An eventful weekend on the Gridone

Publiziert von Stijn , 22. März 2017 um 22:10.

Region: Welt » Schweiz » Tessin » Locarnese
Tour Datum:18 März 2017
Geo-Tags: CH-TI   Gruppo Gridone   I 
Zeitbedarf: 2 Tage
Aufstieg: 2600 m
Abstieg: 2500 m

It's been a while since I've "reported" on Hikr. After some travelling in South-East Asia over the New Year, I have been enjoying the Swiss winter, including a number of ski touring trips. I'm still a beginner at ski touring, though. I'm currently just doing the easy routes that have been described on Hikr dozens of times already. I don't feel so qualified yet to write about ski routes either. But now spring is knocking at the door and I was eager to start the hiking season again.

I had repeatedly read raving reviews of the Rifugio Al Legn here on Hikr, which had made me curious to pay the hut a visit as well. With the weather forecast looking must better in the south, this seemed like a good weekend for me to travel through the Gotthard Base Tunnel for the first time. SLF reported less than 20cm of snow at 2000m south of Locarno, so the Gridone summit sounded feasible. I even felt ambitious enough to pick a more challenging route on the north side of the Gridone. Equipped with crampons and an ice axe, I planned to ascend from the Centovalli side through the Val di Bordei.

Day 1
Rasa - Val di Bordei at ca. 1300m - Termine - P. 1306 - Boredo - Mergugno - Rifugio Al Legn
9h (quick pace), 2050m ascent, 1150m descent, in current conditions T3 and PD-

An incredible coincidence in the S20 train from Bellinzona to Locarno. I'm recognised by a girl whom I met briefly while skiing in Flumserberg last week. "What are you doing here?" "I'm going to hike to the Rifugio Al Legn." "Me too!" While she wisely opted for the normal route from Brissago, I took the Centrovalli train and the cable car up to Rasa.

From Rasa, I have to lose some altitude to reach the village of Bordei, where I start climbing again into the Val di Bordei. After a fascinating passage through a forrest full of rocks from an old Bergsturz, the landscape soon starts to get more wintery. Already at 1000m, I have to put on my crampons to safely get across some exposed slabs of ice. At 1200m, I'm struggling through 50cm of snow. I knew that this north-sided valley would have a bit more snow than average, but never I had expected this much at such a low altitude! Of course it hasn't been freezing at this altitude for a while either, so the consistency of the snow is utterly rubbish as well. More swimming than hiking, it takes me a great amount of time and effort to reach an altitude of ca. 1300m. With still over 600m of ascent to the Bocchetta di Valle and conditions getting worse rather than better, there is only one sensible option: turning back...

On another day, I might have just descended into the Centovalli and taken the train back to Zürich. But after the unbelievable chance encounter earlier, it would have been too stupid if we didn't see each other again at the Rifugio Al Legn. Thankfully I have her number, so I send out a text not to worry because I will arrive rather late. Indeed, my only feasible option to reach the Rifugio Al Legn is now a rather long detour all around the Pizzo Leone... I descend to Bordei, then gradually climb via Termine to P. 1306 (minor amounts of snow here, not posing any problems), then finally on the south side, descending to Boredo and with some up-and-down (and some ice on the path at the river crossing at P. 1090) to Mergugno, where I first catch sight of the Rifugio Al Legn high above. The north-easterly ascent from Mergugno to the hut is covered by up to 40cm of snow, but thankfully a good trail has been broken here already.

It's 19.45 and already dark when I finally reach the Rifugio Al Legn in a slightly exhausted state. I've been keeping up a fairly high pace with not many breaks for about nine hours now, doing over 2000m of ascent, 22km in horizontal distance, and the snow did not make things easier either... Thankfully the hut (almost filled to capacity today) is just as beautiful and comfortable as everybody says.

Day 2
Rifugio Al Legn - Gridone - Fumadiga - Rifugio Al Legn - "sentiero molto ripido" - Cortaccio
4h45, 550m ascent, 1250m descent, in current conditions T4 and F

After taking some stunning sunrise photos, it's time to attempt to reach the Gridone summit. The Bocchetta di Valle is reached without any issues. There's considerably more snow between the Bocchetta and the Cruit-Gridone ridge. Instead of the normal winter route, which reaches the Cruit-Gridone ridge just south of P. 2138, we opt for the mostly green east ridge of P. 2138. This would be a straight-forward T4 in summer, but now there are some rather treacherous patches of ice between the bushes. The ridge from P. 2138 to the Gridone is a mix of summer and winter. An ice axe is strongly recommended on some of the exposed patches of snow (and if the temperatures get colder again, some crampons might be good to have as well). The final ascent onto the Gridone summit is almost completely snow-free and involves some easy scrambling.

On the descent, we follow the normal winter route, which thankfully has reasonably good snow on the steepest part just below the ridge. I make a small detour to visit the Fumadiga summit, lying at the top of the enticing Cresta dei Lenzuoli... That's one for the summer season, though.

After a short break at the Rifugio, we opt for the only descent path that's almost entirely snow-free: the direct route to Pensevrone along the ridge to the north of the Valle di Vantarone. This is not marked as an official hiking path on the maps, but there are some white-red-white markings and it is even signposted as "sentiero molto ripido". "Ripido" implies "rapido", so it's not long before we've left the winter behind and find ourselves in a springtime atmosphere in Cortaccio. Here, I manage to hitch a ride all the way to Riazzino. A good train connection brings me back in Zürich already at 4pm. Not bad, this Gotthard Base Tunnel. I guess it won't be the last time that I'm paying Ticino a visit this spring...

Tourengänger: Stijn

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