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.

Ciarm del prete

Let’s start! We leave the old abandoned building behind us and finally walk

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.

Ciarm del prete

Unnamed fascinating little lakes, scattered in the Viù valley

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.

Ciarm del prete

We have left the civilization down there, far away, with its frenzied rythme, we walk at the Mountain pace

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 Vianawhich 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!

Lago di Viana

It’s time for a nice revitalizing dive at zero degrees, jumping in the ice!

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.

Ciarm del prete

Goodbye lake, we walk up straight to the top of Ciarm del Prete, in the snow

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.

Ciarm del prete

Exxpedition to Ciarm del Prete, some steps before the peak!

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.

Ciarm del Prete

It’s almost the sun and it is playing hide and seek behing our shapes!

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.

Ciarm del prete

It’s almost time to say goodbye to the light, soon we will cross and begin to walk on the other valley, leaving the sun definetly behind us

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.

Ciarm del prete

Last moments of light, then the dark will come along with the headlamp…for two of us at least!

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