5. Haute Route des Rois, stage 5: from Refuge Genova Figari to Refuge Soria-Ellena
The Genova Figari Refuge
To valorize the hiking trails along the Argentera Massif, in the last years of the nineteenth century the Liguria chapter of CAI decided to build a refuge near the upper Gias del Monighet, in the Vallone della Rovina. The Genova Refuge, as it was named, was inaugurated on 15 August 1898.
But the fate of the first refuge in the Maritime Alps was definitively sealed in 1968: the reservoir of the new Chiotas dam would submerge it permanently. ENEL assumed the task of building another refuge, which was inaugurated in 1981.
The refuge is named for Bartolomeo Figari, who as Secretary General of CAI saw both the successful conquest of K2 and the birth of the National Alpine Rescue Corps, to which he bequeathed all his worldly goods.
Continuing with other hairpin bends, the mule track rises on small grassy plots and stony ground, then turns right again, halfway down the slope, on the steep slopes of Rocce di Laura.
After crossing the many valleys that cut the slopes of Ciamberline and Fenestrelle points, the mule track curves south across the centre of the valley; then, with a final series of hairpin bends, it climbs up to the scree that leads to Colle Fenestrelle (2463 m - 1h30 from the refuge).
There is a fantastic view to the southeast over the Gelàs and to the northwest over the Argentera.
The route descends towards the Gesso della Barra valley, brushing the modest but very suggestive Fenestrelle lake (at the end of the normally dry season). With a beautiful route, the path runs along the slope that ends at Punta delle Lobbie and leaves it at about 2300 meters. After having abandoned the path that leads to the Gias Confurri or Confucci (2281 m), the path ends with numerous turns to the Gias Balmetta (2156 m) in the center of the valley of Fenestrelle.
The mule track regularly loses altitude and passes near the Gias Alvé (1840 m) from where one reaches the track which, from San Giacomo di Entracque, climbs the Gesso della Barra valley to the refuge. From Gias del Praiet it is possible to shorten the long loop that the track makes by following straight on the path that climbs the escarpment at the foot of the refuge.
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