Slippery Traversa Val Cama - Val d' Arbola (on the wild side...)

Publiziert von MicheleK , 31. Oktober 2010 um 02:56.

Region: Welt » Schweiz » Graubünden » Misox
Tour Datum:24 Oktober 2010
Wandern Schwierigkeit: T5 - anspruchsvolles Alpinwandern
Klettern Schwierigkeit: I (UIAA-Skala)
Geo-Tags: Gruppo Val Cama   CH-GR   Gruppo Forcola-Arsa 
Zeitbedarf: 2 Tage
Aufstieg: 1900 m
Abstieg: 2000 m
Strecke:Cama - Lagh de Cama - Rifugio albion - Lagh de Sambrog - Bocchetta de Cressim - cressim - Elgion - Alp de Poz - Alp de Arbola -
Zufahrt zum Ausgangspunkt:Cama (bus every hour from Bellinzona)
Zufahrt zum Ankunftspunkt:Lostallo via FFS (bus every hour to Bellinzona)
Unterkunftmöglichkeiten:Rifugio Albion (
Kartennummer:1:5000 printout was very helpful unde r these conditions.

Beautyful traverse on the wild side from the marvelous and well threaded Val Cama via Bocchetta di Cressim  to the seldom visited magical Val D' Arbola and back down to Lostallo. As foreseen conditions were at the limit with extremely slippery rocks covered in 5-20 cm snow but the meteo "held". Great adventure.


We were watching the meteo daily and on day -4 the wether for Ticino on foreseen for sunday was really bad ("starker Regen"). We started discussing several alternatives but gradually the forecast recovered somewhat and eventually on friday evening we knew that it would stay dry on saturday but a rapid deterioration on sunday with showers in the morning and persistent rain in the afternoon would be expected, incl. snowline diving to 1200m. 

While we knew there would be some snow left above 1800m from previous days we figured we would be just fine, as we would be below the snow line by the time the heavy rain would start, and some rain along the easy val d' Arbola would be no problem. So we headed off to execute our original plan: From Cama go to Lagh de Cama, sleep in either Albion or Alp Vecc self-catering huts (we knew these are well equipped and always open (, THANK YOU!). Sunday morning early we would leave and go "to have a look" up at the Sambrog Lake and further up to the Bocchetta. Depending on conditions we would then decide what to do.

Day 1 (4h, 1250m up)

We get on the 11am train in Lugano towards Bellinzona. There we go shopping and board the bus to Cama. Start in Cama (350m) at 1pm. After crossing the valley we follow the easy path inside val Cama. At the parking we see 5 cars and wonder who else is going up the mountain with these bad wether prospects? The ascent of  Val Cama is incredibly beautyful and the yellow to red colors in the woods seem a painting. One by one we cross the 5 hiking parties coming down (it's late to ascend...) so we know that it is likely that we are going to be on our own in the upper Val Cama (yuppieee). The path is well marked, easy (T2) and never steep and is mostly through the forest. We reach Lagh de Cama (1250m) at ca. 3.30pm. Despite it is overcast, the season colors and the view of the lake and surrounding mountains hazed with snow is breathtaking. I could pitch a tent and stay for days simply watching... After a short rest the last part of the ascent to the higher huts is really quite steep and narrow but there are good markings so we get to Rifugio Albion 1600m in 45 min. The hut is great, is fully equipped (except blankets, we knew this so we had sleeping bags), including gas cooker and gas lamp. We decided to call it a day Total time: 4h (incl breaks). Great evening with lots of funny levitation jokes around my new Suunto Core. And the barometer kept going expected. Day 2:

Day 2 (10.30h, 700m up, 2000m down)

Got up at 6.30am. Cook tea, coffee and some little food. Clean up and pay. Start at 7.30am in light rain using our headlamps. All as planned, so far so good. Somewhere close to Alp Vecc 1800m the rain started to become mixed in snow and the grass started to be very slippery with a few cm of snow. We were feeling very well and got quickly to Lagh de Sambrog (2000m) surrounded by snow. We decided to traverse at the same altitude in order to catch the path towards the Bocchetta somewhat to the NW. Over steep grass and crossing boulders from now on lots of concentration was required as the whole flank above 2000m was now covered in 5-10 cm of sticky snow. Luckily the rain/snow had stopped and the athmosphere was very beautyful and we had decent visibility. The crux was the traverse on steep and very slippery snow drenched grass at 2180m and the following steep gulley (chain) leading up to a small plateau. The chain was quite essential under these precarious conditions. At that point we realized that a retreat would have been quite difficult and very time consuming. Helped by occasional marks we were moving quite fast considering that no path was visible. After the crux in moderate visibility we rapidly reached the Bochetta di Cressim 2250m, the highest point of the trek.
We were slightly anxious to perch down the N flank and check out conditions. Brenna mentions in the book that the path is crossing characteristic slabs ("Placche") which we knew under the current conditions would be very tricky - feasibility depended on detailed local conditions which we did not know until the Bocchetta. The N flank clearly had more snow than the S flank but only about 20cm (still not enough really and too much to start with...). We decided to move on. Some occasional markings were helpful, but we pretty much descended to p. 2090 by avoiding the slabs and finding our own route. With high concentration this worked very well. Our time mgmt did in fact profit of a faint human trace in the snow stemming from the previous days. From p. 2090 we turned E and later NE and crossed (pathless) the expansive circus of the upper Val D' Arbola called Cressim, maintaining the 2070m altitude mark. The view of the mistical val d' Arbola is incredible. The suspended valley is ca. 7km long and is a perfectly straight shaped glacier valley with steep rocky faces everywhere and an incredible pine forest at its bottom. Once we reach the W flank and the path begins to appear (T3) there is clearly less snow and we easily descend via alp Egion (small emergency shelter) to Alp de Poz 1633m, which we reach at 1.15pm, 5.45h from rif. Albion. Considering the continuous concetration level required and conditions this strech turned out to be quite a serious outing, as we'd expected. Alp de Poz is a great place and offers simple self catering accomodation but is not winter-proof hut. After a good lunch we descend the long and wonderful val d' Arbola (quoting Brenna "fatata val d' Arbola"). Its bottom is covered with a pine forest and as it is North directed the ground is completely covered in green thick moss. What a feeling and what a great place to camp in summer ...
We hike with pleasure until Alp de Val d' Arbola (T2) w/o great altitude loss. From there we briefly follow the road but at p. 1300m we descend to the right joining the the old valley path taking us to p. 1291m. From there we descend the 900m following the steep steps of "Sentee di Vacch" in deep leaves via Cabioi and further down via Betreda' and Bosch di Mont to to Von (421m).
Meanwhile heavy rain has started to pour and we are really happy that we are almost at our final destination. We cross the valley to Lostallo where we arrive at 6pm. Just in time to get a gazosa before the bus arrives. In the local Osteria, the locals would not believe us when we tell them where we were coming from that wet and foggy day ! we get to know by coincidence the owner of Alp de Poz and he asked if we had been looking for sheep up in Egion or Cressim...
What a great trek on the wild side - Grazie Jan as ususal !   

Note on rating: technically this is a T4 as it is often pathless. Howver under given condition and looking at the global seriousness conditions/meteo risks of the outing I have classed this as "challenging" ie T5.

Tourengänger: MicheleK


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