Monday, September 12, 2011

Maritime Alps Tour Day 9: Les Lacs Bessons -> Vallone del Gesso della Valletta

It's mostly clear when we wake up and there's very little wind (yay!).
What a morning
After the usual breakfast things, we're underway by 8:45, just after the sun reaches our tent site. The first task of the day is to find the path we'll be taking out of the bowl. This is another unofficial thing, so we need to do some searching for stonemen. Eventually we find the path and start following the stonemen uphill.

Up, up we go, about 200m in total, with good walking and scrambling under the cloudless blue sky.
Up through the rock desert
At the top we pass a couple of small lakes in the saddle between the Cime de Baissette and the Tete de la Ruine, then we head down the other side, still following stonemen, across block, through gravel, down, down, down knowing, since of course we can see the next pass, that every meter we lose we'll have to win back on the other side. Eventually we start climbing again, still following stonemen, up, up, up, to the Col de Mercantour Est (2639m). It's too windy up here for a break, so we continue to follow the stonemen up (of all directions) from the pass for a bit. We find a wind-sheltered spot, do an energy bar/map study break, and then continue on the adventuresome path onward.

The way leads up, down, up, over blocks, up, over blocks, down, up, following red markings (useful only to Andrea), tending ever upwards and leading under the the steep stone walls. Really, really nice high alpine walking. Somewhere along the way we have lunch with a view. When we reach the decision point for whether or not to climb Il Baus, we opt to skip it: the peaks of the Argentera massif are covered in low-lying clouds so it would be a wasted trip up.
The rest of the Argentera massif is under there somewhere.
We start descending towards the Rifugio Remondino (2430m) instead. Down, down, down we go, following multiple colors now, over more nice block and some good steep bits until we reach the very attractive and modern hut. Of course a cool refreshments break is required (yeah, ok, we might be carrying our tent and food, but we aren't exactly roughing it) before we continue.
Rifugio Remodino from up the valley
The next stage is down 650m to the valley below. This is a nice descent on an easy path with great views. We take a blueberry break along the way (first blueberries we've found that taste like anything), and then we're at floor of the Vallone del Gesso della Valletta (~1800m). We do some scouting for a tent site, wash some clothes and ourselves in the river, rest in the late afternoon sun, pitch the tent, play cards, make dinner, and generally enjoy the warm evening (it remains cloudless where we are, over the ridge to the next valley we can see a cloud train running all evening) and views. What a contrast to the previous evening with its high-alpine environment!
Tent site
After dinner we do a quick trip up to the unstaffed (and locked) Rifugio Regina Elena to check it out before heading back to write the log and go to bed.

Dinner: Soup: vegetable with dumpling enrichment. Main: Mashed potatoes with salami and dried green beans.

Approximate stats: 7.1 km, 493m up, 1235m down

No comments: