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Pontebernardo – Chialvetta

Tipologia percorso



Anello delle Valli Stura Maira e Varaita

Dislivello in salita

1.300 m

Dislivello in discesa

1.120 m

Tempo complessivo

6.45 hours

In senso inverso

5.45 hourse

Pontebernardo 1322 m – Servagno 1736 m – Passo di Rocca Brancia 2620 m – Passo della Gardetta 2437 m – Prato Ciorliero 1950 m – Chialvetta 1494 m

Even though the Pontebernardo-Chialvetta section, that constitutes the passage from Valle Stura to Valle Maira, is very long and with an important altitude gap, it is quite comfortable due to moderate slopes, and very pleasant because of the variety, the beauty and the interest of the places that it crosses.

Starting (early in the morning!) from Pontebernardo, travel along the Colle della Maddalena state road towards the mountain for about 3 km, passing the harsh Barricate narrows, a natural closing gate between the Upper and Middle Stura Valleys. A tunnel replaces the narrow and tortuous path that runs along the bottom of the gorge between overhanging walls that lay bare, with the twisted stratifications of the limestone rock, the geological torment of these lands. On the left (orographic) wall of the narrows, some difficult mountaineering routes develop and you can observe the picturesque waterfall which freezes in winter and has been climbed again, in its almost vertical ice path.

After passing the narrows and the next two hairpin bends, you leave the road and take a track on the right which, after a quarter of an hour of moderate climb in the opposite direction to that of the valley, leads to Serre at 1496 m; 1.00 hour (two large renovated houses between which a fountain gushes). From here begins a path that winds through sparse woods and thorny bushes up the slope above Serre, arriving in 0.40 hours at the ancient village of Servagno 1736 m, completely destroyed, which raises its ruins on a hill with a beautiful view of the towns of Prinardo and Bersezio and on the wooded slopes of Monte Le Lose crossed by the ski lifts and ski slopes of the winter resort of Bersezio. In past times this was an important center for the large pastures of the upper valley and as the starting point of the mule track that connects the Upper Stura Valley and the Middle Maira Valley through the Colle di Servagno and the Colle del Preit.

From the ruins of Servagno the path continues halfway up the orographic right of the Servagno valley, high above the river of the same name which foams at the bottom of gorges and landslides. Continuing towards the head of the valley, on gentler and more open slopes, you reach a gias 1945 m, 0.35 hours from the right comes the path that crosses the Montagnetta and descends to Pietraporzio. Continuing in the valley on the left at an altitude of 2100 metres, the path forks; ignore the right branch that continues towards Colle di Servagno, and continue the climb northwards, taking the wide Fonda dell’Oserot, flanked on the orographic right side by the rocky reliefs of the peak of the same name.

From here our path runs along the entire wide Fonda dell’Oserot, winding between bumps, basins and small valleys, with a gentle but continuous slope. It passes alongside a gias and at an altitude of 2320 m reaches the Oserot lake, which has a crescent shape, with two inlets towards the valley, 2328 m; 1.15 hours: leaves it on the right a little lower, touches another lake fed by a spring and continues towards Colle di Rocca Brancia, which closes the valley at the bottom and is preceded by a fort. Going up you notice, on the high rocks on the right (north-east side of the Fonda), another barracks under the Bernoir Pass; on the left (west side of the Fonda) the rocky peaks of the Oserot node follow one another and on the bottom, west of the Rocca Brancia pass, the ruined walls of the fortress of the same name loom.

At the end of the Fonda dell’Oserot you reach the military road of Bassa di Terra Rossa which forks here: the left branch reaches, with some hairpin bends, Colle dell’Oserot; the one on the right, with a short route towards the east, reaches the Passo di Rocca Brancia 2620 m; 1.00 hour. In the distance the high pyramid of Monviso appears. The road, often interrupted by landslides, continues slightly downhill, with a very large semicircle, towards the Passo della Gardetta 2437 m, 0.40 hours, surrounding the Fonda di Rocca Brancia (you can also descend with a path into the Fonda, to go back up to the Passo della Gardetta, near a small barracks with a difference in altitude of about thirty metres).

From the Gardetta Pass, a very important pass leading towards the Maira Valley, you can enjoy a splendid panorama: immediately to the left (northeast) the mass of Monte Cassorso looms; below, towards the east, the large Gardetta plateau, with the remains of military shelters and the military road which with a long and winding route, always at high altitude, reaches the distant pastures of Bandia and Colle di Valcavera, at the head of the Vallone dell ‘Arma, which descends to Demonte. The road continues from Colle di Valcavera towards the Mulo node and Colle di Esischie, from which you descend to the Sanctuary of San Magno in Valle Grana, and to Canosio in Valle Maira. The pastures of the Gardetta continue in the Bassa di Margherina plateau, at the foot of the bold rock face of the Rocca La Meja which, from the Gardetta Pass, appears like a high peak almost isolated from the grassy terrain of the Margherina. To the left of Rocca La Meja, again for those looking from Gardetta, you can guess the beginning of the valley that descends to Preit and Canosio, also crossed by a military road. The horizon is very broad, extending from the distant Cime Tempesta and Tibert, on the far left, to the massive pyramid of Rocca La Bianca, Monte Omo, Cima Bodoira, closing on the right on the rocky ridge that separates Fonda dell’Oserot from those of Gardetta and Roccaw Brancia.

From the Gardetta pass the mule track descends towards the north west onto Prato Ciorliero 1950 m, in the upper Unerzio Valley; 0.50 hours Leaving the pass, after a short stretch of chalky terrain you cross a line of forts with remnants of fences and in a few minutes you reach an area of springs, from which the pastures begin which slope towards Prato Ciorliero. (You can follow the mule track on the right orographic side of the valley or go through the pastures in the center of the valley).

From here you can see, in front, the high wall of Oronaye and the pinnacles of Monte Freid; on the left the mountain and the Scaletta hill, which overlook (on the opposite side of Valle Stura) the Roburent lakes. Colle della Scaletta is reached by a mule track, the lower part of which can be clearly seen above Prato Ciorliero, with a barracks halfway up the hill below Colle dell’Escalon. On one side of the beautiful flat pasture of Prato Ciorliero there is an old barracks now used as a livestock shelter in the summer and there are the ruins of the ancient Grangia Resplendino. A pylon marks the passage towards the wide valley and the beginning of the military track. Continuing the descent between a few larches, after a few minutes you cross the stream, reaching the point (1829 m altitude) where the mule track branches off leading to the Scaletta and Oserot hills. On the right as you descend you can see a fort on the last slopes of Mount Lamburny, with loopholes on two floors. At 0.20 hours from Prato Ciorliero the mule track branches off from the road towards Mount Oronaye and Colle di Enchiausa. At the crossroads there is a cross and a plaque, at this point it is best to leave the cart track to go down towards the village of Viviere 1716 m, along the old mule track. After Viviere (picturesque group of houses leaning against each other on a small hill) in a few minutes you reach the village of Pratorotondo 1689 m, which you cross between two rows of houses (characteristic is the chapel dedicated to Saints Defendente and Giovanni Battista, the small triangular square with fountain and an isolated nineteenth-century bell tower). Upon leaving the town you must not go back up towards the road, but follow along the valley floor, along the left (orographic) bank of the stream, the mule track that leads to Chialvetta 1494 m; 0.25 hours and at the stopover Osteria della Gardetta