Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hike from Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti and Back


On the TMB looking north down Val Ferret.Tracks of hike from Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti.[Ranunculaceae] Thalictrum aquilegifolium – Columbine Mead-Rue (Pigamo colombino).View from trail 42, Testa Bernarda looking toward Courmayeur.
Upper Left: On the TMB looking north down Val Ferret.
Upper Right: Tracks of hike from Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti.
Lower Left: [Ranunculaceae] Thalictrum aquilegifolium – Columbine Mead-Rue (Pigamo colombino).
Lower Right: View from trail 42, Testa Bernarda looking toward Courmayeur.



Overview


Day 1 – Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti via TMB

Length: 13 km (8.1 mi)
Duration: 6.0 hours walking, plus top at Rifugio Bertone
Elevation: 1197 m (3,929 ft) @ start of hike at Hotel Monte Blanc; 2,025 m (6,643 ft) @ Rifugio Bonatti
Location: Italy, Valle d’Aosta, Courmayeur, Val Ferret

Day 2 – Rifugio Bonatti to Courmayeur via Sentiero 42, Testa Bernarda

Length:  15.4 km ( 9.6 mi)
Duration: 7.5 hours total, with 1 hour lunch break at Rifugio Bertone
Elevation: 2,025 m (6,643 ft) @ Rifugio Bonatti; 1197 m (3,929 ft) @ start of hike at Hotel Monte Blanc; maximum elevation 1,588 m (8,388 ft) on Test Berndarda peak

Location: Italy, Valle d’Aosta, Courmayeur, Val Ferret

Details


The Day 1 hike to Rifugio Bonatti was to accompany a friend on her way to do the Tour du Mont Blanc. We all stayed the night at Bonatti. She continued on to do the tour (so jealous we were) and we made our way back to Courmayeur (Day 2 hike).

We drove up the night before the Day 1 hike and stayed in the Hotel Mont Blanc. We left the car parked in the hotel garage and started our hike from there.  To find the way to Rifugio Bonatti and the TMB in general, go the main church, Parrocchia San Pantaleone, and follow the Strada del Villair and keep an eye out for the TMB indications.

Above Rifugio Bertone, you can pick the TMB route – a slightly easier and less hilly hike to Rifugio Bonatti – or the Sentiero 42, Testa Bernarda. (Our Italian friend pointed out that bernarda is a way to refer to female genitalia. Do what you may with that piece of information.)


If the number of people we saw at Bonatti is any indication, lots of people from all over the world to the Tour du Mont Blanc. Reserving ahead of time would be a good idea to have a spot to sleep.

Flora


We used the resources listed in the post Resources for Identifying Plants around Bergamo to identify plants, in particular the web sites where you can set region. (Set region to Valle d'Aosta). If we had give ourselves an accuracy score for identifications, it would be about 95% accurate for species and 98% for genus.

The standout plant in these two days was for sure Dactylorhiza sambucina. I was surprised to see it present in two colors – a pale yellow and a dark purple – which is common.

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

[Asparagaceae] Anthericum liliago – St Bernard’s Lily (Lilioasfodelo maggiore)
[Asteraceae] Adenostyles spp.
  • Possibly P. alpinus based on bloom time and elevation distribution.

[Asteraceae] Petasites spp.

  • Possibly P. hybridus based on purple brown flower stalks.
[Asteraceae] Tussilago farfara – Coltsfoot (Tossilaggine comune)
[Berberidaceae] Berbis vulgaris – Common Barberry (Crespino comune)

  • I know, we rarely cover shrubs in this blog, but this one I was curious about.
[Boraginaceae] Echium vulgare – Viper’s Burgloss (Viperina azzurra comune)
[Brassicaceae] Draba aizoides – Yellow Whitlow Grass (Draba aizoide)
[Brassicaceae] Huguennia tanacetifolia – Tansy-Leaved Rocket (Luppolo del Giappone a foglie di tanaceto)
[Ericaceae] Rhododendron ferrugineum - Alpenrose (Rododendro rosso)
[Fabaceae] Onobrychis montana – Mountain Sainfoin (Lupinella montana)
[Gentianaceae] Gentiana acaulis – Stemless Gentian (Genziana acaule)
  • Based on green inside of flower.

