Tha place: Brenta Dolomites, from Grosté to Tuckett
The beauty of the Brenta Dolomites , from Grosté to Tuckett, Alps in northern Italy, is the variety: open spaces and narrow canyons, crowded spots and areas of total isolation, idyllic meadows and coral rocks. There are peaks accessible only to experienced climbers, and walks within everyone’s reach.
Today we are going to dive into a really emotional route, which can be done by anyone who can climb up and down the stairs. The starting point is Madonna di Campiglio, Grosté car park (you can leave your car all day for 5 euro). Take the cable car in the direction of Grosté and get off at the second station, the Stoppani Hut at an altitude of 2,500m. The first refuge was built in 1893 by the SAT (Società Alpinistica Tridentina).
Our path is no. 316, marked by red and white signs. And the red and white painted on the stones will be our signal for the entire route. After just a few minutes, we find ourselves in the midst of an incredible landscape: the dolomite rocks reflect the shades of coral, creating unique colours. Every now and then a few cushions of green grass and purple, yellow and blue flowers make you think you are in a fairy tale. The crisp air is intoxicating.
Our companions on the way are the most beautiful peaks of the Brenta all around us, and in the distance Adamello and Presanella, behind Cevedale and Gran Zebrù. The path does not present any particular obstacles or precipices, but it is full of stone steps, so it must be tackled with mountain shoes and never in the rain. The Tuckett Hut can be reached in an hour and a half by walking slowly. For the return journey, you can either retrace the same path, or descend to Vallesinella (but then you have to go to the Grosté car park by car).
Among the first mountaineers to explore these areas were the British. The vice president of the British Alpine Club, Francis Fox Tuckett, was particularly fond of the Brenta. It was he who in 1861 tested the first prototype of a sleeping bag. And his friend, Douglas Freshfield, the first to climb to the top of Presanella in 1864, wrote in “The Italian Alps”:
The traveller (…) forgets, in the charm of what is near at hand, what he came to see. Then suddenly through the tree-tops an incredible yellow flame, set for ever between the green and the blue, recalls the presence of the dolomites, and urges him to further exertion. He climbs a step barrier, and the pinnacles range themselves as portion of a vast amphitheatre of rock. He advances a few hundred yards further along the level and the scene is changed. Thus one solitary tower over climbs the clouds and mixen with the sky… Rocks, grey, gold, red, brown and black, cluster round his bewildered eyes, and he begins to doubt whether the scene is solid reality or some Alastor-inspired Vision of Solitude…
The Passo del Grostè is sometimes ascended by visitors to Campiglio the nearest spot whence it is possible to look eastward over the Trentino…”
In 1871, Tuckett, Freshfield and Devouassou were the first to climb Cima Brenta (3,150 m) from the Vedretta del Brenta.
Recipe: ‘Fasoi en bronzon’ (Beans in wine)
In a path of such beauty we can easily spot a lovely spot for a picnic. A flat dolomite stone serves as a table, the grass as a cushion, the spires as a backdrop. We have bought local cheeses (km 0), salami from the valley and homemade bread. For the main course, we bring “Fasoi en bronzon” (Beans in wine). They are also excellent cold and make an alpine picnic.
Ingredients for 4 portions: 1 onion, 500 g of boiled borlotti beans, 200 ml of broth, 300 ml of red wine (possibly Teroldego), sage, nutmeg, for non-vegetarians, optional, 300 g of sausage.
Fry the onion cut into small pieces, add the broth, wine, beans, sage and nutmeg. So cook on a high flame without a lid for 15 minutes. Then remove half of the mixture from the heat, put it through a blender, and return the cream to the pan. So add the sausage and continue cooking for a further 40 minutes over a low heat.