Monte Breva (Piz la Stretta, 3104 m) is on the Swiss-Italian border, in the mountain range dividing St. Moritz and Livigno valleys. There are several routes to the summit from several points.
From the Italian side, the most convenient one is the south route which begins at the Forcola pass (2315 m) similar to the route to the nearby Monte Vago described within this site. This route is presented in detail within this page.
[Atahualpa Yupanqui – La estancia vieja]
The Forcola pass is at the border between Italy and Switzerland. From the Italian side, the pass can be reached by car from the nearby Livigno, and from the Swiss side this is the road from the Bernina pass.
From the east side, there is a route which starts at some lower point at Campacciolo di Sopra (1910 m), closer to Livigno, and it passes the lake Lago del Monte at 2606 m with a pleasant stone refuge. From the lake continue to the southwest to the point of meeting the other route from the Forcola pass.
Yet another route from the Italian side is again from the road to Forcola, from Valle della Forcola, see Video 2 below. It is clearly visible and it goes to the Passo del Fieno (La Stretta pass) where it meets the mentioned route from the Forcola pass.
From the Swiss side, the route goes up the Val da Fain in the east direction to the Passo del Fieno (La Stretta pass) where it joins the other described routes; it is a long 7 km walk. From the Forcola pass, you will need about 3 and a half hours to the summit.
Compared with the nearby Monte Vago across the valley, the route to Monte Breva is about twice longer but mild, and without dangerous points or scramble. In the middle of the route above the lake, orientation may be a problem in particular if you are in clouds, because of scarce marking, but there are some cairns to follow instead.
The pictures below reveal some details of the route from the Forcola pass.
For the clothing in the Alps in general, please see my another text.
Our climb to Monte Breva
There were four of us on Monte Breva in mid-August 2014, my daughter Ivana, her boyfriend Iani, my friend Mitsuo who arrived from Tokyo and was still suffering from jet lag, and me. This was a whole-day adventure due to rain. We started from Forcola pass at around 7 am, and continued over La Stretta pass which we reached at 8 am.
The weather looked perfect, but within one hour it changed. When we were at the point where the route joins the other one coming from the lake (at around 2800 m, see the map above) we decided to descend to the lake and to take shelter in the refuge, where we stayed for several hours.
There was coffee available in the hut (Iani dropped some coins into a box which was there for that purpose), and we made a fire in the stove and waited till the weather improved. This was my first encounter with the famous Bialetti coffee pot which was there, see the picture at this site here. I was so delighted with it so that, later in Livigno, Mitsuo bought me one as a present. You can see it in my another text in the site.
After a few hours we continued, the weather conditions were better but it was still very cloudy and unstable, but we reached the summit. So it was a long walk due to detour. We descended back to La Stretta pass and from there we toke a well visible path which leads toward the road and to Valle della Forcola, in the direction of Livigno, where we arrived around 4 pm.
This is a touristic area and the most convenient place to stay is Livigno, in any season. There are many small family-run hotels, and houses and apartments for rent.
You can make a reservation through some agencies which I myself have been using for many years. Please visit my post which contains more useful details.
From my own perspective, this is a beautiful mountain achievable by anybody with just a normal fitness and regardless of age. But as always, you will feel the effects of altitude, so go slowly and enjoy, that is the point. The summit is very wide and flat. In the final 1 kilometer of your walk before reaching the summit you will gain only about 100 meters in the altitude.
So these final meters are a nice walk at a very high altitude, a perfect reward for you. We were in August and we did not have snow along the route, just little a bit at the summit but there was no need to walk through it.
Refuge Baitèl del Monte
As already described above, in the case of rain there is a stone refuge at the lake, it belongs to a society from the area but it is always open. There is a wood-stove and a gas-stove, chairs and table, and all equipment for cooking. Visitors willing to stay overnight should bring sleeping bags.
There is enough place for sleeping for 8-10 people but no mattresses and no blankets. Running water is outside as well as the toilet. You may see how it is inside the refuge from the pictures above and also at an another page within this side here.
Some more details about the route may be seen in these two videos below which depict approach from the Italian side.
YouTube Video 1: Climbing Monte Breva from Forcola pass.
YouTube Video 2: Climbing Monte Breva from Campacciolo di Sopra.