Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Hike from Passo Presolana to Rifugio Rino Olmo to Castione della Presolana


The annotated hike route around Presolana.A view from trail 327 east toward Malga della Presolana.
Left: The annotated hike route around Presolana. Right: A view from trail 327 east toward Malga della Presolana.


Overview


Length: 14 km (8.7 mi)
Duration: 4.8 hours, 3 hours before lunch, 1.8 hours after lunch
Elevation: Max elevation 2230 m (7,316 ft) Grotta dei Pagani, minimum elevation 874 m (2,867 ft) Castione della Presolana, cumulative elevation gain 1230 m (4,035 ft), lost 1651 m (5,417 ft)
Location: Italy, Lombardy, Bergamo Province, Alta Val Seriana

Details


In a nutshell, the hike was this:

Bergamo Bus Station -> Cantoniera della Presolana (Passo della Presolana) -> Sentiero 315 -> Grotta dei Pagani -> Sentiero 320 -> Rifugio Rino Olmo -> Sentiero 327 -> Sentiero 317 -> Rusio -> Castione della Presolana -> Bergamo Bus Station.

We decided to do this hike counterclockwise and end up in Castione della Presolana rather than starting there because the bus connections back to Bergamo were better from Castione. To get to Passo Presolana take the Linea S route to Clusone and then change to the Linea S70a, which goes over the pass (see BergamoTrasporti.it). Let the bus driver know you want Passo Presolana when you get on the bus in Bergamo, because as in our case, the connection was close and he honked at the other driver to wait for us.

We did the start of this hike before (see Hiking Below Pizzo della Presolana) but didn’t make it far. This time, we were set on going to Rifugio Olmo for lunch. It’s all about the food.
The trails were fine at this time of the year and signed well. We wanted to check out Grotta dei Pagani, but you can avoid that scramble up the scree if you are not interested. The grotta is a small cave and nothing that special. Perhaps we are a tad sour on the cave because one of us dropped a phone and that was the end of life for it. It put a little bit of a damper on the rest of the hike.

Presolana is the located in the Bergamasque Prealps in the province of Bergamo. It has a similar limestone composition as the Dolomites located in northeastern Italy. The Italian Wiki page for Presolana gives a number of possible etymologies for its name. The one I found most plausible (because legends and spirits don’t sit well with me as explanations) is that Presolana is derived from the dialect praizzöla (in Italian praticciolo) due to the small prati (meadows) on Presolana’s slopes, several which this hike takes you through or are visible from the trail. Prati plus the diminutive icciolo basically meaning little meadow. It’s a small step sound-wise from praizzöla to Presolana.

At Passo della Presolana, coffee and cake before starting the hike. Tagliatelle fatta in casa with mushroom and cream sauce at Rifugio Olmo.Slow cooked beef, polenta and cheese.Dessert at Rifugio Olmo.
Left: At Passo della Presolana, coffee and cake before starting the hike. Center left: Tagliatelle fatta in casa with mushroom and cream sauce at Rifugio Olmo. Center right: Slow cooked beef, polenta and cheese. Right: Dessert at Rifugio Olmo.

While we reached 2259 m (7411 ft) at Grotta dei Pagani, the peaks of Presolana were still higher by a couple hundred meters. We didn’t go up.

The advantage of this hike routing is beautiful scenery and you don’t have to double back and repeat a trail. The disadvantage is that the part from Malga del Campo (about 30 minutes after Rifugio Olmo on the way to Rusio) is kind of boring. It’s mostly on a road that is roughly paved with large stones and cement.


Flora


For help identifying plant on hikes around Bergamo, see the post Resources for Identifying Plants around Bergamo.

Key: [Family] Genus species – Common name in English (Common name in Italian)

