Very short stage regarding the kilometers traveled but demanding, due to height difference and technical difficulties; nevertheless, it gives us legendary glimpses.
The highlight of the day (optional, only for the most experienced hikers) is the sharp pyramid of Pizzo Scalino (3,323 m) that stands out in front of the entire Bernina massif (the first 4,000 along Sentiero Italia) for a unique view.
The stage is a technical variant of the Sentiero Italia (that climbs to Passo Forame and proceeds towards Passo degli Ometti). It is preferred for the indisputable excitement provoked by the panoramic peak of Pizzo Scalino, a must for the most demanding and experienced hikers.
It is a semi-mountaineering variation: to be done only if well equipped and very experienced.
The descent, on both sides, presents important difficulties. Although requiring adequate technical equipment (crampons), Vedretta dello Scalino has a lower exposure and is safer than the descent from Passo degli Ometti, which is very slippery.
The track is not always visible, due to the graveled ground: pay attention to the trail signs and keep an eye on the GPS.
Water points are absent: bring a good supply.
We start early, immediately uphill (about 600 m height difference) towards the pass south-east of Pizzo Scalino. The path does not appear on many maps, but it is well signposted by mountain cairns and signs. The ascent becomes more and more demanding, all on unreliable stony ground. Once on the watershed, we turn north, and shortly after we are at the pass, from where we see the now close top of Pizzo Scalino. If sufficiently experienced, we climb to the top: the stretch is short but steep and at times very exposed, on a barely present track. We need firm steps and concentration.
The summit of Pizzo Scalino (3,323 m) gives us one of the most beautiful views of the Central Alps. North stands the majestic Bernina massif (4,049 m), with the wall of Pizzo Roseg (3,937 m); west, the granite of the Adamello; south, the Orobie and their king, Pizzo Coca (3,050 m); east, the very green Valmalenco and, for the first time, Monte Disgrazia (3,648 m).
Returning to the pass, we begin the long descent (approximately 1000 m drop) towards Rifugio Cristina. You can take the path towards Passo degli Ometti and from there go down to the mountain lodge. However, the first part of the descent has an extreme slope and a bad gravelly bottom.
Alternatively, on the opposite side of the pass (to the west), a short section aided with a chain (10 m) takes us to the Vedretta dello Scalino, with a well-trodden track. Crossing the glacier is easy, but requires crampons as a precaution (fresh ice may emerge). Upon reaching the Cornetto (2,850 m), a well-trodden path let us descend quickly towards the wide plateau below. After a final flat stretch, we reach Alpe Prabello, a small stone village that hosts Rifugio Cristina.
Pizzo Scalino is also called the “Matterhorn of Valmalenco” due to its elegant pyramidal shape.
Perhaps due to this particular geometric shape, various legends have arisen around the mountain. Many swear that they have seen strange lights in these places and for this reason, they believe it is a landing zone ... for UFOs!
Arriving at Rifugio Cristina you can admire the spectacle of Alpe Prabello.
The name is a program: many small houses on a well-kept lawn and animals that graze all around. An idyllic place to find peace and silence.
At the end of a long walk, there is nothing better than refreshing yourself with a nice plate of polenta taragna. It is made with bigia flour, which is buckwheat flour with a characteristic grayish color.
When the cooking is almost complete, an abundant quantity of alp butter is added together with the casera dop cheese.
Rifugio Cristina, on Alpe Prabello. Tel. +39 0342 452398
Starting point NOT reachable by car.
The closest location reachable by car is Sant 'Antonio in Val Fontana.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The closest location reachable by bus is Ponte in Valtellina, 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.