on top from the Passo di Mendola
. It can be done, towards the south also runs a road till the ski resort, but from there it's still some good 3 hours of a hike, until you reach the top.
A better option is to take the mountain road from Amblar (near Cavareno), which brings you on the broad Malga di Romeno / Malga Roen
, 1774 m. Till the meadow on 1501 m the road is nice and asphalted, higher it's macadam. Another access road starts in Don village. It goes fist up to the Malga Sanzeno and then eventually further up to Malga di Romeno.
Also the Malga di Smareno e Sfruz
, 1905 m, lying SW of the summit, is reachable by a mountain road. But I have no information if it's opened for public traffic.
Finally there are two parking places on the eastern side
of Monte Roen. Above the Tramin town you can park on some 700 m and also above the Kaltern lake on some 700 m. There are mountain roads going a bit further up, but not sure if opened publicly. More towards the south from above Tramin a windy, narrow mountain road goes up towards the main ridge. In its lower parts you can park even above 1000 meters.
Monte Roen Hiking Ascents1. Normal route from Malga di Romeno, 1774 m.
This is one of the shortest and easiest ascents. From the hut you follow the path No. 500, going soutwards. It starts ascending immediately, first by a good cart road, later it continues by a good, broad path. It's all the time easy (mostly T1) and not too steep. In winter very apropriate for skiing. 50 min.
In the ferrata
In the ferrata2. Via ferrata from the Rifugio Oltradige / Ueberetscher Huette, 1773 m.
You reach this mountain hut from Malga di Romeno, continuing mostly horizontally by the road (marks No. 560) in the SE, later S direction. 15 min to the hut. At the hut, you turn sharply right. The path No. 523 immediately starts ascending steeply. First it goes right (in the N direction), when reaching the rock walls it starts climbing over them and then continuing in the W direction. After the first climbing sections the path starts using nice, distinct ledges, going more in the southern direction. After coming more close below the summit, the route goes straight up again. In easy climbing we overcome the last steep rocky sections and soon exit from the walls. We are on the main ridge, just north of the summit. In a few minutes we reach the crossroads (with the path No. 500) and in another 5 minutes we reach the top. Easy ferrata (on the Austrian scale A/B, the whole tour would be rated on the Swiss Hiking Scale T3), less than 1 hour from the hut.
3. Via del Camosci / Gamsensteig.
Below the vertical summit walls this marked path crosses the whole eastern wall of Monte Roen. Obviously it's a hunters route, now secured for hikers visits (No. 560). The route starts at Rifugio Oltradige / Ueberetscher Huette, 1773 m, and goes in some ups and downs all the time southwards. On a few places it's secured (ask for condition of devices in the hut). Finally the route ascends up on the main ridge, where we turn sharp right, ascend first the summit of Testa Nera / Schwarzer Kopf, 2030 m, and then continue northwards on the main summit. Difficulty is supposedly T3, some 2 h 30 minutes from the mountain hut.
4. Normal route from Malga di Smareno e Sfruz, 1905 m.
This is even a shorter (and equally easy) hike than #1 above. But providing that you can drive all the way up on the alpine pasture. 30 min.
5. The ascents from the eastern side.
All the marked routes are much longer and higher, count with some 4 hours for ascending on top.
Malga di Romeno
I'm listing here only a few huts in the very proximity of Monte Roen:
- Malga di Romeno / Monte Roen hut, 1774 m. Reachable by car.
- Rifugio Oltradige / Ueberetscher Huette, 1773 m. Reachable on foot in 15 minutes.
- Malga di Smareno e Sfruz, 1905 m. Shepherds hut, the road reaches the pasture, but check if it's opened.
- Rifugio Mezzavia / Halbweghuette, 1585 m. Near the upper station of ski lifts, half way on the route from Passo Mendola.
When to ascend?
tiziana - On the Monte Roen ski tour
Monte Roen can be ascended any time of the year. The ferrata and the hunters route are best suited for summer and autumn. If coming on a ski tour, check if the roads are cleaned. From the village of Amblar, 980 m, you will need 2 hours only for skinning up by the road to Malga di Romeno and then the usual 1 hour more on top. The ski tour is easy.