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Alpine Crossing 2013 – Day 22: Balme – Usseglio

The path upwards was very nice today. We climbed ~1000m up and then used a road down again to Usseglio. This is the short description of today. However today was a quite scary day. On our way upwards we passed a small bivaccio on about 2200m. We wanted to find out if it is open but it seemed to be locked from inside. Suddenly a man opened from inside – it was already about 9:30 in the morning – and said good morning :D And then a woman came out of the bivaccio…I think they had an amazing night ;) The forecast for today said heavy rain and probably thunderstorm. At the bivaccio the weather still looked ok. We continued to the highest point. A thick cloud was blown above the pass and it suddenly became foggy and cold. This was a very strange feeling since the sun was warm and comfortable minutes ago. Up there we saw some ibexes in the fog…little scary. Since we were not able to see the clouds anymore, because we were in the middle of a big one, it was really hard to tell if there was a thunderstorm coming or not – especially since it was the forecast for the afternoon. So we hurried downwards to the next Alp. It was astonishing to see what the human body can do under stress. When we arrived at the Alp we asked for the weather. We only understood some words but the message was: no storm for the next hours. So we continued downwards. We decided to take the road since the original descent of the Via Alpina was quite steep – and the weather was still unstable. We arrived in the valley and further followed the road towards Usseglio. It was very hot and the cumulus clouds were already very high. It was again just a question of time until the storm was going to start. So we hurried…again. In a small village approx. 5 km before our destination the thunderstorm began. Naively we thought that we will find a place to stay in such a case – but in fact it was hard to find something. There was no bar, no restaurant and no single hotel or pension. The village was like dead. The only bus stop didn’t have any time table – and the church was closed. We thought about stopping a car …but there was no car. The thunders became quite loud and the whole situation seemed too bad to be true. Then – suddenly – a small bus came around the corner. It was the regular bus to Usseglio which drives just a few times per day. We ran after the bus and waved like idiots. It stopped and we were allowed to enter. The busdriver opened the window – I think after this day we were stinking like beevers :) – and he didn’t event want us to buy a ticket. So we finally arrived safely in Usseglio – the last 5km by bus.

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