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One day trek Pinter – Perrin

Posted: Jan 29, 2014
Categories: Champoluc, Stories
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One of the most beautiful hikes in Monterosa is the round tour starting in Champoluc and going to the Pinter lakes, further to the lake Perrin and back to Champoluc through the valley of Mascognaz.

It is an easy but long hike, with a first hour of uphill, a traverse of about two hours and a two hours downhill at least. We recommend you to spend the whole day enjoying all the different natural highlights of this tour. Take some food and drinks with you along the way and put off some time at the lakes. It is even possible to fish, but you need a special permit (ask the Tourist Office of Champoluc).

We have also done this in two days, camping at the lake Perrin. Unforgettable the lights of the evening and the silence, only interrupted by a heard of mountain goats climbing on the cliffs above the lake.

Start at the Cable car of Champoluc. Take the first one to Crest and the second cable car to Ostafa.

The trail starts as a small track under the cable car of Sarezza and continues on the side of the mountain mostly not very steep. You will have the big shape of Testa Grigia (3300 m) on your left side and on your right the green valley of Cuneaz with pastures and marmots whistles all around.

In the middle the traverse cuts the side of Testa Grigia at about 2500 m and will become steeper and more exposed with deep falls on the right. Some attention is required.

At the end you are going to reach under the pass of Pinter, which divides the valleys of Champoluc and Gressoney. From here there are two exciting excursions to do: one is to the above mentioned Testa Grigia (difficult and very exposed) and the other to the village of Alpenzu, where it is possible to stay overnight in the Rifugio of this enchanting Walser village.

Proceed on the trail going to the Lakes of Pinter (2600 m), three small lakes, each with its particular character: the first is a pond with beautiful white flowers that we call “piumini” and which are very easy to dry for decoration, the second is a bigger “fishy” lake with the typical blue water coming from the minerals of the region, and the third is filled with frog eggs during spring.

This is a perfect place for a rest.

Continue along the biggest lake on the trail and find the next part of the tour. This is a pretty tuff traverse mostly on rocks and it is only tracked by so called “omini”, stone made small signs that are some time difficult to see among the other stones of this trek. You will cut the mountain on your left side and have the valley of Cuneaz downhill on your right again because you are now in front of the area you just hiked before the lakes.

Small flowers of intense colour are surprising spots on this rocky landscape together with herbs that people use to make the famous liquor called Genepy (most of them are protected). Try the liquor when you are back in Champoluc in the evening.

Do not do this part of the tour in case of bad weather. Thunder is dangerous on the rocks and clouds could fall impeding your sight.

The arrival at the lake Perrin (2600 m) is always welcomed to this point and this beautiful lake lying as in a pot between the surrounding mountain tops is a perfect place for lunch and some rest. It is also very good to camp on the grass fields around the lake (bring warm gears with you for the night, sometimes under 0).

The trail that we have chosen starts where the water pours out the lake in a narrow fall, down to the valley of Mascognaz. There is another trail back to the valley of Cuneaz, to Crest and the cable car. Take this if you are tired or if the weather is unstable.

The descent to Mascognaz is pretty steep in the beginning and ends at an old farmhouse (baita) where the farmers are still working in the same manner as they always did in the past up in Aosta Valley – during summer the herds of cows are slowly climbing to the high pastures, keeping them living and fresh, and they go down again sometime in September to their winter stations.

“Baite” like this one are inhabited only in summertime and people follow the cows and take care of the milk for production of the delicious cheese of this area.The last part of the valley is walked on a street nowadays and runs along the river that has once formed this valley and still does.

Mascognaz is a traditional village from the 1600th century and many of the wooden houses are rebuilt to their ancient rustic beauty. One of the most prestigious hotels of Champoluc lies in Mascognaz and there is also a good restaurant in one of the houses. Mural paintings and a sun clock decorate the main building.

The trail goes between the narrow walls of the village and continues first slowly and later steep through the woods down to Champoluc. On this part of the tour it is very interesting to stop for a look at the many small chapels that people have dedicated to saints and the Virgin as a prey for protection and help in this environment, so beautiful but so severe to survive in the past!

If you still have some energy left you can go and have a close look to the big waterfall at the end of the trail, before you arrive to Champoluc.


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