Sunday, May 28, 2017

Day 4 around the Grigna (well, kind of)

This was our trip-back day.

The idea was to do some climbing in the Parco del Monte Barro (outside Lecco) and then head back home. We'd read online that a lot of the (huge) climbing area in the park was closed for cleaning, but at least some sectors should be open. On arriving at the park and hiking into the cliffs, there's a lot of signage that seems to indicate that everything's closed. Many of the approach trails have tape across them. We head up anyway since the website from the park says some sectors are open. We find a (theoretically) open sector, but no one else is around. It's all a bit too weird, and the sun is already mighty warm (Southern exposure...), so we opt to not really do any climbing.

After heading back to the car we go ahead and drive to Como, have lunch, and then spend the afternoon in town (it's crazy full!) before piling onto the train and making the long way home.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Day 3 around the Grigna

We get another not-super-early start since the hotel breakfast doesn't start until later.
Today we start by retracing our steps from Thursday afternoon (a bit slower since we're carrying gear today) until we pass the helicopter landing pad and start upwards.

The plan is to climb the Torrione Magnaghi and do a traverse, but first we have to find the start of the route. This isn't particularly easy given that today there aren't nice markers pointing the way and we're in clouds again, so we can't see the tops of the walls. There are a couple of groups climbing a bit to the right from where we are, but we're pretty sure that isn't right. We pick an approach that seems right, scramble up for a bit, and end up at a wall with a couple bolts in it. This doesn't seem right and there's no obvious place to continue, so we scramble back down and head up to where the other groups are. After a quick chat with them it's clear that this certainly isn't right; they point us back in the direction we came from. *sigh*. We head down again and back up, along what is clearly a use trail, until we again at the wall with a couple of bolts. Definitely not right. There's a saddle to the left, but that ends up in a descending chute, that also doesn't seem right. *double sigh*. We scramble down again and move a bit away from the wall so that we have a better overview. After some looking and topo-study and a bit of cloud clearing we figure out what we've done wrong: we'll find the start of the route in that descending chute. More or less at the same time that we figure this out, a big group comes around the corner, up the path, and a bunch of them heads towards that point. It's like a bus let out or something: instead of being mostly alone, there are suddenly around 20 other climbers here and at least 10 of them are doing the route we want to do. *triple sigh* That wouldn't be much fun... looks like we aren't doing that climb today.
We decide instead to just do a dayhike: we continue up to the saddle, along the ridge to the peak (reversing the hike from the peak from the day before), have lunch in the crowds (really) on the peak, and then start to head down.

Instead of taking the main path, we fork off onto the really nice trail that goes under the Cresta Segantini. This leads us back into the very cool stone formations we went through the day before. We pass the start point for that climb and continue along the trail (now on the other side of the ridge) until we're at the saddle above the Rif. Rosalba. Here we do another food break with great views all around (including of all the people at the Rifugio and a couple climbers doing the awesome-looking Piramide Casati) before starting our way back down on the Senterio Georgio. This trail leads us through more fantastic stone formations until we hit the "Direttisima" trail from the day before. This is almost as much fun in the other direction. :-)

Not being able to do the climb was frustrating, but this ended still being a really nice hike.

The track:

Friday, May 26, 2017

Day 2 around the Grigna: Cresta Segantini

Breakfast doesn't start until 8, so we can't really get an early start, but we're underway as quickly as we can be. There are, once again, low clouds over the peaks above us... ah well, we will hope those burn off. The same trail as yesterday (though moving a bit more slowly due to the packs full of climbing gear) up to the fork with the 8, which we follow this time. Fortunately the group of people we've run into stay on the 7th, so we're alone... excellent! Despite being called "Direttissima", the 8 leads up, up, up by traversing the mountain. Ignoring the misleading name, this is another excellent trail which ends up leading us up ladders, across bits secured with chains and cables, through a narrow chimney, and all of this in a crazy landscape of stone towers. Great fun!
Eventually we make our way to the ridge at the Colla Valsecchi and find our way to the (very well signed) beginning of the route for the Cresta Segantini. Here we put on the gear and head to where the actual climbing starts. We tie on the rope and get underway. We're in cloud but it's not too thick, so visibility is ok; the cloud has the side benefit of keeping the temperatures down. There's a pair of Italians in front of us, but they're far enough ahead that we never have to wait (plus with the cloud we can generally only hear them anyway). Since we don't end up with anyone behind us we're pretty much alone until we hit the peak. The ridge is really a huge amount of fun. It's mostly alpine climbing, but the climbing is never difficult (we're not wearing climbing shoes) and there tends to be a bolt near the trickier bits (and when those aren't there we have a few friends, the stoppers, and plenty of slings with us, so we can improvise). The markings were pretty good, so route finding wasn't that bad (though we ended up abseiling a couple of descents where we either missed the straightforward climb down or there just wasn't one). With our lunch break along the way the full ridge takes us about five and half hours; the book says two to three hours, so we really aren't especially fast. That's something for us to continue to practice,
For the trip down we continue along the really nice trail along the ridge until we hit the intersection between trails 1 and 3 from the previous day. Here we continue down trail 1 to get back to the hotel.
This was our first trip with a new rope (60m Mammut 9.5mm Infinity Dry SD).

