The Cervi Group as seen from the slopes of Pizzo Carbonara
The shortest - but by no means easiest ascent to Sicily's second highest mountain starts at Piano Battaglia and traverses the southwestern slope of the mountain. While it covers only 400m of altitude it is very scenic since the south-west slopes tower above the basin between Piano Torre and Portella Colla. The path is not marked but well worn, at least until you get to the summit plateau. The final ascent is a scramble across loose rocks, often avoiding the dense patches of dwarf beeches and the funnel-like dolines which form the landscape on top of the plateau.
As with all high peaks on islands - the weather on Pizzo Carbonara is prone to be very stormy. Our own experience telss us that while at sea level barely a breeze was blowing on to of the mountain you had difficulties of keeping your footing.
See the Getting there information on the main page. The starting point is Piano Battaglia, to the west of the large meadow.
Looking down onto Piano Torre from the plateau
- Start altitude: ca. 1605m
- Summit altitude: 1979m
- Prevailing exposure: W
- Type: 2h over narrow paths, on the plateau trail-less
- Protection: A clearly visible path on the slope traverse, path-less near the summits
Effort: 500m elevation gain
Power: 1 - easy
Psyche: 1 - easy
Orientation: 1 - easy
The route starts in the west of the large meadow at Piano Battaglia. There a narrow trail heads up the slope northwards, crossing the access road and soon heading towards the south-western slope of the Carbonara Massif. There you have near perfect views of the Cervi Group to the west and as far as the western Sicilian Highlands, at least on a clear day. In the cracks between the rocks you can find a multitude of beautiful mountain flowers, among them the rare Orchis Brancofortii, and endemic species, which only grows on Sicily and eastern Sardinia.
The slope traverse ends in a rocky path, which soon enters a large amphitheatre-like doline. Though the ascent to Carbonara should be started at the eastern end of this amphitheatre, it nevertheless is advisable to first hike to the nothern end to sneak a peek down one of the numerous gullies in the west face towards Piano Torre below. Return to the east end of the doline and leave the path here, scramblik up the loose rock in the drection of the main summit.
Here my facility to describe the route fail me as the summit plateau, far from being featureless, conststs of numerous hillocks, funnels, ravines, all with the infernal dwarf beeches netween. Look for a way through these - we walked a half circle, first turning south, then moving east along the crest between two of the funnel-like dolines.
Essential GearHiking gear is sufficient.