Monte Rondinaio (1964 mt) is located in the Appennino tosco-emiliano, a big mountain range crossing two regions, as the name suggests, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna.
More precisely the peak is part of the Tagliole Valley, a very characteristic landscape full of woods surrounded by beautiful mountains and lakes.
In the valley you can also find an hamlet, called Le Tagliole, in the municipality of Pievepelago, in the province of Modena; formed by groups of houses (farmhouses) with different names that give life to a small town.
HIKING FROM LAGO SANTO TO MONTE RONDINAIO
STARTING POINT / Rifugio Alpino Vittoria (1.501 mt)
EQUIPMENT / hiking boots or snowshoes
DISTANCE / 6 km one way
TIME / 2 hours 30 minutes one way
OVERALL TIME / all day
ELEVATION / 500 mt
DIFFICULTY / EE
TRAILS / CAI 523
HIKERS / Giulio, Patrick, Daniele and Rony
On the 8th of April Patrick, Daniele, Rony and myself decided to go climb up Monte Rondinaio (1964 mt) hiking in the snow with no equipment: no crampons, no snowshoes.
After about two and a half hours driving from Florence we arrived at the parking spot of Lago Santo modenese, where we left the car and got everything set up to go up.
The CAI trail 523 starts right from the Rifugio Vittoria at Lago Santo.
From there you can see Monte Giovo, one of the highest peaks in the Appennino tosco-emiliano.
The trail continues going up through a beeches wood, beautiful in summer and bare in winter.
The slope of the first stretch of the trail is fairly easy, but challenging because of the fresh snow. Specially without snowshoes.
After about 20 minutes we finally reached Lago Baccio, one of the largest Appenine lakes after Lago Santo.
Obviously in winter time the lake freezes becoming a big white valley.
We tested the solidity of the ice layer, but we were sure that it would not hold any weight.
When you reach the lake the trail forks in two paths, one along the right side of the lake and the other along the left side.
We picked the right side, still on trail 523, hiking along the lake to get to the inlet at the base of the mountain range which delimit the border between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.
From there the path becomes slightly more demanding due to the slope.
Some segments of the trail climbing up to the summit have slopes of about 45/50°.
We started hiking up at the bases of Monte Giovo, Grotta Rosa and Altaretto, which surround you as if they wanted to hug us.
While hiking, we spotted some daredevils venturing in skimo. After climbing up the whole mountain with the skis, reached the top they started to go down skiing. A very tough activity.
Slowly we began to see the summit, but still there was a lot of road and a lot of heights.
After about two hours hiking up the most challenging part of the trail, we arrived at a plateau, where we could enjoy the beautiful view and sit for a few minutes rest.
As time was running and being slower than expected, we started to hike again for the last two stretches.
The first part did not seem hard, but once taken we started to feel the gradient and the steep slope.
Along our way we met many people as you can see from the traces left in the snow in the photos.
We finally arrived at the foresummit of Monte Rondinaio, in front of the breathtaking mountain group who watched us from above all the time.
At about 1890 mt we could look at each other face to face, enjoying the view from above.
Recovered our energies, we began to set off for the last stretch of the trail that leads to the cross at the top of Monte Rondinaio (1964 mt).
We found the cross completely covered by 3 meters of snow.
Once we reached the summit, and realizing that it was almost four o'clock in the afternoon, we returned to the foresummit to find a place out of the rising winds and finally be able to eat lunch.
While the wind was blowing and the clouds appeared, considered the time, we started the descent at a sustained speed.
When hiking in the mountains it is always important to be aware of the time and take into consideration several factors, such as weather, which is fundamental.
It didn't take too long to back down the mountain.