[Asteraceae] Arctium nemorosum – Burdock (Bardana selvatica)
[Asteraceae] Carlina acaulis – Stemless Carline Thistle (Carlina bianca) – could be subsp. acaulis
[Campanulaceae] Campanula trachelium - Nettle-Leaved Bellflower (Campanula selvatica)
[Gentianaceae] Gentiana asclepiadea - Willow Gentian (Genziana di Esculapio)
[Gentianaceae] Gentianella germanica – Chiltern Gentian (Genzianella tedesca)
[Lamiaceae] Clinopodium alpinum – Alpine Calamint (Acino alpino)
[Lamiaceae] Salvia glutinosa – Sticky Sage, Yellow Sage (Salvia vischiosa)
[Lamiaceae] Stachys pradica – (Betonica densiflora, Betonica del monte Prada)
[Papaveraceae] Corydalis lutea – Yellow Corydalis (Colombina gialla)
[Primulaceae] Cyclamen purpurascens - Cyclamen (Ciclamino delle Alpi)
[Rosaceae] Dryas octopetala – White Dryas (Camedrio alpino)
[Saxifragaceae] Saxifraga paniculata – Encrusted or Livelong Saxifrage (Sassifraga pannocchiuta)
[Scrophulariaceae] Rhinanthus alectorolophus – Greater Yellow Rattle (La cresta di gallo comune)
[Scrophulariaceae] Verbascum nigrum – Dark Mullein (Verbasco nero) - could be V. alpinum


Arctium nemorosum – Burdock (Bardana selvatica).Carlina acaulis – Stemless Carline Thistle (Carlina bianca) – could be subsp. acaulis. Cirsium - Thistle.
Left: Arctium nemorosum – Burdock (Bardana selvatica). Center: Carlina acaulis – Stemless Carline Thistle (Carlina bianca) – could be subsp. acaulis. Right: Cirsium - Thistle.

Clinopodium alpinum – Alpine Calamint (Acino alpino).Clinopodium alpinum – Alpine Calamint (Acino alpino). Dryas octopetala – White Dryas (Camedrio alpino). Salvia glutinosa – Sticky Sage, Yellow Sage (Salvia vischiosa).Stachys pradica – (Betonica densiflora, Betonica del monte Prada).
Left and center left: Clinopodium alpinum – Alpine Calamint (Acino alpino). Center: Dryas octopetala – White Dryas (Camedrio alpino). Center: Salvia glutinosa – Sticky Sage, Yellow Sage (Salvia vischiosa). Right: Stachys pradica – (Betonica densiflora, Betonica del monte Prada).

Saxifraga paniculata – Encrusted Saxifrage, Livelong Saxifrage (Sassifraga pannocchiuta).Gentiana asclepiadea - Willow Gentian (Genziana di Esculapio).Verbascum nigrum – Dark Mullein (Verbasco nero) - could be V. alpinum.Campanula trachelium - Nettle-Leaved Bellflower (Campanula selvatica).Cyclamen purpurascens - Cyclamen (Ciclamino delle Alpi) - bloom time August and September.
Left: Saxifraga paniculata – Encrusted Saxifrage, Livelong Saxifrage (Sassifraga pannocchiuta) lime-encrusted leaves. Center left: Gentiana asclepiadea - Willow Gentian (Genziana di Esculapio). Center: Verbascum nigrum – Dark Mullein (Verbasco nero) - could be V. alpinum. Center right: Campanula trachelium - Nettle-Leaved Bellflower (Campanula selvatica).  Right: Cyclamen purpurascens - Cyclamen (Ciclamino delle Alpi) - bloom time August and September.

Corydalis lutea – Yellow Corydalis (Colombina gialla).Gentianella germanica – Chiltern Gentian (Genzianella tedesca).Rhinanthus alectorolophus – Greater Yellow Rattle (La cresta di gallo commune).
Left: Corydalis lutea – Yellow Corydalis (Colombina gialla). Center: Gentianella germanica – Chiltern Gentian (Genzianella tedesca). Right: Rhinanthus alectorolophus – Greater Yellow Rattle (La cresta di gallo commune).

Road to Rusio, Trail 317.Coming down from Grotta dei Pagani and heading toward Rifugio Olmo. Just below Baita Cassinelli.
Left: Road to Rusio, Trail 317. Center: Coming down from Grotta dei Pagani and heading toward Rifugio Olmo. Right: Just below Baita Cassinelli.

Upper and lower paths leading to Passo di PozzeraView from Passo di Pozzera toward Malga della Presolana.Approaching Rifugio Rino Olmo.
Left: Upper and lower paths leading to Passo di Pozzera. Center: View from Passo di Pozzera toward Malga della Presolana. Right: Approaching Rifugio Rino Olmo.

View toward bivuoac Citta di Clusone on trail 315View toward bivuoac Citta di Clusone on trail 315.Map showing the Presolana zone with ridge lines and trails.
Left and center:Views toward bivuoac Citta di Clusone on trail 315. Right: Map showing the Presolana zone with ridge lines and trails.

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