Pictured chat around a climbing tripHaving been a platonic lover of Val Bregaglia Alps since a quarter of a century, I came on their South side - better termed Val Masino Alps - in August 1998 with a friend.
We first climbed up to Omio hut from Bagni di Masino, to make 2 warming-up routes at the rock needle Punta Milano, seen here in the very left:
P. Milano offers two short routes in grade IV (UIAA), the south ridge and the east face route called Ho-Chi-Min-path. In particular the latter is nice to climb and even a bit challenging since a traverse of a finally gripless friction plate has to be made:
The summit offers a comprehensive allround view, notably in the impressive and much higher west wall:
In the background La Sfinge lurks somewhere, which offer also very nice, recommendable short climbs starting from Omio hut.
After a rainy day in Rif. Omio we changed to Rif. Gianetti, a halfday trip passing Passo Barbacan. We met nice girls on the way:
From Passo Barbacan one gets this view to Pizzo Cengalo and the upper Val Porcellizzo:
A few meters above Rif. Gianetti hut there is this nice camp ground (inofficial!).
One should use it, since the sleeping room of Rif. Gianetti is poisoned with naphthaline (probably from mothballs). Although I had my bed very close to the famous bulleye window overlooking Val Porcellizzo, after a few hours I couldn't bear the fetidness any longer. I took 3 blankets, left through the backdoor which was still open and laid down outside. Towards the morning hours it got very cold and I wanted to re-enter, but now the door was closed. So this became my 1st and only High Mountain bivy without tent and sleeping bag so far! I must add that this miasma was not just a special accident, because 3 years later I found still the same situation!
The next day we climbed Via Marimonti to Punta Sertori, which was a fantastic climbing experience. The day following that my mate lingered around Rif. Gianetti until noon, while I made a slow and deeply impressive walk to Punta Torelli's south ridge (left of the summit in the following pic)
then we left and descended to Val di Mello.
We camped 2 nights in Val di Mello, hiked around and dined awful polenta and wonderful roasted chicken:
Val di Mello is very very beautiful and surely singular in Europe, providing it with a sort of Yosemite valley.
I close with this popular representation I detected in San Martino, the main village of Masino valley, and which holds - I find - a remarkable symbolic statement in juxtaposing Maria with the Child beside the cross: