Sunday, 25 August 2013

Maritime Alps - Rifugio Remondino to Rifugio Genova via Collette di Brocan

Sunday 25 August 2013

Breakfast was the usual tea, toasties, bread and jam. We sat and chatted to a couple from the Netherlands and another Swiss couple. Just before leaving we spotted some Ibex licking the mortar between the stone blocks on the patio.

On route to Collettee di Brocan looking back towards Rif Remondino
We set off at 9 am heading east up the scree taking a diagonal line towards the top of a large crag. The streams were in spate after the storm last night and in places it had turned to sheets of ice. The route was clearly marked with small cairns and yellow paint. Turning right (south) at the path junction to Lagi di Nasta we encountered our first  patch of hard icy snow, We were in the shade of Il Bastione so the sun had not softened the snow enough to walk on. We therefore had to make a detour up and over a rocky buttress that also had patches of ice. The route to Collete di Broccan (2892m) headed south below the massive cliffs of Il Bastione. We encountered more large snow patches requiring detours onto boulder scree at the base of the cliffs. Normally the snow would have gone this late in the season but snow had fallen in the early summer and remained due to the cold weather this year.

The col is a superb spot with immense views but the distant peaks were obscured by cloud.
Collette di Brocan (2892m)
Looking down the other side of the col Rif. Genova Figari could be seen 900m below but our immediate attention was drawn to the cwm below that was full of snow and looked impassible. Our hearts sank. Luckily the snow on this east facing side was in the sun and the top few centimetres of snow had melted enough for our boots to bite.
Relieved we crossed with ease, but over the lip there was an even bigger snow field in the next cwm down. We walked across this with growing confidence only to be confronted by a deep bergshrund at the bottom edge. Having slid down this and survived we sat to eat lunch in the sun. We were visited by an energetic stoat keen to collect any crumbs that we might drop.

Snow on the descent from Collette di Brocan
 There appeared to be many conflicting routes marked by yellow paint so it was a matter of picking your preferred route. This was not a place to move quickly, careful foot placement was important to avoid loose rock. The best route keeps to the south side of the gulley down below a ridge leading east fro Cimma di Broccan.

800m down we stood on the shore of Laggo Broccan and a gentle path lead to Rifugio Genova Figari. The refuge is sits on a rock barrier between L. Broccan and bacino del Chiotas, a resorvoir that covered the original refuge. The new one was built in 1970 by the electricity company who built the resorvoir.

We were placed in a two bedded room, one of the advantages of the newer refuges is that the rooms are smaller. Around the refuge there are plenty of flat grassy areas for camping with small groups of chamoix with young ones running around like spring lambs.

We sat by the lake in the afternoon relaxing after the walk over the col. Eventually it became too cold to sit outside once the sun dropped below the horizon and large rain clouds gathered. later that evening we had a torrential rain and thunder storm.

The descent from Collette di Brocan to Rifugio Genova Figari
between the  lake and resorvoir
The accomodation was very good with a large boot store reception and dining room on one floor. 2,4,6,and 8 bedded rooms and excellent showers.

Ascent 480m
Descent 950m

Rifugio Genova Figari (2015m)

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