I tried to get a mountain guide in Pontresina for Saturday or Sunday, but they were all already taken – a weekend with good weather. But I could have one for Monday, August 31st, for at least two days.
The day before yesterday, on Friday morning, after the hospital visit, I needed time to organise my stuff. So I went by train to Pontresina on Saturday, August 29th, with lots of luggage, and once again enjoyed the hospitality of Fritz and Ursulina.
So what should I do on the Sunday? I decided to use this day to do an easier section of the border without a heavy rucksack. I chose the climb of 2100 meters from the Val Poschiavo to the first summit of the mountain chain to the east.
Itinerary: Campascio – Viano – Tegial – boundary stone no. 13 (pt 2648 m) – Pass Portun – Grüm Sur – Viano
Distance: 22.1 km (only 6 km along the border)
Walking time: 8 hours 30 minutes (plus 1 hour for the stops)
Vertical distance: 2220 m uphill; 1580 m downhill
To the east of the Val Poschiavo, the border goes straight up from Campocologno but crosses several cliffs and there is no suitable path. The climb from Campascio was the only other option. It was hot and I needed more than five hours to reach the highest point; all the upper part was done without a path, on steep grass and boulder fields. The almost vertical view down to Tirano is superb – see photo. Then I started the border ridge to the north but I had to turn around after a kilometre and a half because of large blocks and unclimbable vertical slabs.
Arriving back at Viano I went into a small restaurant to enquire about the timetable for the postal bus. There was none! Instead, one phones and the little yellow bus comes 20 minutes later. I was the only passenger. The journey of several kilometres, on a narrow road, partly carved into the cliff and with countless hairpin bends, led to Brusio train station. The cost of this special trip, with a half-fare card: CHF 2,20, i.e. the normal price! Fritz told me later that this is quite normal and cheaper for the bus company (La Poste) than offering a formal timetable. I took the train from Brusio to Campascio (5 minutes) to pick up the car and drive back to Pontresina.
View of the boundary stone no. 13, at 2648 m, with Tirano (Italy) behind, 2200 m lower