Pizzo Cramalina

Published by brunoz , 28 August 2018, 13h27.

Region: World » Switzerland » Tessin » Locarnese
Date of the hike:21 August 2018
Hiking grading: T3 - Difficult Mountain hike
Geo-Tags: CH-TI   Gruppo Pizzo Cramalina 
Height gain: 1325 m 4346 ft.
Height loss: 1325 m 4346 ft.
Maps:CNS 1312 Locarno - CNS 1292 Maggia

Pizzo Cramalina is a peak located between Vallle di Vergeletto, Valle di Lodano and Valle del Soladino. The easiest access is surely via Valle di Vergeletto. Easy, but not exactly straightforward, as I will detail.

Leaving the parking area by the church of Gresso, you have panels having you to immediately get into the wood, north of the village. Path is good, steep, at some point made of fine layed steps. You reach quite quickly Pian della Crosa (1.370m) where there are no less than 4 (four!) watering points. This is a lovely place, with a number of finely renovated houses enjoying a magnificent view. Further up you would bass by a delicious bench and continue ascending in the wood; a lovely flat portion will provide some relief before the final pull to Alpe Bassa (1.744m) where you have a watering point. Here you have two options for getting to Alpe del Lago: a) you turn right and go to Passo della Bassa, from where you would have to ascend to Pizzo della Bassa and then go down to Alpe del Lago b) you keep heading north (signs indicate Alpe Bietri and Alpe del Ròdan, but not Alpe del Lago) and then pick the deviation to the right leading to Alpe del Lago. The latter was my chosen option. I knew (from the CNS) that a.m. deviation was very short after a tiny elevation (1.833m on the map) placed left of the path. Well, the deviation point was devoid of any whatsoever indication, which would have been most welcomed considering that the path could not be detected, buried as it was beneath overwhelming grasses. What to do? I engaged it, very carefully; it was hardly recognizable, extremely narrow and slippery. Strange that the CNS indicates it as good enough as the path descending to Alpe Bietri. One way or another, after a while, Alpe del Lago starts appearing, with the towering backdrop of Pizzo Cramalina. There is still though a brief and steep descent to a creek before reaching Alpe del Lago (1.904m).  Once here my magnificent sunny day started turning much cloudy, and at a rapid pace. Anyway, the path to the summit is quite visible and, just after a bend to the left (south-west), deviates west and then north to the large saddle-ridge. Once I got under the final push to the summit, maybe just 100m below, the rain started breaking in, at first quietly, then more and more intense. All got slippery and difficult and temperature dropped drastically (I was in shorts). I made it to the summit (nearby a bunch of sheep was staring at me), shot a selfie and hurried down, under a consistent shower. However, by the time I reached again Alpe del Lago, the rain had gradually softened until it stopped completely. As soaked and frozen I was, I would not consider the hazard of trying the route back via Pizzo della Bassa and Passo della Bassa; so I took again the (almost disappeared) path and, now under a glorious sun, made it down to Gresso.

It is a nice hike indeed, but the path portion bringing to Alpe del Lago badly needs maintenance. The final leg from Alpe del Lago to the summit is, under normal conditions, absolutely problem free.

Hike partners: brunoz


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