Pizzo Valgrande is the southern pinnacle of the range that closes the cirque of Davino lake, in the natural reserve of Alpe Veglia.
Its slopes appears as an appendix of the big Monte Leone (3552m), the most important peak of this area and the natural border line between Cairasca Valley and the swiss area of Simplon pass.
Looking at Pizzo Valgrande from the village of San Domenico it reminds vaguely to some peak of the Dolomiti’s range, with its east flank that plunges to the plane below with cliffs and narrow couloirs.
The flank facing Davino lake is instead a wide sprawl of rock that remains unnoticed with the huge south face of Monte Leone capturing all the attentions.
Pizzo Valgrande is a good mountain for a pleasant hiking or ski mountaineering day enjoying nice views on the great and solitary peaks of Alpe Veglia.
Pizzo Valgrande from Nembro
The trailhead is Nembro, a locality at the end of the paved road that from the village of Varzo climbs along Cairasca Valley till San Domenico.
To get to Varzo you have simply to follow the SS33, the highway of Simplon pass that connects Milano and Brig, Varzo is just a few kilometres from the border line, so the access is very simple and quick both from Switzerland and from Italy.
No permission are required for climbing this mountain or for the acces to the natural reserve of Alpe Veglia.
The more pleasant route is the one that combines the climb to Pizzo Valgrande with the crossing of Scroso Pass.
This route can be done in a single day, the elevation gain is of 1100 meters and the time required is of 5 to 7 hours depending on your legs and including a good stop for lunch.
The route has no technical difficulties, some steps of I (UIAA) are present on the final ridge, for the rest it’s a normal deal for expert hikers.
From Nembro (wide car park) follow the trail to Alpe Veglia.
Once entered the reserve territory follow the signs and the path to Ciamciavero and Davino lake.
After the small village of Ciamciavero you can choose to reach Davino by the direct route or by the normal one.
The direct one has no technical difficulties but it’s veeeery steep, it can be a good way to test your chest and legs.
After that you have reached Davino lake follow the easy trail to Scroso pass, enjoying the view on Monte Leone.
Before getting to the pass scramble toward the ridge descending on the right (south) of Pizzo Valgrande and reach the summit choosing by your self the easiest route on this ridge or on the adjacent flank, avoid to expose yourself on the steep flank falling on San Domenico.
To complete the trail descend to Scroso pass and return to Nembro by the path on the East side of the pass.
The trail is steep but not difficult and returns exactly to the trailhead from where you started in the morning.
Monte Leone from the trail to Scroso pass
Information about the trails, the camping and the sleeping possibilities.
Official site of Alpe Veglia natural park. With informations about the rules pf the park, the trails and tha camping possibilities.
"Thank goodness. This reinforces my simplistic world view."