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Mia Valgranda

Among the mists of the Gastaldi alpine refuge

2021-08-27 10:45

Massimo Strumia

Le altre valli di Lanzo, alps, wildlife, wildlifephotography, vallidilanzo, miavalgranda, mountains, ibex, canon italia, canon r6, www.miavalgranda.com, Canon RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM, Pian della Mussa, Rifugio Gastaldi, Val d'Ala, fog,

Among the mists of the Gastaldi alpine refuge

With this post I inaugurate a new section of my blog dedicated to the ' other 'Valleys of Lanzo. This website is mainly dedicated to the Val Grande di Lanzo

With this post I inaugurate a new section of my blog dedicated to the 'other ' Valleys of Lanzo. This website is mainly dedicated to the Val Grande of Lanzo but, as many of you know, the area of Valli di Lanzo also includes Val of Viù and Val of Ala.

This short article is dedicated to the latter and precisely to the excursion to the Gastaldi refuge.

In this occasion I'm with Giulia and a couple of longtime friends: Maurizio Rossetti and Annalisa Limongelli. We drive to Pian della Mussa, the head of the Val of Ala, located at 1,800 meters above sea level. It is a spectacular place that has little to envy at the heads of other more touristy alpine valleys.

Unfortunately the weather does not promise anything good but we decide to begin trekking anyway, hoping that the situation will evolve better. The excursion has a difference in height of about 800 meters and is characterized by a fairly steep first part, a central section with gentler slopes and a final, again challenging ascent that also features some very short segments of aided path.

Difficulties presented by the path are also highlighted by the different nature of our dialogues. During the first stroke there are phrases like 'I didn't remember it so tiring ... beep! ', 'I just have to be able to break my breath and then I'll go up like a God... ', etc. ...

In the intermediate section, the chat is more serene and generally related to food/gastronomy. While Giulia and Annalisa talk about breakfasts based on oats and cereals and the advantages derived from this type of diet, Maurizio and I are already projected to the polenta concia, perhaps unhealthy but certainly satisfying, that awaits us at the alpine refuge.

The last section, steep and among the rocks, suggests to everyone a decorous silence, aimed at saving the forces that are thinning with the progress of the expedition.

Once we arrive at the Gastaldi alpine refuge, the weather shows no signs of improving and the fog continues to dominate . Occasionally there are timid spells but then a blanket of fog covers again peaks and surrounding prairies.


Even the fog has its charm and, having spotted some ibexes, I take the opportunity to take some photographs that I like very much. When the fog increases, the silhouettes of the ibex become ethereal and almost ghostly. The atmosphere becomes suggestive and I feel small in front of the beauty of the mountains and of nature in general.


Very soon these noble feelings, which in my case are always very fleeting, give way to a robust appetite, reinforced by the bitter cold.

It's finally time for polenta! In addition to the traditional concia, we also order the almost unknown polenta of the rock climber: polenta, eggs and bacon ... a real calorie bomb that quickly dissipates the last residues of cold.

Suddenly a large male ibex appears on a rock. These animals seem to have a taste for solemn and theatrical poses that always amazes me. Without leaving my position, I abandon my fork for a moment in favor of the camera. A few quick shots and I start again to devote myself to polenta.

Who said that a wildlife photographer always has to make sacrifices to bring home some good images?

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