11.02.2017

Mountain - Hiking Itineraries: Monte Pisanino

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Climbing the dorsal
Monte Pisanino is the highest peak (1,946 m) in the Alpi Apuane, in Tuscany, central Italy. There are two routes to get to summit: the 'via normale' and the 'Bagola bianca' route, very demanding. Of course we decided to try the last one, because as Bob A. Schelfhout Aubertijn told me: "Adventure without risk is Disneyland." (quoting Douglas Coupland, "Generation X"). 
HERE you can find an accurate description of the route. In short... it climbs vertically from Rifugio Valserenaia to the summit, following a dangerous rocky dorsal emerging from that fucking slippery grass we call 'paleo'. 
The weather was perfect, sunny but not too hot. We started climbing on the steep almost invisble path, often checking the description to be sure it was right: it's supposed to be an excurisonistic route EE, not a mountaineering route, and we were (un)equiped accordingly... but... ehm... it was hard! 
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Pizzo d'Uccello
The wonderful view was keeping high our morale: Pizzo d'Uccello was just in front, partially covered by low clouds, while the summit of Pisanino was hidden by the vertical slope. We attacked the rocks and it was amusing, we were going on pretty well.
Suddenly I had to stop: my legs are short and I couldn't find a place where to put my foot. I was stuck in that passage, not happy but calm, considering how to get out of it, when I realised that my left boot was untied! 
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The dorsal
Ok. I kept cool my blood. Still it wasn't a nice situation. Not at all. I had no choice but to put all my weight on my hands and to move quickly beyond the unsure foot place, just a slight corrugation on the wide smooth rock. 
Tiziano was swearing like hell: "WE GO DOWN! IMMEDIATELY". "What are you saying? I'm fine!" I was, tieing my boot. Honestly I thought that after those rocks the route was going to be easier. I was wrong. 
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Pisanino summit
We had to follow a narrow ledge ('cengia') leading to a small pass. Another vertical slope and we arrived atop the famous 'bagola bianca', the foresummit of Pisanino. 
We stared to the last meters of the route almost in shock: a sharp crest, some wild goats, a verical climb covered in paleo grass and no path in sight
We decided to renounce to the summit. Probably it wasn't harder than the part we had already done, but the discrepancy between the route classification and its reality had shaken my selfconfidence...
No summit means we had to go down from the same hard way, so the descent was as demanding as the climb and probably more dangerous. In some points we had to slip off on the paleo grass trying to control by our feet because the slope was too steep to safely walk. It was fun and scary at the same time.
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Descending on the paleo
From the summit we had phoned to Rifugio Donegani asking for advice and to inform we where up there. "I'll share a drink with you later" the guy had said "Or I'll come looking for you at dusk!". Fortunately we reached the mountain foot much earlier.

ITINERARY
Time: 5 hours
Km: 7,3 Km
Elevation:  1050 m
Where: Alpi Apuane (Garfagnana, Lucca, Toscana, Italy). Closer village: Minucciano (water, food shop).
Start and finish: Rifugio Valserenaia (1100 m). The rifuge was closed, not far there is Rifugio Donegani.
Summit: Monte Pisanino (1947 m)
Signals: no one. 

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