Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Gran Paradiso - Rif. Vittoria Sella to Valnontey via Bivouac. Leonessa

 Rifugio Vittoria Sella (2588m)

Muesli, bread and jam with plenty of tea for breakfast at Rifugio Vittoria Sella (2588m). Well done to the family, good evening meal and breakfast makes you wanting to visit again. I wish all the refuges offered museli for breakfast, it keeps you going much longer than just bread and jam.

On the Herbetet traverse looking south 

We followed route 18b south from the refuge. The path remains at approximately 2600m following a balcony route called the Herbetet traverse above the Valnontey valley. In places the ground dropped steeply from a narrow path but a rope was provided for reassurance at the most exposed parts. If you manage Col de Entrelor you will be fine on this. We passed a couple of small lakes (L. del Lauson) and saw both chamois and ibex.

Looking up Vallone Herbetet to Herbetet

Looking SE from Biv. Leonessa
At the National Park hut (PNGP l'Herbetet) we chose to climb up the Vallone Herbetet instead of heading down into the valley. We headed up the route 22g to the magnificent Bivouac Leonessa (2910m). It sits high on a spur of Herbetet and is used as a overnight stop on its ascent. The hut was very nice with two dining tables new looking mattresses and blankets. The outside had large copper sheets on the walls so  it shone in the sun. We were were tempted to stay for the night but we had not brought enough food and the weather forecast was deteriorating.

We chose to head down the valley to Valnontey following the route 22d. It started to rain lightly but enough to require our jackets.

We pitched the tent at the large Stembecco campsite in Valnontey. The pitches are on terraces with excellent facilities. There are hot showers, washing up sinks and a cafe on site.

That evening we ate at the local Pizzeria Lou Talapen The food was really very good.
Later in the evening we took advantage of the cozy cafe on the campsite to sit and drink wine and look back on a lovely holiday.

Ascent 780m
Descent 1697m

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