Ascent of Monte Togano on 2017-07-15

Climber: Denise Mclellan

Others in Party:Richard Mclellan -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Saturday, July 15, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Start at Home
Peak:Monte Togano
    Elevation:7543 ft / 2299 m

Ascent Trip Report

We planned a traverse of the Togano ridge. We camped next to a large park/ cross country skiing area c2km the SW of Santa Maria de Maggiore, and NE of the summit. The details are: Campeggio La Pineta, via Pittor Belcastro 13, 28857 Santa Maria Maggiore ( VB) Val Vigezzo, Italy +39 94123 c E20 per night (tent).

We start from the campsite at 06:55 at c 800m at a fingerpost at the end of the access road/ next to a huge carpark, with a wooden semicircular bridge over the road to the east, by a horse jumping area. It is signposted Pizzo Ragno and A cima and follows the east bank of the the River Barchasio in a generally southerly direction. The path zig zags up through shady pines at a very nice angle, edged by cut, flat- topped stones which are exceptionally pleasant to walk on. There are occasional noticeboards as this is a 'Sentiero Natura'.At 08:25 we reach the ridge (Costa di Fracchia) with a finger post saying A Cima 1506m ( though our GPS sasys we were slightly lower), plus a water trough, picnic table, shrine and information board.There were some large stone barns nearby. The finger post says right (SW) to Pizzo Ragno 3h 45 M08. We traverse gently upwards through beech and larch on a narrow, good path to reach a stone shelter/ shrine at 1694m labeled Capella di Larecchio, at 09:10. It is at the treeline.The fingerpost says Ragno 3h and we follow the obvious path around the side of the ridge, past a small spring, then heading down across pasture under a private hut to a finger post saying Loc Fontaine 1620m ( 09:35). Below is a grassy bowl in which the refugio Al Cedo is located. We do not like losing height and realise the map says we should have ascended the ridge- but no path through the trees was evident. So we traverse upwards and north to the obvious ridge on pathless, flower- filled grass via a nettle- defended building with picnic table and finger post saying La Porcella 1503m ( ? misplaced sign; GPS said lower).We reach a col between teeth- like outcropping slabs at 10:10 and feel we are back on the route. We then follow a faint path SW along the Costa Scarrone ridgeline ( with superb views) to reach a subsidiary grassy summit at 11:10. The cross of Pizzo Ragno could be seen towering steeply above and beyond a deep-looking col.The ridge turns more west here but a faint traversing path ( possible return route) went SW across the grassy sides. We descend to the col a short distance and then ascend steeply with some easy scrambling, with multiple route options, to the summit of Pizzo Ragno 2289m. (At one point it was easier to traverse round a pinnacle to the North, which might not be obvious in fog). At the Summit (11:50) is a large metal cross with summit book and the HP is a flattened rocky area nearby. It is breezy and sunny with clear views of peaks around, including Monte Leone and Monte Rosa. The ridge onward was enticing. Other walkers join us having ascended more directly from the valley to the north via Campra, 1379m.

We depart at 12:10 following a reasonable contouring path SW to the E of the ridge to gain the pass to the south of Pizzo Nona, Sasso Bianco 2174m ( 12:50). The pass was notable for its very white band of crystalline rock cutting across the main rock strata. The ridge traverse looked doable but slower. We leave our sacks and ascend the grassy ridge to Pizzo Nona, 2271m at 13:00 with tiny stone cairn and good views of the whole ridge.The Togano section looked steep but possible although the other walkers we met had frowned when it was mentioned.

We return to the pass (Sasso Bianco) at the SE end of the Pizzo Nona ridge where the fingerposts directed one on a circuitous route to Passo Biordo 2061m, which is at the East side of Mt Togano. We cut steeply down on grass NW to it, reaching it at 13:45 ( finger post says Togano is 1h 10- encouraging). There we meet an Italian who said the Togano ascent was fine from here but said the path from Passo Bassograna down and our planned traversing route via Campra to Sasseglio in the valley would be very slow.

Commencing 13:55, we ascended- finally- the Togano ridge in a westerly direction. Despite its imposing look, it was fine. We walked close to the rock and grass ridgeline for most of the way , diverting where appropriate around a few awkward slabs. My pole was useful on some steep grass sections. It was less steep higher up. Some sections had a faint path or faded red and white paint but this is not a well- used route compared to the surrounding area. At 14:45 we reach the obvious subsidiary summit with comms array on a small flat grassy area. The Costa Ragozzo path NW was not obvious. We continue in a more SW direction along the much leveller ridge over a series of grassy knolls to reach the Monte Togano summit at 15:00. There were great views and an onward path but it was swarming with flies and sheep droppings. The area was flattish with grass and rock and a small cairn.

As time was moving on we decided to follow the Italian's advice and take the most commonly used route down to the valley ie back to Passo Biordo.Departing after lunch at 15:45, we returned across the Togano ridge, bypassing the subsidiary summit and reaching Passo Biordo at 16:50. From here we descend NW, signed Dalvolo and A Formale. The path is steep, narrow, well paint- marked but sometimes obscured by long grass.At 17:25 we reach a cluster of ruined stone buildings with water trough ( Al Formale 1692m). We follow red and white paint directly downhill through the buildings then traversed around the west side of the valley, finally entering shade at the junction (17:50) with the track traversing east to Campra, another cluster of stone buildings. ( The path looked OK.) We go straight on ( north) signed Dalvolo 1 H 25. We continue traversing to reach A Miucca 1498 m at 18:15 ( junction; more stone buildings; watertrough) . We then descend steeply through shady beech forest with lots of red paint marks to reach a stone- edged path at El Bogo, 1045m at 18:55. This was followed by a steep zigzagging concrete track ( with high clearance vehicles parked) between stone farm buildings and water troughs ( Dalvolo) which suddenly reaches Coimo train station at 19:15. Unfortunately, we had missed the last train back to S Maria Maggiore but with a little planning this would have been very convenient. We follow the zig zagging road down to the T Melezzo river, cross this on a roadbridge and then ascend to the SS 337 road, south of the village of Coimo. Here there was a busstop for the 39 and 301 buses, which,again, with a little planning would have been a very convenient way back to S Maria Maggiore. So we walk back east along the road- cars a little close for comfort on a few bends, but from Sasseglio we could use side roads to the south which took us directly back to the campsite at 20:50, in time for a cool beer! An excellent day. Total distance walked 17.4 miles.

NB There are various railway stations along Centovalli that could be used to facilitate a traverse, eg from Passobagrano,2070m to the west of Togano, then North via Sassoledo and I Fronto to Marone station.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5574 ft / 1697 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5574 ft / 1697 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5246 ft / 1598 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4918 ft / 1499 m; Extra: 328 ft / 99m
    Loss on way in:328 ft / 99 m
    Route:Capella di Lareccio, Pizzo Ragno, Passo Biordo
    Start Trailhead:Caming Pineta S Maria di Maggiore  2625 ft / 800 m
    Time:8 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:5246 ft / 1598 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4918 ft / 1499 m; Extra: 328 ft / 99m
    Gain on way out:328 ft / 99 m
    Route:Passo Biordo, A Miocca, Dalvolo
    End Trailhead:Dalvolo ( Coimo station)  2625 ft / 800 m
    Time:5 Hours 0 Minutes

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