Top of the World
Written by Christopher February 5, 2013
This past Sunday two friends and I decided to take on the 1700-meter mount Grappa, which towers in the background of the scenic campus. First I’ll give some background because the mountain is no ordinary pile of rocks. This mountain was the backdrop of many battles in both WWI and WWII. The most memorable of these battles, coined by some to be the “Italian Thermopylae” was the bloodies battle fought on mount Grappa in which over 125,000 soldiers fell. In order to fortify the mountain several caves and passages were carved into the rock to hide artillery positions and rally points for troops all over the mountain. The mountain was assaulted many times during the First World War but was never taken. During the Second World War Grappa was used to hide several groups of partisans, which were hunted down by swarms of Nazis troops given the task to search and kill any remaining persons on the mountain. The mountain was over taken by the Nazis and stayed that way until the end of the War.
After this bit of history, I can get to my personal experience on this very history site. The walk to the mountain was a little extensive and all up hill which in total took a good 45 minutes. On the way to the base there was amazing views of each of the towns that surround Paderno, including Crespano and Castelcooco. Once reaching the base there was a restaurant and a few maps of the mountain trails. We decided to take trail 151 which zig zagged up the South face of the mountain more to the right side. Unknowingly on this path was a few surprises waiting first of which were three caves that were carved out during WWI in order to house artillery and troops.
We followed these caves to the inside of the mountain (the longest of which was about 1000 ft). We started back up the mountain and after only a couple hundred feet it started getting very hot and we all had to take off our jackets. It stayed like that till we were almost near the top of the mountain, where the sun was blocked and it started getting very windy. We passed several Italians going both up and down the mountain, many of which were nice and said ciao. Some stopped and attempted to have a conversations with us, which always ended up the same, we could understand the first sentence then we resorted to sorry we don’t speak Italian.
About an hour up the mountain we stopped for lunch, which included bread, fruit, and water borrowed from the cafeteria. Part way up the mountain we ran into another cave that was 10 feet deep and 7 feet tall, we decided if there happened to be an avalanche, that was the place to run back to. Parts of the trail had snow that came up to our knees and some even up to our waist so we decided the next time we hike the mountain we are going to rent snow shoes. After awhile tennis shoes were not the best choice for climbing a snowy mountain. After making it to the top there was an amazing view of the valley and a road that was completely covered in 4 feet of snow. The trek up the mountain with stopped took us three hours.
After spending an hour at the top looking around and taking pictures we decided to head back down. We made it back down the mountain in an hour with no stops and at a half jogging pace which my tennis shoes were not happy with. I fell on the way down a total of 14 times. Now all there was left was the 45 minute walk back to campus with the mountain getting smaller behind us we couldn’t wait to get home and take a nice hot shower to thaw our feet, hands, and clothes out. Overall with stops the hike took us seven hours and was more than worth the trip. If you get a chance to hike Mt. Grappa during your stay at CIMBA, I would defiantly recommend this little adventure.
Till next time