The east ridge route from Monte di Comino to Pizzo Ruscada is a long hike with lots of elevation gain. The direct elevation difference is 900m but the ridge is well structured with lots of ups and downs which results in about 1200m of elevation gain. The length of the route amounts to 10km one way so that you have to account for about 7 - 8h for the return trip, too much for two trips with the Verdasio - Monte di Comino cable car. Instead you'll have to descend one of two footpaths towards the village of Verdasio instead.
In character the route is a ridge traverse. While the beginning is steep but easy and leads through the pine forest near Monte di Comino, the ridge across the side summit of Pizzin is steep and exposed. The limestone forms quite a number of broad towers which are divided by profound but narrow saddles. Hiking the ridge in wet conditions is quite scary.
Getting ThereAdd Getting There text here.
Drive to the cable-cars of Verdasio from Locarno (see main page). Either take the cable-car or hike from Verdasio to Monte di Comino.
- Start altitude: 711m (Verdasio), 1155m (Monte di Comino)
- Summit altitude: 2004m
- Prevailing exposure: N and S
- Type: Hike and Scramble
nbsp; - Protection: None
From the village of Verdasio follow the signs to Comino. The trail leads through a short narrow street of the village before heading into the forest. The trail is an old mule path, which connects the village with the summer residence above, for most of the part paved with slippery cobblestones. After a few switchbacks you'll reach a small shrine, in which little stone cairns have been placed as sign for devotion. A few more switchbacks take you to the lowest farm building of Monte di Comino at around 1000m. From here a traverse across a meadow takes you to the central part of the village.
Follow the signs to the chapel of Madonna della Segna. Here, at a trail intersection take the left hand trail, which steeply heads up through a dense forest onto the Pizzin east ridge. For about half an hour the trail winds beneath the trees before it gets out to the open again. Not far from the Pizzin summit the trees vanish and offer an open view all around. Pizzin itself is passed to the south but a short path leads to the ugly antenna on top.
Beyond Pizzin the ridge gets exposed. While on top it is still rather broad the descents into the many narrow saddles are steep, sometimes even on overhanging terrain. Three such saddles have to be passed before a slippery exposed ledge trail takes you to the north of the ridge and back into the forest where it stays for a while. With 1643m you reach the highest point so far before the trail descends to the saddle and trail intersection Pescia Lunga. Here the ruins of an old hut can be found. To the left atrail leads down into Centovalli again (possible return route to Verdasio).
Head up on the Ruscada east ridge until you reach the two shepherd's huts of Corte Nuovo. Here either stay on the exposed ridge towards the summit or use the normal route in the north. It steeply leads to a hill-like feature, Il Capellone, directly north of Pizzo Ruscada. From there head up the north ridge / slope towards the top.