While the summit was indeed a beautiful and spectacular place, we didn't stay too long. We had been slower than expected in making our ascent, and we were now a bit worried about completing our hike in time to prepare for and drive down to our 'home food' dinner in Bologna that evening. A few quick pictures, a few gulps of water, and a bit of a snack, and we were off.
The 'backside' of Cima SAT is a downclimb, protected by via ferrata wire. It's quite steep, actually, but short. A well-defined path then leads westward and upwards through forest. Given our time constraints, we briefly debated whether or not we should scrap the idea of a traverse over to Biacesa in favour of circling back down on path 404 to Riva. This wouldn't necessarily be faster, given the extra elevation to descend and Graham's sore knees. On the other hand, the estimated time for the hike over to Biacesa wasn't absolutely guaranteed to be faster, either. And the topo map I had of the area wasn't as detailed as I would have liked, preventing me from making an accurate estimate. Going through to Biacesa also meant that we wouldn't have to deal with leaving a parked car overnight there, as we'd be able to pick it up and return it to Riva.
There wasn't really a clear winner with these two options. In the end, I decided to go for the traverse to Biacesa.
Getting to the trail leading down to Biacesa involved some educated guesses on which connector trail to take (which fortunately turned out to be accurate, as there was no time to waste). We connected with path 417 (the trail leading down to Biacesa) and started down it. Its upper reaches runs along a beautiful open grassy ridge, with great views of the whole northern area around Lake Garda. Too bad we were rushing so much - it would have been great to stop here for a bit in the afternoon light and soak in the views.
Beautiful open ridge on 407
Down, down, down we went. Path 417 soon descended back down into the forest, steeply at first, and then more and more gradually. The path got less rocky and wider, too, meaning that we could increase our speed to almost a jog.
By now we were pretty much all fully out of water and feeling a little parched. We were quite looking forward to something to drink back at the apartment!
In less than an hour we completed the entire descent from the open ridge down to Biacesa. Path 417 led us through the back-streets of Biacesa, past vineyards and old houses, and.... a glorious little water fountain running strongly with cool mountain water!
Outlying building, Biacesa
After everyone had taken a nice long draught, we briskly walked down to the car, arriving at about 5:20pm. Time was tight - we still had to drive back down to Riva, have everyone take a shower, then drive over 200 km to Bologna, where our 'home food' dinner started at 8:30pm!
Interactive Trackmap, Ferrata del Centenario
Ascent of Ferrata del Centenario
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet