I drove to Pala Barzana (840 meters) and began hiking north, climbing through pleasant woodland. Crossing a heavily-eroded open area I encountered an elderly Alpino veteran, with grey beard and green feathered cap, green coat and a heavy wooden staff. Later I looked back and he was perched on a ledge overlooking misty Andreis, a very pretty view.
Before long the steep slope emerges from the forest and you're climbing through grassland. After awhile you reach the dreaded Vallonit, a scree slope you clamber up gaining 300 meters of elevation. I didn't mind going up this as much as descending- very tricky. Along the way low flying clouds moved in and obscured the sun. Eventually I reached some cliffs and traversed past a tiny cave, which I kept in mind in case I needed shelter from a hailstorm. After this I found a handy via ferrata cable bolted into the steep rocky route for maybe 80 meters- very helpful.
Back on the alpine pillow grass slope I joined a trail ascending the ridge from Pian delle Merie near Poffabro. Things soon got steeper and rockier again on the final 300 meters or so of hiking/scrambling up to the dorsal ridge of Forcella Capra at 1824 meters. Even with the cloud/fog the view was impressive: the summit of Monte Raut (2025 meters) further west on the semi-circular dorsal. To the north Crenal de Basson with the trail leading down to Lago Ca Selva (my next route to attempt Monte Raut).
I descended slowly because the outboard side of my left knee was aching and I was afraid I'd wrench it. Everything went well though and no injuries- left leg just needs a day off tomorrow. This is a wonderful wild area so close to home it's a shame not to come back. Maybe I'll try a little snowshoeing from Lago Ca' Selva this winter.
|Orangish-red berries covering trees below Il Vallonit|
|My hailstorm shelter cave; note the concrete Disney dwarf figure |
someone hauled up this slope and mounted on a concrete base!
|The trail coming up from Pian delle Merie|
|This cross is above a high vertical cliff facing southeast|
|The "back" side of Monte Raut summit|
|To reach the summit you must scramble up this steepish rock; |
maybe next time I'll have enough energy/courage
|Crenal de Basson to the north|
|Ruins of Casera di Pala Barzana dairy|