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Spring and Autumn: climbing in lake Garda and Dolomites

All inclusive

In lake Garda mid-seasons are the best time of the year for climbing:

the Dolomites’ tourist season starts in mid-June and ends in late September. From a climber’s perspective, is it really so? Of course not! It is often the case that, weather-wise, September and October offer some the best days in the year. The weather is stable, the air is dry and, although low in the morning, temperatures rise in the first hours of the day. Thus climbers can play about in short sleeves, surrounded by hues of blue skies, orange larchs and reddish rock. In spring time, most of the approach and descent routes are covered by snow; our thirst for rock will take us to the Dolomites’ periphery, in the Sarca valley, where lower heights and Lake Garda make Autumn and Spring the perfect climbing climate. This section introduces 2 very distinct tour proposals: the first to Garda lake, among vineyards and great cliffs, the second to the Scarpa refuge, among mount Agner’s warm sunny south faces.


best time of the year

  • Sarca Valley, Garda Lake
  • Mountain hut Scarpa
  • Sport Climbing
  • Alpine climb
  • Multiactivity outdoor

see below

  • Autumn
  • Spring
Lake Garda climbing

Picturesque medieval Arco lies not far from Lake Garda’s north shore. Since the 1980s it has become well known as Northern Italy’s main climbing hotspot: the offer consists not only in thousands of single-pitch routes but also other cliffs up to a height of 1000, like Monte Brento’s faces.
Plenty of climbing shops are to be found among the town’s cobblestoned alleys, more than the many cafes and pubs! Even from the town centre’s one realises how we are effectively surrounded by vertical walls. Every day we can try a different direction in our quest for the perfect route.


after the obligatory cappuccino and croissant in Arco’s main square, we will start our first day with a pretty sport route on the famouse Zebra Slabs. The name comes from its evident black and white stripes. Here climbing is mostly along slabs and a wide variety of grades can be found next to each other.

TRENTO ROUTE, grade 5a, 180 metres: a pretty introductory route, two nice pitches on slabs, smearing-style.
OLOCAUSTO ROUTE, grade 7a, 200 metres: some of the hardest pitches on this wall, extreme smearing!


now that we’re all settled with those fitted slabs, let’s move slightly north. Monte Casale is waiting for us, with its 400 meters wall on display, presenting a markedly Alpine style, in its climbing and protection.

MISSILE route, grade V+/VI, 400 meters: excellent rock and exemplary line make this climb very satisfying.
SE LA CONOSCI LA EVITI (“once you know it, you’ll steer clear of it”), grade VII+/ AO, 400 meters: an alpine route offering excellent climbing, among the most interesting in the valley.


today we will go for a shorter itinerary and head for Mandrea. It looks like a long, complex and convoluted rocky barrier. The rock, the nature and the peaceful environment make it for one of the valley’s most special corners.

BLACK HOLE, grade VI, 250 metres: a classic-style Lake Garda climbing along cracks and dihedrals, its environment giving away some great satisfaction


a sunny, attractive wall right above the village of Sarche. The icing on the cake that is our stay in Lake Garda! Climbing routes:

MAESTRI DIHEDRAL, grade VI+ AO, 400 metres. Cesare Maestri’s masterpiece, the great climber from Trento. A spectacular route travelling through the dihedral visible from the road.
VIA IL RAZZISMO DAL MONDO (GET RACISM OUT OF THE WORLD), grade V+, 200 metres: an extremely logical route, all along it follows a crack starting from the dam below and cutting through the entire face. Rock quality is always good or excellent.


A long but convenient forest track cuts through the woods until it opens up on the green alpine pastures. Here we can find Scarpa mountain hut, our base camp for the next few days. We’ll take advantage of the hut manager’s goodwill to take our luggage up by 4×4. Besides this gesture, we’ll find a warm and comfortable environment, sampling traditional local food and enjoying a cool beer at the end of our climbing day.
Once settled in our accommodation, we’ll start looking at the guidebook to choose tomorrow’s adventure.


Campanile di San Marco (San Marcos’ bell tower)– “DELLA LUCIA” route, 6 pitches, 180 metres, grade V
An amazing route on hold- and hourglass-rich rock, in some of Agner’s most magic environments. Thoroughly recommended, also because it’s one of the few rocky towers around here. Beware of the definitely non-trivial approach, with some grade I sections on grass and rock, and the descent, almost all by abseiling.

Piombi dei Lastei – ADELE GNECH route, 5 pitches, 250 metres, grade VI
A cute climb, half an hour from the hut, on rock varying from discrete to nice. Even if demanding, the crux pitch is also very enjoyable. Comfortable descent with 2 abseils.


Becco d’Aquila (Eagle’s beak) – “DE COL Edge”, 9 pitches, 450 metres, grade VI
A nice route on the Beak’s edge, rock always solid and well protected.
This is the longest and most classic route among our suggestions, recommended for people with already some alpine experience especially as far as route finding is concerned, as it is not always obvious.
Comfortable descent with a few abseils along the south-west face to reconnect on the Agner’s normal route.

Punta del Nevaio – “SOGNO FATALE” (Fatal Dream), 7 pitches, 350 metres, grade IV+
Its difficulties easy to overcome, its convenient approach and its well protected belays make this a route recommended for beginners and whoever would want to improve their abseil descent technique. Rock is always great and protection easy.


CIMA DELLA BETA (2723 metres), 700 metres ascent, grade III, 3 hours
A climb for the wild, off the beaten track, normal route enthusiasts! It is never trivial and requires a certain alpine fitness and intuition: it goes along some grassy ledges, rocky steps and gullies that are not always easy to find. Great scenery from the top towards the Pale di San Martino plateau and northern Dolomites.

SASS DE LE CAORE (2708 metres), 700 metres ascent, grade II+, 3 hours
A wonderful normal route up to some of the Agner’s sub-peaks. Calling it a sub-peak doesn’t do it justice. This climb is much more demanding than the Giant, given its exposure, the non-trivial rocky cruxes and the route finding. Its grassy ledges full of Alpine star flowers, the hidden little caverns, the rocky depressions at the higher altitudes, a few chamois and great views towards the southern Veneto plain make this a thoroughly recommended route!


Pizzetti – several routes, 200 metres, between grade III and V
The Pizzetti are the rocky features hosting some of the Agner’s massif easiest climbing routes, up to 6 pitches and grade V. These present alternating rocky sections with good holds on solid rock and grassy terraces allowing for comfortable and convenient belays. Descent by abseiling along the normal routes.


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