Sunday, November 4, 2007

Revenge of the chocolate - Val Blenio

Val Blenio: 01-04/11/2007
Photo gallery

Cloudy weather.
Let's try another site.
Cloudy weather.
It's 4 days, cloudy or not cloudy, I'm going. And gone I was to Ghirone, where I leave the clouds gathered in the valley probably around the weather station in Campo Blenio, and I start climbing to Scaletta hut, the sun at my side. The climb follows the road, I pass through a small village suspended on a hill, I pass by a man that saws wood for winter time, by wooden houses from behind which a Ferrari grins at me:)

Around 2000m the road gives up and I walk on the path that traverses the glacier valley and goes boldly and steeply up to the hut where a yellow-white carpet welcomes me with a "Welcome to the autumn! or to the winter, or maybe autumn, or winter?". The rivlet defines the border between the two seasons and today I choose to go on the right, on the autumn side, trying to find out which one is Piz Valdraus. My quest fails because, bitter-sweet surprisingly, I find out that the path to the peak is not marked, in fact is not. I take the opportunity to extend my knowledges about the area, adding the information that the majority of the climbs to the surrounding peaks in the Blenio valley are not marked and actually do not exist, or are usually used by the black goats (chamois). 3 very friendly italian swiss, heavily equipped with a map and good-will take me out of the darkness: "well, it's one of those peaks, see which one you can climb.":) I'm relishing a wandering on a first-gone path that I am sure I will never be able to find again, to a "don't know, don't care" what peak, and all that matters is the splendid view I am rewarded with. The a bit hurried descend due to the sun rushing to bed, is also interesting and unique, through hills and valleys, avoiding the rocks and the snow patches. I'm almost down in the pass when a grass patch, old but not wise, is keen on making a last farse this autumn and blesses me with a though combat: butt against ground. Good girl, now I know who's thougher and it serves me right to keep my claims low. A windy sunset over a cloudy valley eases my back pains and I enter the hospitable hut for 14 hours of solitary hibernation.

This wind is full of energy - evening, morning, it's restless. I eat my breakfast protected by the hut walls and I'm glad to see that today is going to be another cloudy day in the valley and sunny day on the hill. The day starts awfully bad, with a declaration of reciprocal antipathy and war between swiss chocolate and myself. The victim is me, and I loose a tooth in the batle with the frozen mad chocolate. It's clear, today is not my day. I retreat toothless, but strong willed: "I'm going to eat you anyway!" (especially because there's nothing else to eat up here) I try to raise my dental spirits thinking that at least I've got something in common with Gioconda (they say she was only smiling and not laughing because she was missing some teeth).

I start my way to the Monterrascio hut, a trek of about 2.5 hours. The path goes on the left side of the valey, the winter side, and not half an hour away it is blocked by ice. It's clear, today is not my day. I descend and continue along the valley, loking for an alternative way up to the winter side, somewhere after the icy part. 2 failed tentatives consume my energy and raise my adrenaline to the overflowing level. It's pretty nasty because the wall is a mixture of ice, snow and friable rock and it's stubborn enough to stand at 80 degrees. The canion is beautiful though, this until I suceed to break the ice and wash my feet. It's clear, today is not my day. I decide to give it a last shot, up on a torrent valley. Half the way up I realize this is not one of my best ideas (I hope). Eventually this last tentative ends with a free climb on the friable rock that gets me out on the winter side of the valley. Yes! The taste of victory doesn't last that much, only about 5 minutes till I find the path that goes down, guess where, to the botom of the valley where it meets the path that was coming on the autumn side of the valley. That's exactly where I meet 2 middle-aged tourists that started 1.5 hours after me and have relaxely followed the autumn way. But I have followed my way, and following your way always brings a plentifulness of novel and unique experiences. I look at the plentifulness of water that runs from my pants into my summer boots. The 2 look at me with a sympathetic smile. I look at the incredibly blue sky. And I have in the pocket close to my heart a tooth. It's clear, today is not my day.
I reach the Monterascio hut quite rapidly, where I find a group of 14. Swiss. German swiss. The hut has two winter rooms very modern and well equipped, plus a big kitchen where I'm staying for about half an hour listening to the group of swiss people that are very keen on instructing me several times in several european languages where I should register and leave the accommodation money. It's clear, today...

I freeze on a hill top looking over the lake and with plenty of sun, and refuse to move for fear of other novel and unique experiences. At sunset I run to my sleeping bag - uf, finally today is over.

