by giampiero assandri
NOTE: in this regard we refer to the various published works on SP about itineraries chosen and recommended, remarks, tools and new technique on Snow Rackets.
By analyzing this area, we can divide it, starting from the West and to East, into three distinct areas with each offering different characteristics and particular features.
a)- Conca Palasina or Palasinaz located to the West and to the North and East by the watershed ridge limited to that from Punta Valfredda also Freidòhòre down in South to the Tip Valnera and to Mont Bieteron and his great shoulder or called Mont Palòn. This, in addition to numerous pastures and alpages, also includes the Refuge de l'Arp, positioned at the base of the Western slopes Valfredda/Valnera Summits and before the three homonym small Lakes, located in their turn immediately to the North under the Hill Valfredda.
b)- from the Valnera Hill or Valdònierfòrkò down towards the South, dividing the Gressoney Valley, up to the important Hill Ranzola. It contains the two beautiful Lakes Estoul.
c)- last area of lower elevation, which rises from the Hill of Ranzola first at the Punta della Regina finally to decline significantly on the watershed to the West with the parallel Vallon of Frudiera up to the top 'inhabited Graines with its magnificent castle with tower. Three distinct zones separated and otherwise characterized in the same extended area.
NOTA: inoltre dar un'occhiatina, sempre su SP, ai lavori varii al riguardo dell'attrezzatura, tecnica, raccomandazioni ed itinerari scelti ed indicati a riguardo della suddetta pratica.
Analizzando quest'area, possiamo suddividerla, partendo da Ovest e verso Est, in tre zone ben distinte con ognuna offerente caratteristiche e peculiarietà altresì differenziate.
a)-: Conca di Palasinaz situata ad Ovest ed a Nord e limitata ad Oriente dalla cresta spartiacque che dalla Punta di Valfredda scende a Sud alla Punta di Valnera o Valdònierhòre ed insino al Mont Bieteron nonché al suo spallone o Mont Palon. Essa, oltre a numerose alpi, comprende anche il nuovo Rifugio de l'Arp, posizionato alla base dei Versanti Occidentali delle Punte di Valfredda e di Valnera ed anticipante di modesta distanza i tre Laghi di Valfredda, situati a loro volta subito verso Settentrione sotto il Colle di Valfredda o Freidecoll.
b)-: zona che dal Colle di Valnera scende verso Sud, divisoria con la Valle di Gressoney, fino all'importante Colle della Ranzola. Essa contiene i due bei e viciniori Laghi d'Estoul.
c)-: un'ultima area, di minor elevazione, che dal Colle della Ranzola sale dapprima alla Punta della Regina per indi declinare decisamente verso Ovest sullo spartiacque con il parallelo Vallone di Frudiera fin sopra l'abitato di Graines col suo magnifico castello con torre. Tre zone ben contraddistinte componenti l'identico sì largo ed esteso comprensorio.
Getting ThereBy car:
- From TORINO, MILANO, etc: Motorway A5. Exit at IVREA or Quincinetto (PIEDMONT)
From IVREA Town: in West (Southern side) to Pont Saint Martin, Verrès Municipalities in East from Aosta Town.
From Courmayeur Resort: in East-southeast to Aosta, Nus, Chatillon, Saint Vincent, Verrès Municipalities.
Brusson Municipality at the foot of Mont Zerbion,
From Verrès to Val d'Ayas Valley
From Verrès (549m), with Regional Road, to Challant Saint Victor (765m), Challant Saint Anselme (1060m), Brusson (1332m) Municipalities; wanting, continuing to Northwest to Antagnod-Ayas (1709m) Commune, below Mounts Tantané and Zerbion also in North towards Champoluc (1570m) and Saint Jacques(1670m) Communes at the end of Evançon or Ayas Valley and under the Western side of Monte Rosa (Rollin Hump, Breithorns, Pollux and Castor).
- From FRANCE: through the Mont Blanc Tunnel to Entrèves/Courmayeur. By Little Saint Bernard Pass, closed since November until half May to La Thuile Valley - Pré Saint Didier - Aosta - Verrès Municipalities.
It is not necessary to take Motorway A5: you can drive on State Road n° 26, in the direction of AOSTA - IVREA - TURIN.
