The idea to connect the 4 major peaks around Lecco first came to me a couple of years ago, but there was always an excuse not to do anything about it, or maybe I was just to lazy. Well this year the desire was greater and with the plan to spend the whole of August in the UK I was keen to do something about it. Things didn't turn out like that so I left without having realised the plan. I returned in September and I could immediately feel the nights drawing in. It was my first weekend back in Italy, I was well rested and fed from my time away. With a full moon, and clear skies promised for the weekend I decided this would be my last chance this year.
There were several unknown quantities to the challenge. Although I had done some sections of the loop on separate occasions I didn't know how much ascent or decent the trip would involve, how much time it would take or even how far it was. To be honest I didn't really want to know. If I had of sat down at the map and calculated the itinerary I would more than likely have been put off the idea. Ignorance was my friend.
There are a few ways to approach the loop. You can try it in a day, a long day.. or you can take 2 days sleeping at 2400m on top of Grigna in rifugio Brioschi. There are also a couple of self imposed guidelines which you may or may not wish to follow. 1. Start and finish on lake Como, for example in Piazza Cermenati. 2. No assistance by motorised transport. 3 Entirely self supported, you should carry your own food and water. Fortunately there are several springs along the way which if you use wisely will mean you do not need to take several litres of water. It is worth mentioning water, because the long summer days can get very hot and humid.
06.30 I left the comfort of home. The number 52 path starts from the edge of the town and climbs steeply through the trees for 5 minutes before turning left and traversing along the hillside overlooking Lake Como. It is very scenic and weaves through the steep limestone faces. There are a couple of points where you are assisted by chains but it is never difficult if you don't mind some light scrambling. The path flattens for a while as you pass rifugio Piazza (water stop) heading for Forcellino. The path now goes up and down over crests before crossing a rocky gully indicating the start of the long climb up to Forcellino (1287m). This can seem an endless climb, especially as the fine views are hidden. Upon reaching the plateau head continue along a track through the trees descending towards Piani Resinelli. Join the road for a short while taking you past the towerblock to the main carpark.
This is where most people who are attempting Grignetta start. You can feel smug that you have already done a good job, but there is still some way to go. The water fountain is on the right just before you enter the car park. It is the last for a while so make sure you fill up. Go past the bar / rifugio at the end of the car park and follow the road that climbs to rifugio Porta. You now leave the road and take the steep rocky path to the summit of Grignetta. It is pretty sustained all the way with a slight reduction in gradient once on the shoulder. A bivuoac hut on top in the shape of an igloo is a great place to refuel and take in the view. Impressively steep faces drop away in all directions and the next objective, Grigna, stands to the North.
If you have any sense you will have already decided to spend the night here. It is the obvious point to break the trip into two days, and what better place to enjoy and evening meal and breakfast in the morning.
I don?t usually like retracing my steps, but a short trek back to the junction is easier than a steep route from the ridge. The path descends through a pleasant green valley with interesting rocks on your left. Take time once at the rifugio to study the map. I didn?t and took the wrong path down to Pasturo effectively ending my one day challenge. Make sure to take the path that heads directly to the campsite otherwise you will loose a lot of height, and walk a lot further than is necessary.
You have got this far so you do not want to blow it now if you are trying to do the loop in a day. Looking at the map there is a conveniently looking path marked as 31. This climbs directly up the hillside to reach the ridge. My advice is not to take it. I have tried to find this path on 2 occasions without success. I now sincerely believe it is the figment of some cartographers imagination. What you will find is a steep forested hillside with gullies of loose leaves. It is not a nice proposition after all you have done but if you decide to go for it crampons could prove useful. My only advice is to head straight up until you hit the ridge, at certain points you will cross tracks that appear to traverse the hillside, my advice is to ignore them. A better option in my opinion, and to ease back into climbing after a long decent is to follow the road for a short distance and take the well marked path. Follow this to reach the summit of the Zucco.
The path is not the 32 as indicated on the map. From what I could understand it is the 21
Rifugio Resinelli Half way up Zucco di Desio? Several by the group of huts under Zucco di Desio Forbetta Small spring on sentiero 1 just on the shoulder Crossing the river just before Rif. Stoppani