Elevation amsl: 2743
Location: Passo Tonale
Catchment basin: Noce, Rio Val Montozzo
Mountain chain: Cevedale
Subgroup: Redival -Boai
Hiking time: 2.30 hours
Difficulty: EEA – excursion for experts with equipment if you decide to climb up the via ferrata to Punta Albiolo (peak)
Elevation gain:720m(including the hike up to the Torrione Albiolo peak)
SAT trail n°: 111
Mountain hut: Rifugio Bozzi (CAI) and Restaurant Malga Valbiolo
From Passo Tonale go to the Ospizio San Bartolomeo (pilgrim hospice) and from there continue onwards on the unpaved road that in approx. 4 km takes you to Malga Valbiolo (mountain dairy), located at 2244 meters. Leave your vehicle behind and follow the steep, grassy slope that goes north towards the Passo dei Contrabbandieri located just above a morainal amphitheater (1.00 hour). The itinerary, which from this point onwards is recommended only for expert climbers, continues along through clay rocks to the right of the mountain pass in a north east direction. This itinerary winds along a trail equipped with fixed cables, with a panoramic view. The trail is located just underneath the Torrione Albiolo Occidentale (peak). A view of the highest peaks of the Presanella mountain group (the San Matteo peak to the south and the Corno dei Tre Signori to the north) will accompany your hike. The itinerary becomes more difficult as you first pass through the ruins of the WWI fortifications and then through crags characterized by the presence of alpine flora. Underneath you, to the west, you will see the wide valley that rises up from the town of Pezzo and the characteristic alpine village of Case di Viso. After crossing through a steep wall, that at the beginning of the season may be difficult due to the presence of snow, climb up a small rocky dihedral and you will arrive at an alpine pass located just underneath the Punta di Albiolo (peak). From here you have a view of three lakes in a beautiful valley. Just underneath, to the east, you can see Val Montozzo. Just pass the top of the mountain, descend down going northeast among trenches and former war posts and continue onwards through on an equipped trail that descends down the north spur and will take you to the Forcella di Montozzo (alpine pass) located at 2613 meters; 3.30 hours). From here, it is possible to go north towards Val di Montozzo and therefore go on an interesting detour. Descend approx. 350 m. and, after leaving behind the trail that goes to the Pian Palù Lake, make a detour to the left and climb up the detrital side at the base of the Punta di Montozzo (peak). There are six splendid alpine lakes in this magnificent valley. The highest is located at 2745 m just underneath the jagged crest of Denti di Ercavallo (peak/crest). This detour requires an additional 2 hours (with return). From the mountain pass descend west down an easy trail towards Rifugio Bozzi (mountain hut) located at 2478 m. There are other two beautiful alpine lakes located just underneath the mountain hut: the Montozzo Superiore lake located at 2461 and a second lake located at 2403 m. From the mountain hut, follow the steep trail that passes through the rocky base of the Torrione Albiolo Occidentale (peak) which then returns to Passo Contrabbandieri. From here, follow the same route that you took on the hike up and you will return to your starting point, Malga Valbiolo (mountain dairy). Total time including the return hike and detour 7.00 hours.
AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE TO DISCOVER RUINS FROM WWI
Once you arrive on top you can visit several tunnels and fortifications on the Albiolo peak (several shacks and trenches in ruins). As an alternative to the Albiolo route, it is possible to take the trail that descends towards Peio and after several hundred meters you will enter into the Montozzo valley (towards the north and on your left) and here in the Cocchiole valley you will also find trenches and tunnels, as well as on the numerous crests above (tunnels and fortifications). However, you will find traces of the past along all the crests and saddles. Instead, for those who are satisfied with what they saw near the mountain hut and would like an alternative route to follow for their return, it is possible to follow the trail that crosses through the ruins of a village near the mountain hut and then continue onwards on trail n°2 or the military road that takes you to the Ercavallo lakes. From here, take trail n°59, that will take you to the starting point: the parking area.
Photos and itinerary descriptions: Tiziano Mochen