Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Tuesday 5 July 2011 - An Alpi Marittime Trek, Day 4, Rifugio Remondino (2430m) to Rifugio Soria-Ellena (1840m)
13km, 1000m ascent, 8.4 hours. (All timings on this trip include stops. Gillian Price's book provides accurate walking times.)
Another fabulous mountain day.
The 'variable' weather forecast for today proved inaccurate. The weather was perfect for this mountain traverse of two halves.
The first half, to Rifugio Genova, was rough and tough, the second half, after an excellent lunch of pasta/polenta, was over a scenic pass involving well graded paths and lots of flora and fauna.
We set off as a 'famous five' at 8.30 after a good breakfast, and headed along the thin and rocky path towards Colle del Brocan (2892m). Soon the rocks mutated into snowfields and eventually Yaktrax crampons were donned by the three of us who had them. J and H managed easily without such aids, and the three German lads who followed us up were probably ok, though (as expected) we didn't see them again. However, a slip on this steep snow could have serious consequences, so those without previous Alpine experience, or dubious about their ability in such conditions, may be wise to leave the Colle del Brocan until the snow has melted - a bit later in the summer.
The effort was rewarded with great views over the Alps and towards the Mediterranean.
The 900 metre descent to Rif Genova was steep and rough, with some steep snow slopes to test Sue's glissading skills. The rest of us slithered along behind, eventually catching up when she stopped to record the passing of yet another wild flower.
Lunch at Rif Genova was a complete contrast to yesterday's dismal experience. Cheerful staff chatted about routes and served up our pasta and polenta with speedy efficiency. We lazed there in the sun for a good hour.
In contrast to this morning's route, the easy path up to Colle di Fenestrelle (2463m) seemed positively decadent, as we wound slowly up to the pass. Chamois and ibex were abundant here, and a lammergeier flew overhead, sending the local choughs into a frenzy.
There had been over 30 people at Rif L Bianco, over 20 at Questa, and 17 at Remondino. But there are just 8 of us here tonight, which means that we received a friendly welcome from the staff here, who remain unchanged from our visit three years ago, and another very good meal. Sadly Matilda the fox has not survived the winter, but Rifugio Soria-Ellena has gained 'Clever' the dog, and has a friendly ibex - perhaps a brother of 'Ronaldo', the ibex of Rif Questa.
Gillian, thank you for your comments, we are glad that you and Nick enjoyed the 'book posting'. No doubt other readers of these pages are too busy reading your book to find time to comment! (Ha ha! Actually they are probably on holiday themselves, not interested in leaving the shores of the UK, or simply bored with these ramblings...)
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