The Barbero Community Hut
The route passes through a number of environments, from woods to mountain grazing grounds. The grassy hillock on which the Barbero community hut is located is often visited by groups of chamois. The lower Gias della Vagliotta, still in use, is the place where delicious cheeses are made.
The hunters' mule track and the ice quarry
Just beyond the walkway near the lower Gias della Vagliotta, about thirty meters to the left of the path, it isn't hard to pick out an old mule track that climbs up, to no apparent destination, among the heights of the Asta Sottana. In point of fact, the mule track served a dual purpose: it led to a hunting blind and the nearby semi-permanent snowfield, which, when the royal family spent their summers in the valley, was the source of the ice used to preserve food and cool the beverages enjoyed by visitors to the Hot Springs.
The Barbero community hut
The Barbero Bivouac, now a community hut, was inaugurated by the Cuneo chapter of CAI on 22 August, 1965. It is named for Roberto Barbero, a young climber from Cuneo who fell to his death from the Cima Plent in the Catena delle Guide on 16 June,1963.
After crossing the Ponte della Vagliotta bridge(1093 m), the path begins in the beech wood, slightly to the right of the bridge.
The path climbs up the Vallone della Vagliotta valley gently at first, with long switchbacks through the beeches on a comfortable mule track. Winding through the woods for a long tract, the path remains on a gentle incline. Some slightly tighter switchbacks precede its entry in a narrow defile whose walls plunge down to the Rio della Vagliotta torrent below. The path leads across the ravine on the orographic left and proceeds in tight hairpin turns along a rocky slope with low scrub vegetation.
After crossing the torrent on a pretty wooden bridge, the path rises up a grass-covered detritic slope, with numerous switchbacks and beautiful vistas of the little pocket valley below.
Passing by a small waterfall on the right, the path continues on with switchbacks (often cut by shortcuts, sometimes more clearly marked than the main trail) until it reaches a second picturesque waterfall.
A bit further on, the path enters a broad bowl-shaped meadow, which it runs through until the fork, a few dozen meters before the recently constructed lower Gias della Vagliotta. Ignoring the left fork, which leads to the Costi Bivuoac and the Barra della Vagliotta pass, hikers follow the right fork, to the Barbero Community Hut. The path almost immediately comes to a wooden footbridge, crossing the Rio della Vagliotta for the third time, and then, cutting back on itself, veers to the northwest, heading towards the grassy hilloock atop which lies the Bivouac.
After a brief tract with an imperceptible incline, the trail reaches the base of the hillock. At the left end of the second switchback, the trail forks: it's advisable to avoid the clearly marked (but very steep) shortcut to the right and stay on the left branch, which leads, after two long uphill traverses, to the Barbero Community Hut(1669 m, 1 hour and 55 minutes from the Ponte della Vagliotta bridge).
Access and parking
Drive from Borgo San Dalmazzo up the Gesso valley. After passing Valdieri, continue on in the direction of Terme. After passing Sant'Anna, park in the parking lot on your right, near the Ponte della Vagliotta bridge (just beyond the Tetti Gaina hamlet).
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