Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Maritime Alps Tour Day 17: To the Monte Bellino

We start the day under cloudless blue skies at around 7:45. Today is definitely an Andrea special type 2: wake up, eat, climb. :-)

The path leads us steeply up the valley on the right side of the Rocca Provenzale. The initial climbing is nicely sheltered, not too cold, not too warm, great walking weather. As we approach the Col Greguri (2319m) we get into the sun for the first time, but the morning still isn't too hot; we just lose a layer or two and continue. After aruond 2.5 hours of nice climbing we hit the Col de Rui (2708m). From here it's down a bit to the valley floor and then continuing off the main path along the valley towards the Passo de Lauset with its military ruins. This is an unmarked path, but it's really easy to follow. From the pass (2889m) we ascend a bit to the neighboring "peak", P.2912 (for want of a better name), where we have a lunch break in the sun in a wind-sheltered spot with great views.
Heading down from our lunch spot
From the lunch spot we spend a bit of time finding the way forward. We don't have a decent map and the picture we took of a real map is unfortunately blurry in this section. After some wandering around, searching , and traversing some marginal hiking territory (some bits more than once... joy!), Andrea locates what could be the path, at least it looks like it used to be bits of a path even if the only recent users have been goats. Still, we take it. Aside from some washed out sections with marginal footing (and very respectable drops to the side) and one bit that's been covered by a rockslide (nice scrambling there!), it's a good path.
Looking back along the path
It leads us very nicely along the valley side and, towards the end, up to the Mt. Bellino (2937m). Here we enjoy another nice break with an incredible 360 degree panorama (yes, there is a good reason to go to peaks!) from the Argentera to the Monviso. We'll need to spend some time with Google Earth to figure out exactly what we saw.
View from the Mt. Bellino
After our break, we head onward and downward to the Col di Bellino (2813m), then further down through the valley, ever descending, down, down through the green. We do a nice second lunch break with a view on a flat piece of grass in the sun, then head further onward and downward. Good views and nice burbling streams are with us the whole way.
Down through the valley
 Towards the bottom of the valley we encounter a big herd of cows being roused by their keeper to move down the valley as well. Unfortunately for us, they are following the path we want. By the time we weave our way through the mass/mess, we've moved pretty far from the path and are now in "unknown" territory.
A small group of cows in the way
We continue on in the right general direction and, after some time figure out a good route down. Not too long later we're back on the road home and then back at good ol' Campo Base for another nice evening.

At dinner we end up at a table with a French guy who is walking a short stretch of the Via Alpina and a French-speaking Swiss who is walking the whole Via Alpina from Trieste to Monaco. The Swiss guy has been walking for three months and is now about ten days from being done... crazy stuff.

Approximate stats: 15.7 km loop, 1467m up.

No comments: