Although apparently short, this stage is marked by the demanding Passo Ventina: the climb is really tough, as it is the descent.
The landscape is splendid and ranges from the walls of the Disgrazia to the lunar environment that hosts the Sassersa lakes, ending up in the bucolic Valle Airale.
The ascent and descent to/from Passo Ventina are far from ordinary, due to the steepness and the insidious bottom: to be approached with caution and to avoid in case of thunderstorm risk (the rocks have a high ferrous percentage and there is the strong danger of lightning).
The only water point is on the Alpe Giumellino.
After a short flat stretch towards the head of the valley, the path begins to rise slowly along the morainic tongue of debris. The slope changes drastically and we start the very steep climb (approximately 650 m height difference), on the slippery ground (gravel and stony): the track is not always easy to see. The arrival at Passo Ventina (2,676 m) is real liberation.
It is better not to lose concentration: the long descent (approximately 900 m drop) is in fact complicated and insidious, on steep stony ground and landslides. The surrounding landscape is Martian, a mosaic of red and orange rocks: the contrast with the blue of the Sassersa lakes is amazing.
The descent resumes on stony ground in a steep valley until it crosses the variant of the path leading to Alpe Giumellino: we take it, and shortly after we finally return to clay court, in the woods. We continue to lose altitude, surrounded by glimpses of the beautiful meadow plateau of Alpe Lago. Once at Alpe Giumellino we begin a relatively flat cross path that gradually leaves the woods; we enter Valle Airale.
We pass the old talcum mines and, after the last few kilometers, we arrive at Rifugio Bosio.
Valmalenco is famous for its soapstone, which is still used to make roof shingles (i.e. wooden slats with which the roofs were covered, were used instead of tiles, in high mountain buildings such as huts or barns).
In addition, this stone is excellent as a hob.
Just below Alpe Lago there is the village of Chiesa Valmalenco, a renowned tourist resort.
It offers its visitors numerous initiatives and sports activities of all kinds and for every season: from trekking to cross-country skiing, from ice climbing to skating.
The scimudin, a low-fat soft cheese, with a brief maturation, typical of Valmalenco (where scimud means “cheese”). Of ancient origins, it was originally produced with goat's milk, subsequently "converted" when in Valtellina goat farming was replaced by that of dairy cattle.
Angelo, a nice miller from Alpe Lago, produces it for himself when the cows are in the Alpe Lago area. Angelo is always ready to let people taste his cheeses and to explain the secrets of it.
Rifugio Bosio, in Valle Airale. Tel. +39 0342 451655
Starting point NOT reachable by car.
The nearest location reachable by car is Pian del Lupo (Chiareggio).
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The closest location reachable by bus is Chiesa in Valmalenco, 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.