Laghi Sternai
Val di Rabbi

Elevation amsl: 2862
Location: Rabbi

Catchment basin: Noce, Rabbies stream
Mountain chain: Ortles
Climbing time: 7 hours (climb up)
Difficulty: EE – Excursion for experts
Elevation gain: 1325 m
SAT trail n°: 106 – 107 – 101


Photogallery
Itinerary

(a 2-day itinerary is recommended)

This itinerary starts in Val di Rabbi, from the location called Còler. Go directly to the Ramoni parking area, where during the summer season it is possible to take a shuttle bus that in just a few minutes takes you directly to the Malga Stablasolo (mountain dairy) at 1539 m. (You can also easily reach this mountain pasture by foot, where there is an excellent restaurant/snack point, by following the unpaved road that just after the parking area goes north towards the Valle di Saent. From the parking area, go north following the paved road, which then becomes an unpaved road, passing through mountain shelters and green fields: an extra 0.30 min.). From the mountain dairy, pass the deep valley that descends from Val di Pravedela and by staying on the orographic right side of the valley you will reach the small Stablet center in a short time: here you can visit the small but charming informative center where it is possible to discover interesting facts concerning the life of an Alpine marmot.
Here, the trail definitely begins to climb as you leave the spectacular waterfalls of Saént behind you on your left. On this section of the trail you will find steps made of stone and tree trunks as you go upwards with continuous turns in the trail while encountering splendid orchids and several types of lilies: the Martagon lily, Fire Lily and the bearded bellflower.    Once you reach a small picnic area, a short detour to the east is almost a must, after a brief descent, in order to admire the spectacular Cascata Bassa di Saént (waterfall). After returning to the main itinerary, you will start to climb up through a lovely larch forest; after passing several rocky crags, you will reach Dosso della Croce (rise) (1799 m.; 0.45 min.). Towards the north edge of the rise, descend down towards the wide open meadow called Prà di Saént. Among the whistles of the numerous Alpine marmots that inhabit this area, you will reach the Malga Prà di Saént (mountain dairy) (1784 m.; 1.00 hour). From the small mountain pasture, go upwards along the rushing Rabbies stream that descends from the waterfall. When you reach another pasture, that was once an area used to graze animals, you will once again begin to climb up along the “Sentiero degli alpinisti” (The mountain climbers’ trail).

After several turns, you will find a metal cord along the trail. In fact, there are certain points where you must be very careful. You will pass several rocky crags in this manner in order to reach a fantastic natural balcony overlooking the entire Saent valley (2.00 hours). From here, the trail gradually climbs upwards to the north on the orographic left side of the valley among blossoming rhododendrons. By continuing upwards along the stream you will reach a wide peaty plain, cross through the plain and in a short time you will reach the Dorigoni mountain hut. (2437 m.; 3.00 hours). , If you do decide to complete the itinerary in two days (recommended) you can spend the night here at the mountain hut, which is very cozy and well organized. You must definitely see the small lake located just underneath the mountain hut at 2410 m.
The naturalistic excursion of the Sternai lakes starts directly from the mountain hut, that in approx. two hours and a half with an elevation gain of 400 m, you will be able to discover these precious alpine lakes. At the mountain hut it is possible to use a GPS navigation device that will easily allow you to discover these seven lakes with absolute precision.

There are observation points located along the entire itinerary where you can discover geological and morphological characteristics of the rock in addition to the flora and landscape of this important ecosystem.
From the Dorigoni mountain hut, climb up the south-western slopes of the Cima Sternai (peak). By following the directions, you will first pass through several pastures and then through an area with scattered boulders. Several steep turns will take you up to a bowl shaped depression excavated by the source of a glacier where you will find the first of these lakes, the Lago Sternai Inferiore (2595 m. 0.20 min.), characterized by an intense green color.
Pass over the emissary and walk along the eastern side. Therefore climb up north (gps points 2 & 3) and then go north-east as you pass through pastures, peat bogs, scattered boulders and mountain crags where the Rabbi hanging glacier, which has now disappeared, was once located. From here, head north as you climb up through rocky crags until you reach the next lake located at 2862 m., the small lake called Sternai Terzo, which has a long and narrow shape and was formed by glacial exaration. (1.30 hour from the mountain hut). Return along the same itinerary until you reach the Sternai superiore lake located 2777 m (gps point 5) and follow the trail west, characterized by several cairns and  almost completely levels out, until you reach the next lake Sternai Medio located at 2742 m.
From here continue west on the trail which is at first level therefore, after having passed several roch moutonnée (sheepback), where you can admire silene plants and glacier buttercups, you will pass several erratic boulders and then descend down a wide, deep valley where you will find the point which connects to the SAT 101 trail that descends from Passo di Saènt. You will then reach a wide peat bog where fluffy cottongrass plants brighten up this marshy area. From here, follow the small and winding stream that in a short time will take you back to the mountain hut.
Return itinerary: from the mountain hut follow the same itinerary down

Photos and itinerary descriptions: Tiziano Mochen



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