Monday, September 19, 2011

Maritime Alps Tour Day 16: Sentiero Dino Icardi (partial)

The weather forecast for Acceglio was for 11 hours of sun, strong winds, and cool. Maybe Acceglio had 11 hours of sun, we certainly didn't see that today... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

After an Italian breakfast, we are underway from Campo Base (1650m)) around 8am. We head up the road, past the campsite, a bit further along,  and then turn to follow the Sentiero Dino Icardi up the valley wall towards the Stroppia waterfall. Nice path leading us up, up, towards the sheer cliff. We have a bit of fun along the way trying to guess where we'll go up. The weather is ok: blue skies overhead (but clouds visible), cool, but not cold, and not too windy. Up we go!

We hit the wall at a bit of a staircase and head steeply up from that point. It's a nice path along the natural place to go up, along grass bands, over streams, etc. nice somewhat exposed bit with an ornamental rope for that "I'm safe" feeling for those who need it. Up and along to the Rif. Stroppia (2260m), over the waterfall (dry), and up more. As we near the rim, the wind starts. As we crest the rim (~2350m) the wind is there in full power. Woohoo is it windy.

Beautiful views across the high plain to the snow-dusted mountains all around. across the plain we go, gently climbing, fighting the wind at times, towards the corner that will lead us further up.
On the plain in the wind. 
At a certain point there is snow on the ground around us, which makes path finding difficult until we get used to it. Onwards, upwards, through ever increasing amounts of snow, big wind gusts constantly there to fight against, up, up. Evil looking clouds gathering on the other side of the ridge. We're in partial sun until around 2700m, where it's all shadow. It's clear at this point that we are *not* going to do either the high pass or the peak we had planned, but a lunch break out of the wind at the Biv. Barenghi seems appealing. Up into the wind a while longer, through the snow and rock landscape and then we're at the Biv. Barenghi (2815m). We let ourselves into the structure, close it back up, and have a quick lunch break (we may be out of the wind, but it's still only 1.6 deg C).
Biv. Barenghi in the snow

After lunch we put on more layers and venture back out. The originally planned route takes us over another high pass and down its steep North side; we decide that this isn't such a hot idea and head back the way we came up. It's much nicer walking with the wind in our backs. Back down, down in the sun on the high plain (ahh... sun) where most of the snow has by now melted, onward and downward with the wind always at our backs. Back down the cliff fact the same way we came up.
Back down the cliff face
Some amusing snow showers starting along the way (are we going to have to race the weather back?) until we hit the valley floor. The last bit to the Rifiguio goes quickly and then we're back and warm and out of the wind.

Not the tour we planned, but still quite an experience. That high alpine area with the beginnings of snow cover was a lot of fun to walk in. Too bad about the damn wind!

We have another really nice dinner; they are feeding us well here. :-)

Approximate stats: 15.3 km loop, 1267m up.

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