Weekend in Valmalenco: into the Mountain

filled by Giulia & Romeo

With little more than a couple of hours from Milan you reach Valmalenco…Nerar Chiesa Valmalenco we were looking for a small hotel and we didn’t have addresses ... the road climbed slowly bend after bend, gallery after gallery ... every now and then we saw the signs of some hotel but we wanted to go even higher, but not knowing how high we would find a comfortable accommodation.

The galleries that follow are particularly fascinating because they still remained as before, wild, with icicles hanging from the ceiling on either side of the road. Coming out of one of the last tunnel we lit with the headlights in the dark two goats that were crossing the road right next to the sign that signaled a guesthouse: FIOR DI ROCCIA , location Campo Franscia , 1500 mt. (www.fiordiroccia.eu). They have told us the you can see also foxes and deers along this street…Finally we had found what we were looking for: an isolated place, almost inside the mountain, which gives the feeling of true Nature. To welcome us behind the wooden counter Igor Horak, who grew up in the Tatra Mountains of Slovakia, with a strong personality and an enviable physique. (Ask him which diet he follows, and he will reveal all the secrets of the diet linked to the blood groups ...). Despite the late hour at which we arrived, it was ten o'clock in the evening, we could enjoy a fantastic plate of pizzoccheri. Passionate mountaineer, ski instructor and future mountain guide , Igor took over this small hotel just a few months ago but already knows all the secrets of the area: hiking, snowshoeing and hiking on the trails of the Bernina and Piz Palu, ski mountaineering starting from Pizzo Scalino and the Sasso Nero, canyoning in the streams Scerscen, Cormor and Lantern ... And again, he will give you information on hiking trails for mountain bikers, cross-country skiing to ice climbing and bouldering ... the one sport particular that is practiced in the nearby Val Masino and Val di Mello. A few minutes from Fior di Roccia you can also visit the Eco Museum Mine Bagnada, a museum of minerals with associated old mines ... A beautiful three-hour walk instead awaits you around the dam of Lake Gera, the starting point can be reached in twenty minutes drive from the Fior di Roccia. Around the dam there are many climbing sport routes of medium difficulty.

Igor also manages the BIGNAMI REFUGE (www.rifugiobignami.it), to 2401 meters, in the heart of the Alps. Beautiful mountain landscape you can see from up here, and the individual peaks that surround it: Sasso Moro 3108mt, Punta Marinelli 3182 mt., Cima Zupò 3995 mt. , Sasso Rosso 3481 mt., Cima Varuna 3453 mt., CimaFontana 3070 mt. , Monte Spondascia 2867 mt. From here you can also see the narrow Caspoggio 2983 mt., The step to go to the ref. Marinelli-Bombardieri, Passo Confinale 2,828 mt , which is the gateway to go to Switzerland, where there is also the bivouac Anghileri-Rusconi, clearly visible from the Refuge Bignami. Two minutes from the hut there is a climbing gymnasium.

From the refuge you can also reach the glacial path Louis Marson in its variants A and B, accessible to everyone (being tracked at high altitude, requiring a minimum of attention, especially in case of sudden bad weather).
To get the refuge Bignami starting from Fior di Roccia you must drive for about 20 minutes to the dam of Gera, 2070 mt. From the parking lot below the dam you reaches the high of the wall and you join the opposite shore of Lake Gera continuing north for a easy path that, with a long diagonal, along the eastern slopes of the rock Moro. A final steep section and a series of switchbacks to Rifugio Bignami. "Up here," as Lord Byron wrote, "I do not live in me, but I become a part of what surrounds me. High mountains are a feeling for me. "