[Gentianaceae] Gentiana verna – Spring Gentian (Genziana primaverile)
[Lamiaceae] Stachys recta – Yellow Woundort (Betonica gialla)
[Melanthaiaceae] Veratrum album – White Hellebore (Veratro bianco)
[Orchidaceae] Gymnadenia conopsea - Fragrant Orchid (Manina rosea)
[Orchidaceae] Dactylorhiza sambucina – Elder-flower Orchid (Orchide sambucina)
[Orobanchaceae] Bartisa alpina – Velvet Bells (Bartsia delle Alpi)
[Orobanchaceae] Pedicularis verticilla – Whorled Lousewort (Pedicolare a foglie verticillate)
[Plantaginaceae] Linaria alpina – Alpine Toadflax (Linajola alpina)
[Plantaginaceae] Plantago alpina – Alpine Plantain (Piantaggine delle Alpi)
[Plantaginaceae] Plantago media – Hoary Plantain (Piantaggine media)
[Plantaginaceae] Plantago atrata – Dark Plantain (Piantaggine nerastra)
[Primulaceae] Soldanella alpina – Alpine Snowbell (Soldanella comune)
[Ranunculaceae] Caltha palustris – Water Cowslip (Caltha palustre)
[Ranunculaceae] Pulsatilla spp. 

  • Possibly P. montana
[Ranunculaceae] Thalictrum aquilegifolium – Columbine Mead-Rue (Pigamo colombino)
[Ranunculaceae] Trollius europeaus – Globeflower (Botton d’oro)
[Saxifragaceae] Saxifraga oppositifolia – Purple Mountain Saxifrage (Sassifraga a foglie opposte)
[Violaceae] Viola calcarata – Spurred Violet (Viola di montagna)


[Asparagaceae] Anthericum liliago – St Bernard’s Lily (Lilioasfodelo maggiore).[Asparagaceae] Anthericum liliago – St Bernard’s Lily (Lilioasfodelo maggiore).[Saxifragaceae] Saxifraga oppositifolia – Purple Mountain Saxifrage (Sassifraga a foglie opposte).[Ranunculaceae] Pulsatilla spp.  – possibly P. montana.
Left and Center Left: [Asparagaceae] Anthericum liliago – St Bernard’s Lily (Lilioasfodelo maggiore). Center Right: [Saxifragaceae] Saxifraga oppositifolia – Purple Mountain Saxifrage (Sassifraga a foglie opposte). Right: [Ranunculaceae] Pulsatilla spp.  – possibly P. montana.

[Asteraceae] Adenostyles spp., possibly P. alpinus based on bloom time and elevation distribution.[Asteraceae] Petasites spp., possibly P. hybridus based on purple brown flower stalks.[Ericaceae] Rhododendron ferrugineum - Alpenrose (Rododendro rosso).
Left: [Asteraceae] Adenostyles spp., possibly P. alpinus based on bloom time and elevation distribution. Center: [Asteraceae] Petasites spp., possibly P. hybridus based on purple brown flower stalks. Right: [Ericaceae] Rhododendron ferrugineum - Alpenrose (Rododendro rosso).

[Asteraceae] Tussilago farfara – Coltsfoot (Tossilaggine comune).[Berberidaceae] Berbis vulgaris – Common Barberry (Crespino comune).[Brassicaceae] Huguennia tanacetifolia – Tansy-Leaved Rocket (Luppolo del Giappone a foglie di tanaceto).
Left: [Asteraceae] Tussilago farfara – Coltsfoot (Tossilaggine comune). Center: [Berberidaceae] Berbis vulgaris – Common Barberry (Crespino comune). Right: [Brassicaceae] Huguennia tanacetifolia – Tansy-Leaved Rocket (Luppolo del Giappone a foglie di tanaceto).

Left: [Brassicaceae] Draba aizoides – Yellow Whitlow Grass (Draba aizoide).[Ranunculaceae] Trollius europeaus – Globeflower (Botton d’oro).[Ranunculaceae] Caltha palustris – Water Cowslip (Caltha palustre).
Left: [Brassicaceae] Draba aizoides – Yellow Whitlow Grass (Draba aizoide). Center: [Ranunculaceae] Trollius europeaus – Globeflower (Botton d’oro). Right: [Ranunculaceae] Caltha palustris – Water Cowslip (Caltha palustre).

Left: [Fabaceae] Onobrychis montana – Mountain Sainfoin (Lupinella montana).[Orobanchaceae] Pedicularis verticilla – Whorled Lousewort (Pedicolare a foglie verticillate).[Boraginaceae] Echium vulgare – Viper’s Burgloss (Viperina azzurra comune)
Left: [Fabaceae] Onobrychis montana – Mountain Sainfoin (Lupinella montana). Center: [Orobanchaceae] Pedicularis verticilla – Whorled Lousewort (Pedicolare a foglie verticillate). Right: [Boraginaceae] Echium vulgare – Viper’s Burgloss (Viperina azzurra comune).

