Ricovero Cap. Ricci and Lago San Grato

Published by Wouter , 20 September 2012, 20h56.

Region: World » Italy » Val d'Aosta
Date of the hike:28 August 2012
Hiking grading: T2 - Mountain hike
Geo-Tags: I 
Time: 9:15
Height gain: 860 m 2821 ft.
Height loss: 860 m 2821 ft.
Route:Grand Alpe – Menthieu – Ricovero Cap. Ricci – Lago San Grato – Grand Alpe
Access to start point:Drive to the end of the Valgrisenche valley and park at the start of path 13/14, near Grand Alpe.
Maps:Escursionista 03

Grand Alpe – Menthieu (0h30)
This stretch covers the distance between the actual end and start of the hike. It runs along the asphalt road for 3.5km and though it offers nice views, it is slightly boring. Therefore, walk fast on this easy stretch and within 30min you are at the start of path 14B. This part can also be covered using a second car or bike, which you then pick up after the hike on the way back.

Menthieu – Ricovero Cap. Ricci (3h30)
Following path 14B you follow the same general heading as the gravel road to Arp Vieille. The path makes a number of cutoffs bringing you above the trees. From here you already have beautiful views to the other side of the Valgrisenche valley (photo 1). The junction where path 16 splits is not very clear, make sure you keep heading southwest following path 14B/15, which is basically following the gravel road. The junction with path 14B is again not very clear because of a broken signpost. Keep looking to your left, the junction is just before the point where the gravel road crosses a stream and heads north to Arp Vieille. Follow 14B/15 which starts climbing diagonally up to the ridge. In this area you have nice views in which you can see Rifugio Degli Angeli (photo 2), Forcla du Bre and Ricovero Cap. Ricci, where we are heading. When there are about 60m more to climb, the path appears to bend to the right, but is clearly indicated to the left crossing a slope of rocks. On the other side of the slope the path is steep and gravelly. This slightly difficult but luckily short section meets with the path which seemed to bend to the right. Looking back (photo 3) there appears to be no reason for this deviation, other maybe then when there would be more snow. Quickly hereafter you reach the pass. Besides admiring the nice views, there are a few nearby ruins you can have a look at (photo 4).

Ricovero Cap. Ricci – Lago San Grato (2h00)
The first part of the descent is gentle and easy. The path then serpentines down a steep slope but the path is easy. Looking back you can see the upper ruin on the ridge high above you (photo 5). After crossing a rocky area you enter a grassy area. Here, the path becomes difficult to follow. Keep paying attention to yellow markings and piles of stones (cairns) and you will be okay. Even if you loose the path, just follow the grass slope downwards and you will end up on the almost horizontal path of 14A. Follow this to the right. This path brings you without significant elevation changes towards Lago San Grato. It is a lake lying in between beautiful cliffs from which small streams flow down from the glacier on top (photo 6).

Lago San Grato – Grand Alpe (1h45)
Crossing the bridge and passing the little chapel San Grato, path 14 descents into the Vallone di San Grato. Looking back you can enjoy the beautiful Torrente du Lac which has some waterfalls (photo 7 & 8). You cross another bridge below some waterfalls (photo 9) and a bit later you come to a farm at the end of a gravel road (photo 10). Still following path 14, this road brings you past Grand Alpe. After 16.2km and 9h15, also including 60min at Ricovero Cap. Ricci and 30min at Lago San Grato, you are back at the asphalt road where you parked.

Hike partners: Wouter

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 13087.kmz Lago San Grato


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