We go back in the Viù Valley, this time we head to the Ciarm del Prete. This valley, slightly forgotten y the tourist mass, is so beautyfl and wild. This weekend, kind of unusual, is just the two of us and Roberto aka Trekking-Alps, no one else. It will be another particular Halloween, just as it has been last year, when we went conquering the Sigot Hut.
We go up the narrow roads to Alpe Bianca, what once was the starting point of an ski dome, now abandoned and just recognizable for the old skeleton of a cement building which is breaking the amazing view over the valley.
It’s a sunny day, with bluebird sky and we immediatey begin to walk up on the grass fields which the autumn has painted in yellow.
The beginning is really easy, on a wide, unpaved road with a slight steep grade, perfect to warm us legs up. Then, we see the detour which will lead us to the Ciarm del Prete and finally begin to really hike uphill.
The first stop is at a small unnamed lake, with a stunning view over the ridge and the bare, brown, rock in front of us.
We go on hiking, always uphill, alternating steep grades to easy flat parts. The snow is still pretty far away, we can see it up on the peaks, just here and there and really, really up high. Looking behind up, it’s harder and harder seeing the civilization wee have left to its frenzied and chaotic rythme down in the valley.
We go up and up and, finally, we begin to get into some snow patches, but just because we have changed side and are now on the North face, the shadowed one. Winter is still far away.
We get past a little lake, now more a puddle, dried from the long summer and the missing rainfall. Then, always uphill towards the Lago di Viana, which greets us with a nice surprise: the surface is iced – what can be mistaken at first for a wave, is actually a wrinkle of the ice. The idea strike us all at the same time: a dive in the iced lake, it’s compelling!
We just have a couple minutes to prepare it all and decide, then the shadow will arrive and it will be too cold to do anything. So, without even thinking about it, we strip almost everything off, turn on the camera and…slpash!
It’s more a crack than a splash since we do really jump on the ice – we tried it before and it was just a thin layer, just to be sure!
What we haven’t forseen it that, first of all, even a thin layer is still pretty sharp and the bottom of the lake is not deep and quite slippery. In the end, we don’t get out of it unharmed: a cut knees, broken heels and frozen feet. We get dressed again and it’s time for a quick lunch while we get warm again.
Then, before the shadow comes, we begin our last ascent to the Ciarm del Prete, deciding to take a shortcut on the North face on the left of the lake, which is pretty snowy but which leads directly to the top, without the long way around.
It’s a hard way we decide to take, the snow is quite deep and we have no snowshoes, so we sink-in in the deeper parts. But slowly, step after step, we reach the ridge and it’s as reaching the peak after a long expedition through a glacier.
And here we are, on top! Usual celebrations, a little bit of chocolate and then we leave again. There is a long way down to come back to the valley, even because we will try to close a ring walking the ridges and the short fall days are hurrying us.
So we leave almost immediately, descending the ridge on the opposite face from where we walked up, following the traces of a path and some scattered little rock men, often guessing where it is.
We cut on a steep field just below the ridge, then we cross it further: the idea is to walk the whole ridge up the arriving point of the old ski dome, but we soon realize we will never have enough light time to get there and it will be too dangerous to walk on the ridge in the dark. This ridge is really steep on both sides.
We go on and on, more guessing than really following where the path is, until we reach a crossroad: we can climb the next peak and go on on the ridge, or turn and begin to descend to the valley. We decide for the second one since we can guess we are somewhat up from where we have started this morning. It is really hard to say what is below us in this dark, we can barely see to some ten meters from us.
The long way down begins, at first on a really steep grass field, letting our sense of direction guide us and being quite sure that the unpaved road we have walked on the first part this morning, is cutting the wall we are descending, so we should cross it sooner or later.
We walk a lot, with two headlamps for the three of us, swimming in more than a meter deep rhododendron forest – better then on scattered rock which will surely have broken some ankles – then on grass fields again.
Suddenly, in the distance, we can spot a darker patch slightly enlighten from the reflection of the lights of the city down in the valley, it seems the old abandoned building from where we started.
Soon after, we get into the road we were searching for and we know our effort is almost done. Our sense of direction worked out well in the end. Some switchbaks still divide us from our car, finally on a flat path which is not trying to crack our ankles at every step. We even enjoy this clear starred night without the moon – obviously!
Well after what we planned, we get to the car, exhausted but so happy. It’s another Halloween we won’t easily forget about.
See you with our next adventure.
This article is available : Italian