A medium-long and initially technical stage, for the ascent to Marguareis through the Canale dei Torinesi.
The summit of Marguareis (2,652 m, the highest of the Ligurian Mountains) gives us a breathtaking view: after having crossed all the Alps, we spot again the sea.
The stage is a technical variant of the Sentiero Italia (which continues on the GTA passing through the Rifugio Mondovì), preferred for the 360 ° show offered by Punta Marguareis.
The Canale dei Torinesi (at first steep and slippery, then equipped with cables and steps) requires experience and a steady step. The gravel on which you walk can sometimes slide down: if you are in a group, it is good to remain very compact to avoid accidents.
There is a second slightly exposed (but equipped) stretch just before Colle Palù.
Those suffering from vertigo, when at the mouth of the gully (instead of climb it), they can continue eastwards and cross the Porta Marguareis, to reconnect with the itinerary at Colle del Pas, avoiding all technical difficulties.
No water points up to Tetti delle Donzelle, at the bottom of the Vallone delle Saline.
We leave the Garelli before dawn and retrace the path of the previous stage, flat up to the Laghetto del Marguareis. We leave the GTA track and start the climb (approx 600m height difference) to the summit. The path goes up decisively and we arrive on the stony ground of the Canale dei Torinesi, where the slope is increasing on a surface that is not always easy.
Finally, we face the equipped section (chains and rungs): although easy and short, you need to be experienced. Leaving the canal, we return to walk on a good track. We go around the Colle dei Torinesi from the south and, continuing to climb on a good track, we arrive at the summit of Marguareis (2,652 m), the highest of the Ligurian Mountains. The view is dazzling: we spot again the sea and, if lucky, Corsica.
We return to the Colle dei Torinesi, continuing eastwards in quiet ups and downs and always on a good track. We pass the Colle dei Savonesi and, with a small aided section, Colle Palù (2,486 m). We descend decisively (approximately 250 m drop) towards Piaggia Bella and take the path that goes up towards Cima Pian Ballaur (approximately 400 m height difference). The first section climbs sharply to Colle del Pas (2,349 m), after which the climb becomes less aggressive (the track disappears and you have to rely on the cairns). Cima Pian Ballaur (2,603 m) welcomes us with hundreds of edelweiss.
We quickly lose altitude towards the underlying plateau, from where we take the track (not very easy to identify) towards the nearby Cima degli Arpetti, which offers a beautiful view of the Valle Tanaro.
From here on, it's all downhill (approx. 850 m drop ). The path descends rapidly to Gias delle Saline, from where we resume the GTA. The slope softens and we travel easily across the Vallone delle Saline. Once in the hamlet of Tetti delle Donzelle, we go up a wide path halfway up the hill and we reach the Colla di Camino, after which we continue on a long cross path, discovering a Tibetan bridge.
After the bridge, we find on the left the indication to the gigantic Grotta delle Vene - that we can reach and explore, being careful not to get lost. Finally, we come to the vast meadows of Pian Rosso, where the Rifugio Mongioie stands.
The territory of the Marguareis Park, established in 1978, includes a large area of the Piedmontese side of the Alpi Liguri. Its peaks are also called Little Dolomites.
In the subsoil, there is a karst system with 150 km of explored caves, some of which even be 900 meters deep.
In the hamlet of Viozene, in the municipality of Ormea, brigasco, a Ligurian mountain dialect is spoken: the village is in fact part of the ethnolinguistic area of the Terra Brigasca (Tera Brigašca), whose center is the town of Briga Marittima (Ra Briga in brigasco).
Brigascan people, unlike the Ladin people for example, have marked linguistic and cultural differences compared to neighboring peoples.
On the path towards the Rifugio Mongioie, it is possible to visit the Grotta delle Vene, a maze of labyrinths that reach deep and develop for over 4 km.
The cave is divided into 5 sections, 2 of which are accessible with common speleologist equipment, while the others require the underwater speleologist equipment, due to the presence of some syphons.
Game is widely used in this area.
It is also possible to find chamois on the tables. Despite being protected, a slaughter plan is made every year to regulate the growth of the population.
The best way to accompany it is the Saracen polenta, a traditional dish of the Alta Val Tanaro, which is made with a mixture of buckwheat flours, wheat, and potatoes. The result is then eaten with a sauce made of milk, mushrooms, and leeks.
Capanna Saracco Volante, under Colle del Pas. It is a bivouac for speleologists and has a winter room that is always open, with 10 beds and blankets.
Rifugio Mongioie, in Pian Rosso. Tel. +39 0174 390 196
Starting point reachable by car.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The nearest location reachable by bus is Certosa, starting from the city of Cuneo.
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.