The Maritime Alps traverse is a Haute Route of great level, a true travel in which the only means of transport are our beloved skis. To point out are the large variety of landscapes and the technical aspects of the itinerary, with successive hills, remarkable peaks and simply great slopes… And then panoramas, spreading out from a glimpse at the starting point on the nearby Monviso to the breathtaking panorama of the Ligurian Sea, which appears so close during the last way that you feel like diving in…It’s a tour designed for all mountain-loneliness lovers because that loneliness is indeed the greatest treat of the whole ski mountaineering experience.
As you can notice from the program, the travel develops on a north-south axis: it starts from the Maddalena pass to reach the Tenda pass and this is for many reasons, one of them is that the slopes are all south-facing, therefore we benefit from a perfect seasonal snow to ski, while ascents are always in the shade. Moreover, there is a logistical aspect to take into account, since it makes it easier to reach mountain huts and hotels, almost all of them managed, therefore avoiding the weight of food in the backpack…
All the people that know the Maritime Alps for the few or many ski mountaineering excursions they have done there will definitely confirm what we have just stated… Whereas it’s a must for all those who don’t know them yet to dream a travel through this untouched and wild alpine region.
The Maritime Alps traverse requires a good training level and is recommended to skiers with a notable experience on all types of back-country skiing: indeed, in one week it covers almost 11.000 m of difference in altitude on various ground types; sometimes even crampons are necessary.
1st day: The adventure starts from the Maddalena pass and carries on to the Vantasusa peak, we ski till the bottom end of the Puriac valley and earn the pass known with the same name. The following short slope ends up in the Ferriere village. We stay at heights and after a brief traverse we climb to the Stau pass. We descend on the opposite side and finally reach Pietraporzio thanks to the cross-country skiing trail. We stay overnight in a hostel and have dinner at the “Oste Doc”, by Giovanni, who by now represents the perfect stop-over of this traverse.
2nd day: We climb to the Costabella del Piz, a classic excursion. The following steep slope, called Valun Vert, that reaches the plain area near the Migliorero hut is absolutely thrilling! From there we reach Bagni di Vinadio where we stay overnight.
3rd day: The next step after Bagni di Vinadio is Borgata di Caglieri; from there we climb the long deep valley behind us to reach Cima Tesina, followed by a short but relaxing slope to the Sant’Anna di Vinadio shrine. We take a brief rest and then move on to the next destination: Colle della Lombarda and Isola 2000, where we spend the night.
4th day: This day is relatively short and soothing since we have to face only 900 m of difference in altitude. Despite this, it’s one of the most spectacular stages, especially because it includes the steep Malinvern peak. The slope that awaits us afterwards is another of the treats we get during this ski mountaineering tour and it leads to the Valasco hut, where we spend the night, going through the Vallescura lakes. We reach the hut early in the day and then we enjoy a relaxing afternoon admiring the surrounding landscape!
5th day: We face now a long, varied and complex traverse that leads us right away to the Valasco pass; then we cross the Fremamorta lakes with a panoramic stop on the Guiglia peak, close to the Guiglia bivouac. The following descent is really great and stretches out from the slope of Fremamorta peak to the Pian della Casa. After a fully deserved lunch break we patiently climb the famous Ghigliè rill to reach the Mercantour pass and the Ghigliè pass. We finally cross it and then we keep skiing along a mixed and spectacular ground till the Cougourde hut, at the hedges of a wonderful larch wood…
6th day: The day begins with the Pas des Ladres hill, followed by the ample Gelas southern side and the Madone de Fenestre. We then face the rise to Mont Colomb pass, which enables us to enter the area dominated by the Maledia and Clapier peaks. We enjoy the last and definitely unique slope that leads to the Nece hut, where we stay overnight.
7th day: The last day is still very intense, we are indeed at the heart of one of the most secret Maritime Alps corners. Here the snowfall is always abundant and it smooths out the sharp mountains in round shapes that encourage skiers to climb them. So the ascent to the La Fous pass and the neighboring Viglino peak goes by quickly even after a whole week spent skiing. The following seawards slope to the Valmasque pine groves is simply unique, since it makes you feel as if you could dive headfirst into the sea with the skis on the feet. Still a last effort to earn the Bassa di Peirefique and finally we get to the Giaura fort, along the borderline between France and Italy. After a short while we reach the Tenda pass and it’s time to lose ourselves in the last slopes: Limone Piemonte is now a stone’s throw away!
LEVEL medium/difficult ski mountaineering by technical level, itinerary length and altitude
PERIOD from January to April depending from the mountain conditions
What do I need?
ARTVA, shovel, probe. Alpine skis (it’s possibile to hire them in an affiliated shop), climbing skins, ski boots, crampons, ice axe, ski poles, high altitudes suitable ski clothing (gore tex ski jacket and pants, gloves, helmet or ski cap, ski mask and sun glasses, winter coat and first layer). Sunscreen. Sandwiches, snacks and beverages.
What is included:
– Seven days with Global Mountain Alpine Guide.
What in not included:
– Rental of skimountaineering equipment
– Transfer, lifts and any overnight stays (the overnight stay of the guide is to be understood by the participants)