OverviewCairasca valley is located in the North West of the Lepontine Alps range and its territory is neighboring at West with the helvetian area of Simplon pass.
From the small village of Varzo, adjacent to the highway SS36 of Simplon pass, the narrow groove of the valley ascends till the village of San Domenico, where the valley opens in a first cirque of lovely meadows till the small settlement of Nembro.
Nembro is also the point where the public road that comes from Varzo stops. A private and not paved road goes on crossing the narrow canyon carved by the river and entering in the end the great cirque of Alpe Veglia.
The area around this cirque is the site of a natural park that, together with the neighboring one of Alpe Devero, is the most important protected site of this part of Piedmont after Val Grande wilderness area.
Above Alpe Veglia a range of great summits with an elevation major than 3000m closes Cairasca valley and forms the border line with Switzerland.
The most important summit is Monte Leone(3553m), which skyline is easy recognizable also from the plane of Lombardy near Milan.
From the top of Monte Leone the border ridge descends toward East forming secondary summits as Punta Valgrande and Monte Teggiolo, while at North, after Aurona pass, the most important pass to move from Veglia to Simplon, the ridge climbs to other great mountains such as Punta Terrarossa(Wasenhorn, 3246m), Punta del Rebbio(Borthelhorn, 3195m) and Helsenhorn(3272m).
At East of these last mentioned peaks, another important ridge forms Pizzo Diei(2980m), Monte Cistella and the big watershed with Antigorio Valley.
Cairasca Valley is a fancy area for trekking and easy mountaineering with notable possibilities also for ski-mountaineering.
During winter the chair lift of Alpe Ciamporino permits to ski over good slopes with some possibilities also for free-riding in security.
Getting ThereThe valley is easy reachable by car from the exit for Varzo of the highway SS33, that connects Milan to Brig passing by Simplon pass.
By train you can get to the station of Iselle, at the Italian entrance of the long tunnel of the international railway of Simplon, or to the station of Varzo.
Then you must use a taxi to reach San Domenico or if you are well trained nad you like pedaling you can use a bycicle, the distance to San Domenico is less than 20 Km with an elevation to gain that is almost 1100m.
Red TapeNo red tape.
AccomodationIn San Domenico and in Varzo there are some hotels.
In the valley there are also two campings, one is located in the small village of Ponte, at half the way between Varzo and San Domenico, another one is instead housed inside the park of Alpe Veglia.
See the link section for more info about the accommodations.
Most important summits
The most frequently climbed summits are:
|Monte Teggiolo. 2385m. |
A nice summit that offers great views, to climb in all seasons by a pleasant hiking route.
|Pizzo Diei & Monte Cistella. 2980m. These twin summits are often climbed starting from San domenico or from Alpe Ciamporino. The normal route is easy (normal hiking and scrambling difficulties) and the view from the top is fantastic.|
Other summits less frequented are Punta Valgrande(2817m), Punta Mottiscia(3047m), Corno Brunni(2917m) and Cima di Valtendra(2628m).
HutsRifugio città di Arona.1750m. The main support point for the area of Alpe Veglia. An important hut often used in alternative to the hotels.
Bivacco Farello. 2800m. at Aurona pass, usefull to climb Terrarossa or the north face of Monte Leone.
Rifugio Crosta Pietro. 1740m. On the south flank of Pizzo Diei.
All these huts are reachable by feet from San Domenico.
LinksThe following links are usefull to find info about the accomodation, the trails and whatever is usefull to know.
Alpe Veglia official site
San Domenico and Alpe Ciamporino official site
Official site of the village of Varzo
[img:191661:aligncenter:medium:The groove of the valley from the top of Leone]