- To Livio Bianco refuge (1910 m) tel. 0171 97 328, over the Colle Est della Paur (2890 m), climb of 700 m, difficulty EE, 6.30 hrs or over the Colle di Valmiana (2922 m), climb of 800 m, difficulty E, 7.30 hrs.
- To Malinvern - Città di Ceva refuge (1839 m), tel.0171 95 96 05 over the Colletto di Valscura (2520 m), climb of 250 m, difficulty E, 4.00 hrs
- To Le Boréon GTA hostel (1526 m), tel. 0033 493 03 27 27 over the Passo di Préfouns (2620 m) and the colle di Saléses, climb of 400 m, difficulty E, 4.30 hrs.
- To Remondino refuge (2430 m), tel. 0171 97 327, over the Colletto di Valasco (2429 m) and down across Pian della Casa (1743 m) via the Regina Elena refuge(1800 m), tel. 0171 97 559, climb of 850 m, difficulty E, 5.30 hrs.
- To Bozano refuge (2453 m), tel. 0171 97 351, over the Colletto di Valasco (2429 m) and through Gias delle Mosche (1591 m), climb of 1000 m, difficulty E, 6 hrs.
- The circular walk to the Négre and Fremamorta lakes is a spectacular itinerary through the Préfouns valley and pass (2620 m) descent into France to Négre lake (2354 m), climb back up to the colle di Fremamorta (2615 m) past the French Fremamorta lakes, then down into Italy past the Italian Fremamorta lakes and back to the refuge via the colletto di Valasco (2429 m). Climb approx. 900 m, difficulty E, 7.30 hours.
- The circular walk to the Tavels and Valscura lakes is a walk up to the passo delle Portette (2557 m) up a detritus strewn gully then down over scree to the French Tavels lake (2235 m), up to the col Mercière (2342 m) then to the bassa del Druos (2628 m), down into Valscura valley past splendid lakes to close the circuit at the refuge. Climb approx. 600 m, difficulty EE, 5 hrs.
The Alta Via dei Re is a challenging seven-stage route that allows you to
see the whole park of the Maritime Alps. The stages are often on excellent, well signposted paths, yet not lacking
of more challenging stretches, such as the Colle di Brocan and the Passaggio dei Ghiacciai.
An interesting variant of the Alta Via dei Re, which is more spectacular and makes it possible to keep up to date. higher in altitude, plans to leave the official route shortly after the Colle di Valmiana (halfway through the second stage) and then rejoining again at the Colletto del Valasco (third stage), after staying at the Rifugio Questa. The suggested variant in this section follows the route of the Alta Via Alpi Mare (see below description).
The Alta Via Alpi Mare is a long trekking route in 16 stages that starts to
Sant' Anna di Valdieri and reaches Menton after crossing the Alps and four Nature parks.
The first three stages of the trekking constitute a beautiful crossing from Sant' Anna di Valdieri to Terme di Valdieri, with overnight stays at the Livio Bianco Refuge and at the Questa Refuge.
The return to Sant'Anna from Terme can take place by public transport or with the on-demand-shuttle service.
- Testa sud di Bresses (2820 m) via the passo di Prèfouns 3.00 hrs, little more than a walk, it offers a splendid view over the Argentera massif.
- Testa di Tablasses (2851 m) .): via the passo di Prèfouns, 3.00 hrs, easy, last stretch on scree.
- Testa Margiola (2831 m) over the passo Margiola, 3.00 hrs, over rocky scree and an easy ridge.
- Testa delle Portette (2821 m) via the passo delle Portette descent possibile via the passo Margiola, 2.30-3.00 hrs, over rocks and ridge.
- Testa del Claus (2889 m) .): via the bassa della Lausa, 4.00 hrs, mostly on path, last stretch over loose scree (caution).
- Cima di Tavels (2804 m)via the bassa della Lausa, 3.30 hrs, a fun excursion on traces of an old military path.
- Testa Malinvern (2939 m) the Bassa del Druos, 3.30 hrs, very panoramic peak, view over a large part of the Alps and the Dauphiné, about two and a half hours walk over good paths built by the soldiers in the second world war past the ruined barracks and bunkers, then at 2600m the route leads to a grassy gully (easy) with this behind you a rocky terrace leads to the summit.
You are spoilt for choice, this is one of the historic areas for climbing in the Maritime Alps. Some faces
take longer to reach, but they are in the wilder areas where you are less likely to meet other climbers, the climbs are
between half an hour and two and a half hours away. The descent routes are generally straightforward.
We propose some of what is on offer, see the bibliography for the full list of climbs. .
For these climbs you need pitons, nuts and friends as the protection is partial and has to be checked.
- Testa di Tablasses (2855 m), Calcagno Gogna route, 500 m, TD. Follows the NW ridge, to the right of the gully that leads to the south peak. Very pretty route, opened in 1965, no respite on the first two towers, easing off in the upper part. The starting point is at the base of the spur, about 40 mins. walk from the refuge. The descent is easy, over scree on the south face.
- Aiguilles del lago Nègre, east-west crossing, 400 m, D inf From passo di Préfouns to the cima Préfouns, follows the succession of towers and in the final part the east ridge of Préfouns. First done by Livio Bianco, Campia and Ellena in 1948. Following the ridge an extremely satisfying and spectacular route evolves in particularly wild and atmospheric surroundings. The starting point is just above the passo di Préfouns, an hour and twenty minutes from the refuge. The descent from the summit is on the north face into the Margiola valley, either from the pass or along one of the ridges down from the summit. Equipment to belay from the summit to the shoulder below, about 20 metres is useful.
