Category: Hiking

Winter hiking to Capanna Leit and Pizzo delle Löite, Lepontine Alps, Switzerland


Trip Summary
Duration: 2 days (11-12 October 2017)
Route: Dalpe – Passo Venett – Capanna Leit – Pizzo delle Löite – Capanna Leit – Passo Venett – Dalpe
Distance: 22.1 km
Ascent: 1380 m / Descent: 1380 m
Total number of hikers met along the way: 0

Pizzo Campolungo is a mountain of the Lepontine Alps, overlooking Prato and Dalpe in the Leventina valley of the canton of Ticino. It lies just south of the Campolungo Pass.
The plan for the weekend was a 2 days circular hike around Pizzo Campo Lungo starting in Dalpe, with an overnight at Capanna Campo Tencia. We have chosen this route through Passo Venett with Capanna Leit on the way in case the conditions/time would not allow us to reach Capanna Campo Tencia. It was November and there was already snow in the mountains but we didn’t know exactly how much snow is over there…

DAY 1
Duration: 7h 10min
8:10 Dalpe parking 1192m
8:55 Boscobello 1345m
10:00 Scontra 1670m
10:20 Alpe Cadonighino 1750m
11:00 Stüéi
12:20 Passo Venett 2138m
15:20 Capanna Leit 2257m

We started our hike in Dalpe at 8:10 AM from small parking located in front of a small supermarket (Address: Botea da Dalp, Nucleo Dalpe 17, 6774 Dalpe) and headed toward Boscobello. It was a beautuful, sunny, autumn day. The sky was blue and views over Dalpe and rourrounding mountains were magical. The snow started already in Scontra at an altitude ca 1600m. This is where we met 2 hunters looking for prey which turned out to be the last human beings we have encountered before coming back to Dalpe the next day.


The 1000m ascent to Passo Venett was quite challenging but the trail was visible and straightforward without any major obstacles. It was just hard work. We reached the highest point of Passo Venett after 4 hours. Only 35 min behind the time indicated on a signpost in Dalpe. So far, so good but from this point the hike got tough. There is a straight route to Capanna Leit from here, running south-west along the mountainside and the signpost indicated only 25min to the hut. The snow cover was arround 50 cm and we could not identify this route when we looked at the mountain in front of us. Even if the trail was somwhere there, it seemed quite dangerous to climb that route in these conditions. We decided to make a detour and take the route down to Alpe Campolunge. It took us 3 long hours before we finally saw the roof of Capanna Leit. The time was 15:20, much too late to continue towards Capanna Campo Tencia so we set up fire in the oven, put some bacon on frying pan, poured some strong beverages in our cups and relaxed after 7 hours climb in deep snow. It was one of these nights you never forget. No electricity, no network coverage, 1 hour light only from solar batteries, no water (snow can be easily converted to water), quietness and beutiful snowy landscape outside.






DAY 2
Duration: 9h 15min
8:45 Capanna Leit 2257m
9:15 – 11:35 Passo Leit / Bocchette Passo Leìt
11:35 Pizzo delle Löite ca. 2420m
12:35 Capanna Leit 2257m
14:45 Alpe Campolungo
15:05 Passo Venett 2138m
16:00 Alpe Cadonighino 1750m
16:30 Scontra 1670m
18:00 Dalpe 1192m

The next day we tried to continue towards Campo Tencia. After passing an easy, flat section running along Laghetto Campolungo, there was a tricky climb through Passo Leit which led to the highest point along the route at an altitude ca. 2420 m called Bocchette Passo Leìt, lying at the foot of Pizzo delle Löite mountain. Getting here took us 3 hours. It was a long, difficult and quite dangerous route. Taking into consideration the time required to cross this short part of the route and the fact that the next section of the trail doesn’t seem to be easy at all, we decided to come back to Dalpe the same way as we got up.
First we descended back to Capanna Leit where we cooked quick dinner and then continued towards Passo Venett. We followed our trail from the previous day which saved us lots of time and energy. We reached Dalpe at 6pm crossing last section of the trail in darkness with headlamps on.










Booking.com


HIKING TO CAPANNA LEIT – PHOTO GALLERY

LINKS
www.map.geo.admin.ch – Topographic map of Switzerland
www.capanna-leit.ch – The Leìt Hut (Capanna Leit)
www.campotencia.ch – Capanna Campo Tencia
http://www.schweizmobil.ch – Traversata Leit-Tencia
www.wetterspiegel.de – Weather forcast for Capanna Leit
www.fat-ti.ch – Federazione Alpinistica Ticinese

Hiking in the Graian Alps, Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso, Aosta, Italy

Gran Paradiso National Park (Italian: Parco nazionale del Gran Paradiso) is located in northern Italy, between Aosta Valley and Piedmont region, at the border with France. It was the first national park established in Italy. A land of beautiful mountains, endless woodlands and rich wildlife. It is named after Gran Paradiso mountain (4061m) located in the middle of the park.
This destination was always on my bucket list but I didn’t know that the mountain range where the park is located is called Graian Alps. Even Mount Blanc belongs to this mountain range… A significant gap in my knowledge about the Alps.

