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Maritime Alps
Area/Range

Maritime Alps

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Maritime Alps

Page Type: Area/Range

Location: France/Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 44.18020°N / 7.30453°E

Object Title: Maritime Alps

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Ice Climbing, Big Wall, Scrambling, Skiing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Elevation: 10817 ft / 3297 m

 

Page By: AlbertoRampini

Created/Edited: / Apr 17, 2014

Object ID: 171034

Hits: 11196 

Page Score: 86.25%  - 22 Votes 

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Overview

Maritime Alps



The lake of Rabuons seen from the summit of Corborant



Maritime Alps are a wild and quite complex chain lying in the Southern end of Western Alps; the main ridge runs on Italy-France boundary from Colle di Tenda (1.871 mt a.s.l., 44°09’06’’N; 4°52’30’’O) at South-East to Colle della Maddalena (1.996 mt a.s.l., 44°25’17’’N; 5°33’15’’O ) at North-West.
As their name means, Maritime Alps are a part of the Alps located close to Mediterranean Sea (sea = mare in italian).
The Italian side belongs to Cuneo Province, Piemonte Region, the French one mainly belongs to the Departement des Alpes Maritimes (06) and Alpes de Haute Provence (04). Starting from North, at first the chain runs from Nort-West to South-East from Colle della Maddalena - or Col de Larche in French (road col)- to Colle di Ciriegia (walking col). In the southern part the chain runs from East to West from Colle di Tenda (road col) to Colle di Ciriegia (walking col).


 
Fremamorta Lakes
Fremamorta Lake

 
Argentera main summit
Argentera main summit





Highest summits

Monte Argentera m. 3297, the highest of the range; Cima di Nasta m. 3108; Monte Matto m. 3097; Monte Gelas m. 3143; Il Baus m. 3067, Cima di Brocan m. 3054, Cima Paganini m. 3051, Corno Stella m. 3050; Monte Clapier m. 3045; Tenibres m. 3031; Corborant m. 3010


Main Subgroups

Brocan-Baus-Nasta, Argentera, Oriol, Bresses, Prefouns, Testa Malinvern, Lombarda, Lausfer, Corborant, Ischiator, Tenibres, Ubac, Enciastraia, Rocca dell’Abisso, Vernasca, Basto-Grand Capelet, Clapier-Maledia, Gelas, Agnel

Getting there

 
Maritime Alps full map
 


Italian side or Eastern side

The chain runs in its southern part from Ventimiglia to Colle di Tenda (SS nr. 20/E 74, Km 38). To reach the chain Central part it’s useful following from Cuneo Gesso Valley towards Valdieri and then either to S. Anna and Terme di Valdieri (NW side of Argentera Group) or Entraque (SE side of Argentera Group).
To reach the Northern Side of the chain from Cuneo follow Stura Valley, from which on the left-hand side some secondary valleys lead to the foot of the main mountains (some valleys, such as Vallone di S. Anna and Valle del Rio Corborant, are provided with drivable roads; the Vallone di S. Anna road, starting from Vinadio, crosses the boundary at Lombarda Col mt. 2.351 mt a.s.l., leading to Isola, in the French side).



French side or Western side

From Nizza head toward North (following at first the road D6202 Route de Grenoble/Route des Grandes Alpes and then the road D2565) to St. Martin Vesubie (Km. 65), Isola and St Etienne de Tinee. From La Bollene, Roquebilliere, St Martin Vesubie, Isola the secondary roads allow to go up the valleys toward the main chain.

Northern Sector

Northern sector main summits (in order of height)

Monte Tenibres m. 3031 - Corborant m. 3010 - Becco Alto d’Ischiator m. 2998 - Monte Enciastraia m 2955 - Cima las Blancias m. 2970 - Testa Malinvern m. 2939 - Monte Laroussa m. 2905 - Cima di Collalunga m. 2759 - Rocca di San Bernolfo m. 2681, Testa dell'Autaret m. 2763, Punta Maladécia m. 2745

Corborant m. 3010
Corborant m. 3010
Monte Tenibres m. 3031
Monte Tenibres m. 3031

Southern Sector

Southern sector main summits (in order of height)


Apart from the main boundary chain, two important subgroups are lying entirely in the Eastern side (Italy): Monte Matto Group and Monte Argentera Group.
Inside the Southern sector is lying the highest summit of the chain: Monte Argentera or Serra dell'Argentera m. 3297

Argentera m. 3297
Argentera m. 3297
Monte Matto m. 3097
Monte Matto m. 3097
Corno Stella m. 3050
Corno Stella m. 3050



Other important summits: Cima di Nasta m. 3108 - Monte Matto m. 3097 - Cima della Maledia m. 3061, Corno Stella m. 3050 - Rocca dell’Abisso m. 2755 - Monte Clapier m 3045 - Monte Gelas m. 3143 Testa di Tablasses m. 2851 - Caire di Cougourde m. 2921 - Caire de Prefouns m. 2840 - Cima di Mercantour m. 2775 - Cima di Fremamorta m. 2731

Cima di Nasta m. 3108
Cima di Nasta m. 3108
Cima di Mercantour m. 2775
Cima di Mercantour m. 2775
Specchio di Fremamorta
Specchio di Fremamorta

Climbing and hiking

All the Maritime Alps offer a great opportunity of hiking, scrambling, climbing and mountaineering inside a beautiful and wild alpine landscape.
The Argentera Group is the most important sector concerning mountaineering and climbing, and many interesting peaks and nice walls belong to this subgroup, such Corno Stella, with its famous South-West granite wall, and Cima di Nasta. Other intersting rock climbing areas are the Prefouns sub-group and the Cougourde sub-group.
In the Maritime Alps you can also find several middle-mountain climbing walls, such in Valle Gesso and in Valle Stura.


