Mount Tenibres (3031 m)
Maritime Alps, Piedmont - Italy
valle Stura, provincia di Cuneo
Grade: EE / F
Starting point: Pian della Regina
Height to climb: 1592 m
First climbed: agosto 2006
A few words
Mount Tenibres is located in the Maritime Alps, on the border between Italy and France. This page describes the route to the summit from the Stura Valley, about 50 km W of Cuneo, Piedmont (Italy).
Getting to the starting point
From the GTA
The GTA path is not far away. If you are walking from S to N, you'll be descending from Rifugio Migliorero and Passo di Rostagno, heading for Passo Sottano delle Scolettas and on to Rifugio Talarico. In the nearby of Rifugio Zanotti the GTA intersects the path coming up from the valley floor and heading for Mt.Tenibres. But on this more below, in the 'Notes' section.
From Cuneo to Borgo San Dalmazzo, then follow the road for the Valle Stura di Demonte. At Pietraporzio (1246m), some 50km from Cuneo, take the road descending left. Follow signposts for "Piano della Regina" and "Rifugio Zanotti", and a steep narrow paved road takes you shortly to the scenic grassy basin of Piano della Regina (1439 m), where you leave the car.
By public transport
Ati (www.atibus.it, Click on "Orari e Linee") runs the bus service between Cuneo and Vinadio, and from there to Argentera (the last village of the Valle Stura). Once in Pietraporzio, however, you'll have to walk or get a lift from Pietraporzio to where the route begins, which is at Piano della Regina (if you are walking consider 200m of extra elevation gain).
At Piano della Regina, fill your bottles from the nice fountain (called "Fonte della Regina" - but mind the impressive number of bees resting? all around the tap…), then start hiking up the Vallone del Piz on a mildly sloped unpaved road, at first in a wood and then through a scenic grazing basin.
In the nearby of the Zanotti hut (Rifugio Zanotti), ignore the fork L, first descending and then ascending to the mountain hut (signpost), and keep going along the road. Immediately after a hair-pin bend on the right another signpost points left for the Passo Tenibres (1h 30 from the car parking)(straight on you'd reach, on the GTA, the Passo Sottano delle Scolettas, already in sight).
Take this path on the left, and narrow zigzags ascend the shoulder of the mountain to gain the Vallone Superiore del Piz, a large valley of chaotic rubble slopes of mixed boulders, rocks and loose stones surrounded by high peaks. The valley is closed at the very end by Passo Tenibres, the pass you have to reach.
Past the nice lake Mongioie (2480m) (picture n.1), a well trodden path leads you up, on the right side of the valley, toward the pass (picture n.2).
As you get closer, a casermetta - that is a small military building - now in ruin, comes into sight, just below the pass (picture n.3). The closer you get to the casermetta and the steeper and harder the going gets, often on unstable terrain.
Once at the casermetta, you can choose between the ascent of the very steep and slippery couloir, on the left, that leads directly to the Passo Tenibres (2940 m), and a short scramble on the right, above the Casermetta.
The first option (picture n.4) is graded easier than the scrambling ("EE" instead of "F"), but the latter (picture n.5) is preferred by most hikers and recommended by the CAI-TCI guidebook.
We opted for the short scrambling stretch above the casermetta, and we found ourselves on the ridge (from which you enjoy some views of the distant French valley floor). From the ridge you avoid a rocky spur by carefully descending on the French side, to reach at last Passo Tenibres (2h 30 from the fork for the Zanotti hut, 4h from Pian della Regina).
The most difficult part of the route now behind you, from the pass you can spot the cross on the summit, small but real (picture n.6).
From the Passo Tenibres, past a short level stretch with some chances of late-lying snow, a dim path embarks on the final steep ascent to the summit (picture n.7), tiring of course at this point, but without exposure or difficulty.
You are at last on the top of Monte Tenibres (30min from Passo Tenibres, 4h 30 from Piano della Regina), from which you enjoy a breathtaking view (picture n.8) onto the surrounding peaks (Becco Alto di Ischiator and Mount Corborant are the closest and easiest to spot), and of the farther ranges (the massive bulk of the Argentera standing out, as usual, very clearly on the horizon). Mount Tenibres also towers over the impressive Lake Rabuons, in France, the largest natural lake in the Maritime Alps.
This is a tiring and demanding, but also rewarding route.
The height to gain is nearly 1600m, however, and that's truly a lot. In addition, there is a short tricky stretch just below the Passo Tenibres, which entails either some scrambling or the ascent of a very steep and unstable couloir.
If you are doing the GTA it would be of paramount importance to avoid the descent to Pietraporzio, on the valley floor. Ideally you should overnight at the Zanotti hut, but the Rifugio is unmanned, and the keys must be taken at Pontebernando (Albergo delle Barricate, 0171/96616), a village located even farther than Pietraporzio!
Try to call them, you never know. You may discover that the night in question the Rifugio is open because somebody is sleeping there and has already taken the keys; or they might suggest you another solution that won't make you lose hundreds of hard-gained metres in altitude!. Give it a try, Mount Tenibres is one of the two 3000m peaks of the Maritime Alps west of the Argentera (the other being Mt Corborant), and it is almost along your route. It would be a pity to miss it.
La descrizione di questo itinerario risale ormai a parecchi anni fa e non verrà più aggiornata. Nel frattempo, però, i luoghi, le vie di accesso ed i sentieri potrebbero essere cambiati.
Anfablopir.com non si assume comunque alcuna responsabilità per l'esattezza delle informazioni riportate su questa pagina.
Chiunque ne fa uso, lo fa ovviamente a proprio rischio e pericolo.