- Aeroporto Internazionale "Corrado Gex" Saint Christophe (Aosta).
From Valdònierhòre above the Refuge de l'Arp,
The "King" amongst the Summits,
This first district of mountains above the Basin Estoul is aimed at the most in the West, or from the top, first of all, the Punta della Guà above the Municipality of Brusson.It up to the Corno Bussola (Horn Compass) on the watershed from South to North; from the same a second branch is directed towards the Levant, for separating the Vallon of Mascognaz to the North by the Palasinaz (after the Punta del Lago, the Pass and the Top of Palasina), reaching the Tip Valfredda, whence a third and final descends towards Southeast. This, after the passage of the same name, stands up to the Top Valnera where it bifurcates: one branch goes to the South-southwest, and after a series of altitudes unnamed, form the Mont Bieteron his Southern shoulder, known as Mont Palòn (inscriptions on rocks of the Summit, not to be confused with the other with same name just North of Tip of the Guà); a second branch descends farther South, adapted to contain the Basin real Estoul, forming in its descent the "Bocchetta" (small step in the manner of a notch) of Eclou, a series of teeth which precede the three Summit of Mont Ciosé or, "in loco", Chose to conclude to the Ranzola Hill. From this point on the watershed between Ayas and Gressoney continues in the direction of several top above the beautiful pyramid of Mont Nery (3075m), the highest mountain of this long stretch after the partition of the Testa Grigia (Gray Head; (3313m). But now we are in the Walloon of Frudiera or Frudière with its beautiful lakes; but the second branch (Estoul) that this will be part of future studies. To us, for the moment, only interested in the first sector, ie to Palasina that from the Guà Summit, with a large semi-circular turn, reaches the Mount Bieteron his shoulder and ending above Lake Literan and the whole series of the Alps that Northwest wind above Brusson and Estoul. This sector has expanded twenty top among which ten have a name well-defined and reported by the Maps. Furthermore, it is the starting point for the ascent of Corno Vitello (+; 3057m) via the small saddle (2778m) on an extension to the North of the dividing ridge; but this belongs to the top of the Mascognaz Vallon, immediately North than Palasinaz and bordering those of Freida/Loaoche-Pénte in Gressoney Valley. These Summit develop with two small parallel and semicircular mountain ranges, where the nodes are identified in the basic topographic Tip of Guà, Bussola Horn, Top Valfredda and Bieteron for the first area, and always starting again Bieteron to Tip Valnera and from this to Ciosé or Stallerhorn for the second.
emilius on Valfredda Summit,
Sto primo circondario di montagne soprastanti il Bacino di Estoul é rivolto alla parte più ad Occidente, ovvero dalle sommità, prima tra tutte la Punta della Guà, sopra il Comune di Brusson fino al Corno Bussola sullo spartiacque da Sud verso Nord; dal medesimo un secondo ramo s'indirizza verso Levante, atto a separare il Vallone di Mascognaz a Settentrione da quello di Palasinaz (dopo la Punta del Lago, il Passo e la Punta di Palasina), raggiungendo la Punta di Valfredda, donde un terzo ed ultimo scende verso Sudest. Questi, dopo l'omonimo passo, si rialza alla Punta di Valnera ove si biforca: uno scende verso Sud-sudovest e, dopo una serie di quote innominate, forma il Mont Bieteron e la sua spalla Meridionale conosciuta altresì come Mont Palon (iscrizioni sulle rocce della sommità; da non confondere con l'altro Mont Palon subito a Nord della Guà); un secondo ramo scende più a Sud, atto a contenere il Bacino vero e proprio di Estoul, formando nella sua discesa la Bocchetta (piccolo passo a guisa di intaglio) d'Eclou, una serie di elevazioni dentellate precedenti le tre Sommità del Mont Ciosé o, in loco, Chose per concludere al Colle della Ranzola. Qui, lo spartiacque tra Ayas e Gressoney continua in direzione di varie sommità che precedono la bella piramide del Mont Nery (3075 m), la montagna più elevata di questo lungo tratto divisorio dopo la Testa Grigia (3313 m). Ma ormai siamo nel Vallone di Frudiera o Frudière coi suoi bei laghi; sia il secondo ramo (d'Estoul) che questo faranno parte di studi successivi. A noi, pel momento, interessa soltanto il primo settore, cioé quello di Palasina che dalla Punta della Guà, con un largo giro semicircolare, raggiunge il Bieteron e la sua spalla terminando al di sopra del Lago Literan e di tutta quella serie di alpeggi snodantisi sopra Brusson ed a Nordovest di Estoul. Quest'esteso settore presenta una ventina di sommità tra le quali dieci possiedono un nome ben definito e riportato dalle Carte. Inoltre risulta punto di partenza per l'ascensione al Corno Vitello (+; 3057 m) tramite la selletta (2778 m) sul prolungamento verso Nord della cresta spartiacque; questa sommità però appartiene di già al Vallone di Mascognaz, subito a Settentrione rispetto a quello di Palasinaz e confinante con quelli di Freide/Loaoche-Pénte in Valle di Gressoney. Queste Sommità si sviluppano con due piccole catene montuose parallele e semicircolari, dove i nodi topografici basilari si individuano nella Punta della Guà, Corno Bussola, Punta di Valfredda e Bieteron per il primo settore e, sempre ripartendo dal Bieteron, alla Punta di Valnera indi al Mont Ciosé per il secondo.
