Alta Via dei Re
The place name "Vallone della Meris"
The Vallone della Meris (or, in the masculine, the Vallone del Merìs, pronounced with an accent on the 'i', differently from the normal pronunciation) owes its name to its favorable exposure,"a meriggio", at the meridian, which provides warmth and light.
The place name "Chiot de la Sela"
This place, known as Chiot de la Sela, probably dervied its name from the past presence of a small "sella", a stone structure with a barrel vault, usually partially underground, which was used to store food). Chiot de la Sela was the location of the Royal Hunting Lodges, used by the Savoys when they hosted hunting parties in the Vallone della Meris.
The Valscura Barracks
Since the end of the eighteen hundreds(an inscription on the remains of a shelter reads "3° Compagnia Alpini, 1888") Lower Lake Valscura was chosen as the site where troops were garrisoned to defend the strategic pass of Bassa del Druos. Beginning in 1888, when barracks were erected to house 140 soldiers and two officers, for almost fifty years buildings were constructed on this site, until the entire complex was finally transformed into an armory, officially known as A131,containing munitions, explosives and artillery pieces.
The former military mule track "Valscura Barracks - Fremamorta Shelters"
The portion of the route that runs from Lower Lake Valscura to Lake Claus follows the former military mule track that linked Valscura and Fremamorta. The mule track is one of the best-preserved examples of the old military roads that ran through the Valle Gesso, as well as a true masterpiece of engineering. Realized sometime around the very first years of the nineteen hundreds, a decade prior to the start of the second world war, in 1929, it was preventively upgraded by the Dronero Battalion and maintained in perfect condition.
Over 10 km long, it never dips below an altitude of 2,000 meters and has a maximum incline of 18%. Portions of the road were skillfully paved with flagstones, still in place today.
The Remondino Refuge
The Refuge is named for Franco Remondino, Jr. Lieutenant of the Alpine Corps and budding local climber, who died during an ascent on the Rocca Gialeo. A half-barrel bivuoac shelter that sleeps 12 was erected in his memory and inaugurated in 1934. It was later decided to build a real refuge on the spot, in masonry, erected thanks mostly to the financial sponsorship of the Saluzzo Battalion of the Alpine Corps, the Taurinense Division of the Army Corps of Engineers and the 1st Airborne Brigade and inaugurated in 1965. Additional restructuring and extensions were completed in the year 2000.
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.
It starts in Sant' Anna di Valdieri and ends in San Giacomo di Entracque. Nights are always held in shelters that offer accommodation and, on request, lunch baskets. To return to Sant' Anna, you can use the shuttle service (on call). The ideal period is from mid-July to mid-September, subject to the possibility of encountering snow even in early summer and beyond.
SNCF line TER Provence Alpes-Côte d'Azur For travel in the PACA region and towards Cuneo www.ter-sncf.com/pac
Trenitalia for travel in the Piedmont region https://www.trenitalia.com/it.html
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Rifugio Balma Meris (1010m)
L'auberge alpine Balma Meris est un petit refuge hôtel installé dans un bâtiment en pierre récemment rénové.
Le refuge est situé au centre du village de Sant'Anna, un village de montagne typique, situé le long de la rivière au confluent de la vallée de Meris, point de départ des excursions dans la vallée du même nom.
Le refuge Emilio Questa (2388 m) se dresse sur un piton rocheux situé sur le rivage nord du Lac des Portette, au cœur d'une vaste combe entourée des sommets des Portette, du Claus et du Prefouns. Il constitue un lieu idéal pour les excursions naturalistes : on peut y apercevoir chamois, bouquetins, marmottes ainsi que l'emblématique gipaète barbu.