Sonntag, 29. August 2010

Gran Paradiso - Day 6

While the others had two exhausting legs in front of them, I used the time to relax. After breakfast, as I first thing in the morning, I took the bus to Cogne and from there to Lillaz to get my car.


From Lillaz I drove to Aymavilles from where I did a hike to Pondel. Pondel is famous for its Roman aqueduct bridge which was built 3BC and carried water across the valley, more than 60m above the bottom. The unique thing about Pondel is the type of construction, i.e., combination of bridge and aqueduct.

Castle of Aymavilles whose origins go back to the 12th century

Church of Saint Léger in Aymavilles

Bridge Aqueduct of Pondel

Back in Aymavilles I had lunch and then headed to Courmayeur to see Mont Blanc and some of the other mountains.

The next picture shows the south eastern view of the Peuterey ridge (taken from Val Ferret): Aiguille Noire - Dames Anglaises - Aiguille Blanche - Mont Blanc de Courmayeur - Mont Blanc

From Courmayeur I drove to Val Ferret where I had some really, really amazing views of the Grandes Jorasses. The highest point – Point Walker – is hidden in the fog.

The Triolet Glacier, which is located east of Grandes Jorasses, is also really beautiful. From the parking lot in Planpinchieux I made a short hike to take these pictures.

On the way back I stopped in Staint-Pierre and took some pictures of the Castle of Sarriod

and the parish church and the castle.

Sonntag, 22. August 2010

Gran Paradiso - Day 5

Today's leg went from Bivacco Ivrea (2745m) to Rifugio Meneghello (2440m). From our bivouac the trail headed towards Tre Bechhi. Soon the trail became really tedious leading through endless sea of stone blocks to Colle dei Becchi (2990m). Unfortunately, when we arrived at the pass, we could not see much of the surrounding mountains since the weather was not good enough.

Fortunately, the way down was a bit less exhausting than the ascent, since there was still a big snow field :-).

Soon we could see Lago Telessio glistening in turquois blue color. Down there is also Rifugio Pontese 2193m. However, before enjoying lunch there we had to descent about 800m in elevation.

The lunch at the hut was really amazingly good and we spent several hours there.

While Matthias, Andi, Stefan, Jakob and Sarah continued the hike from there (for me the next two upcoming legs were too exhausting), I hiked down to Lago Telessio from where a taxi picked me up and brought me to the train station in Ivrea. From there I took the train back to Aosta.

Gran Paradiso - Day 4

Today we hiked from Bivacco Giraudo (2620m) to Bivacco Ivrea (2745m). From the bivouac the path first led us down a rock step before it got rather flat for the next kilometers. We hiked through wonderful mountain meadows which were in full blossom.

Before arriving at Casa di Caccia (a former royal hunting hut) we had to get up a small rock step (2222m).

View of Casa di Caccia

From there the path became increasinly steep and led us to Bochetta del Ges (2692m). Multiple times on our way up we had to climb over stone blocks and it took us a while until we reached Vallone di Noaschetta.

Creeks in turquois color meander through Vallone Noaschetta and we saw the jagged rock formations of Tre Becchi.

Tre Becchi (on the right)

From there we had to get over another rock step before we arrived at Bivacco Ivrea which is located on top of a moraine hill. Today temperature were a bit cooler than the previous day. Thus, we all decided to spend this night in the bivouac.

Gran Paradiso - Day 3

Our today's hike went from Rifugio Chivasso to Bivacco Giraudo. From Rifugio Chivasso (2604m) we hiked down the pass road in south eastern direction until we reached a small lake.

From there we hiked along a narrow path in an easterly direction, first rather flat, later on increasingly steep to Col della Terra (2911m).

From there we could see Lago Lillet (2765m) with its beautiful turquois color.

After having a short rest we continued down to the lake. Matthias and Andi were brave enough to go for a swim in the lake, while the rest of us prefered to stay outside. From the lake the path ascended to the second pass we had to cross on this day.

On the way down we had to hike through pathless terrain and along a large snow field and huge stone blocks, which was quite challenging with our heavy backpacks.

After a while we reached a terrasse with several small lakes where we had a rest before hiking (again through pathless terraine) to the terrasse where Bivacco Giraudo is located.

When we arrived there we checked out the bivouac (which offers room for 6 persons) and relaxed in the sun. After a while a German couple and their son arrived and got a bit dissapointed when they realized that the bivouac is already full and that they lack the necessary equipment to sleep outside. Since the weather looked good we left them the bivouac and decided to sleep outside.

While we relaxed in the sun, Matthias walked around to explore the area and made these beautiful pictures of ibexes. In the course of our trip we could see quite a few of the 4000 ibexes which live in Gran Paradiso National Park. However, it was not always as easy as today to spot an ibex. In the 19th century the Alpine ibex got almost extinct (mainly due to hunting) and only survived in the Gran Paradiso area. Victor Emmanuel II, who later became King of Italy, declared Gran Paradiso a Royal Hunting Reserve. He also ordered numerous paths to be built in the area, which are still in use today, e.g., by us on our trip.

Enjoying dinner

After the sun went down it quickly got cold and we therefore hit our sleeping bags very early.