Very long and tiring stage, with important differences in height (the infinite descent into Vallone dello Scerscen, the ascent to Longoni).
Magnificent and varied landscapes: we pass from the Bernina to the magnificent Monte Disgrazia (3,678 m), also sighting the great Lake Palù.
The stage is really tiring and the entire section is recommended only to the most sporty and experienced hikers. Nonetheless, it can be split, stopping on the shores of Lake Palù.
Just before reaching Rifugio Mitta you pass a short equipped section.
In the case of wet ground, the descent to Lake Palù can be insidious because of the smooth Vermentino rocks.
The cross path on stony ground, after Alpe di Sasso Nero, must be approached with caution: it is easy to fall into some holes in the large rocks.
The last stretch towards Rifugio Longoni is very steep and with exposed parts.
Water points are scarse, only at Rifugio Mitta and Alpe Roggione (just above Lake Palù).
We are preparing for a long descent (approximately 1000 m drop): we take the path that on stony ground, descends towards Valle di Scerscen, circumnavigating the head of the valley. The Italian Alpine Troopers cemetery deserves a little detour. The valley floor is studded with yellow flowers: above us, we see the former Capanna Scerscen and the Rifugio Marco e Rosa, under the Pizzo Bernina. On a comfortable path, we travel the entire valley directing south: after a short final cross path (some short, easy equipped sections), we arrive at Rifugio Mitta.
We keep going down to Alpe Campascio. From here, we comfortably climb (approximately 300 m height difference) up to Bocchel del Torno (2,203 m), from where we see Lake Palù, surrounded by conifer woods. The descent to the lake (approx. 200 m drop) is quite intense, up to Alpe Roggione (those who are tired can continue the descent for a few hundred meters and reach Rifugio Palù, by the lake, interrupting the stage here).
From here on, we are on the Alta Via della Valmalenco. We continue on a steep ascent (about 300 m height difference) towards the Alpe di Sasso Nero. From there it starts a long stretch with ups and downs, mainly on large stones: you need concentration and to pay attention to the numerous holes. At the head of the valley, we cross the Entovasto stream and reach a comfortable carriage road, which we take to the left. After a flat stretch, we take the path that climbs (approximately 100 m height difference) steeply on the right, towards Rifugio Longoni. The stretch is short, but it becomes gradually steeper and more exposed. Finally, after the last stretch on stony ground, we conquer the European flag of Rifugio Longoni (2,430 m).
The mountain lodge, managed by the legendary Elia, offers a postcard view of Monte Disgrazia ( 3,678 m) that watches over us intimidatingly.
The signs of climate change are evident also in this section: Rifugio Marco e Rosa that we see below Pizzo Bernina, has been relocated because the old building laid on the rock that is gradually crumbling, as it is no longer compacted by the ice.
A century after their death, the CAI gave Rifugio Longoni the name of the brothers Antonio and Elia Longoni, great mountain enthusiasts who died in 1916 during the Great War, on the Karst front.
The mountain lodge is located not far from a long mule track that continues to climb the mountain, an old road used by smugglers to transport goods (in particular, wine) between Italy and Switzerland.
Lake Palù is located on a plateau above Chiesa in Valmalenco and is the largest alpine lake in Valtellina. Surrounded by firs, larches, and creeping pines, it is easily accessible thanks to the ski lifts. A perfect place to relax by nearby Monte Disgrazia.
It has no tributaries or emissaries and gets water only from rain and snow: it is, therefore, subject to a significant difference in water level, depending on the season.
The Taroz is a traditional Valtellinese recipe: a sort of mashed potatoes, beans, and green beans seasoned with traditional Valtellina butter and cheese (possibly casera dop). The dish derives from the popular custom of cooking the scraps of previous meals.
Rifugio Alpe Musella, at the bottom of the Scerscen valley. Tel. +39 347 793 8825
Rifugio Mitta, at the bottom of the Scerscen valley. Tel. +39 0342 452579
Rifugio Palù, on the north shore of Lake Palù. Tel. +39 0342 452201
Rifugio Longoni, in the upper Valmalenco. Tel. +39 0342 451120
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.
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.