From South-southwest to North: Guà, Palon, Bussola, Summits,
A Summit which you want to go?
From North to South-southeast: Punta Palasina, Valfredda or Freidòhòre, Valnera or Valdònierhòre & Mont Bieteron,
In addition to briefly describe each of the ten top with a name, adding to these the Chalberhòre or Corno Vitello (Vealhorn) quite easily accessible from this side, and some other intended for lovers of exploration, we give some indication of the ways forward also highlighting some quirks that you encounter on the same; almost all of them are aimed at Walkers/Hikers (E) and in some cases to Expert Hikers (EE) and in rare Expert Hikers to Mountaineers (EE/A). We must not forget, however, besides the fact that the rock is always rotten, crumbled, grassy and of very poor quality, the snow conditions completely subvert the factors of difficulty and where in summer you can pass easily in the presence of snow, especially if fresh or high and has not been processed, you should be more cautious. Despite the fact that almost all the ascents possess a path or a track indicative more or less evident and despite numerous reports exist it must be remembered that the presence of this element restricts or completely erase these valuable aid. By contrast, the presence of snow trips offer sensations and emotions more completely changing the "pitch", and the views can be enjoyed and from most definitely unusual.
In any case, learning how to suitably evaluate the various existing situations, without neglecting those that require caution ...
Starting from Estoul you have only the embarrassment of choice.
(For the approaches see "The Lakes" & "Where do we go fishing?")
1)- : Gua or Guà also Goà Summit (2776m); Eastern Slope and South Crest in terminal part starting from Bringuez Lake (2529m). Climb West from the lake through the grassy slopes with a small trace of the path; exceeded an insignificant rock band, continue with two possibilities: a)- to go directly to the small saddle 2733 metres at Pointe Palòn and continue along the easy Northern Crest; 2)- diagonally across the Northeast Slope of scattered traces reaching the big Cross Summit (E/F; 0h '45/1h '00 from the loch; 3h '30/3h '45 from Estoul; 4h '45/5h '15 from Brusson).
2)- : Pointe Palon (2779m); East Slope and South Crest in final part from Bringuez Lake or with traverse from Punta of Guà through saddle 2733 metres. This Summit is often confused with the nearby Guà Summit, from which in reality is independent. From the small saddle, leaving South the track towards the Guà, go up the short Crest South with a small rocky stretch in the terminal part (E/F; 0h '20/0h '30 from the the little saddle).
