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Rifugio Cristina > Rifugio Marinelli-Bombardieri

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Punto di partenza
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Long and demanding stage, with some technical difficulties and a significant positive difference in height.

We go to the Alta Via della Valmalenco. In the presence of the Bernina massif (4,050 m) in a high altitude environment (severe and spectacular), the route is memorable.

Special Notes

The Alta Via della Valmalenco (and the Sentiero Italia) passes through the Bocchetta di Caspoggio (2,983 m). However, this is a path with a passage on a glacier: for this reason, we recommend the Forcella di Fellaria, with a wider but very panoramic tour.

The second half of the stage (from Rifugio Bignami onwards) has some steep and exposed sections, sometimes on not very stable rocks where it is easy to lose sight of the track: pay attention to the trail signs and the GPS.

Water points at Alpe Gembrè, at Rifugio Bignami and at Rifugio Carate Brianza.

when to go
June - September
Suitable for
how to get there
description of the route

We retrace the last stretch of the previous stage and cross the Campagneda plains. We begin a short climb (about 150 m height difference) that, skirting the beautiful Campagneda lakes, leads us to Passo di Campagneda and, shortly after, to Passo Canciano (2,464 m), on the border with the Swiss Val Poschiavo.

From the pass, we descend (about 350 m drop) on an easy track the Valle Poschiavina, up to Lake Gera. We skirt the lake with a very scenic path along the hillside, passing Alpe Gembrè (where the homonymous bivouac is located). After passing the northern end of the lake, we start the ascent (about 250 m height difference) towards Rifugio Roberto Bignami. 

We take a break: a second, intense climb (approx. 400 m height difference) awaits us towards the Forcella di Fellaria . At the crossroads, we take the left path (without going up to Bocchetta di Caspoggio). The stretch is largely on stony ground and in case of fog you have to pay close attention to the trail signs, which are not always easy to see.

Once reached Forcella di Fellaria (2,787 m), we descend (approx. 150 m drop) across a sometimes unstable stony ground, at the foot of the Cime di Musella. We reach the beautiful Rifugio Carate-Brianza, managed by the friendly Amanzio (!). After passing the nearby Bocchetta delle Forbici (2,637 m), we continue on a cross path on stony ground (some exposed sections). Slowly the panorama opens up, revealing the immense glacier of the Vedretta dello Scerscen and, dominating it, the Pizzo Bernina (4,049 m) and the Pizzo Roseg wall (3,937 m). Once in the valley basin of the Vedretta di Caspoggio, with a last uphill stretch (approximately 200 m height difference), we reach Rifugio Marinelli Bombardieri (2,813 m). Here starts the Via Normale for the Bernina.

What to know

The Alta Via della Valmalenco, conceived and traced in the 1970s by Giancarlo Carrara, Nemo Canetta and Giancarlo Corbellini (who will be one of the main promoters of Sentiero Italia!) was the first Italian high route with a cultural vocation. 

The Rifugio Marinelli Bombardieri is a huge mountain lodge (from the inside it looks like an ocean liner), located in a harsh and inhospitable place, right in front of the Bernina, the easternmost 4000m mountain peak in the Alps.

It was built in 1880 and after the death of its creator, Damiano Marinelli, the mountain lodge was dedicated to him (previously it took its name from the Vallone Scerscen). Over the years there have been many expansion works, including the doubling of spaces by Luigi Bombardieri, who tragically died in a helicopter accident, right at the foot of the mountain lodge. From that day the mountain lodge also bears his name.

What to see

The Morteratsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Bernina Massif, the only four thousand in the Lombardy region (that "shares" it with Switzerland). 

There are numerous glaciers in the area, many of them today have almost disappeared. To fully understand the drama of the retreat of the glaciers, you can take the Luigi Marson Glaciological Path (dedicated to the scientist who, in 1899, first described the glaciers in these areas), which leads from Alpe Gera to the Fellaria glacier.

what to eat

Pastures (maggenghi) and alpine pastures (alpeggi)characterize the mountains of Valmalenco. The difference between the two is that the former is an intermediate livestock grazing area between the valley floor and the summer pasture site (located around 2000m). 

In both grazing areas, you can find exquisite cheeses and excellent butter!

where to sleep

Rifugio Roberto Bignami, on the western shore of Lake Gera. Tel. +39 0342 451178.

Rifugio Carate-Brianza, near Bocchetta delle Forbici. Tel. +39 0342 452560

Rifugio Marinelli-Bombardieri, under Punta Marinelli. Tel. +39 0342 511577

How to Reach

Starting point NOT reachable by car.

The nearest location reachable by car is the Campo Moro dam.

Departure point NOT reachable by bus.

The closest location reachable by bus is Lanzada, starting from the city of Sondrio. 

Here the LINK to check the timetables.

Starting point NOT reachable by train.

“The arrival at the mountain lodge was epic: a sea of debris, low clouds and the sun that pierced them making the glacier sparkle. A Lord of the Rings landscape”

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