Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Hike from Piazza Brembana to Piazzatorre via Monte Torcola

Hiking route from Piazza Brembana to Piazzatorre.Hiking on snow below Monte Torcola Cabinovia on a day when lifts were not running.
Left: Hiking route from Piazza Brembana to Piazzatorre. Right: Hiking on snow below Monte Torcola Cabinovia on a day when lifts were not running.

Overview

Length: 11.5 km (7 miles)
Duration: 6.5 hours total, includes several stops and long lunch break
Elevation: 1277 m elevation gain total, 1745 m max elevation, 538 m min elevation
Location: Italy, Lombardia, Bergamo, Alta Valle Brembana

Getting There

Linea B (Bergamo – Zogno – San Pellegrino – San Giovanni Bianco – Piazza Brembana) will get you to Piazza Brembana, the start of the hike. Linea B50c takes you from Piazzatorre back to Piazza Brembana. It can be a bit tricky to find the right buses. See Walking around Bergamo for tips on working with the bergamotransport.it site.

The Walk

The routine of the hike is pretty straightforward: we followed Senterio 123 to Sentiero 119 to Sentiero 121.

The hike from Piazza Brembana (123) was steep and not that interesting at first. It starts to get interesting when you reach a saddle at 1200 m between Monte del Sole and il Culmine. From there you get your first glimpse of Monte Torcola.

It was odd to be hiking around deserted ski slopes. Today the slopes were closed. Yesterday, they were open. The barista where we stopped for coffee in Piazza Brembana said that she had hiked the trail the day before and there were very few skiers. The reason we heard: part weather (warm) and part management.

We saw a few other walkers and uphill skiers, and one sunbather who came up on a snowmobile.
Snowshoes would have been nice when we hit snow but not absolutely necessary. All we had were some Kahtoola microspikes, which worked out fine.

Flora

Last week’s walk above San Pellegrino Terme was the first time was saw Spring Snowflakes and Snowdrops. On this hike, we saw them again, but this time pushing up through the snow. The common name in Italian for the Snowdrop is bucaneve, which means “snow piercer”.

We also saw (just one) Daphne mezereum. The clusters of violet colored flowers appear on a naked stem.

[Family] Genus species – {Common names in English; Italian}
[Amaryllidaceae] Leucojum vernum – {Spring Snowflake; Campanellino, campenelle comuni}
[Amaryllidaceae] Galanthus nivalis – {Snowdrop; bucaneve
[Asteraceae] Petasites albus {White Butterbur; Farfaraccio bianco}
[Cyperaceae] Carex caryophyllea {Spring Sedge; Carice primaticcia}
[Ranunculaceae] Helleborus niger – {Christmas Rose; Rosa di natale}
[Ranunculaceae] Helleborus viridis – {Green Hellebore; Elleboro verde
[Thymelaeceae] Daphne mezereum – {Common Mezeron; Fior di stecco}

Before hike coffee at Albergo Piazza Brembana Di Ronzoni.Start of the hike in Piazza Brembana.Finally reaching snow around 1400 m. Walking down the Piste del Bosco of Piazzatore.
Left: Before hike coffee at Albergo Piazza Brembana Di Ronzoni. Center left: Start of the hike in Piazza Brembana. Center right: Finally reaching snow around 1400 m. Right: Walking down the Piste del Bosco of Piazzatore.

Two Helleborus niger blooms with an interesting color combination.Helleborus viridis.
How many times can you take a picture of Helleborus?  Many. They are fascinating.  Left: Two Helleborus niger blooms with an interesting color combination. Right: Helleborus viridis.

Petasites albus. Carex caryophyllea.
Left: Petasites albus. Right: Carex caryophyllea.

Silent ski lift at Monte Torcola (closed for the day). Sentiero 119 view south toward Monte Ortighera.
Left: Silent ski lift at Monte Torcola (closed for the day). Right: Sentiero 119 view south toward Monte Ortighera.

Sign pointing to trail 119, Monte Torcola.Panorama looking west from Monte Torcola.
Left: Sign pointing to trail 119, Monte Torcola. Right: Panorama looking west from Monte Torcola.

Daphne mezereum.Galanthus nivalis - Snowdrop or bucaneve.
Left: Daphne mezereum. Right: Galanthus nivalis - Snowdrop or bucaneve.

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