Quite a long stage, more demanding than one might think looking at the map.
The highlights of the day are the view of the sharp and towering Becca de Luseney (3,503 m) and the panoramic (although sometimes insidious) final cross path.
The descent from Fenetre d'Ersaz is very steep and slippery.
The cross path in ups and downs after the Col de Terray is sometimes exposed and some sections are muddy: pay attention to your steps.
We continue on Alta Via 1, with gentle ups and downs on a comfortable roadway. We then take the short uphill path towards Fenetre d'Ersaz ( 2,290 m), the last window on the Matterhorn. From there, a cross path takes us to the abandoned pasture of Grand Raye, where we find also water. Continuing, we go up (approximately 100 m height difference) to Lake Tzan (near the homonymous bivouac).
We leave again along the Comba di Chavacour, from which a terminal ramp (approximately 150 m height difference) takes us to the Fenetre du Tzan (2,736 m), with a beautiful view over the Saint-Barthélemy Valley. Immediately after, the descent (approx. 200 m drop) is challenging, due to its steepness and slippery surface. We then arrive sideways at the beautiful Reboulaz shelter. We start climbing again (approximately 150 m height difference) towards Col de Terray, on a scree, and from there we attack a long adrenaline cross path, all up and down, with several small sudden climbs, exposed sections, and steep descents. Finally, after the last climb, we arrive in the basin of the Cuney stream. Proceeding, we see from below the Cuney Sanctuary, next to the mountain lodge.
The current Rifugio Cuney is built next to the Cuney Sanctuary, which was built in turn where some shepherds had found a statue of the Madonna. The shepherds themselves transported the statue to Lignan, but miraculously she returned to Cuney.
So it was decided to build a sanctuary, consecrated in 1659.
In the locality of Lignan, in the Saint-Barthélemy valley, you can see the archaeological remains of two castellieri, ancient settlements dating back to the Bronze and Iron Ages, placed in a strategically defense position.
Valtournenche is rich of mountain pastures where fontina is produced.
It is a cheese known all over the world and probably the most well-known typical product of the Aosta Valley, where it has been consumed for centuries, as attested by medieval frescoes.
It is excellent with polenta, with honey (especially the one in the Millefiori variety of the Belluno Dolomites), and especially in fondue, a mixture of melted cheeses in which bread is dipped.
Bivacco Tzan, near the homonymous lake; 9 beds, blankets, and stove. Always Open
Bivacco Reboulaz, new and beautiful; 12 beds, blankets, stove, gas stove, emergency telephone. Always Open
Rifugio Oratorio di Cuney, by the homonymous sanctuary Tel. +39 345 108 1551
Bivacco Rosaire et Clermont, just below the Col de Vessonaz, about 4 km after the Rifugio Cuney, 12 beds, blankets, and gas stove. Always Open
Starting point NOT reachable by car.
The nearest location reachable by car is Valmartin.
Starting point NOT reachable by bus.
The nearest locality reachable by bus is Maen, starting from the city of Aosta with a change in Chatillon.
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.