- Cresta Savoia, north south crossing, 250 m, AD. Enjoyable crossing on granitic rock, some loose stone, particularly on the easier stretches. The starting point is half an hour from the refuge. The descent is easy from the last dip in the ridge across rocky ledges or with the aid of a belay. All the dips in the ridge provide points to bail out in case of bad weather. First attempted by Frisoni and Zapparoli Manzoni in 1924.
- Cresta Savoia, punta Maria (2790 m), Guderzo Pettinati route, 250 m, TD. Very good route on the east face following a series of cracks and yellow corners. First climbed in 1954. The base is an hour and a half from the refuge. The descent is via the west face, from the dip in the ridge over easy ledges.
- Cayre di Préfouns (2835 m), central route, 250 m, TD Opened by Cravoisier, Demenge and Dufranc in 1958 on the south face, a splendid route on granite, continuous in the central part. The initial stretch is not difficult and can be skirted round starting directly at the big ledge that cuts across the lower part of the face. It can be reached via the passo Margiola in an hour and a half or directly following a ridge that leads to the scree slope in the valley.
- Cima Giegn (2888 m), gran diedro route, 300 m, D. On the west face, in wild and remote surroundings, a route of particular beauty both for the quality of the rock and the continuity, which makes this one of the most advisable climbs. The only shortcoming is the approach, two hours walk, over the passo Margiola and then the brèche du Giegn. The descent however follows a short series of ledges to the east below the peaks that lead quickly to the brèche. Opened in 1934 by the Vernets and Charignon.
- Testa delle Portette (2823 m), north south crossing, 220 m, D-. Via the bassa della Lausa, 4.00 hrs, mostly on path, last stretch over loose scree (caution).
- Testa del Claus (2889 m), east ridge, 500 m, AD-. First climbed by Sabbadini and Stagno in 1925. The route starts right behind the refuge after a short stretch over large scree. It is not particularly difficult but rewarding for the view and surroundings. Some stretches of third grade in the upper reaches. The descent from the summit is to the north to the Bassa della Lausa and from there on the path.
There are not many partially or wholly equiped routes with bolts and belay chains. The slabs at Valasco are very interesting, with routes of various lengths and difficulties, as are Tablasses and Giegn with a couple of routes graded 6a, 6b, the west face of Claus, routes of 300-400m from grade 6b up, Paolo Cavallo's route on the south-east wall of Claus graded 5+, 6a.
Several cliffs around the refuge with climbs between thirty and fifty metres protected with bolts and chains at the belay stances. There are some fifteen routes from fourth grade, by the lake, to 4+ to 6a,b, the walls at the bottom of Margiola valley and 6a,6b those facing the Préfouns valley. Detailed information available in the refuge.
- Testa di Tablasses (2851 m), north-west gully, climb 600 m difficulty F: wide and satisfying; about an hour from the refuge. Best undertaken early in the season whilst snow is still plentiful.
- Caire di Préfouns (2840 m), north-west gully, climb 200 m, difficulty PD: less interesting than the former; an hour's walk to the base from the refuge .
The layout of the Valle Gesso, with steep slopes, logistic difficulties added to a lack of awareness in the road management make ski mountaineering a possibility only late in the season and for a period that varies from year to year. To reach Valasco vehicles almost always have to stop at Terme di Valdieri because the road is blocked by avalanche or shut by order of the authorities. In winter the road is shut at Tetti Gaina, so these outings are best undertaken in spring. At times it is better to walk up the road to Valasco in light shoes (eg trainers) which is clear of snow to then ski down the other side of the valley when the snow conditions are fit. This said, there are a number of very worthwhile, satisfying tours in a superb environment, starting from Terme di Valdieri. Some are listed here.
- Bresses south peak (2820 m), climb 1642 m, difficulty BS: can be approached via the Fremamorta lakes and colletto di Bresses, descent Tablasses or Préfouns valley.
- Tablasses (2851 m), climb 1483 m, difficulty BS: ascent via the val Morta and passo di Tablasses or the north-west gully which can also be used for the descent, inclination of up to 40 degrees.
- Testa Margiola (2831 m), climb 1463 m, difficulty BS: up the valley that leads from Questa refuge to the passo di Margiola and then along the ridge.
- Testa Malinvern (2939 m), climb 1571 m, difficulty BSA: as with the tour above, this excursion can be done over two days with an overnight at the refuge.
The refuge serves as a logistic point for the Maritime Alps crossing or for the Argentera circuit, there are several variations to this tour, we can offer advice according to needs and the seasonal conditionsI.
- A. Parodi, R. Pockaj, A. Costa, Sentieri e meraviglie delle Alpi Marittime, Parodi Editore, Cogoleto, 2010.
- AA.VV., La guida del Parco Alpi Marittime, Blu Edizioni, Peveragno 2000.
- E. Montagna, L. Montaldo, F. Salesi, Alpi Marittime, Volume II, CAI-TCI, Milano 1990.
- A. Gogna, La Valle Gesso, Tamari Editori, Bologna 1975.
- A. Gogna, G.Pastine, Zona del Préfouns, Alpi Marittime, Tamari Editori, Bologna 1974.
- Michel Dufranc, Massif de l’Argentera, CAF Alpes-Maritimes, Nice 1970.
- Fraternali editore, carta 1:25.000, n.15 Valle Gesso Parco Naturale delle Alpi Marittime.
- Blu edizioni, carta 1:25.000, n.1 Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime.
- Alpi senza Frontiere (IGN, IGM, CAI, CAF), carta 1:25.000, n.5 Mercantour - Valle Gesso.
- IGN, carte topographique 1:25.000, n.3741OT Vallée de la Vesubie / Pn du Mercantour
- IGC, carta 1:25.000, n.113 Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime, Entracque, Valdieri, Mercantour, Gelas.
- IGC, carta 1:50.000, n.8 Alpi Marittime e Liguri.
- Didier et Richard, carte 1:50.000, Haut Pays Nicois.