It’s a marvellous thought – six mountain huts have joined forces to create a seven day climbing tour, beginning and ending within the village of Champoluc. Every night time is spent in a unique rifugio and the bundle consists of dinner, ready with native merchandise, and DOC wines from the Aosta valley.
The route roughly follows a determine of eight, exploring three valleys, with marvellous views of the Italian Alps together with the Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa vary.
Leaving Turin, after crossing the flatlands, a tortuous drive by means of twisting hairpins, climbs to the village of Champoluc, within the higher reaches of the Ayas Valley. In earlier occasions this space was thought-about uninhabitable till it was populated by the Walser folks, escaping poverty in Switzerland. As of late it’s a thriving resort with snowboarding within the winter and mountain biking and climbing in the summertime.
Earlier than I arrive, I’ve already downloaded the App from the web site, which supplies me with a GPS route, and at my resort I get a map, a light-weight towel and sheet sleeping bag. Though there may be an choice to get your baggage transported, I’m going to be carry every thing on my again, so I’ve decreased my load to the naked minimal. I’ve additionally determined, maybe foolishly, to double up on a few levels, reasoning that I can simply handle seven hours of strolling in a day.
Day 1: Champoluc to Rifugio Gran Tournalin 15km
The climate is obvious and sunny as I set out, climbing up by means of the forest by a stream and waterfall. It’s pretty steep however I’m contemporary and anxious to get on. That is a kind of two stage days, so I’m anxious to get on. I attain the tiny Walser village of Mascognaz, nothing quite a lot of homes and a church, and comply with the facet of the Ayas valley to Rifugio Ferraro. This might be usually the tip of the primary stage, so I cease for a lunch of polenta and greens, washed down with a glass of beer.
It’s then a steep descent on a nice path to Saint-Jacques on the head of the valley, earlier than climbing up by means of forest on the opposite facet. Above the treeline at round 2000m, there are rumbles of thunder and it begins to hail.
This turns to gentle rain however I attain Rifugio Grand Tournalin at round 5 o’clock with out getting actually moist. As in all of the huts, sleeping preparations are in dormitories, however I’m relieved to be sharing with just one different. There’s a hearty meal of minestrone, hen with fried courgette and lashings of native crimson wine and I’m in mattress by 10pm.
Day 2: Rifugio Grand Tournalin to Rifugio Ermitage 10km
After my double exertions yesterday, I’m solely doing a single stage right this moment so can take it straightforward. Climate is sunny as I climb as much as the Col di Nana and am overtaken by a big group of Russian hikers, all carrying heavy packs. I go away mine on the Col to climb the Becca Trecaré, a pointed peak at 3000m and am joined on the summit by the Russians. They’re from the Moscow Membership Alpino and provides me some chocolate, telling me it’s a practice to share on the prime.
There’s an honest path all the way down to Cheneil, one other enticing Walser village, well-liked for households and their canine. After lunch, one other slight uphill earlier than dropping all the way down to Chamois within the Valtournenche and the Rifugio Ermitage.
Right here I’m delighted to be given a dormitory all to myself, and Antoine, the supervisor, plies me with giant glasses of his draught beer. He’s excited that a group of ladies path runners, together with the native champion, might be additionally spending the night time and I be part of them for dinner.
Day three Rifugio Ermitage to Rifugio Vieux Crest 15.5km
In contrast to the path runners who go away at 4am to catch the dawn, I go away at 8am, ready for a protracted day. There’s been a thunderstorm throughout the night time but it surely appears to have cleared. I’m crossing again to the Ayas Valley, so there’s a steep climb to Col Pillonet, however I’m rewarded with wonderful views of the Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa vary. There’s a nice grassy monitor all the way in which down and I can see Champoluc under me.
Sadly I’m going to be hitting the valley decrease down so it’s a protracted sizzling descent to the Evancon River. I’m not notably happy to need to climb up once more to Mascognaz, which I handed on the primary day, however the stroll follows a determine of eight and there’s no selection.
I arrive at Rifugio Vieux Crest parched, as I’ve run out of water, however there’s draft beer and a nice welcome from the Sara, the proprietor. Even higher I get a room with bathroom and bathe and make full use of it. Meals right here can also be good.
Day four: Rifugio Vieux Crest to Rifugio Arp 16km
That is one other day after I’m tackling two levels and the climate forecast is just not good. I begin as early as I can and meet many path runners as I climb as much as the Col Pinter.
At this time I’m crossing to the Gressoney Valley and attain Rifugio Alpenzù, simply above, because the rain begins to begin. Lunch is nice with native cured Bresaola with grilled greens, then pasta carbonara, however exterior it’s stormy.
I don my waterproofs and set out alongside the facet of the valley. The thunder is heavy and flashes of lightning illuminate the timber. Clouds obscure the mountains and I flip to climb steeply and am quickly within the mist. Thankfully the trail is nicely marked and, as I attain the Colle di Valnera, the rain stops and it begins to clear. Rifugio Arp is slightly below me and, since I’m utterly soaked, I’m grateful for a sizzling range to dry my garments.
Day 5: Rifugio Arp to Champoluc. 9.5km
I set out in thick mist however, as I begin strolling, it begins to clear. I go a number of small lakes on my means as much as the Colle di Palasinaz. I hear the whistles of Marmots, and startle a few Ibex.
I’m quickly again all the way down to the village of Mascognaz, for the third and final time. Again in Champoluc, regardless that I’ve been within the wilds for just a few days, it feels unusual to be again in civilisation.
I’ve been fortunate – solely a half day of rain and solar for the remainder of the time, with wonderful views from the tops. It’s an amazing hike that I can heartily advocate however simply don’t make the error of making an attempt two levels in at some point.
FLY: BA flies direct from London Gatwick to Turin.
STAY: The Lodge L’Aiglon is a cushty base in Champoluc.
TOUR: The Tour des Six prices 379 Euros for 7 days trekking, together with six nights half board in mountain huts. They’ll additionally organize transfers from Turin.
MORE INFO: The Valle d’Aosta