It is the highest and most imposing mountain in the whole southern part of the Adamello group. If Presanella and Adamello present a technically easy normal route, this is not the case for Carè Alto, in fact this is a peak that requires effort and climbing skills to be climbed, from any face. Precisely its steep and articulated nature, mixed with the great historical and panoramic interest, combine to make it one of the most beautiful and fascinating mountains in the area.
During the great war, although not directly affected by fighting, the Carè Alto assumed great strategic and logistical importance for the Austrian army. Back then, part of the long ridge E (on which a cableway was placed) and the rough SW ridge were equipped with ladders and metal ropes, bunkers were built near the summit as well as various lookout posts . Nowadays these structures are partly still visible, especially the flywheel of the cableway on top of the Cerana ridge, the cannon at the homonymous pass and the recently rebuilt barrack that can be used as an emergency shelter near the summit.
There are many climbing routes, the most classic and deserving are the ones following the four ridges that define the shape of the mountain.
Due to the length of the access, the recommended logistic solution is always to start in the afternoon of the previous day in order to focus on summit next day . The suggested foothold is the Carè Alto refuge, reachable in about 3 hours walking from the upper Borzago valley. For some itineraries it may instead be indicated to spend the night at the Val di Fumo refuge, at the Segalla bivouac, Laeng or at the Dosson hut.
The climbs are approximately 1000m from the car park to the Carè Alto refuge and another 1000m from the refuge to the summit.
Generally the first day starting at about 3 pm ends at the shelter, while the second day, starting before dawn, leads to the summit and then down to the valley floor. Subject to the manager’s availability, it is generally possible to get backpacks carried to the refuge with a cableway.
Clothing and equipment: warm hat, gloves, raincoat, warm sweater, light down jacket or two sweaters, sunglasses, boots for semi-step or step-in crampons, charged headlamp, climbing harness, 1 screw-lock climbing carabiner, water bottle, crampons suitable for the boots, helmet, ice axe, 35lt or more backpack.
Rates starting from:
Price per person, including the rental of technical equipment (harness, crampons, ice ax and helmet). It’s preferred to work with preformed groups but if you are alone contact us anyway, we will do our best to find you a climbing mate.
Always ask about the contractual conditions.
North West crest, Normal route. AD
The route of the first ascent, even if technically easier than the others, it is not to be underestimated expecially for its overall length, the final part that presents sections of climbing of 2˚ grade, as well as mixed climbing and abseilings. From the refuge, passing through the characteristic gap called Bus del Gat (litterally cat hole), you reach the Niscli saddle, not before having crossed an impetuous torrent with a zipline. From this point the itinerary goes up to the Vedretta di Lares until the beginning of the N ridge, at the foot of the now almost extinct “pala” (an ice covered slope). The most technical part consists in reaching the ridge, going on to the Norhern foresummit and shortly afterwards, along an exposed rope pitch, stepping on the main summit with the iconic cross and a majestic panorama.
More info, photos and report available here:
East crest, Cerana route. AD +
For those who already have a minimum of mountaineering experience this is probably the most exciting route, surely the most direct starting from the Carè Alto refuge.
The route passes by the cannon notch and then somehow crosses an area of moraine made complex by glacial retreat, followed by a rope pitch of 2˚/ 3˚ grade and the famous donkey’s back to do astride.
The return can be done from the same route or making a loop going down from the normal way on the N side and then on the glacier of Lares. A complete report is available here: https://www.vienormali.it/montagna/cima_scheda.asp?cod=569
I recommend watching this beautiful video made by Fabio Olivotti.
West crest, Alpini’s route. AD + Erroneously known as the Alpini’s route (Alpini is the alpine section of Italian army), it was actually manned by the Austrian army. It is a marvelous itinerary, not very frequented, that starts from the cows’ pass near Segalla Bivouac. It is slightly longer and more complex than Cerana, there is some original gear (metal ropes and ladders) on site with dubious reliability and that needs to be verified from time to time. Climbing up to II+ grade.
Here’s a complete report https://www.vienormali.it/montagna/cima_scheda.asp?cod=2036 ..
South / East edgbe
It is certainly the most difficult classic route to the summit, a stunning ridge, complex, rarely frequented. The rock is excellent and presents a climbing grade between 5 and 5+, which can be useful to be tackled with climbing shoes. Itinerary reserved only for mountaineers with experience and mastery of the 4th grade.
Watch also this excellent video by Giampaolo Calzà.
South wall, Erotic Dreams or Beverly route.
The S wall of the Carè Alto is the most vertical and compact, the granite here has a really good quality and there are two long climbing routes in a majestic environment, “erotic dreams” is the most difficult one on Carè Alto but it is very logical and the difficulties are not so extreme, in the order of the 5th grade with a few more difficult steps. The latter has three or four repeats while Beverly is probably unrepeated.