Quite a short stage, mostly characterized by the long descent from Col de Vessonaz.
From the pass, the view over Mont Gelè (3,518 m) and the Grand Combin (4,314m) is magnificent.
The first part of the descent from Col de Vessonaz is steep (but without being exposed) and slippery due to the gravelly ground: be careful.
We resume the Alta Via 1, we barely lose altitude and continue on a well-trodden path, with a panoramic view, overlooking the Saint-Barthélemy valley. A fast ramp (approximately 100 m height difference) takes us to the Col de Chaleby, from which a second, sliding cross path starts. We spot a small lake, on whose banks stands the Bivacco Rosaire et Clermont.
We face the usual final small climb and we are at Col de Vessonaz (2.794 m). Beyond the wild valley below (Comba de Vessonaz), we admire the Grand Combin massif (4,314 m) and the pyramid of Mont Gelé (3,518 m).
A long descent (approximately 1,400 m drop) awaits us. The first part, up to the head of the valley, is quite steep and on a gravel surface, you must be careful not to slip. We cross the beautiful valley on a slight slope and then descend again into the woods along the Buthier stream, on an easy path. With a short ascent, we overcome the Betenda Ravine and, shortly after, we are in the village of Oyace.
Oyace is located in Val Bionaz, a side of Val Pelline, renowned for its harsh climate, so much so that it is called the “cold valley”.
During the descent to Oyace, we touch several mountain pastures.
The mountain pasture season begins with the monticazione (inarpain, in patois), ie the ascent to the alp, which takes place between the end of May and mid-June and it ends with the demonticazione (desarpa), the return to the plain which takes place at the end of September. Life in the pastures has not changed much over the centuries as it is linked to the immutable laws that regulate the relationships between man, nature, and animals.
Just above the village of Oyace, you can admire an octagonal tower called Tornalla. Its construction is estimated around the year 1000, which would therefore make it the oldest castle in the Aosta Valley.
A popular legend tells that the tower was built by a group of Saracens who took refuge in Valpelline.
The brossa is the result of the production of the residual whey of the Fontina processing. It is a soft and buttery dairy product and is traditionally eaten with polenta; a precious butter is also obtained from it, less caloric than the one produced with cream.
Camping Lac Lexert, in the hamlet of Chentre, about 2 km from Oyace. Tel. +39 0165 730109
Starting point NOT reachable by car.
The nearest location reachable by car is Venoz.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The nearest town reachable by bus is Ville Sur Nus, starting from the city of Aosta.
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.