Ralf sent an email on Friday whether I wanted to join for a two day hike starting Saturday. Of course I did ;-) After climbing in the gym that evening I quickly threw together a backpack full of gear at midnight and left the house at 7 in the morning. Biking to Adliswil where I would meet Michael to continue by car to Cama in canton des Grisons, picking up Ralf along the way.
Val Cama is beautiful. The trail snakes up through dense forest in a steep valley. The creek at its base was mostly dry because the water has been diverted for energy production. Once the valley opens to the lake you get fantastic views of an impenetrable wall of rock that forms the natural border to Italy. The hut at the lake is still closed and there are only a handful of people around. I love it.
There is a giant scar on one of the mountains from a fresh landslide in 2013 which killed the local shepherd who was running out of her hut with her two year old kid in her arms. Miraculously the daughter survived. So did a whole group of children camping at the base of the mountain with the WWF.
We continue up to the Alp d'Albion. A tiny hut that sleeps four. We drop our gear for the night and head further up the mountain for our first summit of the weekend. Originally we wanted to climb the Piz de Sambrog (2312m). But since there is still quite a bit of snow, it's getting late and the terrain is anything but easy, we contend ourselves with one of the smaller side peaks, the Cima Centrale de Sambrog (2300m). Fun scrambling over a ridge leads us to a nice summit cairn.
Back down at "our" hut we get a nice fire going and cook a truly luxurious dinner with a meat, cheese and wine appetizer followed by pasta a la tonno. All the while enjoying a fantastically colorful dusk.
The next day we head back down to the lake and up the other side. It starts raining heavily. We sit out the worst part of it under cover of some trees. It doesn't clear up completely though and we'll have rain the entire day. Still we push on. We light another fire at the Alp de Vazzola and have an extensive rest to dry some of our gear. A dangerous exercise as Michael discovers when his synthetic shirt melts a bit ;-)
Pathfinding past the hut gets more and more tricky. The trail is overgrown and hidden beneath patches of snow. The markers are old and faded. A fun scavenger hunt scramble. Once we reach the saddle I declare we should stick with our original plan to climb the ridge for nearly a kilometer to the summit. Luckily the others don't need any convincing anyway. We simply agree that the rain is just an unusually humid day.
Il Pizzet (2218m) would usually offer sweeping vistas. We only catch small glimpses down to the valley. We hike down steep, pathless, grassy wet slopes until we meet the trail again at the Alp de Mea. As soon as we get below the tree line it suddenly turns into twilight underneath dense foliage. The trail is covered in 20 centimeters of old leaves, cushioning every step. Quite nice actually. But also slippery and it is still steep enough that stumbling would be ill advised. After a looong descent we arrive back at the car.
Great trip, great company. Thanks Ralf for choosing the route and finding this nice hut!