The track (plenty of noise due to the climbing):

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Day 1 around the Grigna

We took a couple trains down through the Gotthard and on to Como. From there we picked up our rental car and drove past Lecco to the Piani Resinelli and our hotel for the weekend. After checking in and having lunch down in town (mmm, pizzochieri) we had a short nap and then opted to do a reconnaissance tour to get ready for Friday morning's start.

We manage to find the normal hiking path and head along through the woods, past the CAI hut, and then start our way up the 7, the standard tourist route to the Grigne. We head past the fork of trail 8, which we'll take tomorrow, and continue up, up the hill with progressively better views opening up behind us. There are a few too many low clouds (including in front of us) for the views to be optimal, but it's still pretty good. Up, up we continue, figuring we'll get to the top of the current bit of ascent and then head back down. We end up hitting the fork for trail 3 just shy of our turn-around point. Doing a bit of traverse seems fun, so we head off to the right along the 3.

The terrain in front of us keeps getting more and more interesting, so we play the "just around the next corner/to the next saddle" game until we hit the crossing with trail 2. This one is probably a bit hairy for us at the moment, the terrain is really nice/fun, and the 1, which will also take us back down to the hotel, is only another 20 minutes further. So on we go. Up, up, up some more, past some peaks that are possible destinations for Saturday's tour, until we hit the 1 in a saddle on the ridge. From here it's down, down, down, along another nice trail with good views, down, down down, past the bravest chamoix we've ever seen, until the trail ends at the road. Our short reconnaissance tour has ended up being a really nice 3 hour hike. Five minutes later we're back at the hotel where we enjoy a good meal and then head off to bed.

No real track since we had planned this as a short trip.

A few days around the Grigna and Como

Long Auffahrt-weekend near Lake Como at Piani Resinelli at the bottom of the Grignetta/Grigna massiv, spent hiking, scrambling, climbing, with the last day visiting Como

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Back to the Brueggligrat

add some text

the track:
Stats: 12.7km, about 620m up and down.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Delemont to Neuhüsli again

We've done this hike before.

Just like last time we did it, this pick was driven by the weather forecast; the difference this time is that we explicitly set out to do a long, relatively fast hike as a part of getting ready for the season/testing where we are.

I've already described most of the hike, which really is very nice (it's great to have something like this available as a backup!). The noteworthy stuff this time:

The trails were pretty empty; we saw a total of seven other hikers over the entire day. Likely because of this we startled three deer and a owl. Those were pretty cool encounters.

We mostly managed to not get rained on except for the small cloudmass that overtook us on the last bit up to Hohe Winde. First it was sprinkling, then it was really raining (even under the trees), then it was hailing, and then, more or less at the same time as we got to the stall in the saddle just before the final slope, it stopped. We verified that it was really over while hanging out in the stall and then continued on. By the time we got the top the sun was shining, which lead to some nice views. Super luckily for us, that cloud formation didn't start producing thunder and lightning until after it was past us: Vogelberg and Wassserfallen probably had lightning.
The color of this hike was definitely green. We've had plenty of precipitation lately and the sheer variety of late-spring/early-summer greens was just nuts.
The restaurant at Vorder Erzberg was closed (they are on vacation this week; outrageous!), but luckily there was a self-service fridge, so we could get a cold beer to enjoy with the last of our lunch.

The decision to go down to Neuhüsli was, again, made because of time constraints. In retrospect we probably could have made it to Passwang if we'd pushed. Ah well... the consequences of not making it were either another hour of hiking or two hours of waiting, so we wimped out. Next time!

The track:
Stats: ~1580m up, ~1330m down, 29.7 km.