The cold and clear morning pushes me to the top. I start hoping that the shadowed side of the Piz Terri, where I guess the path should be, is clean, and that I will be able to climb. A black goat is jumping in front of me - the day starts well. I reach the pass and unfortunately the ice is there, grinning at my cramponless boots. I give up the idea of climbing Piz Terri. But a hidden glacier valley slowly unfolds to the sun rays, and I enter the enchanted land looking for another way to descend. 3 long-horned goats block my way, my morning black goat shows up and introduces me - now I have the approval to go on with my exploring:) Where the valley closes up leaving open only the torrent way, I go back to the path. I cross the rivlet on the autumn side and am awed by the walls on which the water stumbles through ice cascades. I put my mind to opening a path to some unclimbed peak that lies on a crest resembling a linear function. About a quarter of an hour before reaching the summit, I have to admit two inaccuracies:
1. it's a parabolic function
2. someone has been here before, and, unless there are some architecture-talented black goats around, the pile of rocks marking the peak was built by humans.
The crest is sharp and very steep, which increases my joy of reaching the summit and much more, my hunger. The peak leans over a deep, clear eye, that, just like me, gazes at the inaccessible peaks and at the sky. It's a trio I cannot go away from: the lake, the dalmatian rocks and the sky. Moreover, during the photo session I'm so close to the edge that I might dive into the pool:)

Today is a splendid day, I go down facing the high mountains, the even higher mountains, that is :), in complete silence, as even the wind is having a siesta. I am the only inhabitant of the hut, I find out that it's perfectly possible to eat using only half of your mouth, and even chocolate - today is indeed a splendid day:)
The wind restarts its blowing and blows in some clouds and 3 tourists with a dog. We meet quickly and shortly in the morning for a greeting. I descend following a wild valley that flows into the lake through a canion which I pass over a suspended path. It's really very beautiful. I part from this area, a bit more toothless, truely, but happy, with a "See you soon!".

Razbunarea ciocolatei - Val Blenio

Val Blenio: 01-04/11/2007
Photo gallery

Vreme noroasa.
Hai sa incercam alt site.
Vreme noroasa.
Sunt totusi 4 zile, cu nori ori fara nori, eu ma duc. Si m-am dus pana-n Ghirone, unde las in vale norii adunati buluc probabil fix peste statia meteo din Campo Blenio si pornesc cu soarele in sus spre cabana Scaletta. Urcarea e pe langa drum, trec si printr-un catun cocotat pe-un deal, pe langa un nene ce taie lemne pentru iarna, printre case de lemn dintre care imi ranjeste un Ferrari:)

Pe la 2000m drumul se da batut si intru pe cararea ce taie caldarea si se avanta spre cabana unde nu dau de covorul rosu, ci de unul galben-carunt ce ma intampina cu un "Bine ati venit intre toamna si iarna". Paraul e pe granita dintre cele 2 anotimpuri si azi aleg sa merg pe partea dreapta, partea toamnei, incercand sa dibuiesc care ar fi Piz Valdraus. Partea cu dibuitul nu prea functioneaza caci am surpriza (cu gust amar-dulceag) sa constat ca traseul spre varf nu e marcat, si de altfel nici nu exista. Cu ocazia asta aflu si ca majoritatea urcarilor spre varfurile din zona Blenio nu sunt marcate iar cararile sunt in cea mai mare parte folosite de caprele negre. 3 elvetieni italieni foarte prietenosi dotati cu o harta si bunavointa ma lamuresc cam cum sta treaba cu varfurile: "pai e unul dintre alea, vezi pe care poti sa urci":) Ma bucur de-o brambureala pe un traseu in premiera pe care sigur nu-l voi mai nimeri a 2-a oara, spre un varf care n-am idee care e si putin imi pasa, tot ce conteaza e ca se vede superb. Coborarea un pic in viteza caci se pare soarele se grabeste la culcare, e tot asa de interesanta si unica, printre doline si caldari, evitand stancile si petele de zapada. In fine, aproape ajung in pas cand un petec de iarba batran, dar neintelept, tine sa faca o ultima poanta toamna asta si-mi pregateste un impact dorsal cu solul, asta ca anti-luat nasul la purtare. Un apus de soare vanturos peste o vale cu vreme noroasa imi alina durerile posterioare, si intru in casuta primitoare pentru vreo 14 ore de hibernare solitara.

Neobosit vantul asta: seara, dimineata, bate-ntr-una. Mananc la fereala dupa zidurile cabanei (supravegheata video!) si ma bucur ca si azi se anunta o zi noroasa in vale si senina in deal. Ziua incepe foarte prost, cu declaratie de antipatie reciproca si declansarea razboiului pe fata intre ciocolata elvetiana si persoana mea. Victima sunt eu, care pierd un dinte in batalia cu ciocolata inghetata. E clar, azi nu e ziua mea norocoasa. Ma retrag de pe campul de batalie stirba, dar cu vointa inca intreaga: "Tot te mananc eu!" (in special pt ca altceva nici nu prea am de mancare la mine...) Incerc sa-mi ridic moralul dentar gandindu-ma ca cel putin am si eu ceva in comun cu Gioconda (despre care se spune ca zambea si nu radea deoarece era un pic cam stirba).

