Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Le Ronciade Hike

A cold but sunny, crystal clear day.   I intended to snowshoe this route, but the snow was only a couple of inches deep so I hiked instead.  From Col Alto I took the Ronciade trail to the east, where last February sled dogs were training with their musher.  The trail (a dirt road in summer) meanders through faggio forest until the junction south of Pian delle More.  Here I turned right and shortly afterward turned right again onto trail 985.  Another few hundred meters and I reached il incrocio di sentieri, where I turned right and continued on 985.  This trail rises until reaching a concrete road accessing the repeater towers above Giais.  If instead you descend on that road it carries you to Casera Valfredda, where I MTBed in October.  

I tried at first to continue on 985, but the sun-exposed section  of snow had repeatedly thawed and frozen into a downhill ice track.  I was certain to break my neck continuing that way, so I turned right and tried another wide trail, still covered with snow and heading uphill to the north.  This was excellent with 270 degree open panoramas.  At the top it died though, so I finally looked at my map and saw I had a 200-meter high slope to descend unless I turned around and retraced my steps.  I gingerly traversed back and forth down the snowy slope, using trees and boulders to keep from tumbling.  When nothing else was available I drove my trekking poles into the snow and grappled down.  Amazingly it worked.  Back on the level trail I went fast to make up time and soon arrived at the car.   

Faggio forest rising from the trail

Sun-lit beech trees

Pala Fontana (right); the reflector is visible from our rear window

Monte Ciastelat (left), Pala Fontana (right)

Looking up Valcellina at high northern peaks  

Close up of high northern peaks
Monte Cavallo Gruppo

Monte Cavallo Gruppo close-up

Monte Cavallo Gruppo close-up

Monte Cavallo Gruppo close-up

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