The Alps

One item on my bucket list is to see the Alps and stand on top of one of them. I’ve been wanting the see the Alps for almost all my adult life but somehow it just has never happened – until now!

I’m in Alagna Valsesia at the foot of the Monte Rosa massif. The trip itinerary contains a summit of the second highest peak of Monte Rosa, Punta Gnifetti (also called Signalkuppe) at 4554m. Before that, we will do a lot of hiking and go a little bit higher every day to do some acclimatisation, so the air won’t feel quite so thin once we hike to the top.

Today’s hike took us to Val d’Otro in beautiful and warm sunshine. I didn’t appreciate it very much though – my nose was running non-stop and the group held a pace which I was not prepared for at all, it was much faster than I normally do and there were almost no breaks at all. By the time we were back down in the village, I thought I was going to have a heat stroke! There is also no wind to provide relief from the heat. It is very strange to stand on the open meadows high up on the mountain and not feel even a whisper of a wind, it almost never happens at home. But apparently it’s the norm here!

There are mountain huts (rifugi) on every mountain. We stopped for lunch in Val d’Otro, I had polenta with milk, which is standard fare here (whereas we have waffles at home). It’s edible, that’s all I can say…

Since I knew that this was a hiking holiday, my photography gear is on the light side as well. I have both my Sony cameras, with a wideangle, normal zoom and superzoom, plus the little Olympus Tough. And two filters, Pol and ND, in case of waterfalls (no tripod though). I had the wideangle on the A7 and normal zoom on the A6300 today, and wasn’t very surprised to see that I only really could use the normal zoom. The wideangle just simply requires more time for finding the right composition, while the normal zoom allows me to take quick snaps. And I was lucky to even have a chance to get the snaps, that’s how fast we’re moving. This is not hiking as I know it!

  • Today’s ascent: 725m
  • Highest altitude: 1822m (according to my sports watch)
White houses and high mountains
White houses and high mountains
human scale
A member of our group provides the human scale
Traditional architecture in Val d'Otro
Traditional architecture in Val d’Otro
Alpine meadows
Alpine meadows
Alagna Valsesia from above
Alagna Valsesia from above. On the other side, between the peaks, is our target for tomorrow
Our group re-filling water bottles
Our group re-filling water bottles. The water fountains are everywhere where there are buildings, and the water is clean and good!
Fixing roofs
Fixing roofs, Italian style
View from the Rifugio Zar Senni
View from the Rifugio Zar Senni, where we had lunch
Two chimneys and two peaks
Two chimneys and two peaks
Alpine views
Alpine views
Val d'Otro
Val d’Otro

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