Maritime Alps

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 44.17749°N / 7.30693°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Ice Climbing, Big Wall, Scrambling, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Elevation: 10817 ft / 3297 m
Sign the Climber's Log

Overview

Maritime Alps

The lake of Rabuons seen from the summit of Corborant

Maritime Alps are a wild and 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).

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

Argentera main summit

Argentera, Alpi Marittime highest summit

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 summit
Corborant summit
The summit cross of Monte Tenibres
The summit cross of Monte Tenibres

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

East side of Serra...
Serra dell'Argentera
Mount Matto and lake of Valcuca
Mount Matto and lake of Valcuca
Cima dei Gelas (3143m)
Monte Gelas

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 West face
Cima di Nasta West face
A deserved rest on Cima del Mercantour
Cima del Mercantour
Corno Stella SW face
Corno Stella SW face
Specchio di Fremamorta (Fremamorta Mirror)
Specchio di Fremamorta
Torrione Querzola, Maritime Alps
Torrione Querzola

 

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.

Aid-climb on Straight Action (Fremamorta Mirror)
Aid-climb on Azione Diretta, Fremamorta
Corno Stella - Lupetti Route SW Face
Corno Stella - Lupetti Route SW Face
Corno Stella Lupetti Route
Corno Stella Lupetti Route

 

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.

Huts and Bivouacs

 

Eastern Side (Italy)

Huts

- Rifugio Guglielmo Migliorero m. 2100 - Rifugio Lorenzo Bozano at Corno Stella m. 2453 - Rifugio Dante Livio Bianco m. 1910 - Rifugio Gandolfo 1847 m - Rifugio Genova – Bartolomeo Figari 2015 m - Rifugio Lausa 2400 m - Rifugio Laus m1910 - Rifugio Morelli and Buzzi 2350 m - Rifugio Pace al Colle della Maddalena 1996 m - Rifugio Questa 2388 m - Rifugio Regina Elena 1800 m - Rifugio Remondino 2430 m - Rifugio Talarico 1750 m - Rifugio Zanotti 2200 m

Migliorero Hut
Refuge Migliorero
Remondino Hut
Remondino Hut
Bozano Hut at Corno Stella
Refuge Bozano at Corno Stella
Jacques Guiglia Bivouac at Fremamorta Lakes
Bivacco Jacques Guiglia at Fremamorta Lakes

 

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

 

Lakes

 

Fremamorta Lakes (1)
Fremamorta Lakes
Lake of Valscura; in the...
Lake of Valscura
Valscura lake. In the...
Valscura lake
Ischiator Lower Lake
Ischiator Lower Lake
Fremamorta Lakes (2)
Fremamorta Lakes
Lower Lake of Ischiator, Ischiator Valloon
Lower Lake of Ischiator, Ischiator Valloon

Climate, Nature, Geology

An Ibex kid in Maritime Alps
An Ibex kid in Maritime Alps
A rare shot of Saxifraga Florulenta, Alpi Marittime
A rare image of Saxifraga Florulenta

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

There are not special restrictions in climbing, hiking and mountaineering, anyhow, due to the wilderness of the area and the very high number of animals and vegetable species, both sides of the chain are under the authority of two Natural Parks: the Argentera Natural Park on the italian side (East), established in 1980, twinned with the Mercantour National Park on the french side (West). May be in future they will form a unique european Park. So, for this reason, 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.

Fremamorta Lakes
Fremamorta Lakes
Central summit of M. Matto...
Central summit of M. Matto...

Meteo

Serra dell'Argentera - Map
Serra dell'Argentera - Map
Monte Matto - Map
Monte Matto - Map

Meteo Regione Piemonte

Meteo Alpi

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



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