Journey through the Alps



Airolo (1150m) to Cappana Cadagno CAS (1987m)S17

09 Mar 2016

Stage: S17

Map: Swiss TOPO 1:50,000 266S Valle Leventina

Time: 8.50hrs (dept 06.56  / arrive 15.46)

Distance: 17.1km (ascent 1334m / descent 490m)

Weather: initially overcast becoming clear

Notes: Leave Airolo and head NE along the Val Canaria to reach a footbridge at 1481m. Turn east and climb to a small lake (Laghetto dell’Alpe) at 2010m. There may be an easy way through the trees but we did not find it and this section was quite challenging. Once out of the trees the route to Btta del Camoghè is straightforward, as is the descent past Lago di Tom 2022m and Lago Cadagno 1921m to the hut.

Accommodation: The original hut has been incorporated into a new structure in an imaginative way. However this has made winter access very difficult and a narrow wooden tunnel is put in place during the winter months. This still requires a lot of digging to access. Once inside the hut is excellent with electric lights and cooking facilities.

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Cappana Cadagno CAS (1987m) to Cappana Bovarina UTOE (1870m)S18

10 Mar 2016

Stage: S18

Map: Swiss TOPO 1:50,000 266S Valle Leventina

Time: 7.29hrs (dept 05.08  / arrive 12.36)

Distance: 18.3km (ascent 1082m / descent 1205m)

Weather: clear and sunny

Notes: A pleasant climb eastwards from the hut leads to the Passo del Sole 2376m. Descend NE towards the Lucomagno valley aiming for Alpe Casaccia 1818m. On the east side of the valley there is a good waymarked route (red wooden posts) that is not shown on the swiss maps. It leaves the road at pt 1809m and passes the chalet at Samprou. This provides a safe route up the steep slopes to Passo di Gana Negra 2434m. The descent down the Alpe Bovarina is straightforward. There is no winter accommodation available in the Lucomagno valley as the hotel at Acquacalda is no longer open in winter.

Accommodation: The Bovarina hut is excellent comfortable and modern with electricity and cooking facilities.

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Cappana Bovarina UTOE (1870m) to Cappana Adula UTOE (2393m)S19

11 Mar 2016

Stage: S19

Map: Swiss TOPO 1:50,000 266S Valle Leventina

Time: 10.17hrs (dept 05.59  / arrive 16.16)

Distance: 23.5km (ascent 1300m / descent 744m)

Weather: hot and sunny

Notes: The descent route from the hut to Campo 1215m is obvious. There were no shops open in Campo and the one hotel seems to be closed in winter. Leaving the village the road to the hydro dam was snowbound and easy to ski up. After crossing the dam it is essential to follow the road closely as this gives access to a tunnel entrance at 1673m. The tunnel is several hundred meters long and essential for safe access to the Val di Carassino. Once in the valley it is a long gentle climb to the two Adula huts. The SAC hut is at 2012m and the UTOE hut is at 2393m.

Accommodation: We used the UTOE hut which was excellent with a good wood stove that soon heated the building. Access to the winter door is up an obvious ladder leading to an upper window.

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Cappana Adula UTOE (2393m) to Hinterrhein (1630m)S20

12 Mar 2016

Stage: S20

Maps: Swiss TOPO 1:50,000 266S Valle Leventina & 267S San Bernardino

Time: 8.56hrs (dept 06.09  / arrive 15.05)

Distance: 23.8km (ascent 1028m / descent 1751m)

Weather: hot and sunny

Notes: Leaving the hut it is probably best to follow the waymarked route of the summer ascent path. This heads SE to pt 2520m before turning NE to pt 2642m. A short band of cliffs must then be negotiated on foot giving access to gentler slopes above. The climb to the Adulajoch is not difficult. Skis can be left here and the final 100m climb to the summit done on foot if conditions are icy. On descent it is best to gain the east face as high as possible (above 3200m to avoid a band of cliffs). This involves some slightly steeper skiing for a short section but ultimately saves time. Around 2300m stay on the south side of the river and ignore any tracks leading to the Zapporthutte. Avoid dropping into the river gorge too early and try to stay high on the south slopes. This valley can have significant avalanche danger. Once the valley levels out there is a long hike through the Swiss army firing range to reach the public road.

Accommodation: It is hard to find wintertime accommodation in Hinterhein. We were lucky to get the use of an apartment for one night. A better option might be to follow the Nordic tracks for 3km to Nufenen where there is a hotel.

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Hinterrhein (1630m) to Splugen (1457m)S21

13 Mar 2016

Stage: S21

Map: Swiss TOPO 1:50,000 267S San Bernardino

Time: 2.39hrs (dept 07.04  / arrive 9.43)

Distance: 11.2km (ascent 209m / descent 344m)

Weather: cloudy and overcast

Notes: Clearly marked nordic ski tracks follow the valley floor making this a short and easy stage.

Accommodation: There are several hotels in Splugen. We stayed at the Hotel Piz Tambo.

Supply options: Splugen has a supermarket and several ski shops.

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David Hamilton
High Adventure
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