23 March 2011

Hiking Monte Lema - Monte Tamaro, Ticino CH

June 2003 & July 2007

This is the second Ticino (Tessin) based hiking route that I've added to my blog. It is also a one day hiking route (almost 15km). I've done it twice.

I've included some photos from my first hike there. During the 2nd visit there I didn't even carry a camera with me as I tried to run it through (how stupid, I know). There are lots of photos available from these mountains, just google/bing them.

Monte Lema - Monte Tamaro  (or vice versa)

It is a well known hiking route located in southern part of Ticino canton in Switzerland. It is sometimes  called a peak-to-peak route, as it goes almost only on top of the mountains, staying on the ridges almost all the way. These mountains are basically the last big mountains when going south towards Milano in Italy. MySwitzerland.com advertises this route as "Nowhere else can such views be found. This ridge walk from Monte Lema to Monte Tamaro is a classic amongst the Swiss high altitude hikes. The panoramic view is unbeatable".

The hiking route is rated as T2, or usually T3, depending on the actual route (short information about ratings in www.hikr.org. Ratings are defined by Swiss Alpine Club).

There are some alternatives of how many mountain peaks one would like to follow. The route I've done is perhaps the most common, containing eight peaks altogether.

The peaks are (from south to north): 
    Monte Lema (1627m)
    Poncione di Breno (1654m)
    Zottone (1569m)
    Monte Magno (1636m)
    Monte Pola (1742m)
    Monte Gradiccioli (1935m)
    Monte Tamaro (1961m)
    Alpe Foppa (1530m)

Here's the route (View Larger Map):

The scenery throughout the route is spectacular. Monte Lema advertises its peak to be the best for 360 degrees scenery on this neighborhood. Nothing against that. The best view is typically on a sunny day immediately after the rain when the air is clear (usually during the summer months visibility in long distance is not so good).  The route is also vulnerable for wind due to its openness.

The hiking route starts from the top of Monte Lema (1624m). The peak can be reached from Miglieglia (717m) village (now belonging to Malcantone region), either by climbing up from there or taking a lift (Funivia).

A view to north from Monte Lema

The path is clearly visible, and also marked on some stones along the route (painted white-red-white stripes).

White-Red-White markings along the route

Some steep sections ...

... but not too dangerous

If you think that the route is easy from Gradiccioli to Tamaro, you're wrong, as the route goes a bit down from Gradiccioli down to 1764m level (Bassa di Montoia) and stays in that level until Bassa di Indemini (1723m) where it starts to climb in a short distance until to the top of the Tamaro.

The last sprint ...

... but not quite yet

Aah, finally there, but ...

After reaching the peak of Monte Tamaro, the route still continues some kilometers ascending to Alte Foppa (despite the name of the route suggests to finish here). 

Locarno and Ascona and Lago di Maggiore

Sometimes clouds stop visibility

The final destination is Alpe Foppa (1530m), where the lifts from Rivera are ending. Alpe Foppa area used to be the south most ski resort, known as "Monte Tamaro" (I came here several times some years back). There is one important sightseeing in there, Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angeli, a chapel designed by Mario Botta.

These fellows enjoy a beautiful scenery even at lunch time

Lessons Learnt:
  • Not opened on winter months, check e.g. Monte Lema site
  • Check when the lifts are active for Monte Lema and especially Rivera-Alte Foppa (Monte Tamaro)
  • Check bus timetables between Rivera and Miglieglia
  • If you decide to hike from Alte Foppa to Rivera, after the ascent one has to cross the highway (Autostrada) to get Rivera and this crossing makes hiking path clearly longer  
  • There are no places to get fresh water after the Cafe on the peak of Monte Lema. Thus it is important to carry enough water with you.
  • SwissTopo hiking maps (1:25000) useful

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