Monte Camicia (2564m) is, because of its spectacular north face, often named the "Eiger of the Apennines". I'm not suicidal so I went for the normal route, which is just a short and easy hike.
Earthquake in Santo Stefano di Sessanio
After a successful climb of Corno Grande, I drove to the nearby hill town Castel del Monte. But I could not find any accommodation there, because all hotels and pensions seemed to be closed during off-season. So I had to drive further down to the fortified village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio. Fortunately there was a few pensions that still were open. The cheapest deal I found was 40 Euro for a room and breakfast.
Santo Stefano has been named one of the prettiest villages in Italy, but all I could see was major destructions from the L'Aquila earthquake in 2009. The iconic tower had collapsed and the church was partially in ruins. Beauty doesn't last forever, and that's certainly true for Santo Stefano di Sessanio. I can only hope that they one day will rebuild it, so this village will shine like its glorious past and start to attract tourists again.
Easy hike to the summit
Next morning I drove back to the wonderful alpine plateau of Campo Imperatore, Italy's "Little Tibet". I could see Monte Camicia rising gently over the alpine meadows, much less steep than its near vertical north face. I left the main road and drove on a smaller road, until it ended after a couple of km at a large car park just below Rifugio Fonte Vetica. The elevation at the trailhead was 1620 m.a.s.l.
I decided for the shortest trail up (normal route) and except for the beginning, the trail was distinct and easy to follow. I hiked in a fast pace uphill and gained the ridge and a saddle after 1 hour and 15 minutes. I had a brief look down the north face, a near vertical monster wall, before I continued for another 15 minutes to the summit. I met an Italian guy there, the only other person I could see on the trail. We exchanged cameras to take the mandatory summit pics, before he left me alone.
I rested for almost 45 minutes on the summit, enjoying the solitude and sunny weather. In the west I could easily see Corno Grande and in the southern horizon I could even spot Monte Amaro, which I climbed a couple of days ago.
Eiger of the Apennines
On my way down, I decided to have a closer look on the north face. Peering over the edge was a scary and exhilarating moment, a near vertical drop of 1200 meters below me. The big wall is the most spectacular in Italy outside of the Alps and a reason why Monte Camicia is often named the "Eiger of the Apennines". That is a statement I can agree with.
Just for the sake of variety, I decided to take another route down, the more scenic east ridge. The trail passed a few minor summits along the ridge before it dropped down to the car park. It was still early, but I had a fairly long drive ahead of me to reach the Republic of San Marino and its highest hill Monte Titano (739m).
My GPS-track at EveryTrail