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près de Cheiron, Piemonte (Italia)
After Refuge Agnel, we were planning to do a 2-day stage in Italy (Refuge viso) before continuing the GR58 at la Monta. This stage in Italy was not recommended at this time of the year due to heavy snow and dangerous steep descents. We had to drop our previous plan and decided to go directly to La Monta. Disappointed at the beginning for not traversing Col Agnel into Italy, we started to feel better while ascending to "Col vieux" covered by snow. The ascent is not particularly difficult but the snow was covering the whole trail.
At the "Col vieux", we can see clearly the majestic "Pain de sucre" mountain. We also had to skip its ascent because of snow. To the north of "Col vieux", the scenery was magnificient especially the lake "Foréant", most of it was icy. The descent to the lake was fully in snow but not difficult. After passing the lake, we didn't continue on the normal GR 58 but we made our descent to the right (The guardians at refuge agnel recommended this at this time of the year because of snow). The descent is amazing and we had to stop many times to take pictures to snowy mountains, rivers and natural waterfalls. We reached the other lake, lake Egorgéou, smaller than the first one. After passing the lake, the scenery opened wide and changed abruptly to a beautiful forest view. The trail was nice and clear. Some parts of the trail were covered by snow or by fallen trees. We encountered lots of marmots and many alpine ibex (Bouquetins). At the end of this long descent, we reached the "Guil river". After a short walk alongside the river, we crossed a wooden bridge to L'Echalp. After visting the "7 degrees est" gite d'etapes, we decided to stay there for the night instead of continuing to "refuge la monta". This Gîte d'étape is very cozy and comfortable. The staff is welcoming. The rooms are clean and renovated and the food is delicious. The prices are not higher than other Gites d'etapes but the service is first-class. I highly recommend stopping at this gite before continuing the Tour.
Beautiful place. You can take beautiful photos there.