Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Thursday 3 July 2008 - An Italian Border Route (IBR) - Day 9 - Alpine Strawberries for Breakfast

Campsite in Val del Sabbione

Plan: Limonetto to Lac della Vacca - 13 km, 1900 metres ascent, 7 hours

Actual: Bus from Limone to Limonetto, then planned route as far as wild camp in Val del Sabbione - 1800 metres
10 km, 1300 metres ascent, 6.75 hours including 1.25 hours breaks.

Best bit: Scenic Lakes
Summit: Monte Ciotto Mieu (MCM) 2378 metres (just a couple of metres below our high point to date)

We stopped today before 4pm, so it was another short day. That was because it had started to rain!, and we spotted a possibly good site for the tent. By the time we had dropped down to the river and filtered some water (there was a big herd of chamois above us) the sun was shining again. But we persisted and found a nice spot across the river.

We can catch up tomorrow, albeit by way of a long day.

The act of crossing the river to get to this secluded spot was notable for me in that after nearly falling in at the first attempt, I used my crocs for the purpose for which they were bought 18 months ago - river crossings - for the very first time.

We didn't see a soul after leaving Limonetto on the 900 metre climb up to a notch on the horizon - Passo di Ciotto Mieu. The strawberries provided a succulent second breakfast, the sun shone, the flowers waved in the breeze, the streams sparkled...

Yes, we now have streams and need to carry only a litre of water, or less. My load has however been compensated for this reduction by the addition of a spare gas cylinder.

The views from MCM were the clearest we have had yet, though neither Monte Viso nor Monte Rosa (should we really be able to see our final destination at this stage of the walk, already?) could quite be seen today.

Two people came the other way on the main path whilst we had our mini excursion to the summit. Then on the steep (aided by wires) descent to Lac della Alberg we met a German couple doing the GTA. Alright, they weren't camping at all, but having done the first half of the route last year they are now finishing it off. So they are the closest yet to our own aspirations.
We recommended that they visit the MCM summit, but I don't think they did, so they won't have found our message in the summit box.

After a lovely lunch by Lac della Alberg, our own route left the GTA by a short cut over boulder fields (not Sue's favourite terrain, but it saved a 200 metre climb) to Lac della Frisson, dominated by the rocky conical peak of Monte Frisson, high above us.

The path was clearly rarely used, especially beyond Passo della Mena, from where the 500 metre descent over steep grass on an overgrown zigzagy path was quite hard on the knees. But that is a feature of this route - it goes where others don't go - and it wouldn't surprise me if no English speaking person has ventured up the attractive but remote valley in which we are camped for a good few years.

The paths around here have some startlingly interesting names! We are camped just off M5c, and today we have also enjoyed paths L12, L7, and M24 (poorly marked, that one, not advised in mist).

More obscure paths follow tomorrow, before we rejoin the GTA route. We hope we can find them!

It doesn't take a genius to work out that we have no signal here, and we may not have one for some time! Please bear with us at such times.

Anyone wishing to view our summary and detailed itineraries, or our kit lists, should use the link to the GTA web page from the home page of http://www.topwalks.com/

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