A mountain trip in Adamello Alps (Italy), 25-31 August 2018
Adamello group is home to some of the most southern glaciers in Italy. This area stretches even further south than the Dolomites. The mountains (up to about 3500 m) are very attractive. In some places they resemble Dolomites, but they can also be very different. Because of the time limitations, we could only spend 7 days in the mountains, including approach and descent back to the car. Nonetheless, the trip was intense and fulfilling and we did not feel that it was too short. Everybody enjoyed it!
Coloured lines show our track. The arrow shows direction of travel, and the "P" icon shows the car park.
The walking time includes short breaks but excludes lunch break.
- Technical level. The trip was just at the right level for us. It was not too simple but we did not have unsurmountable difficulties either. The Adamello group is highly recommended for simple trips in the mountains! The glaciers are not too steep, there are crevasses but not too many. The Winter was rather cold, but the Summer was hot and the snow cover on the glacers was all but gone. The only stretch of the wet (snow-covered) glacier we had to cross was near Passo di Cavento, but even there most crevasses were visible. There were several areas of rockfall hazard, but we did not see any rockfalls (except the ones that we dislodged). The steep sections of marked paths are equipped with chains and steps and do not present any technical difficulties. We crossed several sections with very large boulders, so the danger of falling and breaking one's leg was very real.
- Walking time, planning the trip and escape routes. Because of the limited duration of the trip, we could not include too much spare time in the plan. The sun rose at around 6.25 and set again at 20.25. We strived to leave our camping spots around 7.30-8.30 in the morning. Because of the navigational errror near Passo di Cavento, we had to sacrifice planned ascent of Adamello mountain. The last three days of the trip were glacier-free, following marked paths, so in case of any emergency we could just go down the valley. We could also escape from the Lobbia glacier via Passo di Val Fumo. As an alternative to Passo di Cavento, we considered Davolo-Folgorido passes or Bocchetta di Folgorida-Toppette passes but we could not find their descriptions. We also considered Passo Croce o del Dosson as a more technical alternative to Passo della Lobbia Alta but we did not have enough spare time for it (spare time would have been needed for extra altitude gain, steep ascent, roping up on descent).
- The weather. We were very lucky with the weather. The days of approach and descent were very wet but all other days were rain-free. Days 3-5 were all sunny, no clouds. It was not too hot but the nights were not cold, only once did the temperature drop below freezing point.
- Gas cartidges. Italians mostly use CampinGaz, which does not fit our burners. We reserved gas cartridges in Decathlon and then collected them on arrival. One cannot book gas cartridges to be delivered to the shop, it is only possible to reserve whatever is currently available in the shop, and the reservation is only valid for 3 days. So after some gas-hunting, we managed to reserve 4 large cartridges and two small ones.
- The guitar! It's been many years since we took a guitar on a hiking trip, so we decided to try it this time round. We arrived into Italy the night before and stayed overnight in an appartment booked via AirBnB. So we bought a cheap second-hand guitar on ebay in advance of the trip and asked our hosts to receive it. After the trip, we packed the guitar in a backpack and checked it in as normal luggage. It arrived without any new damage. So next time we will just put it in a backpack and check in (we will take some epoxy glue for emergency repairs).
- Maps and paths. The online map from the Kompass site is very convenient for the trip planning, it includes marked paths. However this map is not very accurate, many paths are not shown correctly (this confused us near Passo di Cavento), and even the contour lines are not as good as Opentopo - you have been warned! Most paths (but not all) are correctly shown on Opentopo. The Tabacco 052 (Adamello-Presanella) map which we bought in the UK in advance is good. We scanned and calibrated it and used it throughout the trip. Many paths (but not all!) are correctly shown on this map.
- People and animals. We met very few fellow hikers, just a few groups, mostly close to the refuges. They were clearly going on circular paths, returning to the same hut. Once we saw a mountain guide with a girl which were going to another hut through Passo di Cavento. The chances of meeting people in more remote areas are very small. We saw some animals: marmots, deer, goats, cows, horses. Adamello is the only place in the Alps with a population of bears. They were reintroduced into the park in 1999-2002. We saw no signs of their presence, but when we were camping close to the tree line, we packed all food in sealed bags and left them outside the tents, just in case.
- Wild camping. We do not know if wild camping is allowed in the area but we had no problems. Only once we saw a person walk past out tents (this was on the 5th day when we pitched the tents quite early in the Fumo Chiese valley, within walking distance from a refuge). We spent one night in Bivacco Laeng on Passo di Cavento. This is a metal box with two triple bunk beds (two of our party slept on the floor). There were loads of blankets. The chances of the bivacco being occupied are not high. We spent another night in a bothy (Malga Niscli). This was a great night!
- Mobile networks. We got no signal at all except in the vicinity of the Borzago valley.
- Weather forecast. We used this site. It allows one to download a small pdf file with the forecast (e.g., here) even when the signal is weak.
- Webcams. The only relevant webcam is here.
- Useful links. The description of the area around Passo di Cavento can be found here, here, here (with many pictures, including area around Passo della Lobbia Alta), here, here, here, here and here (with many pictures). Here is a description of some marked paths. A description of Passo Croce o del Dosson can be found here and here. This page describes ascent from the Poia valley to the Passo di Salarno. Brief descriptions of nearby routes are found on the web pages of refuges, e.g., Care Alto, Gnutti and Baita Adame.
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