As a base we have chosen La Maison du Guide located in a small village Rhemes-Saint-Georges. It is more like a Bed & Breakfast with several apartments to rent. Beautiful place. Really worth visiting. Located only 10 km from Thumel parking lot where the Thumel-Benevolo trail starts. The city of Aosta is only 25 km drive from Rhemes-Saint-Georges.

La Maison du Guide




Booking.com


Our plan was to hike the Thumel-Benevolo trail up to the Rifugio Benevolo (2287 m) and then see if we can reach one of the lakes located higher in the mountains: Lago di Goletta, Lago Granta Parei or Lago di Tsanteleina. It was the end of May with lots of snow still covering the peaks and we knew that we may not get there.
We started our hike at Thumel parking lot (4km after Bruil village) where we followed trail no.13 to Rifugio Benevolo. It takes normally about 1h30min to get to Benevolo. We hikes with kids and the trail was covered/blocked my snow in some places so it took us little bit longer.
What makes this trail special is no only the beautiful surrounding but also the wildlife around you. And in particular the undisputed rulers of this trail: Marmot (Marmota). They are everywhere ! Some of them are very shy and would hide just after you spot them and some would just sit near their holes/pits and pose for pictures. I have never seen so many of them before in one place. They really make this trail enjoyable, specially for the kids. There also lots other animals such as Steinbock (Ibex) or Chamois (AlpenGämse).




Marmot (Marmota) – large squirrels living in Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso


On this photo I caught 2 couples of different species in 1 shot. Front left is a couple of marmots and 2 Steinbocks further up.



Last section of the trail to Rifugio Benevolo was fully covered by snow

After a short break at Rifugio Benevolo (it was still closed and the summer season has not yet begun) we split into 2 groups from which one went back to the parking lot and the other continued the hike. After Benevolo trails was fully covered with snow and it was difficult to follow the proper path. We were fighting our way through the snow, trying various paths leading up. At the end we didn’t reach any of the lakes but hiked up to the foot of Roc du Fond and had lots of fun in the snow :). Have to come back here in the summer and do a multiple hike like I did in Lepontine Alps.


Rifugio Benevolo in the background



Stinbock (Ibex) at slopes of Rhêmes Valley




GRAIAN ALPS – PHOTO GALLERY

LINKS
www.pngp.it – Gran Paradiso National Park official website
www.pngp.it – Hiking Trail Thumel – Benevolo
www.parks.it – Gran Paradiso National Park
www.cai.it – Club Alpino Italiano
www.summitpost.org – Truc Saint Hélène and Tsantèleina Lake

ACCOMODATION
www.rifugiobenevolo.com – Refuge Benevolo
www.caipiemonte.it – Mountain huts in Valle d’Aosta
www.booking.com – Hotel La Maison du Guide

Solo hike in the Lepontine Alps, Ticino/Piedmont, Switzerland/Italy

Calonge 001

Late autumn is the perfect time for hikers who wants to get some “Into the Wild” feeling. The snow has already covered the higher parts of Alps, most of the mountain huts are closed, days are short and temperatures during the night are around zero or less. Only very little hikers decide to go into the higher parts of the Alps which makes it almost a wilderness area. The landscape during the spring is fairy-tale-like and colours almost unreal. With a great weather forecast for the next few days, it was a perfect time for a nature-lover adventure. I packed my backpack with everything I need for 4 days and went to swiss canton of Ticino in the Lepontine Alps region. READ MORE !

50km family hike in the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park, France

Northern Vosges 001Grande Traversée des Vosges(Vosges Grand Trail) is a 17 days hike through the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park and Ballons des Vosges Nature Park. The 298km long trail follows the long distance footpaths (Grande Randonnées) GR 53-5, GR 531 and GR 532. Having 4 days free we decided to hike from Wissembourg to Obersteinbach, which is stage 2,3,4 of the Vosges Grand Trail. READ MORE !

Climbing Barrhorn (3610m) in 1 day, Switzerland

Barrhorn 001Highest Mountain Hike in Europe or Highest “snow-free” Mountain in Europe.
This is how the Barrhorn summit is often described. What does it really mean ?
Barrhorn summit claims to be the highest mountain in Europe which is “snow-free” during summer and can be ascended via the normal route by an experienced hiker without any climbing gear. I have came across this mountain while searching the web for a summit over 3000 which can be ascended in 1 day without previous mountaineering experience and without crossing any ice/glacier. READ MORE !