In the heart of the province of Cuneo there is a place for all the skialp lovers, especially for those who look for unforgettable landscapes.
Skialp days are undoubtedly full of breathtaking views, but when your day starts at sunrise sipping coffee in front of one of the most evocative mountains in the Alps it means that the itinerary looks very inviting. A stone throw from Cuneo and the Langhe, in the very heart of the valley where the river Po was born, the Monviso offers every year skialp routes able to satisfy everyone, from experts to newcomers.
One of the most attended points by all the skialp lovers is surely Pian della Regina (1714 m), a few kilometers above Crissolo. Our route starts from this snowy pick-up point: after spending the night in the van, watched over by the summit of Monviso and embraced by the rest of the mountain range, we wake up at the first light of dawn to enjoy a good coffee with our skiing companions. Orange lights illuminate the valley and give us one of the many breathtaking views of the day.
After checking the equipment and all the tools needed for the hike, the climb begins. The itinerary is thought for intermediate skiers and takes just under four hours to cover about 1300 meters of altitude difference, along a route made up of hollows, small depressions, small lakes, and slopes.
After leaving the van behind, the route descends along a small service road to a small bridge. From here you follow the now disused ski slope for a while, and then start to climb a short gully: the sound of the stream emerging from the expanse of snow accompanies us, helping us to identify the rocky profile of the mountain. Just enough time to look around and then we continue to climb, with the mass of Monviso always in front of us as a guide.
First stop: river Po
Between gentle slopes and depressions, in a landscapes that rises and falls between small peaks, we leave the view of the valley behind us, reaching Pian de Re, the plain where the source of the river Po is located and which during the winter season can only be reached on foot, with skis or snowshoes. It is impossible not to stop and photograph the stone that bears the inscription “Here the river Po is born”. After a short break, we set off again towards the path that leads to the Quintino Sella Refuge. Following the winding path we reach the first of a series of lakes that will lead us to our destination, Lake Fiorenza (2113 m), in which the north face of Monviso is reflected.
A pearl between the mountains
After leaving Lake Fiorenza, we cross the Vallone dei Quarti to reach Lake Chiaretto: in the middle of a snow-covered hollow, we find ourselves in front of a turquoise-colored pearl of water set at the foot of the mountain. We stop to take in the mountain’s profile with our eyes: above us, the omnipresent peak of Monviso is slowly approaching, announcing that we are “just a little way” from our arrival.
The three routes
From the lake, the summit of Viso Mozzo can be reached by three possible routes.
The first is the longest and the most suitable for loaded slopes. Crossing the hollow, one arrives at the northern shore of the lake following a semicircular route. Once around the steep ridge above, you star again the climb to reach the back of the mountain that goes above the lake.
The second route, on the other hand, is ideal when there is safe snow. You retrace the hollow in front of the lake until the ascent softens and you reach and cross a rocky outcrop to the west, before going round the ridge and finding much easier ground.
The third and last route ascents the gentle slope of the lake to reach a small hollow. From here, the climb continues along a hillside dotted with large rocks, until you reach a valley nestled between Costa Piatta Gelata and Rocca Truné. One last steep climb and then up again on a gentle, almost flat slope to Colle del Viso.
Arrival and… the descent
Once you reach the Colle, we cross 300 meters difference in-height which separates us from the southern ridge. From here to the peak the route is all straight and ends with a cement cross. Here’s Viso Mozzo!
The view is incredible: from this natural panoramic terrace we can observe the Monviso, the entire Cresta Berhault, the Great Lake of Viso, the Quintino Sella refuge and, with a bit of luck, you can find the first ever refuge opened by CAI, the Alpetto refuge. Just enough time to refresh yourself and you will be able to resume your descent along the same route you took on the way up, enjoying the view of the valley even more as you approach the finish line.