Quite a long and demanding stage due to the difference in altitude, with two rather important climbs (at the Caldenno and Scermendone passes).
Great satisfaction and panoramic views: the gems of the day are the Martian landscapes of the very red Corni Bruciati and the sudden granite walls of the wonderful Val di Mello. We spot the mythical Cengalo (3,369 m) and Badile (3,308 m).
The stretch from Passo di Caldenno to Bivacco Scermendone is a variation of the Sentiero Italia (which descends into the Val Caldenno with a stop at the Marinella al Prato Maslino Refuge), chosen for the panoramic view of Passo Scermendone and the pointless long ups and downs in the woods.
The path leading to Passo Caldenno is not always well marked but remains easy and intuitive.
The climb to Passo Scermendone has some steep and slightly exposed sections: pay attention.
Given the altitude and the north exposure of some parts, it is possible to find snow residues along the track: it is better to inquire in advance, by calling the mountain lodges.
Water points are absent from Rifugio Bosio to Bivacco Scermendone.
We leave the plateau of Rifugio Bosio and start early the slow climb to Passo di Caldenno (approx. 450 m height difference). We climb gradually, without breaks: around us the Corni Bruciati and the snow-covered mass of Disgrazia reveal themselves. The track disappears at times, but the direction to follow is very intuitive.
Once we reach the pass (2,517 m), we enjoy the view and face the descent (ca. 250 m drop) that leads to the head of the valley below. Without crossing the large scree (rather complicated) in order to stay at high altitude, we descend until we bypass it from below and we continue to climb (ca. 300 m height difference) on the debris, detaching ourselves from the path that descends to the valley. The path is a little demanding and some stretches of gravel require attention. Finally, we arrive at Passo Scermendone (2,595 m), from where we see, further down, the lake of the same name. Behind us, we salute Pizzo Scalino and Bernina.
We start the long and easy descent (ca. 950 m drop) towards our destination. At first, we travel through wide meadows and after passing the lake, we continue on an excellent path (that becomes almost a forest road) half-way up the coast, soon overlooking the Preda Rossa valley. After reaching the wide ridge, we stop at Bivacco Scermendone: the view over the Alpi Orobie is magnificent. We continue on sloping ground to descend along the watershed, while Cima degli Alli and Cima d'Arcanzo stand out in the north.
Before arriving at Monte Scermendone, we leave the ridge and take the path on the left in correspondence with an old abandoned hut; a comfortable ramp takes us to a forest road which we follow into the fir forest. Finally, the trees open up and reveal the large meadows surrounding the Alpe Granda. We admire the huge crest of Punta Moraschini and the mythical peaks of Cengalo (3,369 m) and of Badile (3,308 m) of vertical granite, behind it.
The Sentiero Roma, flying over the Val Masino from the north, was created for military purposes during the Great War. It was used to connect the shelters where the Italian troops were stationed, in fear of an Austrian breakthrough through Switzerland.
The path as we know it today was completed during the Fascism period, in 1928, thanks to the Milan section of the Italian Alpine Club.
The Valle di Preda Rossa takes its name from the reddish hues of the rocks ("preda", in fact, means "rock"). Ascending towards Passo Caldenno, we are struck by the rocky cliff that goes up and culminates in the Corni Bruciati. These mountains look like deposits of rubble from an ancient and mysterious catastrophe.
A local legend says that once these peaks were elegant laces, whose slopes extended into lush valleys, pastures, and pine forests. One day a beggar arrived in Valle di Preda Rossa and, being hungry, he asked for the help of two shepherds - one good-natured, the other one evil. The second one, older, mocked him and offered him the dog's leftovers. Moved from pity, the good shepherd offered him a meal and a bed for the night.
In the morning, the beggar sought out the good shepherd and revealed himself to him as the Lord: he ordered him to leave the valley immediately without ever turning back. The shepherd boy obeyed and ran away quickly, while behind him a horrible stake broke out that devoured the woods and inexorably crumbled the mountains.
Since then, in the local tradition, the Corni Bruciati (Burned Horns) are considered a divine warning against the wickedness of men.
Bivacco Scermendone, about 3 km after Lake Scermendone, on the ridge; 4 beds, fireplace, stove, gas kitchen, and water. Always Open
Rifugio Alpe Granda, just before the Cima di Granda hill. Tel. +39 347 756 6960
Starting point NOT reachable by car.
The nearest location reachable by car is the road to Alpe Lago.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The closest location reachable by bus is Chiesa in Valmalenco, starting from the city of Sondrio.
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.