Short but intense stage, almost completely uphill: resistance and breath are needed.
The day is marked by the three lakes (Antrona, Campliccioli, Camposecco) and the large dam that contains the last one, dominated by the massive mass of PizzoBottarello (3,487 m), which rises 1,200 m above the basin below.
Don't be fooled by the short length of the route: the climb to Lake Camposecco requires good training.
In the climb from Alpe Banella to Camposecco there are short stretches of tall grass, where you have to keep an eye out for the track.
Water points are absent from Lake Antrona to Camposecco: stock up at Alpe Ronco.
We take the new path in the woods, that goes up (about 200 m height difference) towards Lake Antrona. Instead of aiming for the lake, from Alpe Ronco we ascend a little more and skirt the north side of the lake from the top of a panoramic route. We shortly arrive at Lake Campliccioli, with its large hydroelectric dam.
We skirt the lake, pass the small power plant and, immediately after the Rio Banella waterfall, we start the big climb towards Camposecco (approximately 1.000 m height difference). The path is in good condition, regular, but does not allow any stop up to the wide plain of Alpe Banella.
We reach the base of the rocky ridge that limits the plateau to the north (if the season is right, we find lots of blackberries). We then start the second part, steeper than the first one. Finally, we reach the house of the guardians of the dam, at the southern end of the basin. The new bivouac, not far away, is beautiful. To the north, we are impressed by the massive Monte Cimone di Camposecco (3,400 m), whose very high south face stands out for over 1,000 vertical mirrored in Lake Camposecco.
In the evening, the lamp posts on the dam walkway light up and it looks like the setting of a 1960s war film. The guardians of the dam are young and nice, they will happy to chat a bit.
The Erebia is a particular butterfly: an endemic species, it inhabits only a few valleys south of the Simplon Pass.
First found in Valais, it is highly sought after by collectors and it is a protected species. It lives on high altitude rock faces, feeds on caterpillars and plants. Distinctive signs are the presence of four black dots visible on the front wing, arranged in a straight line.
In 1642 a huge landslide descended from Monte Pozzuoli, blocked the course of the Troncone stream, and gave rise to a basin, called Lake Antrona. At the beginning of the 1920s, in order to be able to exploit it for hydroelectric purposes, the Rovesca Power Station was built.
After passing through a 2,039m long tunnel and an 866m long penstock (with a maximum flow rate of 16 cubic m / sec.), the waters of the lake descend to the power plant, located 291 m below. They produce 7,000,000 kWh per year, equal to the consumption of 2,800 Italian families.
In the same years, the Camposecco and Cingino dams were built that feed the Campliccioli power station.
Bivacco di Camposecco, near the dam of the same name: new and beautiful, 13 beds, blankets, water nearby. Always Open
Starting point reachable by car.
Starting point reachable by bus, starting from the town of Domodossola.
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.