Pornesc spre cabana Monterrascio, un traseu de vreo 2.5 ore. Poteca merge pe partea stanga a vaii, partea cu iarna, si la nici jumatate de ora de mers e blocata de gheata. E clar, azi nu e ziua mea norocoasa. Cobor si continui pe firul vaii cautand o alternativa de a urca din nou pe partea iernii dupa portiunea cu gheata. 2 tentative esuate imi consuma energia si-mi cresc adrenalina la nivel de suprasaturatie. E tare nasol caci peretele are gheata, zapada si bolovani instabili si se mai si incapataneaza sa stea la 80grade. Totusi canionul e frumos, asta pana reusesc sa sparg gheata si sa ma spal pe glezne. E clar, azi nu e ziua mea norocoasa. Hotarasc sa mai incerc odata pe un valcel. Pe la mijlocul lui constat ca nu e una din ideile mele cele mai bune (sper). In fine aceasta ultima tentativa se termina cu o catarare pe stanca friabila care ma scoate pe partea de iarna a vaii. Satisfactia victoriei nu tine mult, doar vreo 5 minute cat imi ia sa regasesc poteca ce coboara, ghici unde, tocmai la iesirea din canion unde se intalneste cu poteca ce venea pe partea de toamna a vaii. Tot acolo ma intalnesc si eu cu 2 turisti la varsta a doua ce au plecat in urma mea la vreo ora jumatate si au venit relax pe poteca de toamna. Dar eu am venit pe drumul meu (plina de premiere excursia asta), si intotdeauna sa mergi pe drumul tau iti aduce o bogatie de experiente noi si inedite. Privesc la bogatia de apa ce mi se scurge din pantaloni in bocancii de vara. Cei 2 ma privesc cu un zambet compatimitor. Privesc cerul impecabil de albastru. Si port in buzunarul de la piept un dinte. E clar, azi nu e ziua mea norocoasa.
Ajung repede la cabana Monterascio, unde dau de un grup de 14. Elvetieni. Din partea germana. Cabana are 2 camere de iarna foarte frumos amenajate, plus o bucatarie mare in care stau vreo juma de ceas timp in care grupul elvetienilor tine mortis sa-mi arate si explice in diverse limbi europene de cateva ori unde sa ma inscriu in registru si unde sa pun banii pentru cazare. E clar, azi...

Ma pironesc pe un picior de plai cu vedere la lac si cu mult soare, si intepenesc acolo de frica altor experiente. La apus de soare trec rapid in culcus - uf, ce bine ca s-a terminat ziua de azi.

Dimineata friguroasa si senina ma indeamna spre varf. Pornesc cu speranta (slaba ce-i drept) ca partea umbrita a varfului Piz Terri pe unde banuiesc ca e poteca, e curata si ca voi putea urca. O caprita neagra se zbenguie prin fata mea - ziua incepe bine. Ajung in pas si din pacate gheata e prezenta si face imposibila ascensiunea (respectiv coborarea in viata:)) fara coltari. Dar o caldare ascunsa se dezvaluie incet in bataia soarelui, si intru pe taramul fermecat cautand o alta coborare. 3 cabotini imi taie calea, caprita mea matinala apare in fuga si face prezentarile - am ok-ul sa-mi continui explorarea:) Unde caldarea se inchide lasand deschisa doar palnia fostului torent pe unde cararea coboara abrupt, revin si eu in poteca. Traversez paraul admirand peretii pe care apa se scurge in hopuri pe langa cascade de gheata in formare. Trec pe partea toamnei si-mi caut calea printre vizuini de marmote. Sper ca n-or sa viseze urat din cauza tropaitului meu:) Imi pun in cap sa fac o premiera pe ceva varf pe o creasta ce seamana cu graficul unei functii lineare. Cu vreun sfert de ora inainte de varf imi recunosc 2 greseli:
1. ca e vorba de o functie parabolica
2. ca sigur premiera a fost facuta mult inaintea mea de ceva capre negre si, daca nu erau cumva inzestrate cu talent de constructori de momai, si de ceva oameni, dovada momaia de pe varf.
Creasta e ascutita si foarte inclinata, fapt ce-mi sporeste bucuria de a ajunge pe varf si mai ales foamea. Varful strajuieste un ochi de apa adanc si senin ce, la fel ca si mine, isi atinteste privirea la varfurile inaccesibile si la cer. E un trio de care nu ma mai pot dezlipi: lacul, stancile dalmatiene si cerul. Ba chiar la sedinta foto ma apropii de buza stancii mai sa sar in piscina:)

Azi e o zi splendida, cobor cu fata la muntii cei mari, adica la muntii si mai mari:), intr-o liniste deplina, caci pana si vantul isi face siesta. La cabana am ramas singura ocupanta, descopar ca se poate manca destul de bine si pe o singura parte, chiar si ciocolata - azi e intr-adevar o zi splendida:)
Vantul reincepe sa bata pe seara si aduce ceva nori si 3 turisti cu un caine. Ne intalnim scurt dimineata cat sa ne dam binete. Cobor pe o vale salbatica ce se varsa in lac printr-un canion pe care il strabat pe-o brana. E tare frumos. De zona asta ma despart, ceva mai stirba, ce-i drept, dar fericita, cu "Pe curand!".