[Gentianaceae] Gentiana acaulis – Stemless Gentian (Genziana acaule), based on green inside of flower.[Gentianaceae] Gentiana verna – Spring Gentian (Genziana primaverile). [Orobanchaceae] Bartisa alpina – Velvet Bells (Bartsia delle Alpi).[Plantaginaceae] Linaria alpina – Alpine Toadflax (Linajola alpina).
Left: [Gentianaceae] Gentiana acaulis – Stemless Gentian (Genziana acaule), based on green inside of flower. Left Center: [Gentianaceae] Gentiana verna – Spring Gentian (Genziana primaverile). Right Center: [Orobanchaceae] Bartisa alpina – Velvet Bells (Bartsia delle Alpi). Left: [Plantaginaceae] Linaria alpina – Alpine Toadflax (Linajola alpina).

[Melanthaiaceae] Veratrum album – White Hellebore (Veratro bianco).[Melanthaiaceae] Veratrum album – White Hellebore (Veratro bianco).[Primulaceae] Soldanella alpina – Alpine Snowbell (Soldanella comune).[Primulaceae] Soldanella alpina – Alpine Snowbell (Soldanella comune).
Left and Center Left: [Melanthaiaceae] Veratrum album – White Hellebore (Veratro bianco). Center Right and Right: [Primulaceae] Soldanella alpina – Alpine Snowbell (Soldanella comune) pushed up throw the snow.

[Orchidaceae] Dactylorhiza sambucina – Elder-flower Orchid (Orchide sambucina).[Orchidaceae] Dactylorhiza sambucina – Elder-flower Orchid (Orchide sambucina).[Orchidaceae] Gymnadenia conopsea - Fragrant Orchid (Manina rosea).
Left and Center: [Orchidaceae] Dactylorhiza sambucina – Elder-flower Orchid (Orchide sambucina). Right: [Orchidaceae] Gymnadenia conopsea - Fragrant Orchid (Manina rosea).

[Plantaginaceae] Plantago media – Hoary Plantain (Piantaggine media).[Plantaginaceae] Plantago alpina – Alpine Plantain (Piantaggine delle Alpi).[Plantaginaceae] Plantago atrata – Dark Plantain (Piantaggine nerastra).
Left: [Plantaginaceae] Plantago media – Hoary Plantain (Piantaggine media). Center: [Plantaginaceae] Plantago alpina – Alpine Plantain (Piantaggine delle Alpi). Right: [Plantaginaceae] Plantago atrata – Dark Plantain (Piantaggine nerastra).

Lunch at Rifugio Bertone. Meat and cheese plate with fontina and mocetta. Lunch at Rifugio Bertone. Polenta with egg served in a crock pot.Lunch at Rifugio Bertone. Tagliatelle with mushrooms.
Lunch at Rifugio Bertone. Left: Meat and cheese plate with fontina and mocetta. Center: Polenta with egg served in a crock pot. Right: Tagliatelle with mushrooms.

Meal at Rifutio Bonatti. Breakfast with book on identifying plants.Meal at Rifutio Bonatti. Dinner salad.Meal at Rifutio Bonatti. Soup.Meal at Rifutio Bonatti. Main course of meatballs and carrots.
Meals at Rifutio Bonatti. Left: Breakfast with book on identifying plants. Center Left: Dinner salad. Center Right: Soup. Right: Main course of meatballs and carrots.

View of the trail for the two day hike. Heading to Rifugio Bonati on the TMB in Val Ferret.View of the trail for the two day hike. Strada del Villair above Courmayeur which is part of the TMB.View of the trail for the two day hike. Rock marking trail #42 Testa Bernarda. View of the trail for the two day hike. Sunrise at Rifugio Bonatti and view of Mont Blanc.
Views of the trail for the two day hike. Left: Heading to Rifugio Bonati on the TMB in Val Ferret. Center Left: Strada del Villair above Courmayeur which is part of the TMB. Center Right: Rock marking trail #42 Testa Bernarda. Right: Sunrise at Rifugio Bonatti and view of Mont Blanc.

View of the trail for the two day hike. Above Rifugio Bonatti, walking south-southeast into Valley of Malatrà.View of the trail for the two day hike. View from Valley of Malatrà back toward Mont Blanc range. View of the trail for the two day hike. Bonatti, walking south-southeast into Valley of Malatrà. Center Left: View from Valley of Malatrà back toward Mont Blanc range. Center Right: On trail #44, descending from Testa Bernarda and heading toward Rifugio Bertone. View of the trail for the two day hike. On trail #44, looking down on Rifugio Bertone.
Views of the trail for the two day hike. Left: Above Rifugio Bonatti, walking south-southeast into Valley of Malatrà. Center Left: View from Valley of Malatrà back toward Mont Blanc range. Center Right: On trail #44, descending from Testa Bernarda and heading toward Rifugio Bertone. Right. On trail #44, looking down on Rifugio Bertone.

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