3)- : Unnamed Quotas (2759, 2855, 2859, 2899 metres); traverse South/North from Pointe Palon also vice versa from Bussola Pass on crest. Of this enough important and long watershed, designed to enclose the small Basin Bringuez separating it from the Fornoilles Walloon above the Village Extrepierre (1389m; just on Regional Road to the Northwest of Brusson), has not been reported in any mountain publication. Formed by, starting from South or from Pointe Palon, two separate quotas from as many notches reaches the altitude of 2840 metres where it splits: one branch goes to the East-southeast over the Hill Bringuez, locally called "The Bocchet"(2661m), to finally go back to the Mont Quiappa; a second continues Northward reaching the Quota 2899 metres before falling precipitously over the Bussola Pass. This last, the highest among the Guà Summit Corno Bussola has been uphill, beginning on the same hill, by Osvaldo Cardellina July 7th, 2002 after solo complete traverse from Corno Vitello/Tops Palasina/Punta del Lago Lungo/Bussola Horn with up and down through the short but steep North Slope (EE/A; AD-; II°/II°+, a passage of III°- about a band, however avoidable left; difficulty in finding the path with the danger of falling rocks. (In total 1h '30/1h '45 round trip from pass). Regarding the traverse to the Palòn or vice versa there is no news, but not easy to predict climbing and exposed in several sections. Quote this last might be called Pointe Fornoilles of being at the top of the homonym vallon; in any case, this part is still waiting for a complete scan; this is not sufficient to make an analysis from the bottom, but you have to take the whole of crest in one direction or the other.
4)- : Monte Chiappa or Mont Quiappa (2683m); Northern Slope from two Lakes of the Battle. To climb the enough steep grassy slopes gradually moving to the right until you reach a slightly marked ridge along which you will reach the Summit cairn (E/F; 1h '00/1h '15 from both the lochs).
5)- : Corno Bussola or Mont de Boussolaz (+; 3023m). From Long Lake through good path on rocky promontory reach the Bussola Pass. From this a)-: Southeast Crest, with, just after the same, a short rocky wall equipped with chaines that leads to the upper part of the path; flexing Northwest to Summit (EE/F+; 0h '45/1h '00 from pass; 2h '15/2h '30 from Palasinaz Alpage; 4h '30/5h '00, Estoul; 5h '30/6h '00, Brusson).
Also b)- by long traverse from little saddle 2697 metres crossing the two Palasina Summits and Top Long Lake (a smallwall exposed immediately downhill from the same (6/7 metres; I°+/II°-) just and, after the altitudes 2942, 2975 metres, a passage steep and exposed in the final part of the rock is not good, however, to circumvent the final stretch through a small track to South joining up with the "Normal" just below the Summit (EE/A; 1h '45/2h '00 from hill; combined but very long traverse coming from Chalberhòre EE/A; 7h '00/8h '00 from Estoul parking, round/trip).
6)- : Punta del Lago Lungo or Pointe du Lac Long (2816m); easy traverse on East Ridge from Palasina Hill (2661m; E/F; 0h '20/0h '30).
7)- : Palasina(z) Summits (2740, 2783 metres); South Slopes or traverse on crest from saddle from East to West (2697m; EE; F+; 0h '30).
8)- : Corno Vitello or Chalberhòre or Kalberhorn (+; 3057m); Southwest Crest from little saddle 2697 metres, through two South Shoulders (2921, 2923 metres). This ascent takes place, after arriving from the South to the saddle 2697 metres and another short distance to the quotas 2705, 2823metres, on the ridge dividing the Vallon of Mascognaz (West) by one of Alpenzu in the Gressoney Valley. Typically the path is yellow marked, but in the case of snow, the reports tend to disappear, making the search for the way more complicated but interesting. You can follow the ridge (just more difficult with a bypass to the left) or to remain below the same on the Western Slope (Mascognaz; F/F+; 1h '45/2h '15).
Variant: from Third Lake Valfredda, reached from Refuge l'Arp and with path towards the first two lochs, through steep moraines in East to climb to the eponymous pass or Freidecoll (2857m); from this with a small path diagonally Northwest to the quota 2823 metres going back to the previous way (also further to the right on the watershed (more challenging) to Quota 2921 metres more or less the same difficulties, same time).
