The Fremamorta Lakes circle
The Umberto I shelter
This is in fact a large barracks, designed to house 130 soldiers and 4 officers. Built in 1894, it was readapted on three separate occasions, the last of which in 1934, when another section was added on one side of the main building to house the kitchen, and a freestanding structure was also erected. The ruins of an old storage barn and stables can be seen just above the barracks.
Beginning at the parking lot at the Gias delle Mosche (1592 m), the trail leads downhill towards Terme along the paved road for about 400 meters before taking the turnoff to the left on an unpaved path. After about a hundred meters, the route turns right onto a trail that descends and proceeds over the Gesso della Valletta torrent on a bridge.
On the other side of the torrent, the trail climbs up a detritic cone through low scrub and then, in a seemingly infinite series of switchbacks through a sparse stand of larches. Then the trail veers southward and there is a long midslope traverse at a moderate uphill incline, over open ground and scree, with excellent views of the Argentera Massif.
The trail dips slightly down to circumvent a tract covered by a landslide and then heads upward again.
A bit further on there is a long series of switchbacks that lead to the ex military mule track connecting Valscura and Fremamorta, just at lower Lake Fremamorta, where there are some remnants of military structures (2354 m, 2 hours and 45 minutes from the parking lot).
The route continues on to the left on the mule track and after passing the turnoff on the left for the Guiglia Bivuoac shelter (2426 m, a detour well worth it for the view), comes to the intermediate Lake Fremamorta (2375 m, 15 minutes from lower Lake Fremamorta).
Near the lake, the route passes by the turnoff to the left that leads down to Pian della Casa del Re.
Continuing on the mule track, the route continues on to the ruins of the large Umberto I barracks, where there is another turnoff on the left for Pian della Casa, utilized for the return leg.
First, however, we recommend a further digression down some switchbacks to the two upper Fremamorta lakes (2371 m the larger one, 15 minutes from the intermediate Lake Fremamorta).
After returning to the Umberto I barracks, the route turns right onto the marked trail which, after a long midslope northward traverse, leads to the mule track from Pian della Casa. It follows the mule track to the right (the left goes back to the intermediate Lake Fremamorta), descending in long switchbacks interspersed with long traverses to the border of the basin of the lower Gias della Losa: here the route passes a turnoff on the left for Pian della Casa (for expert hikers only) and rises uphill briefly to the crest of a ridge.
Just at the crest, the trail passes a turnoff on the right for Colle di Fremamorta and winds downhill again. Then it veers to the northeast and continues to descend in steep narrow switchbacks through a dense thicket of alders before reaching the more comfortable trail leading to Colle di Ciriegia.
The route follows the wide path to the left and passes by a double fork: to the right, the trail leads to the Regina Elena Refuge, and the left fork leads to the abovementioned alternative route for expert hikers.
After a series of wide turns through a sparse stand of larches, the trail comes to Pian della Casa del Re (or simply Pian della Casa, 1755 m, 2 hours from the upper Fremamorta lakes).
After crossing over the Gesso della Valletta torrent on a comfortable wooden bridge, the route follows the ex military road from Terme di Valdieri to the left back to the parking lot at the Gias delle Mosche (1592 m, 30 minutes from Pian della Casa del Re).
Access and parking
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