The 3,443 m high Cima Sternai is the highest mountain of the Maddalene Mountain Chain, a subgroup of the Ortles Alps.
The Maddalene Mountain Chain, or Ilmenkamm in German, stretches from the Val d’Ultimo valley in South Tyrol to the Val di Non valley in the Trentino. The 2,656 m high name giving Cima Olmi (Ilmenspitze) is accessible from both valleys. The hike from the Val d’Ultimo starts in San Nicolò and proceeds in 4 hours through the Val di Lavace up to the summit.
The Maddalene Mountain Chain branches from the Gioveretto Group, which separates the Val d’Ultimo and the Val Venosta valleys. Some side ridges stretch until the Val di Sole and Val di Non valleys in the Trentino. The highest summit is the Cima Sternai (3,443 m a.s.l.) in the rear Val d’Ultimo, which is located in the Stelvio National Park and marks the border between South Tyrol and Trentino. This famous peak is accessible from the Rif. Umberto Canziani mountain hut at 2,560 m a.s.l. and in winter quite popular among ski tourers.
After the Cima Sternai, the ridge slowly descends, other mountains follow, like Mt. Vedetta Alta (2,627 m a.s.l.), Mt. Belmonte (2,459 m a.s.l.), Mt. Cornicolo (2,418 m a.s.l.) and Mt. Cornicoletto (2,311 m a.s.l.). Finally the Maddalene Mountain Chain descends towards the Castrin Pass, which connects the Val d’Ultimo with the Val di Non. It is accessible through a modern tunnel.