Rating the Route (By Hiking Standards)
The map of the area Crete di Gleris and the ascent couloir on Forcella della Pecora
The grading system for hiking and scrambling routes is here
From 1100m to 2098m, exposition N and W. At first a steep hike-up through woods, then an even more steep hike-up over screes and through dwarf pines to the start of couloir. In summer the couloir on Forcella della Pecora is snow free, but the path is mostly lost, steep, the ravine full of gravel. Danger of rock fall! From Forcella della Pecora till the notch in the W ridge a good, well marked path (easy). The summit ascent very steep - over the grassy and partly rocky slope. Gear: Good hiking shoes and poles. From this route we can enjoy the wilderness of Crete de Gleris towers, a nice sunny hike over the western slopes, the careful summit ascent and finally the broad panorama from the top.
cca 1050m, 3h.
2 - Easy (mostly 1 - no difficulties, on some places a few pull-ups).
3 - Moderate.
2 - Easy (all the time marked).
See the main page of Monte Chiavals, how to get into the valley of Rio Gravon di Gleris! The parking place is on 1100m of altitude, where the road is usually closed by the ramp.
From the parking place we continue by the road. After the first turn it goes towards the SE, then the road turns sharply right and soon up from the road the marked path No. 430 deters (good visible inscription).
In the first part we quickly gain altitude through a steep forrest. We go mostly towards the south. Above, when the forrest ends and dwarf pine starts prevailing, the path turns its direction towards the SW and even towards the W. It needs to avoid the steep, unpassable mountain ridge (Cresta del Forame). On the altitude of 1439m the path branches. Upwards goes the marked path No. 430 (which looks more used) on Forcella della Pecora, still horizontally towards the W continues the path, which a bit later turns up on Forcella della Vacca. The latter one looks less used and is not so good marked. To do at least partly a round tour, we shall ascend directly over Forcella della Pecora, and in the afternoon return down over Forcella della Vacca. So, we shall enjoy the sunny western slopes of Crete di Gleris and add to the summit of Monte Chiampon also the panoramic, grassy summit above Forcella della Vacca.
From the junction on 1439m the path No. 430 goes directly upwards the steep slope. We move close to the gravel ravine, by its left edge (looking upwards), but time to time the path can not avoid the unpleasant debris. So we quickly move upwards and reach the entry of a distinct ravine, which falls from Forcella della Pecora. This passage migh be more pleasant in early summer or even spring, when the ravine is filled with snow. The 35 degree steep couloir should be fun for ascending or may be even skiing down. Here are a few pictures from the ravine ascent:
In summer the path through the ravine is mostly lost among big rock blocks and in rough gravel. We best follow good visible red marks and search for best passages. Also for a descent these screes would not be all the time very pleasant, but it would go down still quick enough. In some 2 hours from the parking place we reach the narrow Forcella della Pecora, 1827m, which is guarded by a sharp tower west of it - Cima della Pecora.
|Forcella della Pecora |
|On Forcella della Pecora
Now we are on the sunny side of Crete de Gleris. The comfortable Alta Via C.A.I. Moggio (The Moggio Alpine Club High Trail) crosses all the western slopes of Crete di Gleris and Monte Chiavals. It ascends lightly towards a distinct notch, guarded by a fine tower in the side, western ridge of Monte Chiavals. The last part below the notch is steeper again, but nowhere demanding, or too exposed. It requires just some usual care.
|On Alta Via C.A.I. Moggio |
|Along the W slopes |
|On the notch on the W ridge
On the notch more of a southern horizon opens. The comfortable trail continues over the grassy slopes of Monte Chiavals towards the south - towards Forcella Chiavals and G. Bianchi bivouac. We can continue by it and ascend from there by the S ridge of Monte Chiavals, but that is a big and perhaps unnecessary detour (even if may be that path is easier). From the notch, by the west ridge a direct marked route goes on top - we shall use it, because only some 150m of ascent are ahead of us.
At first, from the notch the weak path goes steeply up by a side ridge. Above it crosses steep grassy slopes towards the right, and then continues upwards again. The terrain is steep and we must be careful of almost every step, especially later, on a descent. Still, there are no major difficulties, it's everything still only a hike-up. Just below the summit there are more and more rocks, but marks avoid them and we are soon on top.
|The W ridge
Till before Forcella della Pecora we descend by the ascent route. There, if we opt to do a small detour, we descend considerably left down, still going by Alta Via C.A.I. Moggio. Ahead of us, below a big overhanging cliff, we clearly see the ruins of a big building. There is the lowest part of our continuation. We can also observe, how left below in the valley the unmarked path ascends from Val Alba towards this point. From the ruine, we continue by the marked path upwards again, and soon reach the grassy slope below Forcella della Vacca, 1791m. Coming from this side, you easilly miss the junction across the main ridge of Crete de Gleris. And you may intentionally continue by Alta Via C.A.I. Moggio, cross a rocky face by a broad band and reach the ruins of another big building, also visible for far away. Before it there are information tables, and the grassy summit above the ruine is a nice panoramic point. Now we can return on Forcella della Vacca and continue our descent into Vallone di Gleris. From the notch the path descends towards the N, first comfortably, in many turns, later it becomes less comfortable, but the descent is still steep enough. Among dwarf pines the path is winding down, there some care to orient properly is needed. If we stay well on the path, we soon reach the junction below, where we turn right across the ravine and reach the crossroads on 1439m, where in the morning we went up by the path No. 430. From there in some 30 minutes we reach the parking place.