Monday, July 14, 2014

Hiking in Tessin Day 1: Cadro to Cap. San Lucio

We did a hike along this route seven years ago at Easter time with Andreas and Elke. This time we were trying to find decent weather (our planned four day trip to the Berner Oberland had been cancelled due to weather and fresh snow). There were some heavy constraints because of the fresh snow, so we picked something nice and low and in Tessin.

Sunday afternoon we took the train down to Lugano so that we could get and early start on Monday. Andrea found a decent hotel downtown and we enjoyed the early evening with a stroll around town and then dinner at a pizza place. (The restaurant where we ate last time was right next door to our hotel, but unfortunately is closed on Sunday, so we couldn't eat there again). After watching the Germans beat the Argentinians in the World Cup, we went off to sleep. The hotel breakfast buffet was surprisingly good, and started nice and early, so we were on the bus to our start point shortly before 8am.

The bus dropped us in Cadro, where we started immediately walking uphill. The path was really nice, under trees and led us up, up, up the slope to the Alp Bolla. From this point we were on the path that we'd used on the last trip. Onward along the ridge we go, enjoying the nice views, until we reach the Dente Vecchia. These are just fun to walk through: Nice dolomite formations. At the saddle just on the other side of the Sasso Grande we decide that we've got plenty of time, so we opt to take the nominally T3 route to the top. We do something wrong and end up on a blue-white marked path (sign one that this route isn't actually T3) that leads us to a chimney to scramble up. The chimney rapidly gets too narrow for the backpacks, so after a short strategy discussion we ditch them and continue on our way. After a couple of fun scrambly bits that lead to quick "we are going to have to come back down this, so it shouldn't get too much hairier" discussions we reach the top and enjoy the views. The route back down the chimney requires some concentration, but it's not as hairy as feared. We reclaim our packs and continue back down to the main trail. After a sandwich break we continue on our way.

Instead of following the path from last time, we take a less marked path that leads us along the ridge. Very, very nice path. Very recommended! At the Cappana Pairolo we agree that neither of us can remember it and then continue on our way. Up above we find a nice dry place where we take a rest before continuing along the path. After a bit we pass a sign for the Cima Foiorina, which will add an hour to the day, but seems like a good idea. We've still got plenty of time. The path up to this runs a stupid route, so we cut it short by doing a, more or less, dirrettissima up the grass slope. Eventually we hit the real path, which takes us to the saddle and then from there further along the ridge. The clouds have been playing a game where they clear out for a while and then the next one comes in to cover the peak. Of course there's one coming in as we do the ridge. Greg decides to speed up so that he can at least enjoy a few moments of view before getting sucked in by cloud. He barely makes it and can enjoy a partial view to the South. Once Andrea catches up, we continue on our merry way along the ridge until we hear thunder on the Italian side. That's no good. We hurry up more to get the descent out of the way, hearing a couple more thunder bangs along the way, but we get down without even really getting rained on. Now we rejoin the main path and finish our way to the Cappana San Lucia. We have the great surprise of being able to shower and then enjoy a very relaxed early evening before a very, very good meal, a post-dinner stroll, and then bed.

Stats: 16.7km, 1630m up, 540m down.

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