GTAM - Stage 7: Terme di Valdieri - Genova refuge

7. GTAM - Stage 7: Terme di Valdieri - Genova refuge

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A mountain stage with a great deal of natural scenery to be observed around the highest point of the mountains, Argentera, with a passage at the foot of a famous climbing route: Lourousa.
The Genova refuge is located in the heart of a former glacial cirque, surrounded by the most imposing summits of the Argentera-Mercantour mountains, between France and Italy.

4 points of interest

  • Architecture

    The Valdieri Royal Hot Springs

    First cited in the mid sixteenth century. When King Carlo Emanuele III decided to valorize the Valdieri hot springs, in 1755, a building and other appurtenances were quickly built in order to create a spa around the sulfurous waters. Cavour called Valdieri "the richest in health-preserving waters in all the nation, and perhaps in all of Europe as well". Vittorio Emanuele II, who first visited Val Gesso in 1855, became a frequent guest at the spa, and it was at his behest that, on 10 July 1857, the first stone was laid for the structure that was to become the Hotel Royal.

  • Lake

    The Lagarot di Lourousa

    Springwater, welling up among meadows and larches, forms numerous limpid pools and streams; the water is at times turquoise, at times milky and at others perfectly transparent, making this a particularly striking location, perfect for a contemplative rest. The Canalone di Lourousa, bordered by Monte Stella and the Corno Stella and scoured by the Gelas di Lourousa, lies beyond the plateau of the same name, and a look over one's shoulder yields a view of the imposing outline of Monte Matto.

  • Lake

    The Chiotas Reservoir, the Della Piastra dam and the Lake della Rovina

    The Chiotas Reservoir is closed off by two dams: the Chiotas dam and the Colle di Laura dam. The Chiotas dam, an arch-gravity structure, is 130 meters high and stretches for a length of 230 meters. Its thickness varies from 37.5 meters at its base to 5 meters at the top. The mass gravity Colle di Laura dam is smaller, rectilinear and only 30 meters at its maximum height. Its length is 70 meters. The Chiotas Reservoir has a carrying capacity of 27.3 million cubic meters of water.

  • Architecture

    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.


Head towards the entrance to Terme di Valdieri. Find the first marker close to the entrance gate to the spa and head downhill for a few metres to the left, heading north-east, via the tarmacked road until you reach a carpark. Follow directions for Colle Chiapous via the N8 GTA path with white and red markers which begins on your right. Go over a footbridge (Via Alpina plaque) and head up a long series of hairpin bends along the slopes of the right bank of Vallone di Lourousa (white and red markers). Continue up the hairpins, rising to an altitude of 1855 metres, a climb of 600 metres over a bit more than 4 kilometres! You will reach a flatter section at 2200 metres altitude, close to a mountain stream (with a commemorative cross nearby), at the foot of Canale Lourousa. You will then head downhill for a while until you reach a marker at 1970 metres, where you will continue to the left along the GTA N8 path with white and red markers. At an altitude of 2042 metres, head over a scree for 40 metres. Go up through the screes until you reach the Morelli Buzzi refuge, which is perched on a promontory. At 2342 metres altitude, close to the refuge, bear right following the N8 path with white and red markers, which are then complemented by orange markers as you rise, reaching 2526 metres altitude at Colle Chiapous. From there, following the indication on the marker, turn right onto the M9 path. At 2497 metres, do not take the path heading towards Passo del Porco, but bear left and continue the descent via a series of comfortable hairpin bends (white and red markers). Close to the shores of the lake, head towards the dam. Turn left after the dam and go down the tarmacked road. You will go through a short tunnel and then go up to the right along a track which can be used by vehicles, following the markers. Go around the north-eastern and south-eastern shores of the lake and you will quickly reach the Genova refuge.
  • Departure : Terme di Valdieri
  • Arrival : Genova refuge
  • Towns crossed : Valdieri and Entracque

Altimetric profile

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