Monte Cadria

  • Monte Cadria
  • 2254 m
  • Primary factor 1434 m
  • Location: North 45:56.315, East 010:41.890 (GPS at the summit)
  • Italy
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1 (my route: class 3)
  • Climbed: July 13, 2012


How to get there:
From the city of Riva del Garda at the north end of Lake Garda, take the road that runs uphill in a long tunnel to the village of Molina and Lago di Ledro. Take the smaller road forking right just after Lago di Ledro that has signs for the village of Lenzumo. Just north of Lenzumo, locate a small side road going left and/or signs for trail 423. There should be parking a bit up this road near an old power station.
Here is an overview of peaks climbed at my Europe 2012 summer trip.
Route description:
I somehow failed to find the proper trailhead and rather started out from the end of a small farmers road about 1.2 kilometer further north (up the road). Thus, I cannot provide the proper description, however from the map that I got AFTER the climb and with my experience from the mountain, trail 423 looks pretty straightforward.
My climb turned out to be pretty difficult, but on my return trip, I discovered a pretty direct route that is very feasible. This route can certainly be used by anyone who wants to try an alternate route to this peak. Learn more details in my comment section below.
Here is a map interface that should be used as a reference when reading about my mini-adventure on this peak.
This trip would have been very different if I had been able to find a map before the hike. Instead, I found an Italian trip report that seemed ok after a Google translate. I entered coordinates for what I believed should be the trailhead as well as for the summit into my GPS, then set out from our hotel at Lake Garda with my car.
I had no particular problems while driving to Lenzumo, except that my car navigational system guided me through the town rather than using the Hwy. passing on the east side of town. This turned out to be a poor choice as the street was more narrow than the width of my car, even with the mirrors folded in there was no way to pass through. I found the bypass road and thought that the lady in my navigational system ought to know what kind of car I was driving.
I first located the trailhead that my Italian trip report had indicated via my GPS coordinates. The side road was too small, so I decided to park near the main road and hike from there. However, this road ran out and no reasonable trail carried on. I thought that this had to be wrong. (see map, "Wrong trailhead")
I figured that the turn-off had to be somewhat further along the road (wrong, I should have searched nearer to Lenzumo), and soon found a side road that could be driven up to an old stone building. A marked and signed trail started from this point (see map, "My trailhead/parking"). This looked sort of correct, the stone structure could even possibly have been some sort of old power station? I parked and set off at 1045.
There were signs of lumber activity straight ahead. The trail immediately turned right, then curved around left and started a long stretch of uphill. I eventually came out of the forest and saw grassy slopes going higher. Unfortunately, the entire hill was in the middle of a cloud, pretty dense fog and limited visibility.
My trail curved up right and clearly served a small wooden cabin (map: "Cabin") with smoke coming out of its little chimney. An older man emerged and greeted me friendly. I asked about the route to Monte Cadria. He immediately showed an expression telling something like: "Oh me, this foreign tourist is way off his route and in any case, what the hell is he doing up here in this fog?" He spoke only Italian, but sort of made me understand that Monte Cadria was further south, that there was no route up this way and that my best bet would be to traverse, not gaining any more elevation.
He put on his boots and showed me that I had passed an almost invisible trail fork about 50 meter below his hut. (see map: "Trailfork"). I took his advice and hiked across a ridge, then contoured into a new bowl with a farmers house and some trail signs posted on a tree. Unfortunately, none of the signs gave any clues about a route to Monte Cadria. Well, my GPS indicated that I was less than 2 kilometer from the summit, unfortunately also almost 1000 meter below it. How bad could it be? The fog was an added complication. I continued while slowly gaining elevation and loosing any signs of a trail. I could hear the bells from animals and ran into a shepherd with a few hundred sheep. I tried to ask him, but he did not seem to understand much. When hearing Monte Cadria, he just pointed uphill into the fog shaking his head.
OK, time for some serious decision, should I continue uphill guided by my GPS or not? I decided to give it a try. The vegetation quickly got worse and the slope steeper. I had left my goretex pants in the car, using my shorts only. My legs got more cuts from sharp vegetation and burn from "brennesle", than in a very long time. It was soaking wet and generally unpleasant. I tried to keep my spirits high by telling myself that it could only get better, at least with respect to the bad, dense vegatation as I gained more elevation.
It eventually did, I emerged on some sort of ridge. The fog effecively blocked any orientation, my GPS said that I was getting closer, it seemed likely that this ridge would lead to the summit. I ran into a human made, small cave. It looked like a WW-I type of viewing post. No trail. The ridge got steeper, but what I could see looked doable. Hmm. slippery grass, then some rocks. YDS class 3 terrain. The ridge got more distinct as I climbed upwards staying a bit on the left side. I eventually got to an even more narrow section and this made me peek down on the right hand side. There, just 10 vertical feet below me, was a zig-zag trail! It had been climbing on that side of the ridge for a while. Good news indeed! I climbed down to the trail, then followed it to the summit. The time was 1350, the climb had taken me about 3 hours. Very limited views.
Close below the summit, there was a trail fork with signs that did not help me much. It seemed like the main trail descended on the wrong side of the mountain relative to were I was parked. A map would still have been very useful (it turned out that this trail was the correct one).
To start a descent on the wrong side of the main crest was out of the question, however the trail that had come up on my right hand side would work. It seemed a bit mysterious that the trail had come up from my right side. All evidence pointed to the fact that I had started too far north. In this case, I should have crossed this trail.
I proceeded down the trail and it soon became clear that this trail would get me down along the ridge to the main col separating Monte Cadria from the next peak further north. In fact, it looked like this trail was a trail that followed the crest going north. Obviously with limited use. It was so overgrown that I stepped outside the trail with one foot (into a void) and fell forward. I continued until I was so close to what looked like the next peak that I decided I might as well climb it.
I reached this summit at around 1500 and realized that it was high time to focus on finding a route back down to my car. Returning from the summit, I tried to continue along the crest trail, but it really ran out at this point. Searching a little, but no more trail. What to do now? I looked around and to my big surprise starred directly at a pair of light weight, completely modern walking poles. Could somebody have left them here just temporarily? I shouted loudly, but knew that I was aboslutely alone on this mountain. My own walking poles were broken, one of them could not be extended nor folded any more. What a bonus in the most unlikely place!
I now considered if I should descend directly down a steepish grassy gully that disappeared into the fog below me. There could be all sorts of problems further down, but how likley would there be cliffs that could not be circumvented?
This seemed like the only reasonable way to get back to my vehicle. I started cautiously going down. The grass was pretty nice, and lots of flowers. I continued my descent and noted that I would merge back with one of my waypoints from ascending, close to the farm house with the signs. The route turned out to be completely ok, off trail, but on grass and without the really bad vegetation that I had been fighting on my ascent.
The rest was a piece of cake, I got back down to the trail, then to my car at 1700.