Definitely a long and tiring stage, with two important climbs (to Colle della Garbella and Passo di Ciotto Mien) and some technical passages: to be faced in its entirety only if experienced and physically well trained (however, it can be broken).
The effort is amply rewarded by the great beauty of the glacial amphitheater of Lake Alberghi, dominated by the pyramid of Mount Frisson (2,637 m).
The stage is long and requires some experience in the mountains: some sections are very steep and/or exposed (some parts are equipped), especially in the climb to Passo di Ciotto Mien - at times slippery, you need to have a firm step. The most tired ones better break the stage in Palanfrè.
The stage is largely exposed to the sun (the sections in the woods are relatively short), it is better take this into account.
Water points are absent unless you make a detour to the hamlet of Palanfrè: bring great supplies.
We start the first, very long climb early (approximately 1,250 m height difference). The hillside path goes up the narrow Vallone del Bousset. We pass just below the top of Monte Viver and, shortly after (being careful not to lose the track), we arrive on the asphalted road We cover it for a couple of kilometers until we reach the Trinità di Entracque hamlet, where we resume the GTA route.
The ascent continues decisively, we soon leave the woods and gain the shoulder of Monte Pianard (2,306 m), where the path continues to climb, with some sections a little exposed (a couple of passages are equipped).
We reach Colle della Garbella and continue southward, along the aerial and panoramic ridge. When you reach the pass that precedes the north ridge of Monte Garbella, the path turns steeply downhill (about 800 m drop) into the narrow Val Garbella. We return to the woods, then enter the carriage road in the direction of the village of Palanfrè.
Without going down to the village (where those who are tired can break the stage, taking advantage of the Rifugio L'Arbergh), we stay on the GTA going through the Vallone degli Alberghi with a flat cross path. The path then rises again (approximately 850 m height difference) along a stream. Being careful not to take the track that climbs to the left at Passo della Mena, we leave the woods and reach the beautiful glacial amphitheater which, with its walls, guards the Lake Alberghi. The lake is dominated by the superlative Monte Frisson (2,637 m), a small Matterhorn.
Caught our breath, we face the very steep climb that leads us with some difficulties (some passages are exposed and equipped, the bottom is quite friable) at the Passo di Ciotto Mien (2,274 m). We then start the long descent (1.000 m drop approximately), initially very decisive and on tight bends. Once in Pian Madoro (1,765 m), we take the comfortable roadway (the slope is significantly decreasing) up to Tetti Virulà, from where we reach Limonetto on a paved road.
The name of the town of Limonetto does not derive from "lemon," but from the word limo which in Celtic meant "elm".
The country's renowned ski resort also hosted the Turin 2006 Olympics.
From Colle di Tenda passed the salt merchants and the pilgrims who, in the Middle Ages, went to Santiago de Compostela.
At the end of the 19th century, a fortified barrier was built on the pass, with six forts protecting Piedmont's entrance. Following the treaties of Paris, after the Second World War, the border between Italy and France was moved further north and most of the Colle, with the complex of the forts (which, however, never had to fight) passed to the French.
One of the masterpieces of Val Vermenagna cuisine is stuffed onions, filled with rice, leeks, spinach, sausage, eggs, and butter: a delicious “appetizer” (so to speak).
Locanda L 'Albergh (GTA stopover), in the hamlet of Palanfrè. Tel. +39 340 697 3954
Affittacamere Arrucador, in Limonetto. Tel. +39 348 290 2263
Starting point reachable by car.
Starting point reachable by bus from the city of Cuneo.
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.