Lake Garda MTB & Via Ferrata

August 2008

From the French Alps it was time to head to the Italian side through the Mont Blanc tunnel to check out Lake Garda. The aim of the trip was to scare ourselves both on the Via Ferratas and the somewhat challenging mountain bike terrain! Relaxing was then to be done in the actual lake itself!

We arrived at a campsite just on the out skirts of Riva Del Garda. The image below was the view from the tent each night. On the 2nd night we had the biggest thunder and lightening storm I have ever witnessed. Mother nature just reminding us how insignificant we are!

We spent just over a week mountain biking and playing on the via ferratas. Mountain bike trip 1 was a route up to the refuge of Bocca di Trat. It entailed a 7 hour climb from the lake shores. Thinking that we would be rewarded for our efforts we were wrong! The descent was no more than a 4x4 track down the mountain. We decided to go and find our own singletrack but even this proved too arduous after the climb! All in all the day was put down to good training and as you would expect great views!
A well earned coke at the top !

The next adventure entailed a slightly exposed via ferrata up Cima Capi. It was time to dust off the via ferrata kits and scare ourselves. Looking for some adrenaline we set off in anticipation. The walk in was very pleasant and at times more scary than the via ferrata! Passing old war trenches was a stark reminder to why the via ferrata was there in the first place. It wasn't long before we could see people looking like ants on the ridge. A quick blast up the face was enough to get heart rates up ! The views were spectacular back down to the Lake. A summit photo followed by the just as interesting descent route topped off a great day !

And so it was on to our next adventure. We decided to travel by boat to Malcesine with our bikes and catch the only cable car in the area to the top of Monte Baldo and then over Mont Altissimo back to Riva. It sounded ambitious and it was!! The boat trip was spectacular even with the 30 degree plus heat haze and H over dosing on anti histamines! We missed the early cable car so chilled out by the lake. It was then a free for all to catch cable car up to the top, not at all as good as the alps! Once at the top we got ready to ride yet another 4x4 track down. A few map checks later and a race with a local we arrived at the bottom of Mont Altissimo. A hard climb was rewarded with one of the best hot chocolates in the world! We were revitalised and ready to go. The top felt like we were riding through a war museum with ground trenches and fortifications all around. It was the descent from hell that followed. Gnarly singletrack and huge rocks falls were enough to make our weary legs more weary. It turned out to be another 12 hour epic racing with the light to get back to our tent. After a good meal and deserved shower we felt all in all another excellent adventure!

We were sad to leave Lake Garda. Despite the crowds of tourists it felt like we had the best of both worlds with the mountains towering above. The campsite at Monte was excellent and I firmly recommend it for its cleanliness and high standards. This trip definitley fuelled our love for the Dolomites again!

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