Daily Archives: 23 July 2015

Alpe Dèvero

July 23rd

Itinerary:  Alpe Veglia – Alpe Dèvero – Binntal Hut

Distance: 27,5 km
Walking time:  8 hours 15 minutes
Vertical distance:  1730 m uphill; 1240 m downhill

There are many passes and cols between the Swiss Binntal and the Italian Alpe Dèvero area but the summits are more accessible from the Swiss side.  The highest summit, Helsenhorn, lies entirely in Switzerland.  The forecast was still not very good and we were somewhat stuck on the Italian side, so we decided to have a longish day and reach the Binntal Hut.  We left at 6 a.m. and reached Alpe Dèvero at 10h45.  One section, the final “wall” up to the Passo di Valtendra, was a steep, stony and vicious path – the 330 m vertical height had taken us a good 45 minutes.  We treated ourselves to an ice cream and went on to Crampiolo for a plate of spaghetti for lunch.  Finally, the ascent to the Albrunpass and down to the hut.  It had been partly overcast with some spots of rain all day.

Bad weather day

July 22nd

First part: Monte Leone Hut – Wasenhorn (3252 m) and back, 2,5 hours

Second part: Monte Leone Hut to Alpe Veglia, Rifugio Città d’Arona (CAI), 2 hours 45 minutes
Total distance: 14,6 km
Vertical distance: 520 m uphill, 1600 m downhill

The morning started very misty and the weather forecast was not good.  We took in the Wasenhorn and had one glimpse of the valley through the clouds.  To continue on the ridge was not advisable under these conditions, so we then descended to Alpe Veglia in Italy.  Nasty descent down some short cliffs exposed by the retreating glacier, with several metal chains and footholds.  Later it started raining, enough to make us put on rain gear but not enough to soak us.  It only lasted half an hour and when we reached the mountain hut around lunch time we were dry and there was even some sun.  Lazy afternoon.

Monte Leone

July 21st

Start:  Simplon Hospice, 07.55;  finish: Monte Leone Hut, 18.15

Distance: 22,4 km
Time:10 hours 20 minutes (plus 50 minutes for the stops)
Vertical distance: 2340 m uphill;  1490 m downhill

Summit: Monte Leone, 3553 m

Following the frontier from just below Gondo to the summit of Monte Leone would have involved a climb of 2750 m, and even more if all cols and pinnacles before and after Punta Valgrande were counted as well.  Besides, the first section is very steep scree and rubble, normally only done in descent by abseiling.  Dave and I decided this was too much, especially with heavy rucksacks!  So we opted to start at the Simplon Hospice, which saved 1200 m ascent.  But because we could only get breakfast at 7 a.m. in the hotel in Simplon Dorf this made for a late start.  We made good progress but suffered from heat and soft snow later on.  The easy scramble up large slabs and boulders on the final ridge seemed endless before we finally reached the summit at about 2 p.m.  Reasonable weather but quite a few clouds.  On the way down, Dave suggested crossing to the Monte Leone Hut directly, without losing height, but we were blocked by gullies and small cliffs so had to go down in any case – the result was a loss of time of at least 30 minutes.  Beware of short cuts in mountainous terrain!