Saturday, June 11, 2011

Climbing the Sibillini mountains, how to choose

11 June, 2011
If you have just one day to climb a mountain in the Sibillini chain, which should you choose?  I have climbed a representative sample, so let me help you decide.  1st question: do you like to climb the highest mt. in a certain region? A: Mt. Vettore which is a nice climb with about 950 meters to go up and then down and views of the coast, parts of distant Umbria and Abruzzo, Lazio and the Marche.  2nd: Would you rather have a beautiful hike?  Try Cima del Lago with the same starting point as Vettore at Forca di Presta, but amazing views of the Lago di Pilato and the altopiano (plateau) of Castelluccio.  If you want to bag 3 peaks continue on to Mt. Redentore and Pizzo del Diavolo, all listed at above 2400 meters.  3. If you want a safe, short period with a rope to assist you and views of the Gola dell'Infernaccio from above, try Mt. Sibilla and you can easily add the next peak Cima Vallelunga and descend via an unused road.  Here are some photos of all of them with my favorite being the 2nd option.
Looking back at Cima del Lago from Redentore, this is the ridge you walk along.

One of the views of Lago di Pilato from Cima del Lago

From Cima del Lago, the tallest mountain in the Marche, Mt. Vettore with Lago di Pilato which you can not see from Vettore in the lower left.

Altopiano of Castelluccio where the famous lentils grow and the parasailers glide over the fields of mustard, poppies and lentils.  This view is from near the top of Mt. Redentore.

Looking down on the eastern most part of the plateau of Castelluccio and into Lazio in the distance.

Bacco is looking at Lago di Pilato while above his head you see the top of Mt. Redentore and the prominence to the far right is Pizzo del Diavolo.

On top of Pizzo del Diavolo looking back at Redentore to the right and the crest you walk across to get to Cima del Lago to the left.

The crest from Redentore behind me to Pizzo to Bacco's left in the near distance.

A view from Pizzo del Diavolo to the Z-shaped scar of the road on Mt. Sibilla with Cima della Vallelunga to its left. Below right, you see the town of Foce where you can start the hike for Lago di Pilato.

Bacco, happy as a clam on a little snow remnant.
 Last look at Lago di Pilato before descending.
I have a pace which is close to 1.5 mph going up steep inclines, so I took 1 hour and 15 minutes to arrive at the refuge where you choose whether to hike right up Vettore or left up Cima del Lago.  To arrive at the latter was another 30 minutes and to continue on to Redentore and Pizzo del Diavolo was an hour.  the return took me about an hour and a half.  I figure the hike I took was between 7.5 and 8 miles round trip.  Happy climbing!


Sacha said...

Hmmm... It looks gorgeous. We'd love to spend a week or two in the Sibillini mountains in August, with our two dogs. I see that your dog seemed to enjoy the place. So dogs are allowed with all that fauna to be preserved? We would like to do some serious hiking and some beginners climbing/alpinism with a guide (without the dogs). Any idea how to prepare our trip?

Sacha said...

Oops, I wanted to get notified of follow-up comments... I'm a little disoriented by the way this website works...

Dwight said...

Ciao Sacha, Get the "Cicerone guide: Italy's Sibillini National Park-Walking and Trekking Guide" by Gillian Price for a start. Dogs are optional and I always have my leash handy, but there are few people hiking, so usually I let him run free. For some technical climbing, you might try CAI in Ascoli Piceno as they are the alpine club there. I know where to find the climbing rocks, but don't have the skill or equipment myself. I am glad to help you at my email if you have any more questions.

Sacha said...

Hi Dwight. Thanks for your prompt response. The Alpine Club website ( has no info on upcoming courses (I read Italian) but I could contact them of course.

Ideally I would like to find an isolated but decently comfortable place to stay with my partner and our two big dogs and as little other human beings as possible, somewhere in the mountains. Any idea?

I searched on a website with accomodation in the Sibillini and found this:
Lovely place and people (English by the sound of it) but I would prefer higher up in the mountains if possible at all - this is in the valley.

(I also have a car issue which might force me to give up this trip this time around but I would then go some other time in the future.)

Hoping these posts will help other people figure the Sibillini out...



Dwight said...

There are rifugi available to stay in up in the mountains, rustic, certainly, but appropriate for climbing or doing the big circle hike which needs 3-4 days. Towns to look in which are close are Montemonaco, Sarnano, Amandola, Castelluccio, Visso. My b and b is about an hour from the mountains.