Main trails

Both the "GTA Grande Traversata delle Alpi Piemontesi" trail in the italian side and "GR5 Grande Randonnée 5" trail in the french side are well-known and highly reliable hiking itinerary.
The first trail is starting from Ponte della Rovina and running to Valle Stura.
The second trail is starting from Larche and running to Nizza.

Cima di Nasta - Mai Dire Io Route upper pitches
Slabs on Cima di Nasta

Prefouns Gully, an early summer's climb
Prefouns Gully, an early summer ice climb

Aid-climb on Straight Action (Fremamorta Mirror)
Specchio di Fremamorta

Huts and Bivouacs

 
Migliorero Hut
Rifugio Guglielmo Migliorero m. 2100
 
Bozano Hut at Corno Stella
Rifugio Lorenzo Bozano at Corno Stella m. 2453
 
Jacques Guiglia Bivouac at Fremamorta Lakes
Jacques Guiglia Bivouac at Fremamorta Lakes m. 2437
 
Remondino Hut
Rifugio Franco Remondino Cima Nasta mt. 2430

Eastern Side (Italy)

HUTS

Bozano mt. 2453 - Dante Livio Bianco mt. 1910 - Gandolfo 1847 mt. - Genova – Bartolomeo Figari mt. 2015 - Lausa mt. 2400 - Laus mt. 1910 - Migliorero mt. 2100 - Morelli and Buzzi 2350 mt. - Pace al Colle della Maddalena mt. 1996 - Questa 2388 mt. - Regina Elena mt. 1800 - Remondino mt. 2430 - Talarico mt. 1750 - Zanotti mt. 2200

BIVOUACS

Barbero mt. 1670 - Baus mt. 2568 - Costi-Falchero mt. 2275 - Guiglia mt. 2437 - Varrone mt. 2090 - Vigna mt. 2880




Western Side (France)

HUTS

Bousieyas mt. 1883 - Chastellar mt. 1507 - Chastillon mt. 2034 - Cougourde mt. 2090 - Rabuons mt. 2523 - Salese mt. 1724 - Ski Club Nice mt. 1519 - Vens mt. 2370

Climate, Nature, Geology

 
A rare shot of Saxifraga Florulenta
The rare Saxifraga Florulenta
 
An Ibex kid in Maritime Alps
A kid of Ibex in Maritime Alps





Climate and Nature

Due to the location of the chain, it rains more than in the other parts of the Alps, mostly in spring and autumn (rain) and in late winter (important snow-falls). The French side (West) counts more rain-falls, because of the Atlantic perturbations coming from West.
Many rare and endemic species live in Maritime Alps, due to the geographic position under the influence of sea in South side, to the typical alpine climate in the northern side and in the higher zone and to the ancient glacier’s action, rocks variety and man’s activity.
No other place in alpine chain is so rich in animal and vegetable species.
You can find both artic species as Ranunculus Glacialis and mediterranean species as Lavandula Angustifolia and Juniperus Phoenicea. But the most important endemic specie is Saxifraga Florulenta, which lives only in the small range from Mont Frisson and Vens Lakes. Clarence Bicknell, the famous English botanic, called it “Maritime Alps’ glory”. This incredible plant can live till 50 years and it flourishes only a time, just before dying.
Bears, wolfs, lynxs and vultures (gypaetus) have been missing for years, but many other animals still populate valleys and high peaks. Ibex and chamois (rupicapra rupicapra) are common all over the Maritime Alps territory.


Geology

There are different kinds of rocks in the area, but the most common ones are “granite” (as in middle part of Argentera Massif) and “gneiss”; sometimes you can find a few kinds of limestone, in some valleys as in Valle Stura and in the lower part of Valle Gesso.

Red Tape

 
Ischiator Lower Lake
Ischiator Lower Lake



Due to the wilderness of the area and the very high number of animal and vegetable species, both sides of the chain are under the authority of two Natural Parks: the Argentera Natural Park in italian side (East), established in 1980, twinned with the Mercantour National Park in french side (West). May be in future they will form a unique european Park. Therefore the Maritime Alps territories are subject to some important rules. Free camping is not allowed and fires are forbidden. To bivouac is authorized only at more than 1 hour’s walk from Park boundaries or from access roads. The whole fauna and flora is protected. Don’t disturb fauna and other mountaineering and hikers’ peacefulness with every kind of noise.

There are not special restrictions in climbing, hiking and mountaineering.
Anyhow Corno Stella is located inside Argentera Natural Park, established in 1980, so some basic rules concerning environmental respect are essential. Fires are forbidden and free camping is not allowed. To bivy is authorized only at more than 1 hour’s walk from the park's boundaries or from the access roads. The whole fauna and flora is protected.


Please respect the following rules inside Argentera Natural Park and Mercantour National Park:



Meteo

METEO REGIONE PIEMONTE

METEO ALPI



 
Serra dell Argentera - Map
 

 
Monte Matto - Map
 

Guidebooks and maps

"Alpi Marittime Vol. I and Vol. II" by E. Montagna - L. Montaldo - F. Salesi Guide Monti d'Itali CAI-TCI

"Le Alpi del mare" (Les Alpes de la Mer) by Flaviano Bessone

Map "Alpi Marittime" 1:30.000 - Meridiani Montagne Ed.

External Links

Parcs:
Mercantour, France
Alpi Marittime, Italy

Images