Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bocchetta di Caspoggio

Good morning, it's time for another hike in the Italian Alps!

This little excursion that Stef had planned required a little more planning. For the whole week leading up to it, he was checking the weather on three different sites (Italian and Swiss) to ensure we would not run into any bad weather. And then there was the checklist.
- rope
- climbing harness
- crampons
- ice axe
- trekking poles
- extra clothing: warm layer, socks, gloves
- water (4.5 litres), lunch

We had to be prepared for any contingency. I thought our backpacks were rather heavy with all this gear. (Stef's pack was alot heavier than mine, phew). Good thing he decided that we could leave the helmets at home.

The plan was to leave from home in Sondrio at 7am, and start hiking from the trailhead at the upper dam at Campo Moro at 8am.

Within the 1st 1/2 hour I spotted the cutest little marmot, the only one I'd see that day, unfortunately.

After an hour we arrived at Rifugio Bignami, and marvelled at this view. Not bad, huh?

And then it was back to business, hiking up towards the Bocchetta di Caspoggio pass. The landscape started to get rockier with patches of snow around. We were heading up to 2983 meters (9787 ft). Hmmm, pretty high... I had my doubts, but I was feeling in much better shape compared to the last hike when I was also suffering from jetlag.

The patches of snow turned into much bigger patches of snow. Apparently there was much more snow than usual because the warm summer season arrived late this year and there was alot of rain/snow. To avoid slipping, I made sure to step carefully into each of Stef's footprints. I was also very glad to have a trekking pole in my hand for extra support.

When we got near the top, Stef realized that the path over the pass had changed since he was last there 2 years ago. Now getting over the pass involved climbing over a rather steep rocky section with the help of metal links installed on in the rock. He was worried that I might have trouble here. But actually, it wasn't so scary at all. I made sure to stay low and close to the rocks, and most importantly not look down.

And here we are at the top. At this point we had only met one other person on the trail, a Dutch guy who spoke English well. We shared some chocolate with him and took some pictures.

Then the three of us put on our crampons. On the other side of the pass was the glacier. I'd never heard of these contraptions until I met Stef. It felt strange and new strapping them onto my hiking boots.

I was so excited stepping onto the glacier with the crampons. The sharp spikes gave a good grip on the ice and it was not difficult at all descending from the pass.

Check out the funny expression on my face; a mix of excitement and awe at the strangeness of it at all.

This was the view in front of us. If you look closely, you can see Rifugio Marinelli on a ledge in the middle right of the picture.

The glacier we were on. Pretty soon it was time to take off the crampons.

More mountain views.

By now it was already 1pm and time for lunch. We found this cute spot on a flat piece of rock next to a small lake with ice pieces floating in it.

Our panino shot. ;-)

To complete the loop back, we coninued on the trail, passing by Rifugio Cai Carate and descending into the valley back to Campo Moro.

The dam was a welcome sight. We were almost there.

Finally, another 2o minutes from the lower dam to our car. It was a long day. We had been out for over 8 hours and probably did about 16km (10 miles).


shiva said...

looks like you lost some weight! Eat up otherwise you'll disappear :-P hehe

leng said...

Me, lose weight? Impossible! Not with all the pasta and gelato and more pasta...

shiva said...

Ok stop that! You're just making me hungry

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