SP3 Monte Baldo s(u)

Monte Baldo refers to the entire range on the east side of Lago di Garda. My first thought was the question if  the name "Monte Baldo" had any relation to the name "Mount Baldy". Clearly not, - just the opposite. You realize this very quickly just by looking at where this range touches Lago Maggiore. Mount Baldy sounds much too rounded for this ragged limestone ridge that meets the lake in horizontal fashion without compromising slopes. But up here on top from this summit on SP3, at least from some angles, and still below the highest sharp peaks, it does look more like a series of cone shaped round hills. But they are interrupted by vertical dropoffs into nowhere.

Monte Baldo has the geological distinction of having reached above the glaciers of the last ice age. Along the rolling top a diversity of plants has evolved that does not exist below in the areas once covered by glaciers.

This road leads to the base of Monte Altissimo on Monte Baldo. There are many ways to construct loops over this summit, and probably dozens of just slightly lower shoulder points along the route. All of these can be cycled in an seemingly endless variety of loops.

1.(160m,00.0km) START-END North: route leaves bike path and crosses Etsch into Chizzola
2.(670m,08.4km)route turns left onto Sp3, turning away from Bretonico
3.(1190m,14.6km)San Giacomo
4.(1310m,17.7km)jct with Sp208, before reaching San Valentino
5.(1620m,22.7km)TOP: Sp3 Monte Baldo s(u)
6.(1470m,28.7km)profile stays left on Sp8
7.(1610m,33.4km)Sp8 Monte Baldo s(u)
8.(1130m,39.4km)Cacciatore
9.(840m,44.9km)Ferrara Di Monte Baldo
10.(280m,59.7km)Caprino Veronese
11.(90m,67.7km) START-END SOUTH: Garda

Approaches

From North.
On this side, all the lowest points to climb this summit start from the Piste Ciclabile along the Adige (Etsch) River. I picked the route going up from Chizzola. This is a wide smooth road with very little car traffic, but a lot of motorcycles. The road circles in around the attractive village of Brentonico. But the route does not enter it. Instead it turns off just on the outskirts of Brentonico and climbs away again in flowing smooth curves, delivering more views organized around church towers. By the time the road reaches San Giacomo, the mountains have become bare loaves, and the road slices along it like a knife. Here I met several groups that looked like school classes, practicing up on their bicycling endurance.

There are many ways to cut this ride short and roll down another variation of a Monto Baldo climb. But San Valentino is the last chance to do so. After that you are committed to the SP3 summit. Past San Velentino the road also takes on a more rugged character. It dives into a short tunnel, only to emerge momentarily and catch air, makes a tight turn and runs through another short arch of a tunnel. A few more smooth spline curves above treeline, and then the top comes into sight: a large albergo in front of a cone shaped mountain with straight lines. The background fades from green into hazy gray. During my ride in this area, the light was so flat - that there may have been far views - but if there were - it looked like just another variation of cloud and fog. Apparently this flat light weather is pretty typical here, at least in spring. From the summit an unpaved track continues up the steep cone shaped Monte Altissimo, and disappears somewhere in the milky clouds above.


the summit of SP3, behind it: Monte Altissimo di Nago at ~2065m

From South. (described downwards) A long fast traverse leads to a restaurant, that strategically occupies the only obvious view down to Lago di Garda. But they don't charge for looking. The road becomes narrower and follows the top of a ridge in dense forest. The route now follows a lower ridge across from Monte Altissimo, which appears like the roof of a tower above everything. Periodically deep valleys open up in different directions. The flat light actually gives these valleys a mysterious bottom less look, with roads slicing up mountain sides like lines on sheets of paper.

At the next junction it is possible to return on a separate descend towards the north. But I made the mistake of misinterpreting the 30km sign to Lago di Garda as "Riva di Garda", and the profile also follows that option. The road winds around in a long, but interesting way to reach the lake close to its south end in Garda.

Along the way SP8 climbs again and makes another summit point, also above tree line. As the mountains get lower towards this side of the lake, the villages have a more medieval "huddled together" look. The current distance from the lake can be gauged directly by how much traffic is on the road. Less traffic means further away.


Dayride
with this point as highest summit:

COMPLETELY PAVED:

SP3 Monte Baldo s(u) , SP8 Monte Baldo: Passo Giovanni : Torbole > Passo Giovanni with detours > Mori > Pista Ciclabile south along Adige > Chizzola > Brentonico > San Giacomo  > Boca di Navene > SP3 Monte Baldo s(u) > Ferrara di M Baldo > Spatzi > Pazzon > Garda > north along Lago di Garda > Brenzone > Malcesine > back to starting point in Torbole with grocery shopping detour: 84.6miles with 7702ft of climbing in 7:20hrs (Garmin etrex30 m4:14.5.4)
Notes: Passo Giovanni may be 10ft short of the 300ft required to make it a summit point. Old method with VDO Mc1.0 : 84.8miles with 7408ft of climbing in 7:09hrs.

The last day with different start and end points is on page: Passo Lagostrello




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top right and bottom left: between Chizzola and Brentonico
top right: just south of summit
bottom left: two short tunnels, west of San Valentino




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