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Suretta Bivouac from the Spluga Pass

A panoramic circular ride astride the Spluga Pass, culminating at the Suretta Bivouac
5:00 h


The Suretta Bivouac is a slightly weather-beaten red box that stands guard over the Suretta Glacier, an old ice guardian destined for a slow demise. The summer trail to reach it doesn't offer particularly interesting scenic points, and the sight of the shrinking glacier is more disheartening than pleasing. It may be worthwhile to include this destination within a larger loop that encompasses more natural beauty.

The proposed loop, starting from Montespluga, leads to the Suretta Bivouac only after taking us on the historic trails of the Spluga Pass and the splendid Blue Lakes. So, let's lace up our boots in Montespluga (1908m) and begin ascending through meadows towards the Spluga Pass, staying on the western slope of the valley. After about twenty minutes, we cross the SS36 near the Casa Cantoniera (2065m) to step onto the pass along the seventeenth-century path of the Via Spluga: where two cobbled paths converge, the steeper one is from the seventeenth century, while the less steep one is an eighteenth-century reconstruction.

Other sections of the original cobblestone can be found on the Swiss side of the Spluga. However, once we reach the Spluga Pass (2113m, 40 minutes), we take the narrow path that ascends with thousands of geometric switchbacks along the grassy ridge on the right. In less than forty minutes, we arrive at Bergsee (2310m, 40 minutes), a large perfectly circular water pool situated on a panoramic balcony overlooking the winding road of the Spluga.

In a handful of minutes, we reach the Blue Lakes (2445m, 20 minutes). The still long journey to the Suretta Bivouac continues eastward amidst a graveyard of large boulders from who knows where. The trail is almost nonexistent, so we are constantly searching for a good passage among rocks and scree. This is followed by a traverse across a steep rocky slope, with some ropes and metal ladders. We then follow a moraine ridge which quickly leads us to the modest face of the Suretta Glacier, from where we can decide to ascend to the Suretta Bivouac (2748m, 1.30 hours), positioned on top of a rocky pinnacle facing the glacier. The view of Val Loga, Lake Montespluga, and the Spluga Valley is remarkable.

We descend via the summer trail to the bivouac: we descend on scree from the pinnacle, then into the valley carved by the glacier until we reach a debris flat; here the trail bends westward and diagonally descends a steep grassy slope, passing at the base of a rocky outcrop. After this short stretch, the trail descends more gently along a beautiful grassy ridge aiming straight towards Lake Montespluga. Further down, we traverse lovely meadows, scattered with boulders and rhododendron plants, accompanied by the sound of a stream. Finally, we have to walk the 2 kilometers of road that separate us from Montespluga (1908m, 2 hours), where we left the car.






The mountains are a dangerous environment: make sure you always have the right equipment — hiking or trail shoes, warm clothes and waterproofs in case of unexpected changes in weather conditions, a small emergency kit.


I've made an Amazon "shopping note" to make sure you have everything — ps if you buy from these links, 3% goes to support the development and maintenance of Hikes of the World 🙏.


  • Breathable t-shirt ( example )

  • Sweatshirt, fleece, or light jacket

  • Waterproof windbreaker (for example: men / women )

  • Gloves and hat (you never know)

  • Backpack with rain cover

  • Trekking poles (not essential, but they help to unload the weight of the backpack and ease the impact on the joints)

  • Trekking or trail running shoes (in great vogue lately because they are lightweight. These Salomon ones - for men and women - are an excellent entry-level, preferably Gore-Tex)

  • For via ferratas: complete via ferrata kit (I have this one , very light and compact, with this harness and helmet — or you can buy complete kits ). Buy in store to receive ad hoc support

  • To sleep a night in a refuge: sheet or light sleeping bag

  • Water bottle or thermos

  • Light crampons if you think you will find ice or snow on the route

  • Power bank or cell phone charger

  • Camera

  • Drone, for those who love to "fly" (used in moderation and at a distance from other people. I have had the DJI Mini 2 for over 2 years and have found myself very happy with it. The DJI Mini 3 also allows you to take vertical photographs)

  • Small emergency kit ( example )

  • Sun cream (essential)

  • Sunglasses


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