9)- : Valfredda Summit or Freidòhòre also, by Brusson inhabitants or those of Gressoney, Punta Lavassey or Corno di Valnera (+; 2947m).
a)- Through the Western Slope under the hill and Southeast Crest from Valnera Pass or Valdònierfòrkò (2676m), reached from l'Arp Shelter. Continue with path in Southeast neighbor and up to the source 2661 metres; from this, lesspath and through moraines or grassy slope to pond 2674 metres just under the pass. From this last by the easy Southeast Crest with yellow signs, just below the same or entirely and integrally on thread, to Summit Cross (yellow signals E/F; 1h '30/2h '00 from the Shelter 2446m).
b)- Or through the more steep and challenging South-southwest Crest from fork just before the refuge to point 2597 metres; from this through rotten, broken, easy rocks reach the Summit (EE/A; F+; 1h '45/2h '00).
c)- Directly from refuge first on the path to the first Lake Valfredda and then through steep stony slope up to the base of West-northwest Face with climb into a greyish rocky gully with gravels and a small rocky wall in the terminal part (A/F+/PD-/PD+; 2h '00/2h '30 from l'Arp Shelter.
d)- Also, always departing from refuge but in North towards three Valfredda Lakes and Pass by the North-northwest Ridge passing on altitude 2869 metres, carving 2811 metres and following quotas 2919, 2911 metres, just below the Summit (surely a crest very rarely traveled and certainly more difficult and more challenging; F+/PD-; 2h '00/2h '30 from l'Arp Refuge.
10)- : Valnera Summit or Valdònierhòre (+; 2754/6m). Through the a)- Southwest short Crest from little saddle 2681 metres, reached with oblique path-traces in Southeast, about 200 metres below the Western Face, from l'Arp Refuge (F/F+; 1h '30/1h '45 from the shelter 1h '15/1h '30 or going up directly on grassy slopes from winding road 2319 metres before the same). Also through the b)- Northern Crest from Valdònierfòrkò (2676m; via integral very rarely frequented. Not difficult, but a little exposed; should bypass some steps right immediately under the ridge and through the Western Face; to be undertaken with caution in the presence of fresh snow F+/PD-; 1h '20/1h '35). Or c)- directly through little rocky Western Face on a small spur, which divides the same into two sectors (Osvaldo Cardellina and Emilio Bertona July 09th, 2006. PD-PD; 2h '15/2h '30 from Refuge). Besides d)- can be reached with an "acrobatic", complete crossing in descent from Bieteron (see Jags; 1h '00/1h '30), probably traveled only once, but for which there is a relationship. Surely this small hilltop, but important node topography, it is more easily accessible route the opposite side, ie from the Lakes Estoul, but these belong to the homonymous vallon that will be examined in the next job.
11)- : Mont Bieteron Jags (2662, 2708 metres); traverse from saddle 2681 metres (exposed, difficult and still to this day most likely scarcely explored). However, in "Monte Rosa" by Gino Buscaini 1971, page 297, there is a report about the climb to the crest of the Southwestern Summit of Valnera which can be summarized thus: from the Summit of Bieteron down a wall with small ledges (15 metres, II°-) surpassing the next small gendarme (II°, follows a little tower that salt on its right by means of a dihedral (4 metres, III°+) and obliquely on ledges recovers the ridge. After you get off the mound with a roughness on the right reaching the minuscule Collar Bieteron (2619m), and then there is "grafted" on the Southwest Ridge of Valnera and, after a passage exposed (II°) to reach the "Normal Route" in final part. (PD/PD+; 1h '00/1h '30 downhill from Bieteron.
12)- : Mont Bieteron (+; 2763m). Through Southwest Slope of Mont Palòn from Literan Lake and crossing through South-southwestern Slopes. From big shoulder down through the rocks easy but exposed a short distance; then continue by flexing just to the North-northeast and through a small track, which often gets lost between the grassy slopes, with some small rock (sometimes delicate passages of I°, moreover not forced and thus easily bypassed on both sides) to reach the Summit Cross (EE/F+; 2h '50/3h '10 from the lake or, more in bottom, from private dirt road).
Note: you absolutely can not crossing down the grassy slopes of the East-Northeast Slope to the Lakes Estoul and Chamen, because really treacherous and dangerous, even in the absence of snow but covered grass as "Olline", very slippery. It should go down again, and then navigate.
13)- : Mont Palon (2594m); various paths on South-southwestern Slopes from Lake Literan. Ascent through boring grassy slopes with short crossing on small rocks which require a final bit of caution when wet or in snow (E/F; 1h '45/2h '00 from the loch or, lower, from dirt road).
- From FRANCE: through the Mont Blanc Tunnel to Entrèves/Courmayeur. By Little Saint Bernard Pass, closed since November until half May to La Thuile Valley - Pré Saint Didier - Aosta - Verrès Municipalities.