Tour of Monte Rosa day 6

07/09/2015 
This is part of a series of blog posts live from the Tour of Monte Rosa, a 100-mile backpacking route in the Alps.

The Tour of Monte Rosa trail blog series
Day 1: Zermatt to Täschalp
Day 2: Europaweg stage 1
Day 3: Europaweg stage 2 and the Grächenwald
Day 4: the Balfrin Höhenweg
Day 5: the Monte Moro pass and the Vallee Quarazza
Day 6: Colle del Turlo and Alagna Valsesia
Day 7: the Alencoll and a night above 3,000m
Day 8: the ascent of Testa Grigia
Day 9: the Theodul Glacier and return to Zermatt

Location: 2,150m on the eastern side of the Alencoll pass, trail mile 61.

Mileage: 8

It’s been another tough day with a lot of up and down – 1,800m up and 1,600m down, to be exact! The Colle del Turlo turned out to be quite a tedious pass. Forbes also made this observation when he crossed it in 1842. It appears to be an old Roman highway, expertly constructed from slabs of stone, and climbs up to the col and then down the other side in hundreds and hundreds of switchbacks.

The descent into the Val Sesia was particularly long, but a stop for food and beer at the Rifugio Pastore certainly kept me going. I’d had the idea of avoiding the descent all the way to Alagna by cutting through the forest, but I couldn’t find the path marked on the map so ended up descendng to Alagna after all. I’ve noticed that the Italian maps are far less accurate than the Swiss maps – many paths are wrongly depicted or simply not shown.


Alagna Valsesia lies at about 1,100m, which is the lowest point on the entire Tour of Monte Rosa – inconveniently low, as the next pass, the Alencoll, is at almost 2,900m. After picking up a few items of food at Alagna I began this incredibly long and gruelling ascent, at first following a very steep road through deciduous woodland, later following empty ski pistes. This cirque has been extensively developed and virtually all traces of wildness have been overwhelmed by the ski developments, even at well over 2,000m.


I eventually found somewhere flat to camp at around 2,150m. I’m really looking forward to getting above all the man-made structures tomorrow and back into the high alpine zone.

This is quite a tough section of trail. Despite having walked fewer than ten miles today, I’m pretty tired – the fierce gradients and large elevation changes all take their toll. Tomorrow could be an even tougher day as I have to climb the Allencoll, descend to Gressoney, then climb the Pentecoll. I’m really looking forward to the chance to climb Testa Grigia, the mountain north of the pass.

The Tour of Monte Rosa trail blog series
Day 1: Zermatt to Täschalp
Day 2: Europaweg stage 1
Day 3: Europaweg stage 2 and the Grächenwald
Day 4: the Balfrin Höhenweg
Day 5: the Monte Moro pass and the Vallee Quarazza
Day 6: Colle del Turlo and Alagna Valsesia
Day 7: the Alencoll and a night above 3,000m
Day 8: the ascent of Testa Grigia
Day 9: the Theodul Glacier and return to Zermatt

%d bloggers like this: