Skip to main content

Full text of "Italian Alps: sketches in the mountains of Ticino, Lombardy, the Trentino, and Venetia"


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 






i\\ i 










Thb First Chaptbb is reprinted with corrections and additions from 
* Frasers Magazine.' The Thirteenth and fragments of one or two others 
have previously appeared in the * Alpine Journal/ from which three of the 
illustrations have also been borrowed. The remaining seven have been 
engraved for this work under the care of Mr. G. Pbabsox. 

The heights throughout the book and in all the maps are given in 
English feet. 


I OWE a donble' apology for the publication of this 
Yolame; in the first place to the public, secondly to 
my friends. 

^ Mountaineering ' has been by this time fully de- 
scribed by verj competent write™. No new book is 
likely to have any chance of rivalling the popularity of 
the first series of ^ Peaks, Passes, and Glaciers,' or of 
the dramatic story of the Matterhom, as told and 
illustrated by Mr. E. Whymper. There is no longer 
the least novelty in the small feats of gymnastics 
annually performed, or supposed to be performed, 
by members of the Alpine Club. Pew readers, I 
think, outside that body of enthusiasts, are eager 
to hear anything more of guides and glaciers, 
arStes and s^racs, cols, couloirs and crevasses. 
Such subjects recur more often than I could wish in 
the following pages. But in attempting to give any 
adequate picture of a mountain region it is impossible 
to leave out the snow mountains. My object has 
been to keep them as far as possible in their proper 
place in the landscape. I could not, like some tourists. 

Tiii PREFACE. . 

ignore eyerything above the snow-level, bat I have not, 
I trust, written as if the world began only at that point 
and everything beneath it was also beneath notice. 

The sketches here brought together are a patchwork 
from the journals of seven summers. Their chief claim 
to interest lies in the fact that thf^y deal with portions 
of the Alpine chain, about which English readers have 
hitherto found no information in their own language 
except in guide-books. General experience proves that 
the British mind — the remark does not, I believe, hold 
equally good of the German — will not readily take in a 
new lesson through this medium. Few of our fellow- 
countrymen turn their steps towards an unknown region 
unless directed thither either by the report of friends or 
by some book less technical and abstruse than a Dic- 
tionary of Peaks and Passes. Such a book, I venture 
to hope, the present volume may be found. 

The gap which it is intended to fill has long re- 
mained one of the broadest in our English Alpine 

We have already two works of permanent value 
dealing with the southern side of the Alps. But Yal 
Formazza was the eastern limit of the late Mr. King's 
*' Italian Valleys of the Pennine Alps.' The authors 
of *The Dolomites' did not go west of the Adige. 
The exquisite valleys round the head of Lago Maggiore, 
so easily accessible from the lake or the St. Gothard 
road, have been completely passed over. The moun- 
tains of Yal Masino and Yal Livigno, distant respec- 
tively only a day's journey west and east of the crowded 


Upper Engadine, are still left to their bears and Ber- 
gamasqne shepherds. The Punta Trubinesca, a noble 
peak, which, seen from Monte Generoso, heads the army 
of the Bhsetian Alps, has been but once ascended, 
although it is accessible to anybody who can cross the 
Diavolezza Pass or climb the Titlis. In the highlands 
of Ix>mbardy and the Trentino — speaking roughly, the 
country between Lago di Como and Trent — Italy and 
Switzerland seem to join hands. There, under an 
Italian sky and girt round by southern flowers and 
foliage, the fantastic rock-ridges and mighty towers of 
the Brenta stand opposite the broad snow-plains of the 
Adamello. Yet the beauties of this region, one of the 
most fascinating in the Alps, have, but for a stray 
mountaineer or a scanty notice in the ^ Alpine Journal,' 
remained unsought and unsung. 

The few friends and companions who have hitherto 
shared with me its enjoyment may here ask, ^ And why 
could not you let them remain soP' I will at any rate 
ofTer none but honest excuses. I can make no pretence 
to having been overcome by any benevolent feeling to- 
wards the public at large. Had there seemed the smallest 
reasonable hope of our haunts remaining undisturbed 
I should have been disposed still to keep the secret 1 
have already guarded for some years. But unfor- 
tunately, at least from our point of view, a spirit of 
enterprise has sprung up amongst the people of the 
country, roads are being made, new inns opened, old 
ones furbished up, and as a result English visitors are 
becoming less and less rare. In the ordinary com*se of 


eyents it was hardly possible for another year to pass 
by without some monthly tourist, with a facility in 
bookmaking, penetrating the Lombard Alps. 

If it was inevitable that these mountains should be 
brought before the world, it seemed better that they 
should be introduced by one who had with them a 
friendship of some years' standing rather than by a new 
acquaintance. Moreover there was a very obvious 
advantage in making the revelation myself. I have 
outgrown the rash enthusiasm which leads discoverers to 
overrate all the merits and understate half the dis- 
advantages of their last new discovery. I have, so far 
as I know my own mind, no desire to deceive anybody. 
I am prepared, as new-comers seldom are, to attach at 
least their due importance to all dif&culties of climate 
or of transport, from want of accommodation or from 
want of guides. In short, I mean to frame a friendly 
invitation to those who know how to tsravel which 
yet shall not allure the crowd who tour. As an 
eclectic wanderer I can afford to state, with perfect 
frankness, my conviction that, if you can put up with 
the crowd, there is no place where great snow-peaks 
are so well seen as in the Bernese Oberland — that there 
is no climbing which equals that to be had within 
twenty miles of Zermatt — that the ice scenery on Mont 
Blanc is unsurpassable in Europe, and the climate of the 
Upper Engadine the most bracing south of the Arctic 
circle. And I can heartily agree in the conclusion that 
everyone who, wishing for nothing more, crosses the 
frontier of Italy, commits an act of folly. I write only 


for those who do wish for something more — who, like 
myself, feel at times in a mood for less austere society. 
The Swiss peaks sit erect in a solemn white-robed row 
of Monks and Virgins, most noble and inspiring to con- 
template. The Italian Alps I may venture to compare 
to a gay and gracious company robed in blue, red, and 
purple pomp, and setting off the costume by that most 
becoming artifice, well-powdered heads. 

I have only to add a few words on matters of detail. 
The first eleven chapters deal with ground new' to 
English readers. The twelfth contains information not 
given elsewhere, and likely to be useful now that a 
large inn is opened at San Martino di Castrozza, in the 
most beautiful situation of any stopping-place in Italian 
Tyrol.* The Pelmo, as in many respects a unique 
mountain, has a certain novelty. The last chapter is 
an expostulation for which the present moment seems 
particularly opportune. 

In order to meet a diflSculty which most authors, 
must have felt, I have ventured in one respect on an 
innovation on the ordinary form of books of Swiss 
travel. The details as to inns, ascents or paths, 
necessary on the spot, are tiresome when a book is 
read at home ; on the other hand, when travelling it is 
often difficult at a moment's notice to extract from 

' The livigno district has been touched on in two works, A Summer 
Tour tfi the Grisons, by Mrs. H. Freshfield, and Here and There in the 
MpSy by the Hon. F. Plnnket, but the route here described was not pre- 
Tiouslj known. There is a pleasant description of Val di Sole, in On Foot 
through Tyrol, by Walter White. Chapman and Hall, 1866. 

« See Appendix F on * Tyrol ▼. Tirol.' 


the body of the work the exact fact wanted. Such 
new remarks therefore as I had to offer on these 
matters, I have embodied in an appendix where, without 
being obtrusive, they will be readily accessible. 

The list of illustrations and maps will explain itself, 
and show that by Messrs. Longman's liberality the 
Tolume is in these respects unusually well provided. 

My best thanks are due to my friends Mr. J. Gilbert 
and Mr. F. F. Tuckett for the use of the accurate 
sketches which have furnished most of the illustrations. 

Two of the district maps and part of the third are 
extracts from the as yet unpublished south-eastern 
sheet of the Alpine Club map of the Central Alps. The 
hiU-engraving being stiU incomplete, the mountains 
have been put in from a stone. 

The Brenta group is now laid down for the first 
time with any approach to accuracy, and some pains 
have been taken to render this addition as &r as 
possible worthy of the map of which it forms a natural 
extension. For assistance in my endeavours to ascer- 
tain the correct nomenclature I have to thank the 
Trentine Alpine Society, who appointed a special com- 
mittee to make enquiries on the spot,' and Mr. M. 
Holzmann. I regret to be obliged to add that owing to 
the churlishness of the Viennese authorities I have been 
unable to profit in any way by the results of the great 
Survey of the Trentino and South Tyrol lately executed 
by the Austrian engineers. 

> See Appendix £ for fiirther details on thiB subject. 





Val Maggia — Bignasoo — Val Lavizzara — The Basodine — Val Bavona 
— Piz Campo Tencca — Val di Prato 1 



PaSBo di Redorta — Val Verzasca — A Broken Road —Locarno — Val 
Oanobbinii— Val Vigezzo 28 




The Mountains of Val Maaino — The Aveisthal — Madriser Paaa — Val 
Bregaglia — Zocca Pass — Promontogno — Val Bondasca— Passo di 
Ferro^Bagni del Masino — Passo di Monte Siasone — The Forno 
Glacier 41 



Chiareggio — Paaso di Mello — Pasao di Bondo — Cima del Largo— 
. Val Masino — Pnnta Trubineaca — Monte della Biagrazia — The .Ap- 
proach to Sondrio — A Reply 68 






The Priitigan— Ventanklft Thor— Tarasp— Piz Pisoe— Pasao del Dia- 
vel — Livigno — Monte Zembiaeca — ^Passo di Doedi— Val Groeina . 94 



Val d*£8ino— The Origna— Introbbio—Foreella di Cedrino— Val Torta 
— An Old Traveller — ^Val Brembana — Branzi — Passo di Gomigo — 
Gromo — Val Seriana — ^Bondione — Monte Gleno — ^Val Belviso . 121 




The Aprica Pasa — Edolo^Val Camonica — Cedegolo— Val Saviore — ^.^ 
Lago d*Arno— Monte Castello— Val di Fum — Val Daone — Lago di ■•. 
Ledpo — Riva — The Gorges of the Sarca — Val Rendena — Pinzolo— 
ThePraFiori—Vald'Algone—Stenico— The High Road to Trent . 164 



English and German Mountaineers — The Lombard Alps from Monte 
Rosa — Nomenclature — Gavia Pass — Ponte di Legno — Tonale Pass 
— Vermiglio — Val Presanella — The Presanella — ^Passo di Cevcen — 
Val di Genova 182 



A Tyrolese Porter— The Bedole Alp—The Adamello— Val Miller— 
Val df Malga— Val di Borzago— The Carfe Alto— A High-level 
Route— Passo di Mandron — Val d'Avio 208 





Pinzolo— The ChurcheB of Val Bendena — History and Legends — 

Val Nambino — The Brenta Group — ha, Madonna di Campiglio — 
Hospice and Pension 229 



Val di Brenta — ^Bocca dei Camozzi — ^Val d'Agola — Passo d'Ambies — 
Val di Sole — QineTrie Pass — Cima di Brenta — Passo di Grosti — 
Val Teresenga — ^Molveno — Cima Tosa — Bocca di Brenta .248 



The ^wer Passes — Paneveggio — San Martino di Castrozza — The 
PatSs to Agordo — ^Val di San Lncano— Passo di Canale — Passo 
^Q|Ue Coraelle — Passo di Travignolo — Cima di Vezzana . . 279 



The Venetian Tyrol— Val di Zoldo- Passo d*Alleghe— San Nicol6— 
Campo di Rntorto — On the Pehno— A Lady's Ascent — The People 
of Val di Zoldo 308 




Men and Mountains — Mountain-haters— A Literary Example — Poets 
and Painters — ^The Place of Art — Alpine Scenery and Art — The 
Variety of the Alps — The Snow World — ^Mons. Lopp^'s Pictures — 
Conclusion 327 




Appendix A. 


Notes for Travellers 347 

Appendix B. 
Pictures and Antiquities of the Bezgamasque Valleys 367 

Appendix C. 
Routes from Santa Catarina to Val di Sole 369 

Appendix D. 
The Churches of Val Rendena 370 

Appendix £. 
The Nomenclature of the firenta Group # . 378 

Appendix F. 
Tyrol V. Tirol 380 

INDEX 381 




1. The Gima Tosa from Val di Brenta .... Frontispiece 

2. The Fasta Tmbineeca and Gima di Tschingel from 

aboye St Morita Vignette 

3. The Monte della Disgrazia from the Bemina Group . to face p. 69 

4. TheHeadofValdiGenoya ,206 

5. From the Adamello— looking Eaat . . . . ,,213 

6. San Stefano and the Gima di Nafdisio . . . . „ 232 

7. ^al di Brenta — from the road to Gampiglio ... „ 236 

8. MolTeno „ 27S 

9. The Gimon della Pala and Gma di Vezzana ... „ 296 
10. OnthePelmo m 317 


1. The Locarno District f> 1 

2. The Val Masino District ,41 

3. The Adamello and Brenta Groups >i 166 

4. The Primiero Group ,,279 

5. General Hap at end 




Huge mountainB of imqieasiirable height 

EncompaBs'd all the level valley round 
With mighty Blabs of rock that sloped upright, 

An insurmountable enormous bound ; — 
That vale was so sequestered and secluded, 
All search for ages pak it had eluded. Hookrax Fbbrs. 



The typical Alpine Clubman has been somewhere de- 
scribed bj Mr. Anthony TroUope as cherishing in his 
bosom, through the ten months of each year in which 
the business of life debars him from his favourite pur- 
suit, an ever-gnawing desire for the beloved mountains. 
For myself, whenever, as I often do, I vent 

an inward groan 

To sit upon an Alp as on a throne 

it is accompanied, as in Keats' sonnet, by ^ a languish- 
ment for skies Italian.'^ The bright recollections which 
at once console and harass me during the fogs and 
snows of our Cimmerian winters owe their existence as 
much to Italian valleys as to snowy peaks. After a 
week of hard mountaineering at Zermatt or in the 
•' B 


Oberland, the keen colourless air of the BifFel or Bell 
Alp begins to pall upon my senses; the pine-woods 
and chd;let« to remind me, against mj will, of a German 
box of toys. I sigh for the opal-coloured waves of 
atmosphere which are beating up against the southern 
slopes of the mountains, for the soft and varied foliage, 
the frescoed walls and far-gleaming campaniles of Italy. 
In such a mood, after a morning spent upon the snows 
of Monte Bosa or the Adamello, I plunge with the 
keenest delight amongst the vines of Yal Sesia or Yal 

For this morbid tendency, as it is considered by 
some vigorous friends, I do not propose to offer either 
defence or apology. Still less do I wish to become a 
public benefactor by leading on a mob to take posses- 
sion of my pleasure grounds. But there is ample room 
for a few congenial spirits, and towards these I would 
not be selfish. 

In truth the unequivocal warmth of the valleys of 
the southern Alps in August, the English travelling sea- 
son, vnll serve to check the incursions of cockney dom ; for 
the modem British tourist professes himself incapable of 
enjoying life, much less exercise, under even a moderate 
degree of heat. Everybody knows how the three warm 
days which make up an English summer are received 
with more groans than gratitude, and the thunderstorm 
which invariably ends them is saluted by a chorus of 
thanksgiving adequate for a delivery from some Egyp- 
tian plague. The sun so dreaded at home we naturally 
shun abroad. Italy and the Levant are already deserted 
at the season when they become most enjoyable. An 
Italian valley suggests to the too solid Englishman not 
the glorious glow of summer and a profusion of ' purple 


grapes, green figs, and mulberries/ but fever, cholera, 
and stindry kinds of dissolution. 

Lago Maggiore is a name well known to thousands, 
but I doubt whether, even in the Alpine Club, ten couldi 
be found ready to point out off-hand the whereabouts 
of Val Maggia. Yet the valley offers a type of beauty 
as rare and worth knowing as the lake into which its 
waters flow.* 

Behind Locarno, at the head of Lago Maggiore, is: 
the outlet of a network of valleys, forming the veins: 
of the mountain mass, Italian by nature, though Swiss 
by circumstance, which divides the Gries and the St. 
Grothard. The longest and deepest of these vaUeys is 
that of the Maggia. Yet, despite its length, it leads to 
no pass over the main Alpine chain. The gaps at its 
head open only on the high pasturages of Yal Bedretto. 
It has been thus cut off by nature from any share in 
the traffic which has flowed for centuries on one or the 
other side of it. 

I must now ask the reader to imagine himself seated 
beside me on the box of the country omnibus which 
plies daily through this valley. Some three miles from 
Locarno in the picturesque defile of Ponte Brolla our 
eyes, accustomed to the murky grey of most glacier 
streams, are first greeted by the marvellous waters of 
the Maggia, shining with intensity of blue out of 
deep caves and hollows in the heart of the smootii white 
granite. But for many miles to come the scenery of 
Yal Maggia does not rise above the ordinary boldness 
of a granite district, here graced by a slender cascade, 
there marred by a stony waste. 

' I have not micceeded in discovering any connection between the word, 
Maggia and Maggiore. 

B 2 


Aboat sixteen miles, or three hours, from Locarno 
the road crosses for the first time to the right bank of 
the stream, and passes through Cevio, the political 
centre of the neighbouring valleys, standing on the con- 
fines of the three districts of Yal Maggia, Yal Lavizzara 
and Yal Boyana. We drive across an open space, like 
an English village green, surrounded by houses more 
pretentious than are commonly seen in the mountains. 

It was on this spot that De Saussure, while taking 
an observation to ascertain the height of the place 
above the sea, was greeted and invited to enter by the 
baillie or chief magistrate of the valley. I cannot 
resist quoting the amusing account of the interview 
which followed. 

' It being some time,' writes De Saussure, ^ since I 
had had any news fix)m the civilized world, I accepted 
tiie invitation, hoping to learn some. What was my sur- 
pnse when the baillie told me that though it was long 
since he had had any letter from the other side of the 
Alps, he should be happy to &:ive an answer to any 
inquiry I might wish Jmake. At the same time he 
showed me an old black seal, and this was tiie oracle 
which answered all his questions. He held in his hand 
a string, to the end of which this seal was attached, 
and he dangled the seal thus fastened in the centre of 
a drinking-glass. Little by little the trembling of the 
hand communicated to the thread and seal a motion 
which made the latter strike against the sides of the 
glass. The number of these blows indicated the answer 
to the question which the person who held the string 
had in his mind. He assured me with the seriousness 
of profound conviction that he knew by this means not 
only everything that was going on at home, but also 


the elections for the Council of Bale and the nnmber of 
votes each candidate had obtained. He questioned me 
on the object of my travels, and after having learnt it, 
showed me on his almanac the age which common 
chronology gives the world, and asked me what I 
thought about it. I told him that my observations of 
mountains had led me to look on the world as somewhat 
older. "Ah/* he answered with an air of triumph, 
*^ my seal had abready told me so, because the other day 
I had the patience to count the blows while reflecting 
on the world's age, and I found it was four years older 
than it is set down in this almanac." ' 

Near Cevio the landscape takes a more romantic 
character. The valley-walls close in and bend, and 
huge knobs of ruddy-grey rock, thrust themselves 
forward. The river, confined to a narrow bed, alter- 
nately lies still in pools,, whose depth of blue no com- 
parison can express, or rushes off over the white 
boulders in a clear sparkling dance. Chestnut-trees 
hang from the crags overhead; higher on the hills 
every ledge is a stripe of verdure fringed with the 
delicate shapes of the birch and larch. In the far dis- 
tance a snow-peak in the range above Yal Leventina 
gleams behind the folds of the nearer mountains. 

But up to the last moment nothing foreshadows the 
wonderful surprise in store. As we draw near the first 
scattered houses of Bignasco, the mountains suddenly 
break open, and reveal a vision of the most exquisite and 
harmonious beauty, one of those master-pieces of nature 
which defy the efforts of the subtlest word-painters, and 
are perhaps best left alone by a duU topographer. Yet 
I cannot refrain, useless as the effort may be,, from at 
least cataloguing some of the details which come to> 


gether in tliis noble landscape. The waters at our feet 
are transparent depths of a colour, half sapphire and half 
emerald, indescribable, and, the moment the eye is taken 
away, inconceiyable, so that every glance becomes a 
fresh surprise. In the foreground on either bank of 
the stream are frescoed walls and mossy house-roofs; 
beyond is a summerhouse supported by pillars, and a 
Jieavily laden peach-orchard lit with a blaze of sun- 
-flowers. At the gate of Yal Bavona a white village 
glistens from amidst its vineyards. Sheer above it two 
^bold granite walls rise out of the verdure, and form the 
entrance to a long avenue of great mountain shapes. 
Behind these foremost masses the hills fall valley- 
wards in noble and perfectly harmonious lines. Each 
upper cliff flows down into a slope of chestnut-muffled 
boulders in a curve, the classical beauty of which is re- 
peated by the vine-tendrils at its feet. In the distance 
the snows of the Basodine seen through the sunny 
haze gleam, like a golden halo, on the far-off head of 
the mountain. 

Is human interest wanted to give completeness and 
a motive to the picture? As daylight faded I have 
watched the swinging torches and low chaunt of those 
who carried the Host to some passing soul. In the 
morning-glow I have seen a white-robed procession pour 
slowly with banners and noise of bells from the yet dark 
village, then suddenly issuing into the sunshine, surge, 
a living wave of brightness, over the high-arched 

Bignasco lives in my memory as one of the loveliest 
spots in the Italian Alps. Planted at the meeting-place 
of three valleys, the view up Val Bavona is only the 
fairest of the fair scenes which surround it. In every 


direction paths strike off throngli the woods. Aoross 
the river rises a bold bluff of rock ; behind it the hill- 
side curves in, and forms an ample bay filled with 
chestnut forest; at intervals a sunny spot has been 
cleared and planted as a vineyard, the unstubbed 
ground is covered by a carpet of Alpine rhododendron, 
liere tempted down to its lowest limit in the chain:^ 
Little tracks, wandering in alternate ' forthrights and 
meanders ' from one haybarn to another, lead at last to 
a white chapel placed on a conspicuous brow. By its 
side stands an older and bumbler edifice. The gates of 
both are bolted, but the bolt is held fast only by a 
withered nosegay, and it is easy to make an entrance 
into the smaller chapel and examine its frescoes. They 
have been atrociously daubed over ; but the pattern of 
the child's dress in the central picture, and a certain 
strength in the figures and faces on the side walls, still 
bear witness to a time when the great wave of Italian 
art spread even into Yal Maggia. A date in the first 
twenty years of the sixteenth century may be read 
above the altar. 

We are here on the verge of the chestnuts ; a few 
hundred feet above us the woods change into beech and 
ash groves; higher stUl birch and larch feather the 
mountain spurs. The valleys meet at our feet. On the 
lefk, sloping lawns fall away abruptly into a deep 
torrent- worn ravine ; far beneath are the white houses 
of Cevio. Yal Bavona with its mountain curves and 
crowning snows lies immediately opposite. 

Why, we ask, as we sit on the chapel steps, does 
this combination of rocks and trees touch our senses 
with so rare and subtle a pleasure ? On the lakes we 

> BigDASCO is only 1,400 feet above the sea. 


have left landscapes more 'sofUy sublime, profaselj 
fair.' But those belonged to the class of hill-scenery ; 
even the waving crests were to their tops clothed in 
green and the whole landscape pleased and contented 
us by its aspect of unbroken domestic repose and 
richness. Here the bold dark outlines of the granite 
precipices hanging over the luxuriant yet untamed love- 
liness of the valley appeal to our emotions with the 
strong power of contrast. The majesty of the central 
ranges wedded to the beauty of Italy excites in us that 
enthusiasm beyond tranquil admiration which is our 
tribute to the highest expression of the Bomantic whether 
in Art or Nature. We can contemplate calmly a rich 
lake-scene or an TJmbrian Madonna ; we feel disposed to 
cry out with delight before a figure of Michael Angelo 
or this view in Yal Maggia. 

For in this valley the strength of granite is clothed 
in the grace of southern foliage, in a rich mantle of 
chestnuts and beeches, fringed with maize and vines, 
and embroidered about the skirts with delicate traceries 
of ferns and cyclamen. Nature seems here to have hit 
the mark she so often misses — to speak boldly but truly 
— in her higher efforts : she has avoided alike the 
trough-like uniformity which renders hideous much of 
the upper Engadine and diminishes even the splendours 
of Ch&monix, the naked sternness of Mattmark or the 
Grimsel, the rough scales of muddy moraine and torrent- 
spread ruin which de&ce Monte Bosa herself, where 
she sinks towards Macugnaga and Italy. 

It is easy to return more directly down the face of 
the rocks. In these valleys the industry of centuries, 
by building up stone staircases from shelf to shelf, 
has made paths in the least likely spots. Even the 


narrowest ledge between two cliffs is turned to profit. 
Across the bridge behind the inn rises an abrupt 
crag, up the face of which a dwarf wall runs at 
a very high angle. This wall, at first sight pur- 
poseless, proved to be in fact a stone ladder, the 
flakes of gneiss which projected along its top serving 
as steps for the active peasantry. The ascent to 
some of the alps lies up stone staircases, three hours — 
to measure distance in the local manner — in length. 
To these the wiry little cows of Canton Ticino speedily 
accustom ijhemselves. Indeed, so expert do they be- 
come in getting up stairs that the broad flights of 
steps leading to the church doors have to be barri- 
caded by posts placed at narrow intervals to prevent 
the parting herd from yielding to a sudden impulse to 
join in a body in morning mass, or a stray cow from 
wandering in unawares to browse on the tinsel vege- 
tation of the high altar. 

The greater part of the population of Bignasco clus- 
ter closely under the hillside, where a long dull village 
street squeezed in between two rows of stone walls 
opens out here and there into a tiny square or * piaz- 
zetta,' with a stone bench and a stone fountain oversha- 
dowed by a stone-propped vine. These houses resemble 
in nothing those of a Swiss hamlet. The abandonment 
of the use of wood in favour of an equally handy and 
more solid material, joined to something in the external 
construction of the houses, carried my thoughts, on 
our last visit, far away to the stone towns of cen- 
tral Syria. Here, as there, I noted that the principal 
entrance to each tenement was by a gateway eight to 
ten feet high, and proportionately broad. Bemembering 
how in my youth I had been taken to task by a worthy 

10 BIGNA8C0. 

missionary for not recognising in snch doors the work 
of giants, I enquired eagerly for traditions of some local 
Og, perhaps a link between the giant of the Metten- 
berg and the present Swiss. But snch was the igno- 
rance of the country folk that I could obtain no further 
answer than that the gateways were a conyenient size 
for a laden mule. 

The well-to-do people of Yal Magg^ seem to be 
sensible of the charms of the spot where the waters of 
Yal Bavona and the main valley meet. 

On the promontory between the two rivers, each 
crossed just above the junction by a bold arch, stands a 
suburb of what would be described by an auctioneer as 
' detached villas,' houses gay with painted shutters and 
arched loggias, where grapes cluster and oleanders flush. 
One of these, commanding from its upper windows the 
perfect view up Yal Bavona, is the ' Fosta,' the home 
of Signor Fatocchi, who entertains the rare strangers 
who visit the village. Our host is a man of high 
standing and substance in his own country. For three 
generations the oflSce of President of the United 
Districts of Yal Maggia has remained in his family. 
He has represented Ticino on public occasions and is a 
member of the Cantonal Council and of the Swiss 
Alpine Club. The energy of the race is represented 
also by a vivacious active sister who dwells with family 
pride on her brother's successes in life, and most of all 
on a bridge for the new St. Grothard railway, for which 
he had accepted the contract ; a ' cosa stupenda,' a ' vera 
opera Bomana.' 

The example of their foregoers has assuredly not 
been lost on the modem Italians. Not only in great 
works such as the Mont Cenis tunnel or the coast railway 

BIQNA8C0. 11 

from Nice to Spezzia, but also in the country roads of 
remote valleys the traveller finds frequent evidences of 
the survival of the Eoman tradition and genius for road- 
making. The industry and skill displayed in opening 
and improving means of commimication by the most 
obscure communes — ^frequently, it is true, when they 
expend themselves in the laborious construction of 
pav^, misdirected — contrast very favourably with the 
sloth in the same matter of many northern ' Boards ' 
apt to pride themselves on their energy. 

Sometimes, however, this inherited zeal outruns 
discretion, witness the following story taken from a 
local newspaper. Caspoggio is a hamlet perched high 
on a green hillside in Yal Malenco, at the back of the 
Bemina. The lower communes had in 1874 just com- 
pleted a new road to which Caspoggio naturally desired 
to link itself. There were two ways of effecting this, 
one estimated to cost 40,000 lire (£1,600), the other 
16,000 (a6600) ; the cheapest road was, however, twenty- 
two minutes the longer. The bold patriarchs of Caspoggio 
were all for saving time as against money. Whereon 
the * Corriere Valtellinese * solemnly protested against 
the intended extravagance, and pointed out its inconsis- 
tency with the facts that the annual income of the com- 
mune was not more than £80 a year, and that it could 
only afford its schoolmaster and mistress annual pit- 
tances of £6 apiece. ^ My good sirs of Caspoggio,' said 
this sensible adviser, * is it worth while to create a com- 
munal debt in order to bring your butter and cheese 
a few minutes earlier to market?' How Caspoggio 
decided I have yet to learn. 

To return to Val Maggia and its President. Signer 
Patoccbi is a man of position among his neighbours. 


and his house shows it. But he is also a Soatherner, 
and his floors show it. Having confessed this, however, 
the worst is said, and for the rest English people ac- 
customed to travel will find little to complain of. The 
beds are clean, fish and fowl the neighbourhood sup-' 
plies, and a few hours' notice will collect ample pro- 
visions for the carnivorous climber. 

But it is time for us to leave Bignasco and follow 
the road up the main valley henceforth known as Yal 

For four or five miles we mount through a pic- 
turesque ravine, where the mountains rise in rugged 
walls tier above tier overhead. Yet every cranny is 
filled with glossy foliage, and the intervening ledges 
are no monstrous deformities, only fit to be ^leffc to 
slope,' but each a meadow closely mown, and dotted 
with stone haybams. If some gash is noticed in the 
cliffs it is only as a brighter streak of colour ; the ruin 
wrought below has long been buried out of sight, cot- 
tages grow against the fallen rocks, and vines fling 
themselves over their roughnesses. The river, no 
murky grey monster — like those fitly transformed into 
dragons by the legends of the northern Alps— runs 
through a narrow cleft, in the depths of which we catch 
alternate glimpses of deep blue pools or ereamlike falls. 

A little farther the defile opens, the stream flows 
more peaceably, and we shall see fishermen armed with 
huge jointless rods stroUing along its banks. Though 
still early morning, some are already returning, amongst 
them a cur^ with a well-filled basket for his Friday 

Several clusters of houses hang on the hillside, but 
the first village is Broglio, shaded by groves of gigantic 


walnuts ; a mile beyond the valley bends, the shoulders 
of the hiUs sink sufficiently to allow their rugged heads 
to come into view, and a glen opens on the right backed 
by the jagged snow-streaked range of the Campo 
Tencca. The first sunbeams which have reached us 
stream through the gap, and bathe the forest in a 
golden flood of light. A great pulpit-shaped boulder 
rises beside the road, and is seized on as a post by the 
telegraph wire. Soon afber we cross the stream and 
enter two adjoining villages. Beyond them is a small 
cemetery, decorated with paintings in somewhat better 
taste than those usu|illy found in the mountains. There 
is further evidence of culture in the couplet from Dante, 
which under one of the frescoes takes the place of the 
usual Latin text. 

Amidst a rocky waste, where ihe torrent from Yal 
Peccia joins the larger stream, stands the dirty hamlet 
of Peccia. The glen to which it gives a name seems 
here the true head of the valley, but the entrance to 
the longest branch is by a steep ascent up the right- 
hand hillside. Above the first level, a grassy dell 
occupied by some saw-mills, the river has cut its way 
through a rock-barrier. Here on my first visit the air 
resounded with the hammering and sawing of vL large 
company of labourers, some clinging on the rocks and 
boring, others wheeling away the rubbish, whilst 
another party were building up the piers of a lofty 
bridge. The excellent and boldly engineered road then 
in construction is now completed, and leads as far as 

We are now at the limit of the romantic Italian 
valley, and are leaving behind us not only the vine and 
the chestnut, but also the granite. The mountains as 


we approach them seem to sink before us. The preci- 
pices of the lower valley give place to smooth lawns sha- 
dowed by spreading beeches. The gentle hillsides which 
surroimd the headwaters of the Maggia rise np into low 
rounded crests, and the scenery is only redeemed from 
monotony by t^e rich yariety of the folUge and Teidnre. 

The highest Tillage, Fnsio, is a cluster of houses 
crowded round a church, and clinging to a steep 
slope, at the foot of which flows the blue torrent in a 
deep bridge-spanned cleft. The inn ten years ago was 
of the most primitive kind. It was kept by a worthy ' 
couple whose shrewd puckered faces recalled some por- 
trait of an early German master. But they were as 
lively as they were old, and no emergency, not even the 
arrival of three hungry Englishmen, found them with- 
out resources. On the occasion in question they boldly 
proceeded to sacrilege on our behalf. The village 
knew that the cur^ was going to have a fowl for dinner ; 
the good dame hurried off to the parsonage, and like 
David robbed the tables of the priest. 

The old inn and its owners are no longer to be 
found. A new hotel has lately been built, and is said 
to be frequented by Italians seeking refuge from the 
summer heat of the Lombard plain. 

Thus far we have simply followed the main valley. 
Of its numerous tributary glens, Yal Bavona and Yal 
di Prato are the most likely to be visited by moun- 
taineers, for they lead to the two highest summits 
of the neighbouring ranges, the Basodine and Piz 
Campo Tencca. But their beauties ought to attract 
others besides those who may wish to use them as 
means to a higher end — ^in a literal and Alpine Club 


The finest entrance to Yal Maggia is through 
YaJ Bayona. The traveller descending from the cold 
heights and bleak pasturages of the Gries finds a warm 
welcome from the storm in the little inn opened some 
years ago on the very edge of the cliff over which the 
Tosa rushes in the most imposing cataract of the central 
Alps. ^ An afternoon is well spent in resting on the rocks 
beside the tearing, foaming flood, and watching the 
endless varieiy of the forms taken by the broken waves 
in their wild downward rush. Waterfalls are too seldom 
studied at leisure. Such a view is far more impressive 
than the hurried glance ordinarily taken from some 
point whence the cascade is seen in fsjae, and all detaD 
is sacrificed to a general effect, which often fails to be 
either imposing or picturesque. 

The host of the inn will with pleasure undertake to 
place you next morning in from three to four hours on 
the top of the Basodine. The ascent is simple, and not 
at all tedious ; a steep path up a moist fiower-sprinkled 
cliff, rolling alps commanding views of the red moun- 
tains of the Gries, then steep banks of frozen snow, and 
a short exciting scramble up the highest rocks. 

The mountain is a natural belvidere for the Bernese 
Oberland and Monte Bosa, and rising a good head above 
its fellows, must give a glorious view towards Italy. 
But to me the mountains of Yal Maggia are unfriendly. 
Here as on Piz Campo Tencca I saw only a stoneman 
and a world of seething mists. 

The night before our ascent had been black and 

* The falls of Eriminl in Tjrrol are probably on the whole the Alpine 
cataiact in which height of fall, force of water, and pictnreeqne iurroand- 
ings are most thoroughly nnited. There are many falla in the Adamello 
graiqp which a painter wonld prefer to the caicade of the Tosa. 


wild. The wind had roared against the waterfall, and 
the thunder had rocked the house as though it had a 
mind to shake it bodily over the cliff. But the grey 
sad sunrise was not without hope ; the scarves of mist 
which still clung about the mountains seemed remnants 
of an outworn grief; the upper sky, pale and tremulous, 
rather spoke of a storm past than threatened further 
ills to come. But the crisis had been more violent than 
we dreamt at the time, and twenty-four hours of repa^ 
ration were needed before the face of heaven could 
again shine in its full summer fairness. 

The loss of the view was not our only disappoint- 
ment. It had been determined to find a new and more 
direct way down to San Carlo through Yal Antabbia. 
But in a blind fog it is best to avoid precipices, and we 
knew there were plenty in that direction, so we quietly 
returned to the gap between our peak and the Kastel- 
horn, and put on the rope preparatory to descending 
the Cavergno Glacier. 

The slopes of snow, cut here and there by deep 
rifts, offered easy passage until hardening into blue ice 
they curled over steeply. Some rocks stuck out on our 
lefb, and at their base, at a depth of several hundred 
feet, abysses innumerable gaped through the mists. 
This was an unexpected difficulty, and we should have 
been perplexed what to do had not the wind slightly 
shifted the cloud-curtain, and shown enough to enable 
us to understand our exact position. 

The glacier is divided into two terraces by a wall of 
rock, which towards the base of the Kastelhom is 
covered over by an icefall, passable no doubt with ease 
near that peak. We had descended too directly, 
and were to the right, or south, of the falL We must 


either remount and go round, or else get down the rocks. 
With a little trouble we found a passage, and Fran9ois, 
boldly taking advantage of a narrow bridge between 
two ice-pits, led us safely on to the lower branch of the 

Its surface was broken only by contemptible crevices, 
and we ran down without interruption to the huge 
terminal moraine. Sitting amongst its blocks, we 
looked back at the great shining slope, on which the 
sun waa already shining. High np nnder the Basodine 
long shadows fell from an isolated group of snow-towers 
or ^ s^racs,' amongst the most prodigious I had seen in 
the Alps ; a glacier Kamac of ponderous columns and 
huge propylons. The smoothness of the surrounding 
ice, like the flatness of the Egyptian plain, added to the 
effect of this mountain temple. 

We wished we had missed our way a little more 
and passed through its midst. Had we done so we 
might have followed out the upper or southern branch 
of the glacier, and found our way into the glen below 
the meeting of waterfalls afterwards mentioned. Close 
to the ice, in a sheltered basin, spread with a carpet of 
verdure, and watered by a smooth-flowing stream, we 
found the highest chfilets. Great was our surprise 
when our eager enquiries for milk were answered in 
broken English. The herdsman had worked as a miner 
in Cornwall, and had now returned in good circum- 
stances to his native valley. 

The narrowness of their granite walls drives the Val 
Maggians far afield in search of subsistence.^ A wayside 

* Between the years 1850-56, one-eighth of the whole population, and 
one-fourth of the male population, left their homes. Amongst the emigrants 
▼ere 324 married men, only two of whom took their wives with them! 


chapel in Yal Bavona has been recently erected, as its 
inscription narrates, with Australian gold, and the driver 
of the Locarno omnibus in 1873 had learnt English in 
the Antipodes. Most of these wanderers come back, some 
rich, to build large, white, cheerful houses — ^palazzi' 
their friends call them — amongst the &miliar chestnut- 
groves ; others, like our friend, less successful, but still 
not wholly unrewarded, to revert contentedly to the old 
solits»ry life on the hills with the cows and goats. There 
can be no stronger proof of ihe real fascination of 
mountains over minds which have grown amongst them 
than the fidelity of these peasants, who hurry back from 
all the excitements of the Antipodes to the monotony 
of the alp in summer and the hamlet in winter.^ 

Beyond the huts, path and stream make a sudden 
plunge into a deep hollow, the meeting-place of the 
waters which, springing from the tarns and snows that 
lie on the ijpper shelves, rush over the granite pre- 
cipices in a succession of noble falls. The shadeless 
glen is closed at its lower end by a buttress project- 
ing from the eastern mountain. On climbing the spur 
we saw deep below us a trough-like valley. Steep 
mountains encircled the basin, and its floor was strewn 
with huge masses torn from their rugged sides. High 
overhead rose the southern bulwarks of the Basodine, 
gigantic cliffs, on whose topmost verge sparkled a 
glittering ice-cornice. At our feet San Carlo, the 
highest village in Yal Bavona, peeped out from amidst 

> The herdsmen of these chAlete have a waj to the Yal Formazza 
without croBsing the Basodine. The * Bocchetta di Yal Maggia,' a gap in 
the rockj ridge at the north-eastern corner of the Garergno glacier, brings 
them on to the pasturages near the San Qiaoomo Pass, whence either Airolo 
or the Tosa Falls can be gained without further ascent. 


rich foliage. Many women were scattered over the 
meadows, catting and gathering in their hay ; and, as 
we rested, a boy came up from them, and told ns that 
to reach the valley we must return and cross the 
stream. A rough path on the right bank led us 
through beautiftil copses, where the beech and birch 
mingled their branches with the pines, and tall ferns 
and bright-berried bushes wove a luxuriant under- 
growth. Chestnuts and walnuts greeted us for the 
first time as we approached the high-arched bridge 
leading to San Carlo. 

The path, now a good cart-track carried on a cause- 
way between purple boulders and gnarled old chestnuts, 
passed by the way a brightly coloured chapel and two 
Tillages. Near the second, a cluster of poor huts 
hemmed in by enormous blocks of granite, a pretty jet 
of water shoots out of the western cliff, the valley 
bends, and the sunlit mountains behind !Qignasco close 
the distance. 

A short plain, ruined by a torrent which has recently 
carried away half a hamlet, is now passed. To such 
disasters Yal Bavona is always exposed, and a law for- 
merly forbad any one to live in it through the winter. 

Henceforth, keeping beside the clear blue waters, 
we descended with them, through a tangle of white 
stream-smoothed boulders, and under the shadow of 
the prodigious cliffs from which they have fallen. One 
of the blocks bears this simple record :. 'Qui fd bella 
Campagna,' and the date 1594. Yet despite the ruin 
and destruction of which the defile, within an even his- 
torically modem epoch, has been the scene, its beauty is 
in no way of a stern or savage nature. If the mountain 
shapes are as majestical as those of Giotto's Duomo, 

c 2 


their walls are also decorated with the most lavish 
hand; and even where the granite is bare time and 
weather have tinted it with the mellow hues of an old 
Florentine fa9ade. 

No more typical passage from the Alps to Italy can 
possibly be found than that we had chosen. A few hours 
ago we had been in the frigid zone among the eternal 
snows, and above the level of all but the hardiest plants. 
Now the green pastures and the pines were already past, 
the chestnut had become our companion, and the first 
vine threw its long branches over the rude woodwork of a 
sheltered hut. Soon three or four were found in company 
under the sunny side of a heat-reflecting rock, until as 
we -drew near Cavergno the whole slope became a vine- 
yard, and the path an overarched alley between a double 
row of tall granite pillars, from which tiie ripe clusters 
hung down into our faces in too tempting luxuriance. 

A straight line drawn from Faido, on the St. Gothard 
road, to Bignasco nearly passes through Piz Campo 
Teneca, the three-domed snow-crest which dominates the 
eastern range, and, like its loftier rival, the Basodine, 
peers down on that charming halting-place. The pass 
between the two highest of these summits was, therefore, 
clearly the proper path for two mountaineers coming 
from the east to Yal Maggia. 

To the driving public Faido is known for an excellent 
inn and a waterfall, the latter the outflow of the glacier 
we proposed to cross. A much-used track climbs in a 
long zigzag to the cultivated tableland which lies above 
the steep slope overshadowing the village. Beyond the 
large upland hamlet of Dalpe, our path pursued the 
stream into the hills, mounting steeply by its side to an 


tipper plain, whence several tracks, some for goats and 
some for cows, led over broken ground to the Crozlina 
Alp, a broad pasturage at the base of a wall of rocks, 
over which the streams falling from the upper glaciers 
shiver themselves into spray. A few yards south of a 
boldly projecting crag, and by the side of one of the 
cascades, we found it easy to scramble up the broken 
rock-faces until the level of the ice was reached ; then 
it seemed best to bear to the right, and follow a long 
ridge connecting the buttress and the highest peak. 

The morning had been uncertain, and now the 
clouds, which we had hoped were only local and pass- 
ing, fell upon us with a determination which promised 
little chance of deliverance. 

What is the duty of a traveller and his guides over- 
taken on the mountains by bad weather i» a question 
which the sad death on the Mer de Glace brought not 
long ago prominently before the public, and which will 
be argued as often as some fatal accident calls atten- 
tion to the subject. It is one which does not admit of 
any offhand answer. Climbers are of various constitu- 
tions, there are mountains and mountains, and divers 
kinds of bad weather. Still it may be useful to endea- 
vour to lay down such leading principles as will pro- 
bably meet with general consent. 

Where the travellers are new to high mountains, 
and uncertain of their own powers of endurance, the 
guide, in every case where going on involves long 
exposure to storm, should suggest, and his employers 
agree to, a retreat. The moral courage necessary for 
this is one of the requisites of a guide's calling ; and if 
by its exercise he may sometimes expose himself to 
the hasty ridicule of an ignorant tourist, he will not 


Buffer in his profession or in the estimation of real 

Again, an attempt on one of the more difficult peaks, 
such as the Schreckhorn or the Weisshom, ought not 
to be persevered with in doubtful weather ; that is, by 
perseverance in such a case the risk to life becomes so 
serious that, whatever the travellers* own value of 
themselves may be, they have no right to ask guides to 
share it. For it should always be remembered that it 
is where difficulties prevent rapid movement that the 
bitter cold grasps its victim. Except, perhaps, in the 
very worst, and fortxmately rare, tourmentes circidation 
can always be maintained by constant motion. 

Thirdly, exposure to this worst kind of storm, which 
comes on with an insupportable icy blast, should be as 
far as possible shunned even on a mule-pass. The 
simple monuments which line the track of the Col de 
Bonhomme and the Guvia Pass, near Santa Catarina, 
bear witness to the dangers of such weather, even on a 
comparatively frequented route. 

There remain, however, a large class of cases where 
more or less seasoned climbers are overtaken by clouds, 
rain, or snow, in each of which the decision must 
depend on the circumstances, and for which no general 
rule can be laid down. A wet day in the valley is 
often far from intolerable above the snow-level, where 
the gently falling flakes sink slowly through an air of 
moderate temperature. In such weather many high 
passes may be safely accomplished by men of sufficient 
experience, who imderstand how to apply their local 
knowledge, or to use a good map and compass. 

Of course, it will be asked, Cui bono 9 — ^why wander 
amidst the mists when you might be comfortable below 


them ? The answer is, that when the day changes the 
traveller is often far on his way. It is a case, perhaps, 
of going back four hoars or going on five ; there is, 
besides the nataral disinclination to return and to have 
had one's walk for nothing, the hope, often justified, 
that the change for the worse may be only temporary. 
These are motives which must strongly influence every- 
one in such a position. 

Besides, the inside of a cloud is not quite so dismal 
a place as might be thought, and the snow-region, even 
when the distant view is hidden, offers attractions for 
those who have learnt to appreciate it. The fretted 
ice-chasms, the toppling towers and fragile arches of 
the upper glacier, the keen white pyramid seen sud- 
denly through a wreath of mist, or the snow-wave 
caught in the act of breaking over the highest crest, 
have a loveliness of their own as delicate as, and 
from its strangeness to inhabitants of a temperate 
zone sometimes even more fascinating than, the charm 
of streams and forests. It is not, it is true, visible 
to all eyes. A Reverend Principal lately instructed his 
audience that ^ a more hideous spectacle than a yawning 
crevasse, with its cold, blue, glassy sides, can scarcely 
be conceived.' But Mons. Lopp^ and the Alpine Club 
know better than this. Most of us can probably re- 
member, in the Begent^s Park Colosseum, a sham Swit- 
zerland : what that in a sorry enough way attempted to 
be to the reality, the reality is to the Polar regions — a 
specimen near home of Arctic scenery. Much of this 
beauty can be seen even in a partial fog. But there is 
also the chance of that most glorious of transfigurations 
of earth and sky, when towards evening some breath of 
air sweeps away the local storm, and through the melt- 


ing cloud-wreaths we see the wide landscape glittering 
with fresh rain, and the new snows shining opposite 
the setting snn — a scene the full splendour of which can 
scarcely be recalled even in the memory of those who 
have offcen witnessed it. 

In the present instance two hours would, we knew, 
put us well on the other side of the mountain, where 
our friends were waiting for us ; and, though neither 
my guide nor I knew anything of the ground, we could 
trust to General Dufour's map. The Swiss traveller 
has here an enormous advantage over his brother in 
Great Britain. If anyone is rash enough, in Wales for 
instance, to put his faith in the English Ordnance 
Survey, and to seek a passage where light shading 
seems to indicate an absence of precipices, he will soon 
find himself brought to a standstill. The present state 
of our national maps is far from creditable to our 
Government and our engineers. 

For the moment all we had to do was to stick to the 
ridge, which must and did lead us straight to the stone- 
man, in such weather the only indication of the summit. 
A short halt for the chance of a break in the clouds and 
to settle clearly our route on the map, and we started 
on the unknown descent. The first point was to strike 
the gap south of the peak. A few minutes sufficed for 
this, then we had only to descend with a constant 
bearing to the left. The ground was steep and rough, 
and there were cliffs in every direction, but we managed 
to avoid them. In half an hour we had reached the 
lower skirts of the cloud, and passed out of gentle snow 
into pitiless rain. 

Cattle tracks now led us past the highest huts to a 
cabin from the chimney of which smoke issued. The 


solitary herdsman welcomed us with a courtesy and 
coffee worthy of an Eastern sheikh. The pouring rain, 
perhaps, flavoured the beverage, but Fran9oi8 Devouas- 
soud and I both fancied that, west of Constantinople, 
we had never tasted so aromatic a draught. 

The head of the valley seemed to be a basin sur- 
rounded on all sides by rugged cliffs ; in the present 
weather it was nothing but a caldron of mist. How 
should we escape from it? The hill-shoulders pressed 
us in on all sides ; yet the shepherd promised a sirada 
huona. In a quarter of an hour we were at the meet- 
ing-place of the mountain- torrents, where from their 
union sprang a stream, the bluest of all the blue waters 
of Yal Maggia, full of a life now bright and dashing, 
now calm and deep, such as might fitly be personified 
in a Naiad. This was the fairy who would unbar the 
gates of our prison. We followed the guidance of the 
waters into the jaws of the mountain, where they had 
seized on some flaw or fissure to work for themselves 
a passage. But the stream had thought only for itself. 
No room was provided for a path, and the ingenuity of 
a road^making population had evidently been taxed to 
the utmost to render the ravine passable for cows as 
well as water. A causeway was built up on every 
natural shelf, and, where the level could no longer be 
kept, the hanging terraces were connected by regularly- 
built stone staircases. A rough balustrade formed a 
protection on the outside, and prevented a hasty plunge 
into the gulf, where the brilliant waters wrestled with 
the stiff crags which every now and then thrust out 
a knee to stop their flow, and gave them a tumble 
from which they collected themselves at leisure in a 
deep still pool before dancing off again to fresh 


Straggles and fresh victories. From the shelves above 
the bright-berried mountain ash and delicate birch 
stretched out their arms to the stream, which, as if 
impatient for the vines, hurried past them and at last 
broke away with a bold leap, flying down over the rock- 
faces to the lower valley in a shower of foam and water- 

Near the junction of a glen through which the 
track of the Passo di Bedorta climbs over to Yal 
Verzasca, a steep descent beside the fall leads to the 
hamlet of San Carlo. The path here crosses a bridge 
and keeps henceforth along a broken, richly wooded 
hill-side until, having swerved to the right, it joins at 
Prato the main valley. 

And so down the moist high-road under the dripping 
walnuts of Broglio, and again, after ten years, back to 
Bignasco, beautiful even under the grey cloud- pall with 
its hill-shapes only suggested between the mists. Most 
beautiful when with the sunset a northern breeze 
gathered up the vapour- wreaths and a full moon shone 
down into Yal Bavona marking with clearest lights and 
shadows all its buttresses, and drawing a responsive 
gleam from the pure snows at its head. A change too 
sudden to last. For while sitting on the bridge we 
watched the moonbeams strike over the southward hill, 
and fall full on the eddying water at our feet and the 
flowery balconies on either hand, a white drapery 
stretched slowly round the Cevio comer, and, as in the 
immortal Chorus of Aristophanes, a gleaming company 
of clouds sailed up on their way from the deep hollows of 
the lake to the wood-crowned heights of the mountain. 
The leader advanced but slowly with misty folds cling- 
ing to each crag ; but it had scarcely passed when the 


whole body was upon us, and the bright npper heaven 
was obscured by their fleecy forms. 

After midnight we were awakened by the rush of 
mountain rain and the crash of thunder, while in the 
white blaze we saw the Maggia blue no longer, but 
turbid with the grey granite atoms which it was hurry- 
ing down to swell the delta of Locarno. The storm 
spirits were in earnest, and in the morning every cliff 
had its cascade, bridges had been swept away, and 
great heaps of mud and stones, washed out of the 
overhanging crags, blocked even the high-road which 
offers the only escape from the mountain world. 




Od our other side is the straigbt-np rock, 
And a path is kept 'twixt the gorge and it 

By boulderstones, where lichens mock 
The marks on a moth, and small ferns fit 

Their teeth to the polished block. B. Bbownimo. 



Yal Maooia is not the only unknown vallej which, 
opens on the famous lake. Close beside it, and hemmed 
in between its mountains and those on the west of Yal 
Leventina, lies a still narrower and more obscure recess, 
Yal Yerzasca. In olden days the natives of this glen 
bore a bad name. In 1490 a writer speaks of them as 
* homines sylvestres sparsim ferarum ritu degentes ; ' * 
and the reputation for wildness so early acquired still 
sticks to them. Knives are said to be more frequently 
drawn among them, and with worse consequences, 
than in any other district of Ticino. But there is no 
record of a stranger ever having suffered from this 
tendency to blood-letting, and the ill-repute of the 

* Bomenioo Macaneo, in his Verhani locus locorumgue adjaeentium 
chorograpMca description quoted by Studer, Physische Geographie der Bchweiz. 
These notices suggest that the Yal Verzascans may be a relic of some pri- 
mitiye tribe, but I have no authority for imputing to them ethnological 


valley can hardly be held accountable for its neglect by 

So great has been this neglect that the Federal map 
was to ns the chief and almost the only source of infor- 
mation. Thus studied, the peculiarities of Val Verzasca 
are seen to be the shortness of the side glens which 
branch off the main stem, and the uniformly great ele- 
vation of the surrounding ridges. From Bignasco a to- 
lerably direct path leads over to Brione by Val d'Ossola, 
and from what we saw I recommend the next visitor to 
try this way in preference to the longer circuit which 
we were induced to take by a conscientious desire to see 
the head of the main Val Verzasca and an unfounded 
fancy that a carriage road implied vehicles of some sort. 

From San Carlo in Val di Prato a track leaving the 
path to Piz Campo Tencca circles round the westward- 
facing hillside, and, above a waterfall, traverses beside 
the torrent a narrow glen. Beyond some ch&lets we 
penetrated a sombre funnel, choked with avalanches. 
It expanded at its upper end into a basin floored with 
snow and hemmed in by cliffs picturesquely broken and 
green with underwood. The stream which poured down 
them was received at the bottom under a snow-arch, 
bold in its span as an old Italian bridge. A few yards 
east of the water-channel a goat track, sometimes diffi- 
cult to follow, climbs fche steep slope and the rocks above 
it, where the easiest course is only marked by the goats' 
droppings. Hands as well as feet are useful, but there 
is no difficulty for anyone accustomed to mountains. 

Above the cliff we found a wide sloping meadow 
covered with cows. At first sight their presence seemed 
only to be accounted for by magic or a medium-like 
faculty in the herd for self-elevation. But I believe 


due enquiry would have established the existence of a 
rationalistic explanation in the shape of a roundabout 
staircase not beyond the powers of an Italian heifer. 

The lowest saddle in the high ridge before us was 
the Passo di Bedorta. Despite the beauty of the day 
there was little distant View and no peak near enough 
at hand to tempt to further exertion. Yal Ma^gia 
itself was almost hidden by the vertical lines of a bold, 
many-headed buttress, and the eye ranged over the 
wilderness of its mountain-ridges, a savage expanse of 
ruined gneiss naked of snow and void of prominent 
peaks or bristling ridges. The rock cannot, like the 
firmer granites of Yal Masino or the Adamello, offer 
any stubborn resistance to the action of the atmosphere. 
Hence the mountain-tops are one mass of comparatively 
level ruin. Those who have looked down from some 
Syrian hilltop on an ancient city, of which the ponde- 
rous materials cumber the ground, while not a column 
is left; standing, may exactly picture to themselves the 
scene of desolation now offered on a vastly larger scale 
to our eyes by the ranges of Val Maggia. In contrast 
the head of Val Verzasca, lying as it were at our feet, 
was green, bright, and inviting. 

We were joined on the pass by a young Yerzascan, 
returning from a visit to relatives at Peccia, laden with 
a store of simple delicacies, such as white bread, honey 
and cheese. The pains he was at to transport such a 
burden suggested comparative poverty in the land we 
were entering. We descended together, but there was 
no need of any guide, as the valley lay always straight 
before us, and the ground, though excessively steep, 
was not precipitous. Near the foot of the descent a 
pretty fall tumbles off the right-hand hillside. 


A mile further, at a waters-meet, stands Sonogno, a 
deserted savage-looking cluster of dingy stone houses, 
which, but for the whitewashed church, might be in 
Ossetia. There were no inhabitants in the streets, and 
those indoors, with the first instinct of sayages and 
wild animals, hurriedly thrust their heads back again 
through their little square windows when we asked 
questions. It was with difficulty we succeeded in 
getting one word, a simple negative, in reply to oux* 
demand for a carriage. 

For to this extreme comer of the mountains civili- 
sation advances in the shape of a road which has been 
carried up from the lake at an expense of over £15,000, 
shared between the cantonal government and the com- 
munes. Its engineers would seem to have determined 
to make no needless ascent, and at the cost of cuttings, 
embankments, and lofty bridges, they have carried out 
their purpose in the most thorough manner. The 
workmanship of this remote track would bear compari- 
son with most of the highways of Eiirope. But the 
proverb of the ass taken to the water's brink seems to 
apply to Yal Yerzasca. No force seems capable of in- 
ducing the upper villages to use the boon intended for 
them. As in the East a few years ago the old camel- 
track over Lebanon was still trodden bare, while the 
grass grew on the new road made by French enterprise, 
so here no wheels seemed ever to have worn in the fresh 
stones. The nine miles to Lavertezzo must be walked. 

The upper branch of the valley, although hemmed 
in by bold mountains, is somewhat monotonous, and the 
foreground is too often defaced by a broad torrent-bed. 
At the village of Brione Yal Yerzasca displays the first 
landscape which is likely to leave any lasting impres- 


sion. The range on the right suddenly breaks off in a 
perpendicular crag of singular boldness ; and as the road, 
raised on a lofty embankment, crosses a tributary stream 
a long yista of receding lines of cliff and chestnut trees 
is seen for some minutes. This is Val d'Ossola, through 
which runs the shortest and probably the most beautiful 
path to Bignasco. 

From this point to the lake for some fifkeen miles 
the bed of the Yerzasca is simply a narrow clefb in the 
mountains, sinking deeper and deeper, until at last it 
opens upon Lago Maggiore, at the Tillage of Gordola, 
opposite Magadino. Below Brione a great barrier, 
pmbably a mountain-faU, is thrown right across the 
valley, which at the same time drops considerably. The 
road makes a zigzag amidst the wildest tangle of 
boulders and chebtnut- trees, then, leaps boldly on to the 
opposite rocks, and creeps along a shelf blasted beside 
the blue tumbling stream. 

As far as Lavertezzo the trench is wide enough 
at the bottom to give room for a few fields and 
houses. But this is not an agricultural district. The 
natives we met, a strong, wild-looking race, were 
all stone-quarriers, woodmen, or charcoal-burners. 
Many of them were employed where a timber slide, 
built on an unusual scale, falls over the cliffs from the 
mouth of a side-glen in the western range, through 
which a hill-path leads over to Maggia. 

For the next few miles the valley bends constantly, 
and Lavertezzo seems to be always round the next 
comer. As at last we approach the village the river, 
sliding out from amidst huge grey boulders, two of 
them joined by a slender arch, is suddenly checked. 
The water rests motionless in a chain of the most deli- 
cious pools — deep-green, transparent bubbling crystals 

r.iL VERZASCA, 33 

— contained in basins of the whitest granite, smooth 
and polished as if made for a Boman bath. Henceforth 
it glistens no more in the sunshine, but roars or rests 
deep in a hidden clefb until it flows out to the feyer- 
stricken plain of Gordola. 

Layertezzo itself consists of a campanile, a church, 
and a few white houses, crowded into a green comer 
above the meeting of two streams. Its name is adorned 
in maps with one of those curly horns which indicate a 
post-station. Here at least we reckoned on finding 
something on wheels. But a difficulty hitherto only 
dimly foreshadowed now met us full in the face with 
stunning force. Our hopes were crushed by a universal 
outcry of * strada rotta.' But we still did not compre- 
hend the full force of the emphasis laid on the last word, 
and while accepting the fact that our legs must carry 
us over the remaining eighteen kilometres to Locarno, 
looked for nothing more than the ordinary amount of 
breakage caused by a mountain-storm — one bridge gone, 
or at most two. What we had seen in the upper valley 
was not of a character to prepare us for any very serious 

But the whole force of the great thunderstorm three 
nights before had concentrated itself on the ridges 
round the head of Lago Maggiore. The rain-torrents 
rushing with unrestrained fury from these lofky crests 
(7,000 to 8,000 feet) down the barren hillsides, and 
gathering impetus with every foot of fall, had filled 
and overflowed all the channels, tearing as they went 
huge rocks out of either bank,mixing themselves with the 
soil till they became as much earth as water, and sweep- 
ing away every obstruction which lay across their path. 

Everywhere the steep slopes, saturated by the ter- 


rible deluge, had given way. ' The road might be said 
to be effaced rather than broken. For mile after mile 
two-thirds of its breadth was buried in mud washed 
down from the upper hillsides. 

The post-house of Vogomo, a solitary farm by the 
roadside, was in a lamentable plight. The stables had 
been carried away, and the whole front of the house wad 
blocked with mud. At every few yards we came on im- 
mense barricades, the work of some puny trickle which 
now wandered almost invisible amongst the ruin it had 
wrought. In the least exposed spots stones as big 
as a hat-box were lying in the middle of the road. The 
larger torrents, thought worthy of bridges, had carried 
away the arches set over them, leaving deep gaps to be 
clambered round. Even a magnificent bridge, standing 
at a height at least 200 feet over a lateral ravine, had 
been undermined and swept bodily away. It was neces- 
sary to descend into the torrent-bed and scramble up the 
opposite bank. Another still loftier arch, one of the most 
striking works of its kind in the Alps, had alone escaped 
the general destruction, owing to its piers being built 
into the solid rock about 150 feet above the ordinary 

Tet, though the road was destroyed and the hillside 
scored in many places by the terrible paths of the 
rocks and torrents, the general aspect of the landscape 
was hardly affected. The left bank, round the deep 
ravines of which the road, or what was left of it, circled 
incessantly, was always steep and broken. But across 
the river the chestnuts and rocks yielded, as the hills 
rose, to vineyards and fields of maize. The valley was all 
ravine, but high on the mountains were sunny bays and 
promontories, shining with villages bright and festal as 


only Italian villages are. A liorizontal streak drawn 
across the face of a range of mural cliffs was the road 
linking these communes to Locarno. In the variety 
and boldness of its scenery this portion of Val Yerzasca 
seemed to us equal to any of the southern defiles of 
the Alps. 

At last the gorge expanded, and the broad surface 
of the most beautiful of the Italian lakes spread across 
the centre of the landscape. The most beautiful, for 
to me it seems that spaciousness of shining surface — 
the quality which made Thrasimene so dear to Perugino 
— is an essential in lake scenery. In narrow, many- 
winding lakes the multitude of straight shore lines is 
apt to cut off harshly all the mountain shapes, and to 
be an offence to the eye, which would be better con- 
tented by the accidents of a green valley than with the 
smooth water-floor. The landscapes of Como, fascinating 
in their rapid changes — now picturesque and gay, now 
wild and severe — are too confined and crowded for 
perfect beauty. Gurda is noble in its sealike expanse, 
but the shapes of its hills cannot compare with the 
stately Greek charm of the mountains round Baveno. 

Above Gordola a whole hillside had g^ven way, and 
the great earthslip had spread desolation amongst the 
lower vineyards. The brown ruin made a sad fore- 
ground to the exquisite view over the pale evening lake 
and the glowing hUls. We took a short cut through 
the broken-down terraces to the bridge over the Ver- 
zasca, where we joined the high-road from Bellinzona 
to Locarno. Between us and the lake ran, in all the 
ugliness of unfinished novelty, a railway embankment. 

Still three miles to Locarno, and no carriage on the 
road or boat on the water. In the morning we had 

D 2 


walked over a seven hours' pass, including an ascent of 
6,000 feet ; since midday we had covered some eighteen 
miles of road. Yet, although all more or less way- 
weary, we accepted the further march without much 
murmur. At a certain stage in the day the muscles 
become dogged and go on with machine-like energy, 
and to maintain the power of enjoyment it is only 
necessary to keep the mind from worrying itself with 
idle speculations as to details.of time and distance. It 
is the old story. Tlie sad or the impatient heart 
collapses, while the contented one * goes all the day ; ' 
and in an Italian dusk on the shores of Maggiore it is 
easy to be contented. 

Locarno itself had suffered severely from the storm. 
The channel of the small stream which divides the 
town had been overfilled by a deluge of horrible black 
'mud, which, bursting out like a lava flood into the 
streets, had flowed down them, breaking into the shops 
on the ground floor, and finally spreading itself out in 
«. pool several feet deep over the wide open space in 
front of the Albergo della Corona. 

Locarno is pretty well accustomed to violent cata- 
strophes. A few years ago the roof of the principal 
church gave way under a heavy fall of snow, and, crash- 
ing in during mass, killed or wounded half the con- 
gregation. Inundations are almost as frequent as 
earthquakes at Torre del Greco, and here, as on the 
Bay of Naples, &miliarity with the outrages of nature 
seems to breed indifference, if not contempt. The po- 
pulation of Locarno took the damage done as much as 
a matter of course as the * Times ' reader in September 
a shocking railway accident. The men in their broad 
felts and the women with their fans were, as we en- 


tered, all abroad for the evening stroll^ chatting and 
looking on cheerfully at the labourers still at work re- 
moving the rubbish. Shopkeepers had already reopened 
their stores, and were endeavouring to remove from 
their wares the traces of the recent mud-bath. 

No lives had been lost here, but across the water at 
Magadino the storm had been more fatal. Several 
houses had been carried into the lake^ and so suddenly 
that in one case the inhabitants were diowned. 

Next to Yal Maggia, Yal Centovalli is the largest of 
the valleys which open on the fertile plain behind 
Locarno.* It is, in fact, not so much a valley as a 
broad line of depression through the hill- region separa- 
ting the basin of Do mo d'Ossola from the lake. The 
opening thus offered by nature has, owing probably to 
political jealousy, never been taken advantage of. The 
lower Yal Centovalli is Italian, the upper basin of the 
Melezza and the short eastern Yal Yigezzo Swiss, and 
no road passable for wheeled vehicles crosses the fron- 
tier. On the whole, however, lovers of nature gain. 
But for political exigencies Yal Canobbina might never 
have been pierced. 

This glen, as its name implies, opens behind Canob- 
bio, a town reached in two hours from Locarno, by a 
most beautiful road along the western shore of the lake. 
On the hillside facing north, and a mile inland, is a 
large bathing establishment or summer health-resort 

' Between the two yalleys mentioned above is Val OnBemone (see 
Alpine GuidCy p. 315, and Appendix) penetrated for some distance by a 
carriage-road. In a lively article in the fifth Jahrbnch of the Swistf Alpine. 
Club, Herr Hoffmann Burkhardt describes the scenery as most varied 
and charming, and the road * as a magnificent example of a mountain-road; 
and a most striking evidence of the talent of the Tessiners in this depart* 
ment of hnman industry.' 


known as * La Salnte/ and chiefly ireqnented by 
Italians. The situation is charming, high enongh to 
command over a green fbregroond the whole apper hay 
of the lake closed by the bold mountains of Tal Ter- 

Yal Canobbina is rather a tangle of glens than a 
ralley. The road climbs at once into a deep dell, re- 
fireshed by perpetual waters and green with verdure 
only broken where the jagged rocks close in on the 
stream to form a gorge, or ^orrido' in the local 
phrase. Oak thickets and chestnut copses clothe the 
slopes; cyclamens, common as daisies at home, bend 
their graceful heads on every sunny bank. 

At one spot four valleys join, and it is impossible to 
guess which will be chosen. The road plunges into the 
narrowest, and forces its way near the torrent, until, 
suddenly turning in steep zigzags to scale the hillside, 
it breaks off altogether.^ The carriage halts, the driver 
shouts, and tall, handsome girls drop down the stairs 
from the neighbouring village of Orasso, and eagerly 
grasp the luggage. -The ascent is continued by a rough 
path, which circles terrace-like for several miles between 
white hamlets and green hills. Nature shows herself 
here very friendly, but also very southern, and full of a 
delicate subdued beauty quite apart from the more 
homely charm of northern scenery. 

The glen again twists round on itself, and we almost 
fancy ourselves in an issueless labyrinth, when the road 
suddenly reappears at our feet, and boldly rushes into 
a tunnel which might not be much on a railroad, but is 
a great work for a country byway. 

On the further side the road, blasted out of the face 

> The carriage-road waa expected to be finiahed throughout in 1875. 


of the rock, makes its entrance into an upland basin, 
still part of Yal Canobbina. On a brow in its centre ' 
rises the village of Pinero. The festival of the patron 
saint of the church had collected thither all the neigh- 
bourhood, and given occasion for a very tournament of 
bowls, a game which in the lives of Northern Italians 
fills the place occupied by croquet in those of some of 
our curates and officers. 

Beyond Finero a broad low ridge sends down a 
stream northward into the Italian head of Yal Cento- 
valli, and the road rapidly descends through pine forests. 
We are no longer in a mountain-maze, the hills stand 
back and leave in their midst a happy oasis crowded 
with cultivation and life, and blest with the gifts alike 
of mountain and of plain, the fresh Alpine breeze and 
water, and the sun and fertility of Lombardy. In the 
midst of maize-fields lie spacious well-built towns ; on the 
slopes, shaded by their walnut and chestnut groves, a 
score of brilliant whitewashed villages. 

What a living brightness in southern lands is the 
white which in the north, among our duller colours and 
opaque atmospheres, is only a dead chill ! Beyond the 
Alps it seems the appropriate colour for men's homes. 
We in England can ill afford to dispense with the sug- 
gestion of warmth and dryness given by red brickand tiles. 
But domestic architecture is a subject too painful for 
the victims of ninety-nine years* leases and speculative 
builders to think about. Few Londoners can bear to 
look without a shudder on the outside of what they call 
* home.* If the old fashion of white paint was chilly, 
it was at least better than the new stucco squares and 
streets, the exact colour of our native fogs and road- 
ways. Why should we live in a monotone of mud, 


as if we were some species of snail whose only chance 
in the struggle for existence lies in making itself and 
its shell undistinguishable from the surroundings ? 

The plain in which stand the prosperous towns of 
Malesco and Santa Maria Maggiore, though called Yal 
Yigezzo, sends down its torrent to Locarno. Such an 
imperceptible bank of heather as divides the Drave 
from the Pusterthal still severs ns from the western 
Yal Yigezzo. In clear weather Monte Bosa must shine 
upon this upland basin ; in the pouring rain all I saw 
of the drive to Domo d'Ossola was a narrow picturesque 
river-bed and a wide sodden plain, at the end of which 
a ferry close to the town gates carried us and our car- 
riage across the swollen waters of the Tosa. 




II montera, descendra, traversera, remontera, redescendra, retra- 
versera, etcetera. — French Play, 

And when I most go here and there, 
I then do most go right Shakbspbabb. 


To the crowd, which having sat down in a draught on 
the roof of Europe spends its time mostly in bemoan- 
ing the cold, to the water-drinkers of St. Moritz or the 
pensioners of Pontresina, the mountains of Yal Masino 
are unknown. Yet had they eyes to see they might 
often be attracted by the vision of two square towers 
rising far beyond the blue lakes and the green ridge of 
the Maloya, and shining like an enchanted keep through 
the warm haze of Italy.^ They are indeed the ramparts 
of Paradise, for on the further side they look down 
upiSn the gardens of Lago di Como. 

* This and the following chapter were originally written as a paper to 
be read before the Alpine Club, 
s See Vignette. 


Even to climbers this western wing of the Bernina 
has remained little known. So long ago as 1862 
Messrs. Kennedy and Stephen carried at the second 
assault its proudest peak, the Monte della Disgrazia. 
But I could count on my fingers the names of all the 
Englishmen who have since penetrated Yal Masino. 
Foreign Alpine Clubs have for the most part held aloof. 
The Swiss have found enough to do elsewhere, and have 
not as yet chosen Val Bregaglia — politically a Swiss 
valley — as the * gebiet * of one of the summer * excur- 
sions ' in which they contrive to combine so happily the 
features of a prolonged picnic and a mountain-battue. 
That practical, and in some respects energetic, body, 
the Italian Alpine Club, is only beginning to turn its 
attention to a district containing one of the few wholly 
Italian peaks of over 12,000 feet. 

Those who have been already somewhat disap- 
pointed in the Upper Engadine and the heart of the 
Bernina will perhaps argue that there cannot be much 
worth seeing in its extremities, where the peaks are 
lower and the ice-fields as a whole less extensive. Such 
an assumption, however, would be ill-founded. Tor 
scenic effects, every one will allow, the measurement of 
a mountain must be taken, not from the sea level, but 
from its actual base. Moreover the lower the base the 
richer and more varied will be the contrast in vegeta- 
tion. On applying this test we find that the Punta Tru- 
binesca * towers 8,500 feet above the chestnut trees of 
Promontogno, while Piz Bernina itself rises 1,000 feet 

' Herr Theobald states that the rillagers of Bondo give the name of 
Trubinesca to the Cima di Tschingel of the Federal map. Herr Ziegler, 
the author of a new and very beautifally executed map of this portion of 
the Alps, confirms this statement, adding that * Turbinesca ' is the correct 
spelling, and he has accordingly changed the names of the two peaks. As 


less, and far more gradually, above Pontresina. The 
icy ridges of the Disgrazia soar 11,000 feet above the 
vineyards of the Yal Tellina, or as much as Mont Blanc 
above Conrmayeur. 

The peaks, moreover, are of a durable granite. 
They have, therefore, that combined boldness of outline 
and solidity which often belongs to this hardy rock. 
Other mountains have the air of having been built up ; 
granite peaks seem rather to have been rough-hewn 
like a sculptor's block out of a larger mass. In glaciers 
the group possesses almost every known variety. The 
Bondasca and the eastern glaciers of the Disgrazia 
worthily represent the frozen cataract type, tumbling 
in broken billows from cope to base of the mountain ; 
the Albigna is an ice-lake fed by huge snow-basins ; 
the Forno a stately stream surpassing in length the 

Here, however, I gladly break off from the con- 
ventional tone of recommendation in which discoverers 
are apt to assert their own merits. 

For the people who either cannot or will not walk, 
the large class which, taking advantage of the shade of 
contempt already attached to the epithet by Vatican 
infallibility, I may venture to call the ' Subalpine 
Club,' Yal Masino has few attractions. Inaccessible 
on three sides except to pedestrians, this valley will 
probably remain for long a sure refuge for the mis- 
anthropic climber driven away from the peaks of 

a' rale, local usage should, no doubt, be followed* But in the present 
instance, the mistake is of such long standing, that an endeavour to correct 
it would only lead to confVision, and I have adhered to the nomenclature of 
the Federal map. It is much to bo regretted that Herr Zieglei's map is 
wholly inaccurate with regard to the glaciers of Val Masino, and the 
position of many of the ridges dividing its lateral glens. 


the central Bemina by the demands of the guides or 
the clatter of his fellow-countrymen. 

In the summer of 1864 I set oub from Splugen with 
two companions and Fran9ois Devouassoud for the 
Bemina. Our route led us through the Avers Thai, a 
cross-road of travel still but little frequented, though 
no better reason than fashion can be assigned for its 
neglect. Tor mile after mile the Averser Bhein, a 
strong blue-grey torrent, leaps and roars between 
masses of marble crag tinted with lichens, and clasped 
about by huge pine-roots. Tributary streams rush 
down from the rugged precipices towering on either 
side the gorge, and shoot with a creamy rush into the 
deep cleft which holds the larger flood. 

Above the long defile lies a broad grassy upland 
dotted with some of the highest villages in Europe, and 
encompassed by green slopes which divide the waters 
of three seas. The landscape is, it is true, tame to the 
eye ; but on a sunny August morning, when the vast 
hayfield is alive with mowers and the air fragrant with 
the smell of ripe grasses, it contains much to tickle 
other senses than sight. 

We turned up a side branch of the valley, the 
Madriser Thai. Near its head a white line seamed the 
slopes we had yet to surmount. On nearer approach 
this resolved itself into a laboriously-built stone stair- 
case, showing that we were on what was once a fre- 
quented passage for beasts of burden. Judging from 
the solidity and care with which it had originally been 
put together the * pav^ ' might have been Roman. I do 
not venture to say it is. More probably in the middle 
ages this was an alternative route for the Septimer. 
Perhaps the indefatigable explorer and describer of his 


native Alps, Herr Theobald, or some other curious 
enquirer, has told the date and story. If so I hare 
failed to fall on the passage. 

It was from the ridge which divides the Bhine from 
the Maira that I gained my first general view of the 
mountains of Yal Masino. Opposite, and separated from 
our stand-point, the Madriser Pass, only by the deep 
but narrow trench of Val Bregaglia, a great mountain- 
mass glowed in the afternoon sunshine. Its base was 
wrapped in chestnut woods, its middle girt with a belt 
of pines, above spread a mantle of the eternal snow. 
The sky-line was formed by a coronet of domes and 
massive pinnacles carved out of grey rocks, whose 
jagged yet stubborn forms revealed the presence of 
granite. Full in front the curving glacier of Val 
Bondasca filled the space beneath the smooth cliff-faces, 
aud at one spot a gap between them irresistibly sug- 
gested a new pass for the morrow. 

The descent on the southern side of the Madriser 
Pass, long, rough, and extremely steep, leads to the 
village of Soglio, which rests on a terrace high above 
the valley, and commands a noble view of the granite 
peaks. Here stands a deserted viUa belonging to the 
old Orisons family of De Salis, surrounded by ruinous 
gardens and tall poplars, an Italian intrusion on a land- 
scape otherwise Alpine. Mossy banks shaded by old 
Spanish chestnuts slope down to the high-road and the 
river. On the opposite side, near the tunnel from 
which it takes its name, we found the ' Albergo della 
GkLlleria,' which provides clean rooms and moderate fare 
for those who are bent on penetrating the Yal Bondasca, 
the most beautiful of the side glens of Yal Bregaglia. 

It was not my first visit to this valley. Long 


before Mr. Ball had written his handbook I had found 
in Professor Theobald's excellent little volume on 
Canton Graubrunden* a most exciting description of 
the waterfalls and ice-tables of the Albigna Glacier 
and the rocky splendours of Val Bondasca. At the 
8ame time the appearance on maps of the Eorno Glacier 
as a long ice-stream equal to the Morteratsch had 
excited in me keen curiosity. But my companions in 
1862, although induced to halt a day at Vico Soprano, 
and to venture as far as the level of the Albigna Glacier, 
could not be persuaded that the Zocca was 'fit for ladies,' 
and my explorations were reduced to an ineffectual race 
against time to reach a point overlooking the Fomo. 

The Upper Bregaglia, seen from a carriage, is a 
green Alpine valley showing, except in such additions 
as man has made to the landscape, little trace of the 
approach to Italy. Pines are still the prevailing trees ; 
near at hand the mountains are green ; higher up naked 
grey pinnacles saw the sky or cut through the vapour- 

A mile or two above Vico Soprano clouds of sunbeam- 
painted foam shoot up round the base of a white column, 
and the tourist, driven by the first cold days of Sep- 
tember from the hill-barracks of the Engadine to the 
lake-palaces, takes out his ' Guide ' and his notebook 
and ticks off as ' visited ' another water&ll. 

This is the fall of the Albigna, and close at hand 
the track to the Zocca branches off through the woods. 
It is a forest-path known only to smugglers and shep- 
herds (and, I may add, chamois, for I once met two here 
within a mile of the high-road). Every passer-by, who 
has a real love of nature, and can endure for it a night 

' Naiurbilder aw den Bhatiseken Alpen: Char, 1861. 


in a clean conntry inn, is strongly recommended to leave 
the road and climb at least as far as the foot of the 

The scenery is best seen as a descent. From the 
wild bare crags of the inmost recesses of Yal Masino and 
from the cold snows and savage ice-peaks of the Albigna, 
the traveller suddenly plunges over the edge of the up- 
lands into a region of mountain-sides broken up by deep 
chasms fringed with pines and broad-leaved trees, and 
resonant with the roar of the great glacier torrent, 
which, scarcely released from its icy cradle, ^ leaps in 
glory ' down a stupendous cliffl 

The Zocca Pass itself I have never crossed, but the 
omission can be supplied by the experience of friends. 
In ordinary years it is a simple glacier pass. But that 
it is not to be attempted without a guide or a rope the 
following history shows. 

Two young converts to mountaineering set out from 
Yal Masino for the pass, guideless, ropeless, axeless. 
The top was easily reached, but only a few yards 
below, on the northern side, a huge ice-moat, or ' berg- 
schrund,' as a German guide would have called it, 
yawned suddenly at their feet. My friends hesitated, 
but clouds were rapidly gathering round the peaks, 
and a snowstorm impended. There was no time to be 
lost. The upper lip of the chasm was too steep to 
stand on until, by dabbling with the points of their 
alpenstocks, they had succeeded in making some sort 
of a staircase down to the brink at the point where it 
seemed best to take off for the jump. How they 
jumped or tumbled over they have never been able 
clearly to explain, but each maintains he did it in the 
best possible way, and both agree it was very uncom- 
fortable. In many seasons this moat is entirely closed. 


but it is evidently an obstacle not to be altogether 
disregarded, and unseen might be more dangerous than 
when gaping for its prey. 

To return to Promontogno and 1864. Although 
the political frontier lies beyond Castasegna^ several 
miles further down, the rocky spur which here closes 
the valley is the natural gate of Italy, the barrier be- 
tween the pines and the chestnuts. The afternoon hours 
lingered pleasantly away as, stretched on the knoll be- 
hind the inn, we gazed up at the impending cliffs of the 
granitic range or fed our eyes with the rich woods of the 
lower valley and the purple hills beyond Chiavenna. 

Fran9ois meantime had gone off to the neighbour- 
ing village of Bondo to look for a porter who would 
consent to accompany us over a pass utterly unknown 
to the people of the country. For the * Passo di Bondo ' 
of the map became more mythical at every step. To 
cross the Bondasca Glacier to Yal Masino was at least in 
the estimation of all Bregaglians to make a new pass ; 
and this was to us Alpine novices a matter of no small 
contentment ; for beginners ten years ago were not so 
audacious as those of the present day, who are satisfied 
with nothing short of the Weisshom and Schreckhom. 
Yet I cannot help thinking that by venturing only into 
moderate difficulties, where one guide among three could 
help us through, we learnt as much as by tying our- 
selves to two or three first-rate men and daring every- 
thing through the strength of our guides. 

We knew pretty well what was before us, for from 
the Madriser Pass the whole route had been displayed. 
Fran9ois, remembering that an unknown icefall had to 
be dealt with, was anxious to be off early, and our own 
enthusiasm was sufficient to carry us through the ordeal 
of a night breakfast with less than the usual . morose- 


ness. By two a.m. the provisions were packed and we 
were on the march. 

There was no moon, but the heaven was throbbing 
with large white stars, and coronets sparkled on the 
heads of the dim giants of the sonthem range. Leav- 
ing behind us the sleeping hamlet of Bondo, the path 
climbed steeply through a fir- wood until it reached the 
short stretch of level ground, which is called Val Bon- 
dasca. An expanse of grass and wood is here spread 
out as a carpet at the very base of the granite cliffs. 
Scarcely in the Alps are there finer precipices than 
those that lead up the eye to the far-off brows of the 
Cima di Tschingel and Trubinesca. In front the glen 
is closed by steep rocks, over which the glacier pours in 
a long cascade. 

As we strolled over the dewy lawns we had full 
leisure to watch the first signs of the coming day. A 
faint gleam spread over the eastern sky, and was 
reflected on the pinnacles above us, gradually drawing 
forth their forms out of the shadow, until at last a rosy 
blush played for a few moments on their crags ; then 
the clear light of daybreak was shed upon peak and 
valley, and ice and rock alike were bathed in the 
universal sunshine. 

Near another group of chdiets we crossed the stream 
a second time. A well-contrived path, winding up by 
steep zigzags amidst underwood and creeping pines, 
lifted us from the glen to the upper alp, a sloping shelf 
of pasturage on the east of the glacier. Bearing to the 
right we made for the edge of a level porti6n of the ice, 
where it rests for a space between the upper and lower 
falls. Our porter had halted at the highest hut to get 
some milk from the solitary man who tended the goats 



and pigs. The herdsman, who now saw ns turn our 
backs upon the only pass he knew, the gap leading over 
to the Albigna Glacier, hurried after us, jodelling at the 
top of his voice, and pointing violently in the direction 
opposite to that we were taking. 

He was too far below for words, and signs he would 
not comprehend, so, after some fruitless endeavours tx) 
quiet his mind, we went on our way, causing * le bon 
gar9on ' (as Fran9ois called him) to give vent to a last 
expostulatory chaunt before he returned to his goats to 
meditate upon our probable fate. 

The usual rough borderland between earth and ice 
scrambled over, we halted for breakfast on a smooth 
piece of ice conveniently furnished with stone stools 
and tables. Over our heads towered a range of pin- 
nacles, one of which is known as Fiz Cacciabella. In 
form and grouping they closely resemble, on a smaller 
scale, the Chamonix Aiguilles, as seen from the ^ Plan.' 
Divided from them by a snowy bay, the source of the 
glacier, rose the splendid peak of the Punta Trubinesca. 
Only granite could show such a tremendous block, free 
from flaw or joint, and hopeless to the most fly-like 
climber. Its broad grey precipices looked as smooth as 
if they had been planed ; and, Mr. Ball having pro* 
nounced the summit inaccessible on the other side, it 
seemed to us at the time a pretty problem for rising 
Alpine Clubmen. 

Our ambition, however, had never soared to such a 
conquest, and we were content to discuss a matter 
nearer at hand, the upper ice-fall which separated us 
from the supposed pass. Opinions differed; Fran9ois 
prophesied difficulties and five hours' work to the top ; 
a sanguine spirit set it down as half an hour's walk. 


The rope was soon put on, and we prepared to face the 

I presume everyone who cares to take up these 
sketches has akeadj felt sufficient interest in the Alps 
to endeavour to realise, even if he has not seen, the 
nature of an ice-fall. If he has not, he had better go 
and look at Mons. Lopp^'s pictures. No word-painting 
can give an idea of anything so unlike the usual phe- 
nomena of our temperate zone. A cream-cheese at once 
squeezed and drawn out, so that the surface split and 
isolated blocks stood up, might, if viewed through a 
magnifying glass, slightly resemble in form, though not 
in colour, the contorted ice. But the imagination would 
have to look on from the point of view of the smallest mite. 

The lower ice-falls differ considerably from the 
highest. In one case the material is hard ice ; in the 
other, closely compacted snow. In the ice the rifts are 
longer, narrower and more frequent, and fewer towers 
rise above the general level ; the snow or n^v^ opens in 
wider but less continuous chasms, sinks in great holes 
like disused chalk-pits, and throws up huge blocks and 
towers, which the sun slowly melts into the most fantastic 
shapes. The higher fall is generally both the most 
imposing and formidable to look at, and the easiest to 
get through. The maze here is less intricate, and the 
very size of its features makes it easier to choose a 
path. But it is unsafe to shout before you are weU out 
of the wood. At the very top, where the strain caused 
by the steepening slope first cracks the glacier, one 
huge rent often stretches across from edge to edge, and 
unless Providence throws a light causeway or a slender 
arch across the gulf, there will be work for the ice-axe 
before you stand on the upper edge. Some crack in the 

B 2 


pit's wall must be dog into steps, the huge disorderly 
blocks which make a floor mast be got through, and 
then escape must be found in the same waj that 
entrance was made, bj a ladder of jour own contriving. 
Such a passage may often cost an hour's hard work. 

The Bondasea Glacier above where we struck it was 
riven by a network of small crevasses. Some could be 
jumped, and the larger clefts were generally bridged, 
and thanks to a sharp night's frost the arches were in 
good bearing order. With occasional step-cutting and 
frequent zigzags we got clear of the thickest labyrinth 
and stood victorious on the upper snow-fields. They 
rose before us in a succession of frx>zen banks to a well- 
defined gap flanked by two snow hummocks. The 
western was connected by a long curtain of rock with 
the Punta Trubinesca. After skirting the highest snow- 
bowl, we crossed the deep moat which marks the point 
where the true mountain-form rises out of the folds of 
its snowy vestment, and in a moment more stood on the 
crest of a curling wave, fringed with icicles for spray. 

Where we had expected to see only the rock- 
surrounded basin of the Yal dei Bagni, we looked down 
on a deep, long valley, running southwards towards the 
Val TeUina. 

At the second glance our eyes were caught by an 
enormous object lying in the centre of a grassy meadow. 
We were at once assured as to the identity of the valley. 
The block could be nothing else than the 'natural 
curiosity' of Val Masino, the biggest boulder in the 
Alps. Its ^dimensions are given by Mr. Ball as — 
* Length, 260 feet; breadth, 120 feet; height, 140 
feet;' or as tall as an average church tower, and large 
enough to fill up many a London square. Legend has 


nothing to tell about this monstrous block, and we are 
left to determine as we like, whether it fell from some 
neighbouring mountain going to ruin in the course of 
nature, or was dropped by the devil, on one of those 
errands of mischief which are always so fortunately 
interrupted by the opportune appearance of the pious 

We had only been two hours from our last resting- 
place, and the day was still young, so that we could 
well afford a halt. As there are some tourists whose 
chief object is to get to the end of their tours, so there 
are climbers who throughout the day seem to long only 
to arrive in as few hours as possible at the end of it. 
But peaks and passes and not inns were our goal, and 
we had no desire to hurry on. We chose a warm corner 
in the sun-facing rocks, whence by lifting our heads we 
looked over intervening ridges to the Alps of Glarus, 
and raked the Punta Trubinesca and its neighbours, 
now viewed end on, as weird a pile of granite as I have 
seen in many a long day's wanderings. 

From the snow-dome on our right a lofty and extra- 
ordinarily jagged ridge stretched out at right angles to 
the main chain, the barrier, probably, between the two 
branches of Val Masino.^ I wanted to climb the dome 
and reconnoitre, but clouds had partially covered the 
blue sky, and were whisking, now one way now the 
other, as the gust took them, as if playing a wild game 
of hide-and-seek amongst the granite towers. A storm 
seemed probable, and Fran9ois thought it foolish to 
waste time. 

* The JTinctioD of this spur, the Cima Sciascia, with the principal ridge, 
has been placed too far east in all maps previous to the Alpine Club Map 
of Switzerland. 


We were clearly not on the legendary Fasso di 
Bondoy' baton another *Col' of our own contriving, 
leading somewhere into the Val di Mello, the eastern 
branch of Yal Masino. The descent looked practicable. 
Why not attempt it and complete the pass? The 
distance to be retraced along the valley to our sleeping 
quarters, the ' Bagni/ could scarcely be worth consider- 
ing. So afker erecting a solid stoneman, and trusting 
him with the usual card-filled bottle, we set out. 

The last man had not set foot on the ice when 
Fran9ois disappeared to his shoulders beneath the sur- 
face. Looking through the hole he had made we could 
appreciate the use of the rope. A dark green chasm, 
some thirty feet wide, yawned beneath us, its depths 
scarcely visible in the light thus suddenly let in upon 
them. The glacier we were descending fell away steeply, 
and became so broken and troublesome that we tried 
the rocks on the left. The change was for the worse, 
and we soon came back and cut our way through the 

As soon as the rocks ceased to be precipitous we 
took to them again. But they were not pleasant foot- 
ing. We found ourselves committed to a slope of 
boulders so shockingly loose that the slightest provoca- 
tion sent half-a-dozen rolling from under our feet, 
and piled at so high an angle that when once started 
they bounded away at a pace which promised to take 
them straight to the valley. In such places an impe- 

> I am disposed to doubt whether a direct pass from the Bondasca 
Glacier to the vestern branch of Val Masino was erer effected before 1865. 
It is true there is a tradition embodied in the Swiss Federal map of such a 
pass. It is possible, however, that smugglers may have gone up to the 
Fasso di Ferro, and then scrambled westward oyer the rocks into the basin 
of the Porcellizza Alp. 


tuous companion always insists on stopping to take off 
his gaiters and then following at a run. Yon have 
scarcely missed him before his return is announced by 
a whole volley of grape rattling about your ears, while 
a playful shout warns you to make way for a 100- 
pounder boulder which is ricochetting down on your 
heels with the force of a cannon-ball. Then your friend 
comes up with a pleased air, as much as to say, ^ Didn't I 
come down that well P ' and it is hard not to remonstrate 
with him in language the use of which should be 
restricted to divines. 

Halting beside some water which filtered out at the 
foot of the boulders, we enjoyed a beautiful view of the 
Disgrazia and the wild range behind us. On our right 
was a long comb, whose teeth had been tortured by 
time and weather into all sorts of quaint shapes ; one 
rock bent over like a crooked finger, in another place a 
window was pierced through the crest. At a hasty 
glance one might have compared the fja,ntastic shapes 
to those assumed so frequently by dolomitic limestone, 
but closer observation showed the tendency to curving 
outlines and to sharpness of edge peculiar to crystalline 
rock. In the dolomite districts the separate crags, cut 
up as they may be by flaws at right angles to the lie of 
the strata, have not, except from considerable distances, 
the same flamelike outlines. In any near view the 
layers of which they are built up become conspicuous, 
and often, as in the Brenta chain, have all the appear- 
ance of courses of masonry. 

Bearing to the left from the first huts on the Alpe 
di Eerro, we crossed a stream just below a tempting 
pool, in which five minutes later we were all plunging. 
At the next step in the descent our path re- crossed the 


water, and zigzagged steeply down the hillside, which 
was covered with broom and Scotch heather. Passing 
a succession of pretty cascades, we entered the Val di 
Mello, near a group of ch&lets, whence a stony mule- 
road led us in half an hour to San Martino, the village 
situated at the fork of the valley. It is a cluster of 
untidy stone houses, with nothing to delay the passer- 
by except a douanier's bureau and a tobacco store. 

We now met a car-road running up the Val dei 
Bagni — the western fork of the valley. The floor of 
the glen soon rises suddenly — a granite valley, like the 
national prosperity, always advances by leaps and 
starts — and the road indulges in a couple of short zig- 
zags. We are again in the heart of the mountains, 
hemmed in by pine-clad slopes and cliffs too steep to 
allow any view even of the summits behind them. In 
this cuUde-sac there are no signs of a village. It is a 
spot where one would expect to find no one but a Ber- 
gamasque shepherd with his longtailed sheep. But 
shepherds do not make roads, nor do they offcen receive 
visitors such as the portly dame who advances towards 
us, supported by a scarcely perceptible donkey, and her- 
self overshadowed by a vast crimson umbrella resembling 
the mushroom of a pantomime. Shepherds, moreover, 
are not in the habit of constructing little paths like 
those, too faltering and purposeless for any practical 
use, which wander off here and there into the woods ; 
nor do they employ their leisure hours in planting stems 
of fir-trees in a futile manner along the sides of the 
road, and covering their branches, as the foliage withers 
away, with tricolour flags. 

The meaning of these attempts to fasten a little 
paltry embroidery on nature's robes is explained when 


as we turn a comer and enter the bowl-shaped hollow 
which forms the head of the glen we discover under the 
hillside a long, low building — the Bagni del Masino. 
The presence of a sulphur spring has caused this remote 
spot to be chosen as one of the summer retreats of 
Northern Italian society. 

The bath-houses in the Lombard Alps do not in any 
way add to the beauty of the landscape. The con- 
sistent regard for economy shown in the simplicity of 
their architecture and the roughness of their construc- 
tion may possibly delight the heart of some shareholder, 
and would perhaps have commended them to the favour- 
able notice of a late First Commissioner of Works. But 
to the common eye the result is not attractive. Outside 
we see a long two-storied barrack built with unshaped 
stones and abundance of mortar, the surface of which, 
never having been finished in any way, has a dusky- 
brown hue and ruinous aspect ; unpainted woodwork ; 
balconies unbalustraded, and to the last degree perilous. 
Internally and on the ground fioor a long range of 
dingy fly-spotted rooms, devoted respectively to smoke, 
billiards, literature, and eating, and decorated with 
portraits of the reigning family of Italy and full-blown 
lithographic beauties. Above, equally long passages, 
and nests of scantily ftirnished, but tolerable and, so far 
as beds are concerned, clean cabins. 

Oor first enquiry, whether the house contained 
baths — at many so-called bath-houses the waters are only 
taken internally — called up a triumphant smile on the 
countenance of the waiter who had welcomed us. As 
he ushered us along the passages a strong smell of sul- 
phur raised a suspicion that we might find ourselves in 
hot water. In another moment this fear was converted 


into a certainty. The beaming waiter nshered ns into 
a little rooniy or rather hu^ stove-heated oren, snr- 
rounded by four welk, each some fire feet deep, and 
full to the brim of sulphureous waters. On the one 
hand we had gone too far to retreat with credit, on the 
other we were incapable of any prolonged endurance of 
the purgatorial temperature. So having made but a 
hasty plunge we dashed on our clothes and fled back to 
our rooms, ignoring the stove on which we ought to 
have sat and submitted to a process of slow baking. 
This ordeal and a good dinner completed, we had leisure 
to study the patients, for the most part Milanese, with 
a sprinkling of local Yal Tellina priests and farmers. 
The mineral waters of the place are, no need to say^ 
like all mineral waters, invincible enemies to every dis- 
ease to which humanity, male or female, is exposed. 
Such being the case, it was a subject for reasonable 
regret that with few exceptions the visitors appeared to 
suffer from no more serious complaint than a difficulty 
in composing their minds to any mental exertion be- 
yond a game at bowls or a shot at a popinjay. 

Let us sit down for a few moments on the bench 
before the door and observe the pastimes going on 
around. Three leading spirits, the doctor, a cur^ with 
his skirts tucked up to his knees, and a Milanese 
visitor clad in a suit of the large yellow check so often 
affected by Italians, are in the middle of a contest with 
bowls, the progress of which is watched by a deeply 
interested circle of cigarette-smokers. The Milanese is 
nowhere, but the struggle between the priest and doctor 
becomes terribly exciting, and the ^ bravas' attract even a 
group of Bergamasque shepherds, honest fellows despite 
their bandit style of dress, who have been lounging in 


the background. The rest of the patients are burning 
powder at a mark set up in the wood a few paces off, or 
hanging over a game of billiards, which seems to us a 
good deal more like a sort of Lilliputian ninepins. 

We have scarcely withdrawn to our rooms satiated 
with the sight of so much innocent happiness when a 
loud ringing of the bell which welcomes new arrivals 
assures us that Victor Emmanuel must be appearing in 
person to pursue the chamois of the neighbourhood. 
Hurrying to the window we see an excited crowd gazing 
and gesticulating at the sky in a manner which sug- 
gests that they have been visited either by a heavenly 
vision or temporary insanity. In fact a small fire- 
balloon has been sent up. After a time another peal of 
the bell announces its descent, the Bergamasque shep^ 
herd boys set off up the hillside to secure the fragments, 
and night closes upon the scene. 

To most of us there comes a time when the pleasures 
of infancy pall. But these water-drinkers seem to have 
found the true fountain of youth and oblivion, where 

■ they lie reclined 
On the hillfl like Gods together, careless of mankind. 
For they lie beside their nectar 

and, far removed from the politics and stock-exchanges 
of a lower world, can treat even the leading articles 
which occasionally creep up to them at the bottom of a 
fiTiit- cart 

Like a tale of little meaning tho* the vords are strong. 

Happy Milanese! for is not Yal Masino better than 
Margate P 

It is difficult, perhaps, to recommend the Baths as 
a stopping-place for any length of time to the ordinary 
traveller. Though so high (3,750 feet) they are too 


much in a hole for beauty. But the situation, if it 
would not satisfy an artist, is not in the least common- 
place, and has even a curious fascination of its own. 
On every side the eyes are met at once by almost per- 
pendicular rocks capped here and there by sharp spires 
of granite. These cliffs are not bare and harsh like 
those of Yal di Mello, but green with forest and bright 
with falling waters. They seem friendly prot>ector8 to 
the smooth oa«is of grass and pines. The suggestion 
of savage wildness close at hand added by the few 
glimpses of the upper peaks heightens the sense of peace 
and seclusion in which the charm of the spot is to be 

The little plain is quite large enough to suffice for 
the ver}' moderate demands of the Italian visitors, but 
it 'will hardly satisfy the average British craving for 
exercise. You must, however, either stop where you 
are or climb a staircase; these upright hills will not 
easily lend themselves, like the slopes of the Upper 
Engadiue, to short breaths and untrained limbs. To 
enjoy Yal Masino you must be either sick or sound ; it 
is not a place for invalids or idlers. 

To the mountaineer the bathing establishment is 
invaluable. It is true that as a passing guest he pays 
a biU large when compared to the charges made to the 
* pensionnaires,' and that his guide will probably have 
still greater reason to complain. But he obtains in 
exchange the boon of a good bed and an excellent 
dinner in a situation admirably chosen for glacier ex- 
peditions. Moreover, owing to the general custom of 
the patients of keeping up impromptu dances till mid- 
night, a waiter can generally be persuaded to provide 
breakfast before he goes to bed ; and not only is the 


cnstomary di£Sculty in an earlj start entirely absent, 
but it is sometimes hard to avoid being sped too soon 
bj a host whose night begins only when yoars ends. 

At half-past twelve the voice of the inexorable 
Fran9ois was heard at the doors : ' Bonjoor, messieurs, 
il fait encore beau temps.' One of us who had gone to 
sleep in the middle of a thunderstorm gave a deep 
groan of disappointment at the auspicious news. But 
in half-an-hour we were all gathered round the table at 
a meal which we had ordered, and now affected to treat 
in the light of a late supper. I need scarcely say the 
pretence was a miserable failure. Though the stars 
shone brightly in the narrow strip of sky visible between 
the steep mountain-crests, the night was so black that 
some precaution was considered necessary to prevent 
our falling off the edge of the road, and prematurely 
ending our Alpine investigations. The obliging waiter 
dexterously screwed up in paper a tallow candle after 
the model of a safety bedroom candlestick. But soon, 
as was to be expected, the shield caught fire, and our 
impromptu lantern disappeared in a blaze. 

Fran9oi8 then beguiled the dark hours by an account 
of the cross-examination he had undergone the evening 
before. * What was our illness 9 Should we take the 
waters 9 Where had we come from P How long should 
we stay? Where were we going?' Such were the 
enquiries of the guests ; and when they heard that we 
had come over one glacier and were departing next day 
by another with the intention of sleeping at a place two 
days' drive off by the only road they knew, they were 
fairly at their wits' end. 

The road which had seemed so long the day before 
was soon traversed, and leaving our old track to scale 


the hillside, we continued in the trongh of Val di 
Mello, until just as dawn was breaking behind the Dis- 
grazia we reached the ch&lets of La Basica. The in- 
cident which now followed, interesting to me as the origin 
of a valued friendship, must find a place here on account 
of the influence it had on all my further wanderings. 

People were heard stirring inside one of the bams, 
and lights seen moving — a very unusual phenomenon 
at such an hour. For a moment we imagfined we had 
caught a party of smugglers starting for the Zocca. But, 
conspicuous even in the darkness, a pair of white flannel 
trousers, such as no smuggler ever wore, issued from 
the door. Before we had time to speak they were fol- 
lowed by another and still more startling apparition. 
All we could at first make out was a large lantern, 
surrounded or all sides by long yellow spikes like con- 
ventional sunbeams or the edges of a saint's glory. A 
moment later the human being who carried the light 
became distinguishable, the rays resolved themselves 
into the bright leather cases of scientific instruments, 
and a voice announced that we were in the presence of 
Mr. Tuckett and his guides. 

Still young and inexperienced as a mountain-climber, 
and knowing only by hearsay of the Alpine Club, I was 
at this time penetrated by a profound respect for that 
body. Its rank and file I believed to be as little ham- 
pered by the laws of gravity as the angels of the Talmud, 
of whom three could balance themselves upon a single 
pinnacle of the Temple. To its greater heroes I looked 
up as to the equals of those spirits whom their leader 

That in onr proper motion we ascend 

Up towards our natire seat ; descent and fall 

To us are adyerse. 


For me, therefore, it was an awful moment when I 
found myself thus unexpectedly in the presence of the 
leader himself — the being whose activity, ubiquity, and 
persistence in assault have made, at least in the lips of 
wearied guides, *der Tuckett' almost equivalent to 
*der Teufel.' Conscious, moreover, of intentions on 
the new pass of the country — the one possible link by 
which Val Masino could be brought within a day's walk 
of the Upper Engadine — I felt an inward presentiment 
that this great mountain-slayer must be there on a 
similar errand, and a fear that he might punish our 
poaching in some very serious manner. 

Perhaps it was partly the guilty expression of our 
countenances which caused our suspicions to be returned 
and our party also to be taken for a band of smugglers 
whose acquaintance Mr. Tuckett had made on the 
Albigna Glacier the previous day. The mutual mis- 
apprehension having been speedily removed, our further 
fears were set at rest. The Disgrazia was the imme- 
diate object of Mr. Tuckett's ambition ; and though he 
did intend to cross next day to the Engadine, his 
quiver was already so full of new peaks and passes that 
he could well a£Pord to leave some small game for 

It would have been pleasant to have united our 
parties, but we had an appointment to keep at St. 
Moritz, and could not venture to risk a detention by 
bad weather on the wrong side of the chain. 

A steep ascent led to a miserable shelter where Mr. 
Tuckett and his friend left us, and to which they sub- 
sequently returned to spend an uncomfortable night. 
We were now on the upper pasturages, a wide desolate 
tract merging into the rocky heaps which fringe 


several small glaciers descending from the highest 

Three ice-streams flowed towards us — one from im- 
mediately under the Pico della Speranza; the second 
from the angle in the chain under Monte Sissone ; the 
third lay far more to the left, and was barred at its 
head by steep cliffs extending to the Monte Sissone, 
and broken only near that peak by a narrow snow- 
trough. The head of the central ice-stream was a broad 
saddle, and for this we determined to steer. I had a 
presentiment that it would overlook Yal Malenco. But 
that point gained, it would be easy to reach the ridge 
of Monte Sissone, and probably without losing much 
time by the circuit. 

We ascended for a long way over the boulders on 
the south of the central glacier. They offered villainous 
foothold, but the ice was so slippery that we gave them 
the preference, and were rewarded for our pains by 
finding some remarkably fine crystals. Leaving solid 
ground only a few hundred yards below the crest, we 
soon found ourselves on its summit. Beneath us, only 
at a much lower level, and cut off by an apparently 
impracticable cliff, was the glacier-field which encircles 
the head of Yal Malenco. . Beyond it rose the massive 
forms of the Bemina group. We lost no time here in 
looking at the view, but turned again upwards, follow- 
ing the ridge for some distance; then, at Fran9ois'' 
instance, we crossed a treacherous snow-slope to the 
left, and, after losing some of the height we had gained, 
reached the rocks. We and the porter took a pretty 
straight course up the peak of the Sissone, leaving 
rran9ois to make more to the left for the head of the 
snow-trough. Towards the summit the rocks became 

PA8S0 DI MONTE 8I880NE. 66 

steep, and afforded an exciting scramble. As we worked 
up a gully the first man put his arm round a large and 
apparently firmly-wedged stone, which tottered with 
his weight. Had it fallen, we should have had a sensa- 
tion something like that of jumping out of the way of a 
cannon-ball. When our heads rose above the level of 
the ridge, we were glad to see snow-slopes on the other 
8ide,falling away steeply to a great glacier basin. Now we 
felt our pass was secured. A pile of broken crags still rose 
above us ; a short race, and we were seated on the highest 
boulder, one of the comer-stones of the Bernina chain. 
The Monte Sissone, although insignificant in height 
compared with the giants which encircle the Mor- 
teratsch, claims an important place in the oro- 
graphy of the group. It stands at the angle of the 
range, where the main ridge is met by the spur which 
connects the Disgrazia with the rest of the chain. This 
mighty outlier was the one object which riveted our 
eyes, quite eclipsing the more distant glories of the 
Bernina. The noble mass (scarcely three miles from us 
as the crow flies) rose tier above tier out of the great 
glacier which extended to our feet ; its rocky ribs pro- 
truded sternly out of their shimmering ice-mail, and 
the cloud-banner which was now flung out from the 
crowning ridge augured no good to its assailants. Deep 
below lay Chiareggio and the Muretto path, so that the 
mountain was visible from top to bottom. For massive 
grandeur united with grace of form, the Disgrazia has 
few rivals in the Alps. Between us and the Muretto 
stood the fine snow-peak of the Cima di Bosso, and then 
the eye swept along the red cliffs which lie at the back 
of Plz Guz and the Fedoz Glacier to the giants of the 
Bernina, crowded too closely round their queen for indi- 


yidual effect. In the west were the Cima del Largo, 
and the more distant peaks surroanding the Bondasca 

Im mediately from our feet on the north broken 
snow-slopes fall steeply on to a wide level basin, the 
head of the Forno Glacier. Yawning chasms forbad a 
direct descent, and when we left the peak, the higher 
by several feet for onr visit, we followed for a little dis- 
tance its eastern ridge. There were a legion of enormous 
pitfalls, but no continuous moat, so that after some 
circle-sailing we were able to slide swiftly down to the 
snow-plain. A circular hollow formed the reservoir 
into which cascades of n^v6 tumbled from the enclosing 
ridges. These, like the walls of an amphitheatre, 
stretched round from the Cima di Bosso to the Cima 
del Largo ; to the west of Monte Sissone they became 
almost perpendicular, and it seems doubtful whether a 
more direct pass can profitably be forced in this direc- 
tion. A large block of ice had detached itself from the 
upper s^racs and now lay at their base — a bright mass 
of cobalt amidst the pervading greys and whites. 

I have nowhere seen a more perfect * cirque,' and 
we could fancy that our feet were the first which had 
ever penetrated it, for the Forno, though the second 
glacier of the Bemina group, and within an easy walk 
of the Maloya Inn, has never been the fashion with 
tourists, and no record of its earlier exploration exists. 

Looking downwards a green mound close to Maloya 
was visible. It can scarcely be half-an-hour from the 
read, and must command the whole length of the 
glacier. Our course lay straight before us; we had 
nothing to do but to follow the great valley of ice. 
Two fine masses of secondary glacier poured in from 


the eastern range, over whicli the Cima di Bosso rose 
pre-eminent, a noble peak sheeted in snow and ice. 
Since leaving the Pennines we had seen no such glacier 

The crevasses were frequent, but generally small, 
— the right size for jumping over. At one place, how- 
ever, it was easier to leave the ice and to pick our way 
through the hollow between the moraine and the moun- 
tain-side. A few sheep, which must have been driven at 
least a mile over the ice, were cropping the scanty 
herbage. The herdboy seemed simply stupefied at 
seeing five people drop suddenly on him from heaven 
knows where, and conld scarcely answer our questions 
except with a prolonged stare. 

Clouds had now risen over the sky, and a fine sleet 
began to fall. The mists, however, did not descend on 
the mountains, and looking back we enjoyed the peculiar 
eflFect of the upper peaks seen through a watery veil 
and lit by fitinl gleams of sunshine. Having returned 
to the ice we followed it to the end, — a fine ice-cave, 
whence the Ordlegna, the stream of Yal Bregaglia, 
rushes out in an impetuous torrent. In a few minutes 
we passed the Piancaning ch&lets and made our junction 
with the dull but well-established path of the Muretto 
Pass. An hour more brought us to the Maloya Inn and 
the high road ; and after a pleasant stroll along the 
Silser-See our walk came to an end at the one pic- 
turesque village in the Upper Engadine, Sils Maria. 

F 2 




Hee's a foole who baselv dallies 

Where each peasunt mates with him ; 

Shall I haunt the thronged Tallies 
Whilst ther's noble hils to climbe? 

Gbobqb Withkbs. 

< gn A MW OIO— PAaso m msllo — ^pasbo di bomdo — ciha dbl lajigo— tal 


The following year found me in company with Mr. Tuckett, 
at the head of the western branch of Val Malenco, the 
valley on the south of the central mass of the Bemina. 
Oar original companions in a campaign, one of the 
most rapid and brilliant ever planned by our indefati- 
,gable leader, had gradually left us to seek the inglorious 
repose of England or Italy. Their place, however, had 
been partially "filled by H. Buxton, a recruit, but not a 
iraw one ; and for guides we were amply provided with 
JVan9ois, Peter Michel, and Walther of Pontresina, 

The dingy house next the chapel serves as the inn 
of Chiareggio. Its sole tenant in 1865 was a universal 
old man, who was a sort of epitomised * service ; ' cook, 
waiter, chambermaid, and host all in one. The re- 
sources of his establishment were limited, the cutlery 
was of the Bronze, and the bread of the Stone period ; 


but the kitchen produced a sort of ' soupe maigre ' which 
sufficed, with the aid of our provisions, to ward ofiP 

Before us stretched a wide semicircle of rock and 
ice extending from the Muretto Pass on the north to 
the Monte della Disgrazia on the south. In the centre 
of the bay stood Monte Sissone. Above the glaciers 
which poured down valleywards in two principal 
streams, rose a continuous rock-rampart, impassable 
so far as we could judge to the right of Monte Sissone, 
and formidable everywhere. The glacier difficulties we 
were not afraid of; the question to be decided was 
whether this final wall could be scaled. 

At the point where the valley forks we left the 
Muretto path, and turned towards the west. A bright 
ice-stream, having its source under the highest crest of 
the Disgrazia, as splendid a mountain as any in the 
Swiss Alps, poured down to our feet. On our right the 
glacier from MonfjC Sissone stopped short at the top of 
a slope of loose rubbish. We soon reached the foot of 
the long broken staircase. The chasms and towers on 
either hand were on a noble scale, but, as is often the 
case, it was possible to turn each in succession by a 
course of judicious zigzags. After threading our way 
through the steepest labyrinth we came to the upper 
region of half-formed ice, where deep continuous 
trenches cease, and huge icicle-fringed pits — gaping 
monsters easily avoided — take their place. Mounting 
steadily toward the Disgrazia and along the base of 
the rock- wall, we drew near the point of attack already 
selected. Here a steep snow-bed lay to a certain height 
against the rocks. Immediately above they were per- 
pendicular, but across their face a ledge, slanting up- 


Avards, promised to give access to a part of the cliff on 
our left where the crags were more broken and practi- 
cable. Out pathway soon grew narrow. There was, 
however, only one troublesome comer, but this happeued 
to be exactly where the meltings of an upper snow- 
bed poured over on us in an icy stream. The shower- 
bath did not cool our impatience during the moments 
we had to wait for one another. This comer turned, a 
short steep slope of snow and rock led to the crest, a 
pile of enormous boulders, whence on the further side 
we looked down on a gently sloping snow-field falling 
towards the Val di Mello. Over our heads towered a 
monstrous wall of granite, suddenly breaJ^ing off above 
the pass. Immense wedge-like blocks, supported only 
at one end, jutted out into the air like the stones of 
some ruined temple, ever it would seem on the point to 
fall, yet enduring for centuries.* When we set out to de- 
scend the snow-field was soon crossed, to a point where 
it fell away in a steep bank. We cut a few steps, and 
then glissaded down to a moraine. While unbuckling 
belts a sudden crash made us look back. A huge 
boulder was dancing down the slope in our footsteps, 
pursued by a bevy of smaller followers. The very few 
stones that were lying at the bottom proved this to be 
an unusual channel for such missiles. We were just 
out of range, but a delay of five minutes would have 
exposed us to a serious risk in a place to all appear- 
ance absolutely safe. 

Our path now lay across the stony tract which en- 
circles the small glaciers of Yal di Mello until we 
gained the edge of the upper alp, where the collected 

' Tho pass was at first named the Disgrazia Joch ; but Passo di Mello, 
Buggested by Mr. Ball, seemB the most appropriate title. 


streams make a deep plunge into the glen below. Here 
we all separated, Buxton and I descending at once 
with the water, and Tuckett following the proper path 
awaj to the right ; Buxton luckily hit a track, and got 
down without difficulty, but I, less fortunate, took a 
course on the left side of the waterfall. Swinging my- 
self down the steep hillside by the strong arms of the 
creeping pines, I was little more than 200 feet above 
the floor of the glen, when I was suddenly brought to 
a standstill by an abrupt crag. It was fortunately 
possible to scramble down to the lowest ledge, and then 
drop down the last few feet on to the elastic bed of 
dwarf pines below. The little bag which contained all 
my wardrobe was an impediment to the close union of 
my body and the rock which seemed expedient, and I 
flung it down before me. When I had more slowly 
followed, the bag was nowhere to be seen; half-an- 
hour's search was fruitless, and I began to fear lest my 
companions should become alarmed at my delay. I was 
now within 250 feet of the valley, and, seeing my way 
for more than half the short space, had no thought of 
a further difficulty.* But after a few steps I found my- 
self on the brink of a cliflF, not very lofty, but still high 
enough to break one's neck over, and too smooth to 
allow any hope of a direct descent. For a moment re- 
turn, which meant a circuit of two hours, seemed inevi- 
table. But a careful study of the rocks on my left showed 
a sort of slanting groove or gallery running across their 
£ax;e, of which it might be possible to take advantage. 

In order to reach this loophole of escape a crag of 
awkwardly smooth surface had to be crossed, and it 
was clearly desirable to use every natural means of ad- 
hesion. I dropped my ice-axe, and the force with which 


it reboanded from its first contact with the ground, 
gave its owner a serioos warning to follow in some less 
abmpt manner. Foothold soon failed, bat not before I 
was within reach of the groove, or flaw in the cliflT-stroc- 
tnre, jnst mentioned. How best to profit bj its advan- 
tages was now the question. Wedging myself into it 
as far as might be, I pressed with mj back and elbows 
against the lower rock, and with my hands against the 
overhanging upper lip. My knees and heels formed a 
second point of support, and by retaining one part of my 
body always fixed I wormed myself along slowly, but 
with perfect security. At last the smooth cliflF was 
turned, and it was easy to descend into the glen. 

A copious spring burst out of the rocks just where 
I first touched level ground. I quenched at it the in- 
tense thirst produced by the excitement of the solitary 
climb, picked up my axe, and then hastened onwards, 
desirous as soon as possible to rejoin my companions, 
and relieve whatever anxiety they might feel on my 
behalf. A needless exertion, for on approaching the 
chilets of La Sasica I saw a cluster of grey forms pros- 
trate in various attitudes on the tUrf, while a pile of 
emptied bowls beside them showed the nature of the 
beverage by which the Circe of the chfilet had wrapt 
them in forgetfulness. 

Beyond La Basica I was treading in my last year's 
footsteps. Val di Mello, the name by which the eastern 
head of Yal Masino is distinguished, is one of the most 
savage mountain recesses in this part of the Alps. The 
highest peaks of the district do not themselves rise 
immediately out of it, but their granite buttresses 
are so bold that grandeur is the last element the scenery 
could be accused of wanting. It does, to me at least. 


want sometliingy and on contrasting it with two other 
valleys of similar formation the missing element is 
easily recognisable. Utter wildness fails to satisfy, 
and savage crags lose half their beauty when they no 
longer tower above gprassy lawns and out of rich woods 
of pine, or better still, of glossy chestnuts. Val Bon- 
dasca, the Yal di Geneva under the Fresanella, and 
Yal Bavona may be taken as good examples of granite 
scenery in its highest perfection. 

We found but little change in the Bagni and their 
visitors. The doctor and the priest were still playing 
bowls, the bell was still ringing, and the same waiter 
was ready to do for us exactly the, same things as he 
had done ten months before. By his aid we succeeded 
in repeating a good dinner, and, much more remark- 
able, an early start. 

Our object this year was to effect if possible the tra- 
ditional pass from the Porcellizza Alp to Yal Bondasca, 
which we had missed at the first attempt. 

The stream which flows before the door of the bath- 
house rushes down the cliff a few yards higher up in a 
noble fall. A steep zigzag of well-made pav^, better to 
mount than descend, climbs beside the water. Two 
hours of steady uphill work lead to a grassy basin, in 
the centre of which stand the ch&lets of the Porcellizza 
Alp. A ring of granite peaks hems in the pasturage, 
and ice fills the gaps between them. The summits 
themselves are precipitous, but the ground below them 
is less broken, and the slopes are gentler and greener, 
than at the head of the other glens in this gproup. Hence 
cows take the place of Bergamasque sheep, and the 
chfilet, known as the Alp Mazza, is one of the largest in 
the neighbourhood. 


We fancied our pass must lie at the eastern foot of 
the Punta Trubinesca. The glacier was smooth and 
solid, and we had no difficulty in reaching the gap at its 
head. But the descent on the other side was far from 
eligible. We found ourselves at the top of an ice-slope 
at least 1,000 feet high, very steep, and swept by con- 
stant discharges of stones. We naturally resolved to 
look further along the ridge. Turning our backs on 
the still unconquered and formidable cliffs of the Tru- 
binesca, we at once climbed the snow-slope on our 
right, and, crossing a rocky spur, gained the head of the 
glacier adjacent to the one by which we had ascended. 
Again we inspected the northern slopes, but with like 
result. The Bondasca Glacier still lay far — very far — 
below, at the base of a most repulsive gully, down which 
stones rattled constantly at a pace likely soon to put a 
stop to all trespassing on their private pathway. Un- 
willing to face such a cannonade, we again right-faced. 
It was fortunately possible, and that without much 
difficulty, to follow the crest of the qhain by keeping a 
little below it on its southern side. In time we reached 
the spur dividing the second from yet another ice-stream, 
the largest and most easterly of those that descend to- 
wards the Porcellizza Alp. We saw with disgust that 
we had yet some distance to go, and that over very 
rough ground, involving a considerable descent, and the 
passage of a steep ridge, to reach the Passo di Ferro, 
the point where we had crossed the previous year. 

Suddenly Peter Michel, who had unlinked him- 
self, and was exploring above, shouted to us to follow, 
and in a few minutes we were all standing in a natural 
doorway in the ridge, some twenty feet deep by five 


in breadth. The ice of the Bondasca Glacier was 
here only 250 feet below us, and the cliff looked broken 
enough to be practicable, so, the guides being in favour 
of an immediate descent rather than a long and uncer- 
tain circuit, we decided we had reached our pass, and 
behaved accordingly — that is, made ourselves comfort- 
able in niches and enjoyed the view and iced Asti, a 
beverage which can only be appreciated at over 10,000 
feet. While we were reroping, Michel grew oracular, 
and to a question on the easiness of our route, replied 
in a formula we had learnt by experience to dread as 
much as Cleopatra the ^ but yet ' of the messenger from 
Antony — * Es geht, — aber.' 

The descent of a partially ice-coated cliff is one of 
the most ticklish parts of a climber's work. But so 
long as there is any good hold on rock, and the party 
can proceed directly downwards, there is no danger if 
the rope is properly used. When it becomes necessary 
to move diagonally across the face of the mountain the 
difficulty is much increased, and the rope is not so 
easily kept taut. Yet there are few places where 
with sufficient care a slip of any one man may not be 
checked before it becomes a fall. 

In the present instance it was some time before we 
met with anything to justify Michel's reservation. But 
about half-way down the rib which had helped us came 
to an end, and the rocks g^ew smooth and mixed with 
ice. To have descended in a straight line would have 
brought us to the edge of a gaping crevasse ; we 
tended, therefore, continually to the right, where the 
glacier rose higher against the cliff, and snow bridged 
the obstructive chasm. Here a long step down, there a 


longer straddle rotrnd was required, and onr progress 
became of the slowest, as prudence often required a 
majority of the party to be stationary. 

After passing one very obnoxious comer, which each 
pulled himself round, partly by an imperceptible grasp 
on an invisible handhold, but principally trusting to the 
support of the rope, we got on easier ground, and, by 
cutting a few steps, reached at last (in two hours £rom 
the i>a88) the snow-bridged moat. Once on the ice, 
Fran9<)is was aided by old experience, and steered us 
through the labyrinth of the Bondasca Glacier without 
either delay or difficulty. 

After leaving the ice we followed the steep path 
which leads down amongst the creeping pines and 
underwood on the right side of the valley, to the lower 
level of Val Bondasca. 

Another plunge, this time through chestnuts, 
brought us to the maize-fields and vine-trellised vil- 
lages of Val Bregaglia. Neither at Promontog^no nor 
Castasegna was any carriage to be obtained. In order 
to arrive at Chiavenna we were compelled, ice-axes in 
hand, to storm the roof of a diligence, where, in- 
trenched among the luggage, we formed a garrison far 
too formidable for any guard or postillion to dislodge. 

In the summer of 1866 I a^in found myself with 
my friend Tucker and Fran9oi8 Devouassoud, in eastern 
Switzerland. The passes of Val Masino were accom- 
plished, but its peaks still remained maiden and unas- 
sailed. Having added Fluri to our party, we started 
one afternoon from Pontresina for the old hospice on 
the top of the Maloya, then a humble inn, now a 
familiar house of call for the fashionable society of St. 


The Cima del Largo, the highest peak in the range 
between Yal Bregaglia and Yal Masino, was oar aim for 
the morrow. I spare the reader the long and some- 
what tedious march over familiar ground to the head of 
the Fomo Glacier. We had started under a cloudless 
sky, but before we reached the foot of the Largo no 
* Cima ' was to bo seen, only snow-slopes stretching up 
into the mists. Fortunately we already knfew how to 
attack our peak. From the N. or E. the Cima del 
Largo presents itself as a bold round tower rising 
sheerly above the wall on which it stands. As far as 
its northern base there could, we believed, be little 
difficulty. Our expectations were fulfilled : steep snow- 
banks and easy rocks lifted us to the rim of the snowy 
basin of the Fomo. The ridge which divides it from 
the Albig^ Glacier is a narrow comb of granite ; we 
moved along it in the chink between the rocks and 
snow. A wall of ice suddenly loomed before us through 
the mist. We had reached the foot of the tower, and 
the trial of strength was about to begin. The ice was 
very hard and the slope very steep, and steps seemed to 
take a long time. At last a pat-ch of rock was gained. 
We now followed a ridge, sometimes rock, sometimes 
ice ; steps had still to be cuty and we progressed but 
slowly. Suddenly our leader said, * C'est assez,' reversed 
his axe, and stepped out freely for a few paces. We 
were on the snow-dome which forms the summit of the 
Cima del Largo. 

View there was none ; we could see we were on the 
top, and that was all. But even in the worst of weather 
the newness of his plaything offers some consolation to 
the childlike simplicity of the true climber. Comforting 
ourselves, like Touchstone, with the reflection that the 


Largo, if, under the circumstances, but * a poor virgin, 
an ill-favoured thing,' was at least * our own,' we ad- 
journed to a sheltered niche in the rocks a few feet 
below the summit. The atmosphere was tolerably warm 
and windless, and in our bivouac under the overhangs- 
ing eaves of the great rocks we were sheltered from the 
soft, thickly-falling veil of snow which cut us off from 
the lower world. 

If our surroundings might have seemed cheerless, 
our feelings were by no means so. I never assisted at a 
more festive meal than that which celebi*ated the birth 
of our stoneman. 

Fluri was determined to do his best to compensate 
for the want of view ; he was in his highest spirits, 
pleased with the mountain, the food, the wine-bag, the 
* herrschaft,' and last, but not least, with himself. Now 
Fluri, whether in good or bad spirits, used in any case 
to be careful to let you know his mental condition. 
On this occasion he exploded in a series of small but 
elaborate jokes. First he got into a hole and played 
marmot. Then he scrambled after a solitary ranuncu- 
lus (which, strange to say, was blooming at this great 
height), and pretended not to be able to get back again, 
wriggling his body absurdly over the easiest rock in the 
neighbourhood. Nearly an hour must have thus passed, 
and yet no break in the mist offered to reward us for 
revisiting the summit. So about 1 p.h. we set out to 
return. The descent of the ice- wall called for consider- 
able care, as it was necessary to be prepared for a slip, 
although such an accident might not be very likely to 
happen. Fran9ois, who was leading, had to clear out 
the fresh-fallen snow from our old steps, which were 
quite effaced. Here Fluri, who in his early period, 


before he had learnt snowcraft from English moun- 
taineers and foreign guides, showed a morbid dislike to 
the commonest and most necessary precautions, raised 
himself greatly in our esteem. Though screaming and 
howling every variety of jodel the whole time, I never 
saw him once without the rope taut and his axe firmly 
anchored in the ice. The rest of the descent was easy 
enough, and it does not take long to get down snow- 
slopes. From the foot of the peak we had a long and 
heavy walk back to the inn on the Maloya. The snow 
on the glacier was soft and ridgy, and the path beyond 
sloppy and slippery, and the light snow-flakes changed 
into heavy rain when we got down again into the lower 
world. At Maloya we found the car ordered from 
Silvaplana to meet us. Our day's journey was yet far 
from its end. There was much still before us that 
would be wearisome to relate, and was still more weari- 
some to endure. 

How the postmaster at Silvaplana tried to impose 
on us, how we relaced our sodden boots and tramped 
through the rain to St. Moritz, how there Badrutt gave 
us a car which carried us moist and sleepy to Zutz, 
this is not the place to tell. Enough that we arrived 
at Zutz in a state of depression which even the scene of 
revelry by night oflFered by the * Schweizerbund,' where 
we found Swiss warriors absorbed in the task of con- 
ducting village maidens through the solemn revolutions 
of a national variation of the waltz, failed to cheer. It 
was the last of our trials that no inducement would 
persuade a Swiss maiden to make our beds. 

In the same summer we visited for the third time 
the Bagni del Masino. We were forced by weather to 
enter the valley by its proper gate instead of by one 


of the irregular but more tempting modes of access open 
to mountaineers. 

For the first hour the car-road between the Val Tel- 
lina and the Baths runs through a steep knd narrow 
defile. It is not until the village of Cattaeggio, pic- 
turesquely imbedded amongst rocks and foliage, and the 
mouth of Val Sasso Bisolo have been passed, that the 
valley opens, and the jagged range near the Passo di 
Ferro comes into sight. Before reaching San Martino 
the stupendous boulder, known to the peasants as the 
Sasso di Bemeno, is encountered. On near approach it 
quite maintains its reputation as the largest fallen block 
in the Alps. Beside the monster lie several more 
boulders of extraordinary size. On the top of one of 
them is a kitchen garden approached by a ladder. The 
snows melt sooner on such an exposed plot, and the 
goats cannot get at the vegetables. 

The object of our return to so recently visited a 
region was to complete in peaks the work we had already 
carried out in passes. The problem which on the whole 
we looked to with most interest was now immediately 
before us. Mr. Ball had pronounced the Punta Trubi- 
nesca, the highest peak west of the Cima del Largo, and 
the prince of the rocky summits overlooking Val Bon- 
dasca, absolutely inaccessible from this side. But from 
what we had seen the previous year we were inclined 
to believe that the prophet had for once spoken hastily. 
The rocks on the southern face of the peak (both south 
and west faces overlook the Porcellizza Alp) had then 
seemed to us difficult certainly, but not impossible. 

We arrived in good time at the Baths, and soon 
went to bed, determined to be prepared for the very 
early start which should give us a fair chance of sue* 


cess in our venture. My disgust may be imagined, 
therefore, when I awoke next morning to see the sun 
already shining brightly in at my window, and my 
watch conspicuously pointing to 6 a.m. What had be- 
come of Fran9ois ? Had our guide for the first time in 
his life fallen a victim to the potent wines of the Val 
Tellina, or, more unlikely still, deliberately arranged to 
shirk the formidable Trubinesca 9 

I hurried at once to seek the defaulter, who was 
found in a deep slumber, which he justified by the 
statement that it had rained at 8 a.h. It is difficult to 
remedy a bad beginning, and our old friend the noc- 
turnal waiter was now of course in his first sleep. 
Breakfast was not over until past seven, at which un- 
seemly hour we set out with comparatively slender hopes 
of success. For three hours we followed our old tracks 
of the Passo di Bondo. As we mounted the green hill- 
sides above the Porcellizza Alp a new plan wa43 sug- 
gested — to try the western instead of the southern face 
of the Trubinesca. This we had never examined, be- 
cause it was the side seen^ and pronounced against by 
Mr. Ball from the Pizzo Porcellizzo. 

A smooth cliff some 200 feet high ran round the 
entire base of the peak, and there was no breach visible. 
But there was still one spot which we could not clearly 
see, the head of the glacier we were about to tread. As 
we mounted the easy banks of ice the secret of the 
mountain was suddenly revealed. A snow-gully of very 
moderate slope led up to the ridge between our peak 
and the Cima di Tschingel. In half-an-hour more the 
cliff was outflanked, and we were on the crest of the 
chain looking down an awful precipice into Yal Bon- 



The final ridge alone remained. It rose beside ns 
in a broad slab of granite. But a convenient crack 
destroyed the difficulty suggested by a first glance. 
We were now at the foot of the turret so clearly seen 
from St. Moritz ; we turned it by its southern side, and 
then with our hands in our pockets walked quietly up 
a broad terrace of mingled rock and snow. The neigh- 
bouring peaks had already sunk below us — a smooth 
shining surface shone between them. One of us ex- 
claimed *Voila Como.' Fran9oi8 replied, *Voici le 
sommet.' It was just midday. Four hours and a half 
had disposed of the terrible Trubinesca, and added one 
more to the very lengthy list of Alpine impostors. 

The distant panorama was marred by clouds ; in its 
main features it must be a repetition of the lovely 
western view gained from every high summit of the 
Bemina group. It is the near prospect, however, which 
distinguishes the Punta Trubinesca. It can show two 
sights not to be seen, perhaps, from any other snowy peak, 
a large portion of Lago di Como, that coyest of Alpine 
lakes, and what is still more remarkable, the whole 
course, I may say literally every inch, of both sides of 
an Alpine carriage-road — Italy and Switzerland in the 
same glance. 

At our very feet lay the forests and villages of Val 
Bregaglia, Italian chestnuts and white campaniles; 
amongst them we caught sight of the thin streak of the 
high-road, which we followed as it climbed corkscrew- 
fashion above the woods and waterfalls and up to the 
bleak wind-swept down of the Maloya. Then our eyes 
accompanied it past the pine-fringed lakes of Sils and 
Silvaplana, and up again to the bracing heights of 
St. Moritz, every house in which was distinguishable 


through the glasses. Lost sight of for a few miles 
beneath the dip to Samaden, the road reappeared to- 
gether with a companion thread, the river Inn, and both 
finally vanished from our view somewhere between Zutz 
and Zemetz. 

The Baths were regained without adventure. And 
thus this maiden peak, although capable of deceiving 
the most experienced judges, yielded without a struggle 
to the first assault. Its reputation has survived its 
fall, and I saw it lately catalogued in some foreign 
publication as ^ non ancora scalato.' 

The very fact, however, which makes my story short 
and dull, the surprising easiness of the peak, gives it 
the greater interest for the ordinary traveller. If some of 
the native hunters will be at the trouble of making them- 
selves familiar with the route, there is no reason whatever 
why the ascent should not become a frequent excursion 
from the Baths. The walk is even within the powers 
of many ladies, and they might ride to within at most 
three hours of the top. Any one who can appreciate 
quality as well as quantity in a panorama will be well 
repaid ; those who do not should confine themselves to 
Fiz Languard. 

Our descent had been delayed by the state of my 
fiiend's knee, which had been suflFering from an old 
sprain, and now refused plainly to do duty for some 
days to come. It was vexatious enough, for on the 
next night we were to have slept out for the Disgrazia. 
But necessity knows nothing of plans, and he resigned 
himself to return as he had come to Sondrio, while I 
resolved to make a push for the same place over the 
mountains, and if possible to climb the Disgrazia by 
the way, 

fi 2 


Soon after midnight Fran9ois and I set out under a 
cloudy sky, which gave no sure token as to the day to 
follow. The now well-known path up Val di Mello was 
quickly traversed. As we reached La Basica thin rain 
began to fall, and Fran9ois, prophesying evil, suggested 
a return to San Martino. But the first gleams of day 
showed the thinness of the clouds, and our faces were again 
set against the steep hillside which leads to the upper 
pasturages. Before these were reached the blue face 
of heaven was everywhere breaking through the mist- 
veil, and a fine day was assured. Our spirits, hitherto 
gloomy, rose rapidly. The Passo di Mello was soon 
left below on the left, and we pressed rapidly up the 
steep glacier ivhich fills the corner under the Pico della 
Speranza.^ The last bank up to the spur dividing us 
from Yal Sasso Bisolo was steep enough to need step- 
cutting ; but we succeeded in avoiding altogether the 
difficulty described by Mr. Kennedy.^ We walked 
across an ordinary snow-slope on to the crest of the 
Disgrazia at a point somewhat to the south of the 
lowest gap between the loftier mountain and the Pico 
della Speranza. My hopes now ran high. The rocks 
were singularly easy until we came to a broad ice- 
trough. Steps were cut across this ; then we climbed 
up a steeper rock-rib and over a tooth. Beyond this we 
came to a second and wider sheet of hard black ice 
falling away steeply towards the Sasso Bisolo Glacier. 

* So named by Mosan. Stephen and Kennedy, who apparently considered 
the gloominess of the snrrounding names required some relief. The Monte 
della Disgrazia is supported on the other side by tJie Monte della Cas- 

, * Judging from the map appended to Mr. Kennedy's paper in the first 
▼ol. of the A/pine journal, he crossed the spur at a much lower point than 
we did. 


Fran9ois at once set to work cutting steps ; when thirty- 
two had been cut, and three-quarters of an hour had 
elapsed, we were less than halfway across the ice. All 
this time a very strong wind was blowing over the 
ridge ; still the steps were good, and the position an 
ordinary one to mountaineers. It did not even occur to 
me to feel doubt as to our final success until Fran9ois 
turned round for the first time and remarked on the 
violence of the wind. A few steps further a second 
observation showed me that my guide entertained 
doubts in his own mii^d as to the prudence of persever- 
ing in our attempt. 

I replied, however, that I was quite happy, and that 
the steps were excellent. A few more were cut, and 
then came a third suggestion of retreat. For once in 
my life I acted on principle, and I have regretted it 
ever since. rran9ois' doubts were not to be wondered 
at when the moral strain of his unusual position is con- 
sidered, alone with a ^ monsieur ' on a cathedral roof of 
ice. My old friend has a great deal too much imagina- 
tion to be merely animally brave, and like all the best 
guides feels acutely the responsibility of his situation. 
He knew that if I made a false step he might not be 
able to hold me. This was a good reason for our re- 
treat. He could not feel, as I did, that I had not the 
slightest disposition to slip ; for indeed his work was so 
good that no one accustomed to ice-steps could possibly 
have fallen out of the foothold provided. 

We decided, therefore, with a sharp pang to give 
up the peak, which was about half-an-hour distant, and 
looked ten minutes. 

Despite my defeat, I cannob pretend that the Dis- 
grazia is in any way a difficult mountain for any pro- 


perly constituted party of mountaineers. I have not as 
yet revenged myself on the peak, but Fran9ois some 
years afterwards took two of my friends to the top, and 
has given me his report. The slope, which we found hard 
black ice, was then snow, and was very soon disposed 
of. Twenty minutes more of rough scrambling brought 
them to the lower tooth reached by Herr Syber-Gysi. 
The gap between this and the highest peak cost another 
ten minutes of stiff, but not in the least dangerous, rock 
climbing. They started from the lower chfllets in Val 
Sasso Bisolo and took six hours, in the ascent. I was 
eight hours (halts included) from the Baths to where I 
stopped. It is clear, therefore, that active walkers are 
under no necessity to sleep out for this mountain, but 
may do it in the day between two comfortable beds. The 
reputation of diflSculty which the Disgrazia has certainly 
acquired is due partly to its splendid appearance from 
the Bernina group, still more to the interested exertions 
of the Pontresina guides, who have not been ashamed to 
charge the peak in their tariff at 1 70 francs ; 70, as they 
explain, for the four days' journey, 100 for the dangers 
of the climb. Now that Italians from Sondrio and 
hunters of Val Malenco have found their way up 
together, it is scarcely likely that any traveller in his 
senses will seek the services of the gentlemen of the 

The superb view spread out before us might well 
have diverted our minds even under a more serious 
disappointment. It was one of the days, frequent in 
the Alps after unsettled weather, when the air has a 
brilliancy and transparency so extraordinary that an 
Englishman rather fancies himself in another planet 
than within a day or two's journey of his own misty 


island. It is difficult to believe that you, who now 
breathe under an enormous arch of sky rising from 
pillars four hundred miles apart, are the same being 
whose vision was bounded but last week by a smoke- 
canopy resting on the chimney-pots of the other side of 
the square, and who, in home walks, was rather proud 
of distinguishing a landmark twenty miles off. 

Two vertical miles below lay the broad Val Tellina 
with its towns and fields, nearer was the bare trench of 
Val Sasso Bisolo; between the two a broad-backed 
ridge, covered with green pasturage, seemed to oflfer a 
delightful path for anyone descending towards Mor- 

The higher crest cut off only an insignificant por- 
tion of the Bergamasque hills. Beyond the nearer 
ranges, beyond the tossing hill waves of Como and the 
wide plain, the long level line of the Apennine melted 
into the glowing sky. The Disgrazia shares the advan- 
tage of all the outstanding Italian Alps, of being well 
within the great semicircle formed by the chain, instead 
of like the summits of the Bernese Oberland on its 
outer ring. From Dauphin^ to the Bernina every peak 
was in sight, the whole array of the central Alps raised 
their silver spears through the inconceivably pure air. 

From the foot of the ridge we turned to the left 
down the broad Sasso Bisolo Glacier, descending 
cavemed slopes the concealed treachery of which was, 
in truth, far more dangerous than the open terrors of 
the upper crest. Two climbers may safely attack many 
peaks, but it is undoubtedly wrong for so small a party 
to venture on any snow-covered glacier. By wrong in 
matters of mountain-climbing I mean anything which 
excludes the element of skill in that noble sport, and 


tends to convert it into mere gambling with hidden 
forms of death such as the ice-pit or the avalanche. 
Immediately under the face of the i>eak we struck the 
base of the high rocky spur which runs out from it to 
the south-west A steep scramble (twenty minutes) 
brought us to a gap, where we rested awhile to admire 
the exquisite view of the Zermatt range.' On the 
further side we slid down a hard snow-bed which had 
very nearly succeeded in developing itself into a glacier, 
and found ourselves in a desolate hollow, the stream of 
which forces a way out into Val Torreggio, one of the 
lower branches of Val Malenco. 

The descent lies at first through a narrow funnel 
between richly-coloured cliffs. The granite has now 
come to an end, and sharp edges of slate and serpentine 
crop up against it. A green and level upland valley soon 
opens before the eyes, watered by an abundance of sparks- 
ling fountains which spring up beneath every stone. 
Here a path gradually asserts itself and leads to a group 
of ch&lets. The descent into the depths of Yal Malenco 
is long, but pleasant. Although the high peaks of the 
Bemina are conjcealed by lower spurs, the way abounds 
in charming vignettes of wood and water and warm 

At Torre we had to wait some time for the carriage 
sent up to meet us ftx)m Sondrio. As we sat by the 
wayside the village priest joined us. When he learnt 
that we had come straight over the mountains from 
the ' Bagni ' his astonishment knew no bounds, and he 
seemed to doubt whether we were not something more 
or less than natural and wingless human beings. 

' This gap is probably the Passo della Freda Rossa of an Italian party 
who in 1874 ascended the Disgrasia from the Alp Bali in Val Torreggio. 


Our evening drive was swift and exciting. An im- 
petuous horse whirled us down a steep vine-clad hill, 
rounding the zigzags at a pace which made perils by 
mountains sink into insignificance compared to the 
perils by road. Near a beautiful waterfall tumbling 
from the opposite hills, the Malero was leapt by a bold 
arch, and for some time we ran along a terrace, high 
above the sti*ong glacier torrent. 

From the last brow overlooking the Val Tellina the 
eye rests on one of those wonderful landscapes which 
tell the southward-bound traveller that he has reached 
his goal and is at last in Italy. 

The great barrier is crossed, and the North is all 
behind us. The face of the earth, nay the very nature 
of the air, has changed, colours have a new depth, 
shadows a new sharpness. From the deep-green carpet 
of the smooth valley to the crowns of the sunset- flushed 
hills, all is wealth and luxuriance. No more pines stand 
stiff in regimental ranks to resist the assaults of winter 
and rough weather. No mountain rhododendrons collect 
all their strength in a few tough short shoots, and push 
themselves forward like hardy skirmishers of the vege- 
table world into the very abode of snow. Here the 
^ g^een things of the earth ' are all at home and at peace, 
not as in some high Graubunden valley waging unequal 
war in an enemy's country. The beeches cluster in 
friendly companies on the hills. The chestnut-forest 
rejoicing in a green old age spreads out into the kindly 
air broad, glossy branches, the vines toss their long arms 
here and there in sheer exuberance of life. Even on the 
roadside wall the lizards run in and out amongst beds of 
cyclamen and tenderest ferns and mosses. The hills seem 
to stand back and leave room for the sunshine; and 


the broody shining town of Sondrio, girt by towers and 
villas, wears, after the poor hamlets of the mountains, 
a stately air, as if humanity too shared in the general 

It is one of the peculiar privileges of the Alpine 
traveller to enjoy, if he pleases, the choicest luxury of 
travel, a descent into Italy, half-a-dozen times in the 
space of one short summer holiday. 

We drove down through vineyards and past a large 
villa and church, and through a narrow Via Garibaldi 
into a Piazza Yittorio Emmanuele. The south side of 
the square was formed by the hotel, an imposing build- 
ing which contains within its walls the post and dili- 
gence offices. The windows command a view up Val 
Malenco, terminated by the twin peaks of the Schwes- 
tern, which appear from this side as two rocky teeth, 
hardly to be recognised as the pure snow-cones which 
look in at every window at Pontresina. 

I have now, I hope, given an account of the 
mountains of Val Masino, which, though far from com- 
plete, may suffice to aid mountaineers who wish to visit 
them, and to direct attention to some of the most enjoy- 
able expeditions within their limits. But, as I put 
aside the various pamphlets from which I have tried to 
add to my own information on this group, I notice that 
a worthy Herr Professor has remarked on the first ascent 
of the Disgrazia, that it was * wholly devoid of scientific 
interest and results.* I fancy my learned friend pre- 
paring to lay down this holiday chronicle with a similar 
shrug of the shoulders ; and I feel indisposed to allow 
him his criticism until he has first submitted it to be 
examined in detail, and listened to what may be urged 
on the other side. 

A REPLY. 91 

' The Alps/ that shrug seems to say, * are not a play- 
ground for idle boys, but a store-room full of puzzles ; 
and it is only on the understanding that you will set to 
work to dissect one of these that you can be allowed to 
enter. You have free leave to look on them, according 
to your taste, as an herbarium, or as a geological, or 
even an entomological museum, but they must be treated, 
and treated only, as a laboratory. The belief that the 
noblest use of mountains is to serve as a refectory at 
once mental and physical for an overworked generation, 
that — 

Men in these crags a medicine find 
To stem corruption of the mind, 

is a poetical delusion unworthy of the philosopher who 
penned the lines. You must not come here to climb 
for mere health, or to indulge a sensual love of the 
beautiful, or, still worse, that brutelike physical energy 
which maybe more harmlessly exhausted in persecuting 
foxes or trampling turnips. Mi/Sel; arfswfjJrfyqTos eiairta. 
Come with a measuring rod or not at all.' 

So far our critic. In his anxiety to claim on behalf 
of science exclusive dominion over the mountains, he 
forgets that all great works of nature are not only 
monuments of past changes but also living influences. 
The physical history of our globe is a study the import- 
ance of which no one at the present day is likely to 
disallow. Because we refuse to look on mountainp 
simply as so much historical evidence, we of the Alpine 
Club do not by any means, as has been frequently sug- 
gested, range ourselves amongst the Philistines. We 
listen with the greatest interest to the men of genius 
whose mission it is to interpret the hieroglyphics of the 
temple in which we only worship. But we do not all 

92 A REPLY. 

of US recognise it as our duty to try to imitate their 
researches. Nor would the wiser of them wish for 
imitation from an incompetent herd of dabblers, who, 
however much they might gratify indiyidual vanity, 
would advance the general sum of knowledge about as 
much as an ordinary amateur sketchbook does art. 

Is it always better for a man, when acres of red 
rhododendron are in full bloom around him, and the 
insects are filling the air with a delicious murmur, to 
be engrossed body and soul in poking about for some 
rare plant or impaling an unfortunate beetle ? When 
two hundred miles of mountain and plain, lake and 
river, comland and forest, are spread out before the 
eyes, ought one to be remembering that 'justification' 
depends on ascertaining whether the back is resting on 
granite or feldspathic gneiss 9 

The preposterous pretension that no one is ' justified ' 
(it is the favourite word) in drinking in mountain glory 
in its highest forms unless he brings as a passport a 
profession of research, cannot be too strongly denounced. 
To require from every Alpine climber some show of a 
scientific object would be to preoccupy men's minds at 
the moment when they should, and would otherwise, 
be most open to enlarging influences ; it would in many 
cases be to throw away moral advantages and to encou- 
rage egotism, vanity, and humbug. 

An obvious comparison may perhaps render more 
clear the relative positions of the simple lover of the 
Alps and the scientific dabbler. Bome is almost as 
universal a goal of modem travel as Switzerland. There 
also is a great history to be studied, on many of the 
problems of which investigation of the ground we tread 
may throw light* 

A REPLY. 03 

The world listens with eager attention to anyone 
who has the requisite training to study such problems 
with profit, who can tell us what rude remains may be 
of the time of the Kings, can distinguish between the 
work of the Bepublic and the Empire. And amongst 
the galleries we are glad to meet those who can trace 
the progress of ai*t and analyse a great picture so as to 
show the elements drawn from earlier masters which 
have been crowned and immortalised by the genius of 
Baphael or Michael Angelo. 

But who ever ventured to assert that Bome was the 
peculiar heritage of the archaeologist or the art critic ? 
that the pathetic strength of its world-centring ruins 
or the glorious beauty of its frescoed palaces was re- 
served for the few who can explain, or make guesses at, 
how these things grew, and forbidden to the many who 
can only appreciate their present charm ? 

The Alps, we hold, like Bome, are for everyone who 
has a soul capable of enjoying them. They have been 
given us by right of birth for the recreation of our 
minds and bodies, and we refuse to hand over the key 
of our playground or to accept the tickets of admission 
which are so condescendingly offered. If anybody — 
even if a scientific body — calls after us as we pass along 
the mountain-path; we shall return no other answer than 
the very sufficient one made under similar circum- 
stances by the hero of Mr. Longfellow's popular ballad. 
And if, like that unhappy young man, we are doomed 
to perish in our attempt, I do not fancy our last 
moments will be seriously embittered by the absence of 
such consolations as a barometer or a spirit-level might 
have afforded. 




Comest thoa 

To see stiange foivsts and new snows 
And tread uplifted land ? Eicersox. 


In the last two chapters I have sketched a ronte {rom 
the highway of traffic and tourists — the Rhine valley — 
to the Italian Alps, passing to the west of the crowded 
roads which lead to the Upper Engadine. My design 
now is to point oat a similar track lying to the east 
both of the Julier and the Albula, which by means of 
variations may be made equally available either for the 
foot or carriage traveller. 

Our starting-point is the station of Landquart, some 
miles beyond Ragatz and short of Chur, and opposite 
the opening of the long, deep Pratigau. 

Above the gorge which secludes this side valley 
from the Rheinthal a car-track mounts to Seewis, an 
upland village with ^ Pensions,' frequented in summer 
by Swiss guests, whence the ascent of the Scesa Plana, 
an isolated block commanding a wide panorama, and 


enclosing in its recesses a large mountain lake — the 
Lnner See — is often made. 

This frontier valley rivals as a specimen of Swiss 
pastoral scenery the more famous spots in Canton Beriu 
Its villages, surrounded by fat, wide-spreading meadows 
of the brightest green, and overshadowed by noble 
walnuts, wear on the outside an air of long peace and 
prosperity. The interiors do not contradict the first 
impression. In the wayside inns one finds rich brown 
panelled walls decorated here and there with armorial 
bearings, old mirrors and carved presses. Mountainous 
stoves tower in peak form to the ceiling, and are 
cased in tiles, each of which represents some Scripture 
scene in a style ofben remarkable both for vigour and 

After twenty-four miles of tolerably continuous 
ascent the road reaches the upper expanse of the 
Pratigau and the scattered hamlets of Klosters. The 
scenery is of a character more common in Tyrol than 
Switzerland. Although it does not awe by sublimity 
or enchant by richness and variety, it is yet thoroughly 

Behind a foreground of level meadows and green 
but bold hillsides the glaciers and snow- peaks shine 
modestly but invitingly in the distance. They are not, 
as in the Bernese Oberland, magnificently rampant in- 
truders on the pasturages, but quiet, stream-nursing 
benefactors, whose acquaintance is never forced on you, 
and must be sought out with some trouble. 

Consequently the charm of such valleys is a self- 
contained peacefulness ; and a troop of cows rather 
than a herd of chamois represents the animal life in 
harmony with their sentiment* 


At the bridge of Klosters, in 1866, my companion 
deserted me for England. Fran9ois and I wanted to 
turn south again to the Engadine, and we determined 
to take a glance by the way at the retiring beauties of 
the Silvretta Femer. This considerable glacier group, 
scarcely known to Englishmen, runs parallel to the 
Lower Engadine, separating that valley from the Tyro- 
lese Montafun and Paznaun Thai, and abutting at its 
western end against the head of the Pratigau. The 
Swiss Alpine Club made it one year the scene of their 
summer excursion, and have conquered most of its 
peaks and passes. At their instigation a hut has been 
built four and a half hours from Klosters, close to the 
glaciers, and there we intended to pass the night. 

A new inn and pension was just opened on the left 
bank of the stream, and I did not long remain without 
society in the salon. First appeared an invalid from 
the Baths of Semens, who speedily broke down my 
German by preferring to talk of war-politics rather 
than of mountains. Next came a gentleman from Ohur 
bound for Davos, who puzzled me still more by launch- 
ing into what he gave me to understand was English. 
Last of all the local guide turned up, armed with testi- 
monials from the Swiss Alpine Club, and aghast at the 
notion of any traveller crossing the glaciers without his 
aid. Finding the native willing to accompany us on 
very moderate terms, and being one too few for a glacier 
pass, we readily agreed to take him. . 

Above Elosters the path is level for some distance, 
and leads through thick woods rich in ferns and flowers. 
After passing the mouth of the Yereina Thai the forest 
grew thinner and we reached the chdlets of the Sardasca 
Alp, standing at the true head of the valley on a level 


meadow where several streams poured down to form the 
Landquart. A steep hillside was now climbed by sharp 
zigzags ; then, a stream and track leading to an easy 
pass into the Fermont Thai having been left, the path 
woxmd along the hillside nntil it met the water flowing 
firom the great Silvretta Glacier. 

A short distance higher a pole was conspicuously 
fixed on a large boulder, and a few yards further back we 
found the hut in a sheltered hollow scarcely 800 yards 
from the end of the glacier. It was sufficiently large 
and proof against wind and rain, as we had afterwards 
good reason to know; but the furniture was scanty and 
in bad repair. Two benches and a hay-bed were all we 
found, and there was no stove. 

However, this did not matter much for the night. 
But before we went to sleep the wind had begun to 
howl, and next morning when we opened the door a 
great, white gust rushed in, and all without was a seeth- 
ing mist alive with snow-flakes. 

Unless we decided to return, there was nothing for 
it but to make our provisions hold out by submitting to 
an orthodox ^ Yendredi Maigre,' and to amuse ourselves 
as best we could by toasting cheese and carving wood. 
Fortunately an inkbottle was discovered which mate- 
rially alleviated our position. I have heard under 
similar circumstances of a chess-board being con- 
structed by means of a lead pencil, and the game 
played with pieces of black bread and cheese appro- 
priately carved ; but two are required for this diver- 

About midday we made a hopeless and rather feeble 
* sortie,' which the snow-storm speedily repulsed. Two 
peasants who had brought up wood for the hut paid us 



a visit in the course of the day, and a stray cow-boy 
dropped in later for an afternoon call. 

To our great delight Saturday, though still cloudy, 
promised better weather, and we left our prison at 5 
A.M. and soon reached the broad ridge of rocks separat- 
ing the Silvretta and Verstankla Glaciers. It was not 
our intention to cross the Silvretta Pass, but to find a 
shorter way to the Engadine through the gap at the 
head of the Verstankla Glacier, and to descend by the 
Tiatscha ice-fall* intoVal Lavinuoz — a course which we 
did not believe to have been previously taken. 

Substitute the (^/imes Blanches for the Silvretta Pass, 
the short cut from Zermatt to Breuil near the Matterhom 
for the pass we aimed at, and the Val d' Aosta for the 
Lower Engadine, and anyone who knows the Zermatt 
district will understand the relation of the two routes. 
Only of course the lateral glens of the Lower Engadine 
are much shorter than the side valleys of Val d' Aosta. 

The Verstankla Glacier lies lower than the Silvretta, 
and to avoid a descent we kept on the spur between 
them to the point where it was buried by an ice-cascade 
overflowing from the larger to the smaller flood. We 
crossed the fall diagonally, and found ourselves in an 
upper basin of snow, and close to a narrow gap between 
the splendid crags of the Schwarzhom and the far lower 
Gletscherkammhom. This was our Pass, the Verstankla 
Thor, already christened but not crossed by Swiss 
climbers. The view was limited, but wonderfully snowy ; 
on every side stretched broad, white glaciers and dark 

* According to Herr Ziegler's map of the Lower Engadine, the principal 
glacier of Val Larinuoz is the Vadret Ghama, and the Vadret Tiatscha is a 
tributary ice-stream flowing into it from the west. On the Federal map 
the Verstankla Glacier is marked Winterthali. 


snow-powdered rocks, and on the sonth Piz Linard 
stood up, a bold, isolated pyramid against the blue 

We soon reached the spot where the glacier first 
plunges towards Yal Lavinuoz in an ice-fall which in 
1 865 had turned back Herr Weilenmann, one of the 
best climbers in the Swiss Club. It made an attempt, 
at least, to frighten us. We had not reached the open 
crevasses when Fran9ois, who was leading, suddenly dis- 
appeared like a sprite in a pantomime. There was no 
great shock given to the rope, but a considerable one to 
the feelings of the Klosters guide. Fran9oiB had lighted 
on a ledge, and after popping up his head for a moment 
to reassure us, withdrew it again down the trapdoor 
to look for the pipe which had been knocked out of 
his mouth by the fall. The treasure recovered, our 
leader was helped out of his hole and we went on. An 
incident like this, trivial as it is in fact and in telling, 
is so only because the rope is used, and properly used ; 
had we been unattached, or walking too near one 
another, the consequences might easily have been very 
different. If any Alpine novice wishes to learn how 
to have and to describe moments of ^ intensivsten 
Schrecken ' he may turn to Herr Weilenmann's ^ Aus 
der Fimenwelt,' and read how, on almost the same spot, 
the Swiss climber, walking with the rope in his ha^d 
instead of round his waist, nearly lost his life. 

We found a fairly easy way through some fine snow- 
castles and ice-labyrinths to the rocks on the eastern 
side of the fall. The cliffs close to the glacier are pre- 
cipitous, but a commodious ledge leads round to some 
beds of avalanche snow, down which it is easy to glis- 
sade. The lower glacier is smooth, and below its end 

H 2 

100 TARASP. 

we had a very pleasant walk down Yal Lavinuoz, with 
views of the noble mass of Piz Linard immediately 
overhead. The glen soon opened, at Lavin, on the 
high-road of the Lower Engadine, which we reached 
in 4^ hours' walking from the hut — so that our 
short cut is not liable to the charge, usually brought 
against Alpine short cuts, of being considerably longer 
than the ordinary road. 

Lavin, in 1869, suffered the usual fate of Engadine 
villages, by being burnt to the ground. It is conse- 
quently a new hamlet, with substantial, stone-built cot- 
tages and broad expanses of whitewash. In their pas- 
sion for whiteness and cleanness, fresh paint and bright 
.flowers, and, I may add, in a certain slow persistency 
'Of character, the eastern Swiss seem to me the Dutch 
K)f the mountains. The neighbourhood of Piz Linard 
makes Lavin a desirable resting-place for climbers. 
Horses can be taken for three hours in the ascent, and a 
path has, I believe, been made up to the last rocks.' 
This taller rival of Piz Languard deserves more atten- 
tion from strangers than it ha« yet received. 

But the ordinary tourist will hasten on until he 
reaches the great bathing- place of the Lower Engadine, 
which, if it has not yet equalled St. Moritz in popu- 
larity, is only behindhand because in the present gene- 
ration there are more Hamlets than Falstaffs, more 
nervous and excitable than fat natures, and conse- 
quently a greater call for iron than for saline waters. 

The Baths of Tarasp are so named from the com- 
mune in which they are situated. Between Tarasp and 

* The infonnation is somewhat contradictory. Tschudi spenks of a 
' new path ;' a writer in the last year's publication of the German Alpine 
Club talks of the climb as decidedly difficult. 

TARASP. 101 

Schuls, on the verge of Switzerland and within a few 
miles of the Austrian frontier at Martinsbrnck, a number 
of mineral springs issue from the ground on both sides 
of the Inn, Their properties are various, but the most 
in repute with patients are of a strongly saline charac* 
ter. Of late years a large bath-house — ^the largest in 
Switzerland, as advertisements continually inform us — r 
has been built near to the principal sources. 

The first disease on the long list prepared by the 
local doctor of those likely to be benefited by a course 
of the waters is ^ general fattiness.' Hither, accord- 
ingly, from the furthest parts of Germany, and even 
from Spain and Denmark, repair a crowd of patients to 
seek relief from the bonds of the corpulency to which 
nature or their own appetites have condemned them. 

In short, if St. Moritz is, as Mr. Stephen thinks, 
the limbo of Switzerland set apart for the world — that 
is, for kings, millionaires and people who travel with 
couriers — Tarasp is its purgatory, providentially created 
for the class whom the flesh has rendered unfit for such 
Alpine paradises as Grindelwald, or even Pontresina. 

The bath-house, planted as it is beside the river at 
the bottom of a steep-sided trench, in a position very 
like a deep railway cutting, is never, I think, likely to 
become a favourite resort of mountaineers. It is difficult 
even to feel mountain enthusiasm in an establishment 
tenanted chiefly by invalids or Italians whose walks are 
limited to the extent of their own bowl's throw. The 
social atmosphere of the place is, as might be expected, 
utterly unalpine. The use of guides is unknown, as ex- 
cursions are habitually undertaken in carriages and 
have villages for their object ; riding-horses for ladies 
are a rare luxury, and their owners attempt to bargain 

102 TARASP. 

that tlipj shall never be taken off the car-roads of the 

It is only fair, however, to say that travellers need 
not stay at the Baths. They have the choice of two 
neighbouring villages, at both of which inns have 
sprung up of late years. Neither of these situations, 
however, struck me as attractive. Schuls, on the left 
bank of the Inn, lies on a bare hillside at a considerable 
distance from the commencement of all the pleasantest 
walks ; while the pensions at Vulpera, although better 
placed for excursions, look straight on to the dreary 
slopes behind Schuls, a prospect to which eyes accus-> 
tomed to other Alpine scenery will scarcely reconcile 

The neighbourhood of Tarasp is not, however, so 
wholly ugly as appears probable to the traveller who 
arrives at the bath-house by the high-road. The slopes 
on the northern side of the valley remain, it is true, 
from whatever point they are seen, amongst the most 
naked and featureless in the Alps, and the knobs which 
crown the lower spurs of the Silvretta Femer can only 
by an extreme stretch of courtesy be called peaks. But 
the natural features of the country on the opposite bank 
of the Inn are far bolder and more varied. There the 
ground rises above the river in a succession of wooded 
banks and grassy terraces, cut by the deep ravines of 
torrents issuing from wild lateral glens. Copses of 
birch and fragrant pine-woods afford shelter to a host of 
rare ferns and wild flowers, while the sides of the path 
are garlanded with dog-roses blooming with a profusion 
and brilliancy peculiar to the spot. 

On the lowest and broadest of the meadownahelves 
or terraces stands the hamlet and castle of Tarasp ; the 



latter a whitewashed building perched on a rocky knoll, 
and mirrored in a shallow tarn. Seen from a certain 
distance, it forms a picturesque element in the fore- 
ground. From this point, where an hotel ought to be 
built, a charming forest-path follows the right bank of 
the Inn to Steinhaus, and numerous sledge-tracks, com- 
manding fine views of the stem limestone peaks which 
encircle the entrance to the Scarl Thai, lead to upper 
shelves of the mountain. 

The Fiz Fisoc, Fiz St. Jon, and Fiz Lischanna, are 
in their own way really fine objects, challenging, of 
course, no comparison with the snow-clad giants of the 
Upper Engadine, but rather recalling to mind some of 
the wilder and least beautiful portions of the Venetian 

Fiz Lischanna is easy of ascent, and nourishes a 
glacier oddly described in * Bradshaw ' as * the finest of 
the higher glaciers of Switzerland.' It is in fact a 
broad ice-lake which rests sluggishly on its uplifted 
limestone platform, and, finding su£Scient difficulty to 
maintain existence where it is, has not energy enough 
to make a push for the valley. A slight increase of 
temperature — say to the climate of Frimiero— would 
melt its masses and lay bare the rocky bed. 

Fiz Fisoc, the highest of the group, enjoyed for 
long a local reputation foif inaccessibility, until, in 1865, 
Fluri took the trouble to come down from Fontresina, 
and, untroubled with any impediment in the way of 
* herrschaft,' but with for companion a young native of 
Schals, who has since left the country, planted a flag 
on the summit. This is not the only first ascent that 
has been made by Fontresina men on their own ac-* 
count : two of them repeated the unusual proceeding 

104 piz Pisoa 

afterwards on Piz d' Aela near Bergun. One ought to 
b^ glad, I sappose, to see such evidence of a genuine 
love of sport in a class sometimes represented as the 
unwilling victims of foreign gold. But to the Alpine 
clubman such conduct looks a little like the gamekeeper 
turning poa<^her9 and selecting moreover the moment 
when his employer's game is nearly exhausted to 
go out by himself and shoot oS the few remaining 
pheasants. And the mountaineer recollects further as 
an aggravation of the offence that maiden peaks cannot 
like pheasants be bred in the farmyard or sent down by 
the morning express from town. Fortunately for the 
Engadiners they are not subject to the jurisdiction of 
a bench of climbing county magistrates. From their 
own countrymen they have nothing to fear. Swiss 
^ Klubists ' do not seem to find the point or interest of 
a ^ first' ascent seriously diminished by the fact that 
their guides have made it beforehand ; and as the guides 
of Pontresina have never got on particularly well with 
our countrymen they are quite right, perhaps, even from 
a professional point of view, in their practice. 

Fluri furnished some details of his ascent for Herr 
Tschudi's ^ Schweizerfiihrer ; ' and, I presume, it was on 
the same authority that in the new Grisons guide- 
tariff the mountain is described as ' schwierig,' and 
taxed at 30 francs a guide. No one had followed the 
two Engadiners until, in 1870, I climbed the peak in 
company with Fran9ois Devouassoud. Our experiences, 
both as to the length and di£Sculty of the expedition, 
differed considerably from those of our predecessors, 
who probably did not hit off the best way. The follow- 
ing directions will, I think, be found useful by future 
climbers :— Turn off the road leading from Yulpera to 

piz pisoa 106 

Schloss Tarasp by a cart-track, mounting steeply at 
first, and then traversing meadows to the entrance of 
Val Zuort. At the corner take the higher of two paths, 
following a watercourse until it reaches the stream. 
Cross and ascend by an ill-marked track, which soon 
fails, and leaves you to find your own way through 
rhododendron bushes and over stony slopes beside the 
rocky barrier closing the glen. Climb the bank of snow 
above the barrier to the level of the Zuort Glacier. A 
large snow-filled cleft now opens among the rocks on 
the left, offering an unexpectedly easy means of sur- 
mounting the lower cliffs of Piz Pisoc. Ascend this 
gully for some distance, until, above a slight bend in its 
direction a recess is seen on the left, with a small bed 
of snow in it divided from the great snow-slope by a 
bank of shale. 

This spot is the gn-te of the mountain. A short 
sharp scramble places one on the rocks above the small 
snow-bed, and there is no further difficulty in cUmbing 
straight up them towards the gap at the northern base 
of the final peak. A few yards only before reaching it, 
turn sharply to the right, and, by keeping below the 
ridge and choosing with some care the easiest spots at 
which to pass a succession of low cliffs, the summit will 
soon be gained. The blindness and intricacy of the 
route form the only difficulty. If the right course is 
hit off, there is no hard climbing on the mountain, but 
the general steepness and abominably loose nature of 
its stony slopes render mountaineering experience or a 
good guide essential. 

Of the panorama as a whole I saw, and therefore 
can say, nothing. The near view has a strong character 
of its own. The cornfields and white villages of the 


Engadine enhance bj contrast the saTsge effect of the 
wild limestone crags and gloomy glens which snrronnd 
the peak on ererj side bnt the north: The drop from 
onr feet on to the path which threads the defile of the 
Scarl Thai was absolately terrific, and the precipices did 
not appear less tremendous when I looked np at them 
afterwards from their base. 

The return to Tarasp may probably be varied with- 
out difficulty by turning to the left at the foot of the 
^^reat gully, and crossing by the gap at the head of Yal 
Zuort into a branch of the Scarl Thai. That Talley 
well repays a visit. There will be found scenery the 
very reverse of the pastoral landscapes of the Pratigau. 
If the former is a country for cows, this is the very 
home for bears, and some of the ' ill-favoured rough 
things ' do in fact still find shelter among the dense 
thickets of creeping pine which cover every patch of 
level ground. Not that there are many such patches. 
The first part of the Scarl Thai is a gorge of the most 
savage wildness ; and if the lower walls are not so un- 
brokenly perpendicular as in some other Alpine defiles, 
there are probably few valleys where the peaks on 
either side stand at so short a distance apart. The face 
of Piz Pisoc in particular is built up as a whole at an 
angle of appalling steepness.^ The path through the 
gorge is called by courtesy a car-road, but it is barely 
possible, and not very safe, to drive along it. 

From Tarasp to Zemetz is but a short morning's 

* The rammitB of Piz Pisoc and Piz St. Jon are, as the crow flies, 
3,250 mitres apart ; the bottom of the Scarl Thai is 1 ,600 mitres, or about 
5,400 ft below ihera. The average of the slopes on both sides the yallejr 
would be 46**. 


drive through the pleasantest portion of the Swiss Inn 
yaUej. The latter village, situated at the junction of 
the Ofen road with that leading to the Upper Engadine, 
is the best starting-point for the next stage in our 

The countayimmediatelyeaafcof theBeminaiB an an- 
known land. Its mountains are worse mapped and less 
accurately measured than those of many much more 
remote Alpine districts. To a certain extent it deserves 
the ordinary fate of mediocrities placed by the side of 
greatness. Yal Livigno and the surrounding glens 
cannot rival the Bernina or the Orteler. Yet the foot- 
traveller taking this conntiy on his way southwards 
discovers much to reward him. He meets with green 
bowls of pasture cut off from the outer world by miles of 
pathless defile, wild rock recesses crowded with chamois 
and famous for bears, dolomitic crags and snowy peaks 
streaming with glaciers, which, planted in the Pyrenees, 
would have had long ago an European reputation, further 
east in Tyrol at least a monograph apiece. 

Yet I must repeat that in comparison with most of 
the ranges here spoken of these mountains are mediocre. 
Val Masino is pre-eminent for rugged grandeur. Val 
Maggia blends perfectly strength and grace. Pinzolo 
contrasts them. The Brenta group, with its horns and 
pinnacles shooting up above secluded dells, reminds us 
of fantastic romance, of goblin castles, and woodland 

Livigno has at most a quiet charm; the wilder 
recesses of its mountains are singular and savage rather 
than noble and majestic. The country suffers scenicaUy 
from the defect of all the source- valleys of the Inn ; its 
mountains have never been dug out to their foundations. 


their lower limbs, like those of some half-wrought 
statue, are still buried out of yiew. 

The ranges between the Bernina and Buffalora 
roads on the east and west, the Engadine and Yal 
Tellina on the north and south, are, roughly speaking, 
disposed in three parallel chains, separated by the 
troughs of Val Yiola and Yal Livigno. The northern- 
most of the three ridges is steep-sided and rugged, and 
the gorge broken through it by the Spol inaccessible 
except by circuitous and uneven paths, which render it 
equal in length and fatigue to the neighbouring passes. 
The central chain, although the Alpine watershed, send- 
ing down on one side waters which ultimately join those 
of Elbruz in the Black Sea, on the other streams which 
feed the Adda and the Adriatic, is easy of passage. 
Hence Liyigno has from early tiroes^ been united to 
Bormio instead of to the Engadrne, and since the sur- 
render of Savoy to France remains the only piece of 
ground north of the Alps owned by Italy, with one insig- 
nificant though interesting exception.^ The southern- 
most of the three ridges, that which divides Val Viola 
from the lower lateral valleys of the Val Tellina, is the 

It bears on its northern slopes a considerable quan- 
tity of snow and ice, and in the Cima di Piazza (11,713 
feet) rises into a snow-dome, which but for the imme- 
diate neighbourhood of the Orteler group would have 
before this attracted the attention of English climbers. 

Such local traffic as there is through this secluded 
region follows well-marked lines. It passes along the 

* Odo of the sources of the Rhine is in Italy. The pasturages of Val 
di Lei, a lateral glen of the Aversthal, are pastiured by Italian shepherds, 
and indnded within the Italian frontier. 


Livi^o valley and over the easy gaps at its head to the 
Bernina Haiiser, or La Bosa ; by the trench of the two 
Yal Yiolas from La Bosa to Bormio ; or from Zatz to 
Bormio, crossing the northern and central ridges by the 
Casana and the Passo di Foscagno. Those routes have 
been described in guide-books or by earlier writers.* 
But, as is often the case amongst second-rate peaks and 
in districts where the main valleys are more or less com- 
monplace, the byways open to a climber are far more 
interesting than the ordinary traveller is led to expect. 

In 1866 I struck out a new way from Zernetz to the 
Val Tellina, which in three days' very easy walking 
showed us a great variety of scenery. In the absence 
outside the Swiss frontier of any trustworthy map, we 
were very much in the dark as to the best course. Our 
route therefore is capable of improvement, and I do 
not fear that anyone in want of a day or two's training 
will complain of having been persuaded to take this 
country on his way to the Lombard Alps. 

A considerable mass of dolomite crops out in the 
range which separates the parallel troughs of the Upper 
Engadine and Yal Livigno. The head of Yal Cluoza, 
which opens close to Zernetz, is entirely surrounded 
by dolomite ridges. This valley, besides being re- 
commended in German guide-books to 'passionate 
mountain-tourists and friends of characteristically wild 
Alp scenery,' has the attraction of being one of the few 
recesses of the Alps where bears are ' at home,' even if 
they will not always show themselves to visitors, and 
where chamois can still be seen in herds. When there^ 
fore in the summer of 1866 I carried out, in company 
with my friend Mr. Douglas Walker, an old plan of 

' See The GrUons, by Mrs. H. Freshfield. Longmanfl & Oo. 


strikmg straight across the larigno district, we natarall j 
decided to pass through Yal Claoza, and make a way 
across the inonntains at its head in the course of oor 
first day's march. At Zemetz we put np, bj Jenni's 
adTice, at an inn kept bj a certain Filli, well known in 
the Lower Engadine as a great bear-hunter. The 
rooms were decorated with highly-coloured sporting 
pictures, presented to our host by various German and 
Austrian archdukes whom he had initiated into the 
mystery of his craft. But the most striking ornament 
of the house was a specimen of the natives of the wild 
country we were bent on exploring, in the shape of a 
huge stuffed bear, six feet high, who, standing up onhis 
hind legs in one comer of the salle-a-manger, threatened 
us with an hitherto undreamt-of Alpine danger on the 

Our host the bear-slayer was of course consulted on 
our plans, into which he entered warmly, entertaining 
no doubt of their being practicable, although he assured 
us that no Zemetz hunter had ever taken the route we 
had planned. Being himself unwell, he procured us a' 
strong youth, who knew the footpath up the lower part 
of Val Cluoza, to act as porter. 

The next morning broke grey and showery, and we 
delayed our start until nearly 7 a.m., when we filed off 
across the meadows behind the village. The Ofen road 
is left, and the Spol crossed by a covered bridge, about 
half a mUe irom Zemetz. From this point a cart-track 
leads up, first amongst underwood, then through a pine- 
forest, to a brow overlooking the narrow wooded gorge 
by which the stream of Val Cluoza finds a way into the 
Spol. The path through this ravine is a mere hunter's 
track, overgrown by creeping pines, and almost de- 


strojed in places by torrents and earthslips. As it 
winds ronnd the frequent gullies, at a great height 
above the foaming torrent, the yiews are very striking, 
whether the eye dips down into the ravine or rests on 
the opposite mountain side — a mass of broken crag and 
wood. Close to the stump of an old fir-tree, scored 
with numerous initials and dates, carved by the hunters 
of the neighbourhood, the first view of the inner valley 
is obtained. We saw before us a green glen covered 
by primeval forests, and destitute of any signs of human 
habitation. The rugged crags and scanty glacier of 
Piz Quatervals, the highest crest of this range, rose at 
its head. 

A screen of fir-logs was here raised across the track ; 
this, we were informed by oar porter, was a hunter's 
lair, the situation of which was determined by some 
herb, esteemed a special delicacy by Bruin, growing 
close by, and often attracting him to the neighbour- 
hood. About two hours' walking from Zemetz, the path 
returns to the level of the torrent, and recrosses to its 
left bank. After roaming on for half an hour through 
fir-woods, where the trees seemed to decay and fall 
unheeded, and the moss and lichens hung in long 
streamers from the boughs, we crossed a small stream 
flowing from the glacier of Piz Quatervals. Just be- 
yond it we found a hunter's hut, a snug little den 
built of pine-logs, with the interstices stuffed with 
moss, and fitted inside with shelves and a bed. The 
clean solitary cabin, so unlike the usual populous and 
filthy ch&let, the dense pine-woods, the bold bare peaks 
around, and, above all, the romantic flavour imparted 
to the whole by the possibility of bears, gave an un- 
usual zest* to our midday meaL From this point a 


monntaineery not wishing to cross to Livigno, can 
ascend Piz Quatervals, and descend through Yal 
Trupchnm, one of the lateral valleys of the Engadine, 
to Scanfs or Zntz.^ 

Beyond the hut all definite path ceases. The 
character of the scenery remains the same as far as 
the bifurcation, where Yal Cluoza splits into two 
utterly desolate glens, forcibly and appropriately named 
the Valley of Rocks and the Valley of the Devil. The 
latter probably offers the shortest way to Livigno ; it 
seems also the wildest and most striking of the two 
valleys. After the mouth of the Val del Sasso has been 
passed, the Val del Diavel assumes a savage sublimity 
in accordance with its name. Huge dolomitic clifis — 
not so fantastically broken as this rock often is, but 
stained with the strangest colours — close in on all sides. 
In the bottom of the glen vegetation entirely ceases, 
and the stream itself disappears, buried even in Sep- 
tember under the snow avalanches, which, falling in 
spring from the impending crags, lie unmelted through 
the summer in these sunless depths. Their hard con- 
solidated surface affords an agreeable path, and enables 
the explorer to avoid the rough boulders and advance 
rapidly towards the barrier of mingled rock and snow 
which closes the view. We had here an encounter 
with seventeen chamois, who were feeding above us, 
until, disturbed by our shouts, they scampered off 
among the wild crags which separated us from Val del 
Sasso. Only once, in the Graians, had I seen a larger 

' I ascended Piz Qaatervals some jears later from Val Tantermuoza, a 
glen opening above Zemetz, and returned to the Engiuiine bj the wiiy 
indicated above. The head of Val Trnpchum is very wild, but the walk as 
a whole is disappointing. 


herd; but a meeting with small families of three or 
four is to the climber a matter of daily occurrence. 
How far chamois are from being ^ nearly extinct/ as 
liewspaper-writers and tourists are apt to believe, may 
be judged from the following fact. An old man of the 
name of J. Kung, who died last year at Scanfs, was 
reported amongst his neighbours to have shot, besides 
eleven bears and nine great eagles, 1,500 chamois. 
The larger figure may not be strictly accurate, but its 
local acceptance bears sufficient witness to the abund- 
ance of game which could alone render it credible.. 
The eleven bears I see no reason whatever to doubt. 
There is no lack of evidence of the presence of these 
animals, and many stories are current about their de- 
predations. In the year of our visit the following 
anecdote went the round of the Swiss press : — 

A boy living at an alp close to the Passo di Yerva 
came upon a bear in the act of devouring one of his 
sheep. The young shepherd fell at once upon the 
animal with his stafi^, but the bear was quite ready for 
a round, and our David soon began to get the worst of 
it. When he ran away the bear came after him. 
Pressed hard the boy leaped one of the narrow clefts 
which the streams of this district often burrow through. 
The piursuer blundered into the chasm and was found 
dead at the bottom. 

Jenni, in getting out his telescope to inspect the herd, 
had laid down his umbrella, an implement of enormous 
size aiid splendid colouring. The Gamp was somehow 
forgotten, and, unless it has been discovered by some 
fortunate hunter, probably remains to this day as a 
monument of our passage. Down the rocky barrier 
already referred to the stream from a glacier on the 



nameless summit marked 3,127 metres on Dufonr's 
map pours in a waterfall. Mounting beside it we 
found ourselves on the level of an elevated table-land, 
surrounded by rugged peaks, and resembling, but on a 
much smaller scale, the interior of the horseshoe of 
Primiero. At its further extremity was the low ridge 
in which our pass lay. Advancing over beds of shale 
and snow, we soon came to the foot of a small glacier, 
which we crossed, making for the lowest portion of the 
ridge on the north-west of a tooth of rock which jutted 
out conspicuously from its centre. A steep bank of 
snow had to be climbed ; this surmounted, our work 
was done, and we were looking away to the west over 
the wild ranges which enclose Val Livigno. Deep 
below us lay the head of Val Viera, ending in an amphi- 
theatre of rock. The descent into it was evidently 
steep. We found a way at first down shale gullies ; 
then came cliffs, much broken and presenting no serious 
difficulty, although anyone who missed the right spot 
to take them might easily get into trouble. Once 
beside the stream, we followed it closely through the 
remains of avalanches. Val Viera soon bent abruptly 
amidst the wildest rock scenery we had lately seen. 
Quaint red and grey pinnacles of every variety of form 
rose above ; pale, lemon-coloured cliffs, stained by 
weather and spotted by the dark mouths of caves, shut 
in the view, while, looking backward, the ridges from 
which we had descended towered precipitously overhead. 
We were constantly arrested by the fantastic and per- 
petually shifting character of the landscape. 

At a second bend in the valley, where it turns 
back sharply to the east, the path makes some as- 
cent; but we encountered no difficulty, and found 


some amusement in foUowing the stream through a 
miniature gorge, jumping from bank to bank as occa- 
sion required. When the crags retired a little, the 
path rejoined us, and we met first some cows, then^an 
old woman gathering sticks, who was either dumb or 
rendered speechless by fright at our sudden appearance. 
Travellers at Livigno at all are few and far between ;• 
and as no human being had probably ever entered the 
valley by our route, the old crone might well see in us 
a party of gnomes descending from their rock castles 
on some errand of mischief. 

When the picturesque ravine came suddenly to an 
end, we emerged without any descent on to the broad 
meadows of Val Livigno, and, turning a corner, saw 
the whole of its upper and inhabited portion before us. 

The landscape had a distinctive and unusual cha- 
racter. The wide expanse of the valley, its pervading 
greenness, the scanty fringe of forest, clothing only the 
lowest hillsides, the glimpses of snow close at hand 
suggested Norway rather than Italy. Yet nature, if 
no layiflh, seems a kindly friend to the peasantry of 
Livigno. No rude torrent tears up their elastic turf^ 
no avaJanche-track scars the smooth hillsides, no over- 
shadowing mountain raises its bulk between the Dio- 
geneses of the valley and their sunshine. Behind the walls 
of dolomite which shut them out from the nineteenth 
century, they spend in their remote tub a quiet and 
patriarchal esdstence, of which the news that a mad dog 
has been seen in a neighbouring valley is the greatest 
excitement. The total population of the valley is said 
only to amount to 600 souls. The figure seems small 
considering the number of houses which dot the broad 

I 2 

116 VAL LiriQNO. 

meadows. But the difficulty Ib explained when we find 
that each Livi^o farmer shifts his residence two or 
three times a year according as the crops call for his 
attention. Half-an-hour's stroll over the softest and 
smoothest of turf, on which all the croquet clubs in 
England might find room to practise, brought us to the 
' osteria ' near the central of the three churches, and 
just beyond the stream issuing from Yal Federia. 

Even in its inn Livigno is conservative; that is, 
averse through habit to all improvements not forced on 
it from without. The external pressure appears here 
to be small; at any rate, the cottage which receives 
strangers is the same now as it was twelve years ago. 
No daring innovator, fired by the success of the next 
valley, has tapped a mineral spring or borrowed money 
to build a guest-house. Nor have the inhabitants as 
yet succeeded in grasping even the existence of the 
mountaineering spirit, much less the profits to be 
gained from it. When we announced our intention of 
crossing to Val Viola by the head of Val Tressenda, the 
boy who had engaged to carry our provisions at once 
demurred to having any part in so perilous an under- 
taking. He was heartily supported by the patriarchs 
of the valley, who had gathered to watch our prepara- 
tions, and now quavered forth a chorus of which 
' vedretta ' and ' impossibile ' formed the refrain. At 
its conclusion the youth's father stepped forward, and 
in a solo recitative, illustrated by appropriate gestures, 
forbad his son to peril his precious life, no matter what 
the ^ signori ' might ofier for his services. The diffi- 
culty was only arranged by our giving a solemn pledge 
that the boy should not be in any way tempted to enter 
on the hoiTible * vedretta.' On this understanding the 


parent consented to dismiss him with his blessing and a 
huge baker's basket in which to stow away oar small 
stock of eatables. 

As it turned out, we were not tempted to break our 
promise, for grass and stone slopes lasted up to the 
gap we meant to cross. Four hours after leaving the 
village we had planted our ice-axes in the snow-crest of 
Monte Zembrasca, one of the highest summits of the 
range dividing Val Livigno from Val Viola. From this 
mountain, despite its moderate height — it is several 
hundred feet lower than Piz Languard — we enjojed a 
view more picturesque if less panoramic than the pros- 
pect from that now famous belvedere. The peaks on the 
opposite side of Val Yiola surprised us by their fine 
forms and glaciers. The Cima di Piazza stood up 
boldly as their leader, a noble mountain which almost 
persuaded us to change our plans and rush off at once 
to its assault. West of the green gap of the Passo di 
Yerva rose a cluster of peaks about the head of the 
Dosdd Glacier, and farther distant we recognised the 
sharp heads of the Teo and Sena, the former crowned 
by a stoneman of my own building. The whole mass 
of the Orteler group, from the long zigzags of the 
Stelvio road to the Gavia, was in sight. In the centre 
the black, stumpy point of Monte Confinale was con- 
spicuously thrown out against the white snows of the 
Porno Glacier. Below us lay the two Val Violas sepa- 
rated by broad, rolling pasturages. 

The Swiss valley, or Val Viola Poschiavina, had just 
been the scene of the one active exploit by virtue of which 
the Swiss forces could claim to have taken part in the 
campaign of 1866. I tell the story as it was told me. 

Irregular troops were fighting on the Stelvio, and 


there seemed a prospect of the Italians, if worsted, flying 
for refuge towards Poschiavo. To prevent any violation 
of Swiss neutrality a considerable force was stationed 
in the Engadine. Its head-quarters were at Samaden. 
The large dining-room of the Engadiner Hof was just 
completed, and it occurred to the inhabitants to cele- 
brate the event by a banquet to their brave officers. 
But scarcely had everyone sat down when a scout entered 
with the, at the moment, particularly unpleasant news 
that a Garibaldian force was advancing from Bormio. 
There was no help for the officers : they had to saddle 
and away, taking with them their men, at the greatest 
speed country carts could carry them. 

La Bosa was fortunately reached before the in- 
vaders, but the force had scarcely been carefully dis- 
posed so as to command the path, when the enemy was 
caught sight of in the distance. Soon the glitter of 
steel and the glow of red shirts could be distinguished 
through the field-glasses : then for a few minutes the 
advancing band was hidden behind a knoll. When it 
emerged again there was wrath among the officers and 
mirth among the men. The supposed bayonets were 
short scythes, the Garibaldians a party of Italian hay- 
cutters coming over on their annual visit to the En- 

We spent the night near the head of the Val Viola 
Bormina, in the principal ch&<let of the Dosd^ Alp, a 
building of unusual size, and boasting a staircase with 
an upper storey. The * padrone * of the establishment; 
a well-to-do native of Bormio, who lived for pleasure 
on his alp during the summer months, volunteered to 
accompi^ny us in our attempt to find a direct passage 
over the Dosd^ Glacier into Val Grosina, a neglected 

PASSO DI D0SD£. 119 

but, in size at least, important side-glen of the Yal 

Favoured by a cold morning and hard snow, we 
reached in little more than two hours the crest close to 
a little rock-turret conspicuous from our night-quarters* 
At our feet lay Val Vermolera, one of the heads of Val 
Grosina, a cheerful expanse of bright green woods and 
pastures dotted with countless chfilets. 

Here we left the ^padrone/ greatly satisfied at 
haying acquired a knowledge of what lay behind the 
horizon of his daily life. Ambition pushed us up to 
the nearest snow-top on our right, where we were disap- 
pointed to £nd ourselves overlooked by a loftier summit 
to the west, probably the Como di Lago Spalmo of the 
Lombard map. It was separated from us by a deep 
gap, offering a fine pass to the head of Yal Yermolera> 
which, on the south side, would lead over a glacier 
unmarked in any map. The summit we had climbed is 
nameless, and I shall not venture to anticipate the 
carefully-weighed decision of the painstaking Germau^ 
who will some daj set himself to map and name the 
peaks, passes, and glaciers of this remote comer.* 

We soon slid down again to the gap at the eastern 
base of the turret. A steep rock-waU cut us off from a 
snow-filled hollow. The difficulty, such as it was, wa^ 
soon over, and the rest of the descent was only a trial 
for weak knees. A long hillside like that of the Monte 
Moro was below us ; the whole drop from the pass to 
the valley must be over 4,000 feet, and the distance is 
very small. For some time we followed a stream, some* 

* Herr Ziegler's map of S.£. Switzerland includes this country. The 
scale is large, and the execution beautiful, but the corrections introduced 
on the very inaccurate Lombard map are but slight. 

120 VAL QR08INA, . 

times sliding down a snow-bed, sometimes stumbling 
oyer rocky slopes. On the pasturages we found a track 
leading eastwards and downwards. As we drew near the 
level of the valley the scenery became very picturesque. 
On our right the river of Val Vermolera fell over a rocky 
shelf in a fine fall. A few yards beyond a stone bridge 
over a charmingly-wooded ravine we found a shady nook, 
tempting to a long hour's siesta. It was very warm 
when we again set forward, but the path was excellent 
and the valley delightful. After a time, however, the 
woods came to an end, and we found ourselves amidst 
shadeless hay-meadows. The way now grew stonier 
and hotter, and the scenery somewhat monotonous. 
We were glad to reach a brow, whence we looked 
^own on the Val Tellina. A steep paved zigzag led us 
through chestnut woods, past a dirty village, then 
through more chestnuts, fields of Indian com and 
vines, all overshadowed by the stem ruins of a mediseval 
fortress. At last it fell into the straight, white Stelvio 
road, midway between two campaniles which closest 
either vista. A few minutes later we entered the shade 
of Grossotto, a little town gay with new paint and 
Italian red, white and green, and blessed, at least in 
our recollections, as the possessor of ripe fruit and Asti 
at a franc a bottle. 




Up, where the lofty citadel 

Overlooks the sargiDg landscape's swell; 
Let not unto the stones the day 

Her land and sea, her lily and rose display. Ehebson. 


The sliarpest form of pain has Id all ages been imagined 
under the figure of a man with the object of his most 
eager desire ever dangling before his eyes but out of 
reach. If — ^may the omen be void ! — any of the Alpine 
Club should in another world ever realise the punish- 
ment of Tantalus or Dives, they will probably be placed 
opposite a peak cut o£P from them by some impassable 

Such threatened to be our fate as, with the natural 
gloominess of three o'clock in the morning, we strapped 
up our humble bags in the marble halls of the Hotel 
Yittoria at Menaggio under the indignant and con- 
temptuous survey of an awakened porter. 

When we issued into the night the luminous Italian 
stars flamed out of a perfect vault, blotted only at the 
edges by the dim shapes of the mountains. The keen 
northern breeze which intruded on the languid scent- 



laden air of the lake was the best promise of a day of 
unclouded sunshine. Yet this breeze was the cause of 
all our fears ; under its influence the lake was stirred 
into waves which broke noisily against the terraced 
shore. Our goal was the Grigna, and between us and 
Yarenna lay three miles of dancing water. There was 
no steamer for hours ; and it is no rare thing for the 
passage to be impossible for small boats. Doubtful and 
depressed, we hurried round to the little port. 

It was a happy moment when a cry answered our 
shouts, and the boat, ordered overnight, shot up with 
its four rowers through the darkness. We were soon 
on board and out of sight of Francois, left to search 
for a missing portmanteau in the custom-house of 

The shelter of the land was soon left, and our 
broad-bottomed boat, keeping her head to the wind, as 
if making for Colico, began to do battle with the waves, 
which knocked her from side to side like an unwieldy 
cork. We were anxious as to the behaviour of our 
rowers. The boatmen of the lake are not all to be 
trusted. The year before I had seen a Colico crew 
give way to the most abject terror at the mere approach 
of a storm-cloud which turned out to be quite empty of 
wind. For ten minutes before the rain burst on us 
they did nothing but alternately catch crabs, and curse 
and kick the crab-catcher. The Menaggio men showed 
themselves, however, of very different metal. They 

* Travellers often forget that all locked luggage coming from Switzer- 
land is stopped at the Italian custom-honse. In the present instance the 
portmanteau had been directed Purlezza, in ignorance that, by an absurd 
postal law, which it is worth while to call notice to, everything is sent 
from Lugano to Porlezza vi& Como ! 


rowed hard and talked little, and the stem-oar, standing 
np to his work like the rest, gondolier-fashion, steered 
with so much skill in avoiding the wave-crests that, 
knocked about as we were, we only shipped one sea 
during the passage. 

The mountain-forms were growing less ghostly, and 
the first pale gleams across the sky were reflected still 
more faintly on the surface of the lake as we ran ashore 
on the beach at Yarenna. The little town was still 
asleep under its cypresses, but a light gleamed from 
the windows of a wat>erside inn, which soon furnished 
us with coffee and an omelette. 

A few hundred yards north of Varerina the glen of 
Esrno, through which lies the way to the Grigna, opens 
on the lake. The * Alpine Guide' describes a path 
leading past the castle and along the (true) left bank 
of the stream. But the more frequented track, a steep 
pav6 between vineyards and villages, starts from the 
bridge of the Stelvio road and mounts the further 

» In the old visitors' book at the Montanvert Inn 
was to be read a characteristic entry, * found the path 
up, like that to heaven, steep and stony.' Mr. Spurgeon 
would find Esino much more difficult to get to than 
heaven. The path is laid with large smooth rounded 
stones, placed at such a high angle as to render back- 
sliding inevitable. Fortunately there was abundant 
consolation in the exquisite glimpses which met us at 
every corner, and boots and tempers held out pretty 
well, until both were rewarded by a smooth terrace- 
path circling round the hollows of the upper hills. 

Where the deep ravine rose towards us, and two 
steeply-falling brooks united to form its torrent, the 


church of Esino stood forth, the ornament of a bold 
green spur projecting from a broad platform covered 
with fields and trees. 

Half the village lies a few hundred yards higher on 
the hillside, and the onl}' inn — a mere peasant's house 
of call — ^is the first house in the upper hamlet. The 
blacksmith appeared to be the official guide to the 
Grigna, but in his absence a substitute was provided in 
the master of the inn. His first act was to pack an 
enormous basket of bread and wine, of which he said 
we might consume as much as we liked and pay him 
accordingly, a primitive but not, as we afterwards found, 
particularly economical arrangement. His next pro- 
ceeding was to offer a few coppers to a girl to carry the 
basket to the last shepherd's hut. In the Bergamasque , 
country we soon became accustomed to our porters 
acting as contractors and subletting a portion of their 
contract to any chance passenger or herdsman they met 
on the way. 

A charming path leads up from Esino to the Cainallo 
Pass, the direct way into Yal Sassina. Large beeches 
grow in clusters amongst tufbs of underwood, or over- 
shadow shallow ponds, the firequent haunts of the herd. 
Below lies the long ribbon of the lake, its waves re- 
duced to a ripple, which the sloping sunlight hardly 
makes visible. Away beyond the green gulf leading to 
Porlezza and the hills of Maggiore glows the supreme 
glory of the Alps, the snow-front of Monte Bosa. Bight 
and left the faint and far forms of the Grand Faradis 
and Grivola and the Oberland peaks attend in the train 
of their queen. 

Instead of crossing the pass the route to the Grigna 
turns southward along the ridge until some 500 feet 


higher it reaches the edge of a great horseshoe-shaped 
recess in the north-east flank of the mountain. The 
limestone here breaks below into many fantastic spires, 
the precipices opposite are abrupt, and the whole land- 
scape has a severe and bold character unexpected in 
this region. 

The circuit to the opposite side of the recess where 
the real climb begins is somewhat tedious. Bevond a 
cattle-alp, which affords milk, the mountain becomes a 
bare mass of limestone, the hollows in which are fQled, 
first by grass, then by snow. The top lies still far 
back, and the ridge on the right which cuts off most of 
the view looks tempting. It is not comfortable ground, 
however, except for a tolerable cragsman. Keep below 
to the last, and when you clamber on to the highest 
crest your patience will be rewarded. 

A moment before a rock was before your eyes, now 
there is nothing but the straight-drawn line of the 
Tuscan Apennine. The vast plain of Lombardy has, 
for the first time all day, burst into sight. Surely there 
are few sights which appeal at once to the senses and 
imagination with so much power. Possibly the Indian 
plains from some Himalayan spur may have richer 
colours, certainly the northern steppe from Elbruz has 
greater boundlessness. But they are not so much 
mixed up with associations. This is Italy ; there are 
Milan, Monza, Bergamo, a hundred battle-fields from the 
Trebia to Magenta. 

It is natural to compare the Grigna panorama with 
those from Monte Generoso and Monte San Primo. As 
a perfect view of the Lake of Como the Monte San 
Primo is unrivalled. The delicious dip from Monte 
Generoso on to Lugano perhaps surpasses in beauty the 


wilder plunge of the Grigna upon the Lago di Lecco. 
But for the plain and the great range I unhesitatinglj 
give the palm to the higher mountain. 

The last spurs of the Alps are here singularly pic- 
turesque. The bold forms of the Como di Canzo and 
Monte Baro break down to display the shining pools of 
the Laghi di Fusiano and d' Annone, and the hills and 
towns of the Brianza, a fair garden country full of 
well-to-do towns and bright yillas, the country seats of 
the Milanese. Hither Leonardo may have come, and 
looking across the narrow lake or from beside some 
smaller pool or stream at the stiff upright rocks of the 
Grigna and the Resegone, have conceived the strange 
backgrounds with which we are all familiar. 

From mountains of middle height the general aspect 
of the range is ordinarily one of wild disorder. It is 
but rarely any distant group is completely seen ; only, 
wherever the nearer ridges subside, one or two peaks 
come into view disconnectedly and as it were by chance. 
From more commanding summits the contrary effect is 
produced ; intervening and minor masses sink into their 
proper place ; they no longer produce the impression of 
a hopeless labyrinth, but combine with the great peaks 
to form well-defined groups. 

In most Alpine districts the Grigna (7,909 feet) 
would rank among minor heights; on the shores of 
Lago di Como and at the edge of the Lombard plain it 
is a giant. Its extra 2,000 feet enable it to look not 
only over neighbouring hills but into the hollows which 
separate them — hollows filled with an air like a melted 
jewel in its mingled depth and transparency of colour. 
The snowy Alps, raised now, not merely head, but head 


and shoulders above the crowd, range themselves before 
the eyes in well-ordered companies. 

In one direction only — where the intricate Berga- 
masqne mountains scarcely leave space for some discon- 
nected glimpses of the Orteler snows or the bold front 
of the Car^ Alto — is the panorama interfered with in 
the ordinary manner. 

Perfect peace and radiance filled the heaven. The 
morning breeze bad died away, no cloud had lifted 
itself from the valleys ; all was calm and sunny, from 
the lake at our feet to the pale shadowy cone scarcely 
defined on the glowing horizon, which was Monte Viso. 
For hours we lay wrapt in the divine air, now watching 
Monte Bosa as it changed from a golden light to a 
shadow, now gazing over the plain as the slant sun- 
beams falling on white walls and towers gave detail 
and reality to the dreamKke vision of noon. 

The two peaks of the Great and Little Grigna or 
Campione are cut off from the surrounding ranges by 
a deep semicircular trough extending from Lecco to 
Bellano. Near the centre of the bow stands Introbbio 
on the Bellano side of a low watershed. The easiest 
way down the back of the Grigna seems to be to follow 
its north-east ridge, and then descend a steep grassy 
hillside to some homesteads grouped about a pond. 

The lower slopes are a charming surprise to eyes 
accustomed to the severer scenery of a Swiss alp. They 
share the beauties of the pasturages of Bern and add 
to them something of a softer grace. Although, owing 
to the porous nature of the limestone, water is scarce 
enough to make it worth while to collect it in circular 
ponds like those of our own South Downs, the ground. 


even in September, is covered with a close carpet of the 
greenest turf, broken, not by rocks, but copses of 
laburnum. In May it must be a garden of the exqui- 
site wild flowers which climb, a fairy procession, in 
endless variety of form and colour and perfume, every 
southern hillside.^ In the place of brown ch&lets we 
have whitewashed cottages roofed with red tiles, which 
harmonise well with the general cheerful brightness of 
the landscape. A steep track through a thick chestnut 
wood leads down to Fasturo, a large village whence 
there is a good road to Infrobbio. 

Fasturo lies in a broad and smiling basin, the head 
of Yal Sassina. But half a mile further on the oppo- 
site ranges are almost joined by two huge masses of 
porphyry, between which the stream finds a way 
through a narrow and once fortified natural gate. 
Beyond the barrier lies Introbbio half hidden amongst 
its chestnuts, and looking across to the bold crags of the 
precipitous face of the Grigna. 

There are few things less favourable to Stoicism 
than disappointed hopes in an inn. Where nothing is 
expected much can be borne. But of the ^Albergo 
delle Miniere' the guide-books encouraged the most 
rosy anticipations, and the appearance of the house 
bore out at first sight its good name. It stood, as all 
inns should, outside the town and the first house as we 
approached it ; on the wall was written in bold letters 
* Grand Hotel of the Mines.' The front door stood 
hospitably open, and closed shutters are too usual in 
sunny Italy to excite misgiving. But it was in vain we 
searched the empty passages, tried the locked doors, or 

1 See Mr. J. A. Symonds* chamiiDg descriptiozi of the Italian foothills 
in spring, in Sketches from Italy and Greece, 



sniffed for any possible odonr of kitchen. In vain one 
of my friends, phrase-book in hand, shouted out every 
call for waiter in use between Turin and Palermo. 
There was not even a cat left in the house ; the owner 
had become bankrupt, and no one had had the courage 
to take his place. So we retired disconsolate to an 

* Osteria Antica ' in the heart of the town, where we 
found Fran9ois already arrived. 

If we were discomfited, our host was little less so. 
The fall of its rival had brought no second youth to 
the * Osteria Antica.' It was kept by a haughty and, 
except as regards payment, indifferent landlord, whose 
household consisted of a vague and dilatory wife, a 
loutish and generally-in-the-way son, and a good- 
natured wench whose carrying qualities were for the 
most part thrown away, owing to there never being 
anything ready for her to carry. For hours Fran9ois 
sat by the kitchen fire, with a resignation only smokers 
can attain, answering all enquiries in the monotonous 
refrain, * On prepare, messieurs — on prepare toujours.' 

It was 9 P.M. before the serving-girl entered with a 
bowl of liquid sufficient, in quantity at least, to have 
fed a regiment, and the torpid son broke for a moment 
into a smile as he placed on the table a huge carafe of 

* Vino Vecchio.' Its age may have been owing to its re- 
pellent effect on previous topers, and so far as we were 
concerned it was at liberty to grow older still. Half- 
an-hour later, with unsatisfied appetites and injured 
digestions, we retired to two dingy and dubious bed- 
rooms. Next morning the bill which awaited us was a 
triumph of caligraphy, extending to at least a column 
and a half of items. In the country inns of this part 
of Italy it is the usual custom to charge each loaf aud 



dish separately. Bnt here the general taxes of great 
hotels formed a suppleineDt to special charges for the 
very services in respect of which such taxes are generally 
flupposed to he levied. Thus, after paying a Bum for 
* zucchero ' and ' candele ' which showed the high value 
set hy the Introbbians on * sweetness and light,' we were 
expected not only to make a further dishursement in con- 
sideration of hoot-blacking and warm water, but also 
to remember the ' servizio ' and ' portiere.' We were 
almost ashamed to disturb the result of so much labour 
and ingenuity hy such a rough-and-ready proceeding as 
the tender of the lump sum which seemed to us more 
than adequate to the occasion. 

Beyond Introbbio we plunged into the Bergamasque 
ranges, perhaps to Englishmen the least known frag- 
ment of the central A.Ips. Owing to the absence at 
their head of any peaks high or inaccessible enough to 
attract ardent climbers, the two great trenches which 
open on to the plain near Bergamo have not, like the 
valleys of Monte Bosa, come in the way of the Alpine 
Club. And it is to its members that we owe almost 
entirely our introduction to out-of-the-way coiners. Yet 
an Italian valley, among mountains rising at its head 
to nearly 10,000 feet, is at least worth looking at, Val 
Brembiina and Val Seriana might prove rivals to Val 
Mastalone and Val Sesia, At last, in 1874, I deter- 
mined to carry out, at any rate in port, a long-formed 
intention, and see something of what lay within and 
behind the jagged line of \i<.:-dkii so Ioult familiar to me 
from the high suiomits of the Eiiyudiuf. 

The Foroella di Cedrino, which tonus the entrance 
Irom IntrohWo tn the upper branclica uf Val Brembana, 
ia Oil *' . • ' •'lUedly dull—a lony steep ascent, a 


broad undolating top, only remarkable for its laburnum 
thickets, and a commonplace glen on the other side. 
Near the first hamlet, Val Torta, the scenery improves. 
The old frescoed church and white houses hang on the 
steep side of a green basin among woods and shapely 

Thenceforth the path is charming. Descending at 
once to the clear slender stream it threads a tortuous 
defile, where at every corner iiie landscape changes^ 
On the right rise the spurs of the many-crested Monte 
Aralalta, clad almost to their tops in wood. Above the 
broken glens the limestone plays a hundred freaksy 
here cutting the sky with twisted spires and perforated 
towers, there throwing down a knife-edge buttress be- 
tween the greenery. Opposite a broad opening on the 
left the stream is reinforced by three great fountains 
gushing directly out of the living rock. 

A mile or two further, at Cassiglio, the glen opens 
and a carriage-road begins. Several of the old houses 
here are frescoed, one with a whimsical selection of 
old-world figures, another with a Dance of Death. In 
this ^Earthly Paradise,' as it appears to the northern 
wanderer, the mystery of death seems, as in Mr; 
Morris's poem, to be constantly present. The great 
reaper with his sickle is painted on the walls of 
dwelling-houses as^ well as churches. * Morituro satis ' 
writes the wealthy farmer over his threshold, the bones 
of his ancestors — nay, sometimes even their* ghastly 
withered mummies — stare out at him through the 
iron grating of the deadhouse as he goes out to his 
work in the fields. And for the true son of the Church 
there is no such peace in prospect as for his foregoers, 
no ^ Noz perpetua una dormienda,' (xt shadowy Hades. 

X 2 


His future is put before him in the most positive 
manner, bj the care of priests and painters, on every 
wayside chapel. Whatever his life, he most when he 
dies take his place amongst that wretched throng of 
sufferers packed as closely as cattle in a truck, and 
plnnged to a point perhaps determined by prudery in 
tongnes of flame. His deliverance from this hideous 
place will, he is told, depend in great part on the 
importunity with which his surviving relatives address 
the saints on his behalf, and the sums they can afford 
to pay for masses to the priest. Boman Christianity 
for the peasantry represents the rule of the nniverse as 
a malevolent despotism tempered by influence and 
bribery. Fortunately, whatever they may profess, 
men seldom at heart accept a creed which makes the 
universe subject to Beings or a Being of worse passions 
than themselves. 

Cassiglio stands above a watersmeet where a new 
face of the beautiful Monte AraMta shuts in a wooded 
glen, through which a tempting path leads to the 
hamlets of Taleggio. All the hill-country between Val 
Brembana and the Bergamo- Lecco railway gives promise 
of the richest and most romantic scenery, and I can 
imagine nothing more deliglitful than to wander through 
its recesses in the long May days. My fancy seems, 
however, to be singular, for, so far as I know, not one 
out of the number of our countrymen who haunt Lago 
di Como in spring has taken advantage of his oppor- 

Below Cassiglio, Val Torta for the first time expands 
into a wide basin full of maize and walnuts. Presently 
it contracts again into a narrow funnel, which on a dull 
day, when the higher crests are in cloud, might be 


fancied a Devonshire combe. At the junction of a con- 
siderable side-valley clusters of houses brighten the hill- 
sides, and, where two roads meet, a clean country inn, 
with a terraced bowling-ground above the stream, invites 
to a halt. 

The second road leads towards the Fasso di San 
Marco, the lowest and easiest track from Bergamo to 
the Val Tellina. 

Here, perhaps for the only time in these valleys, we 
come upon a track already described by an English 
traveller. The title of his volume at least is sufficiently 
attractive. I quote it in full : — • 

* Coryats Crudities Hastily gobbled up in five 
moneths travells in France Savoy Italy Bhetia com- 
monly called the Grisions country Helvetia alias Swit- 
zerland some parts of High Germany and the Nether- 
lands : Newly digested in the hungry aire of Odcombe 
in ye county of Somerset and now dispersed to the 
nourishment of the travelling members of this king- 
dom.' London, 1611. 

Readers, sated for the moment with the solid in- 
formation to be gathered from our modem books of 
travel, may spend a refreshing half-hour in the company 
of this old traveller, who assumed in his public the 
same taste he had so strongly in himself, and was con- 
tent to display undisguised a boyish delight in novelties, 
wonders, and adventure. He has, moreover, a special 
title to the respect of the modem Alpine traveller, for 
*■ footmanship' was his great boast, and he delighted to 
be celebrated by his familiars as the ^ Odcombian Legge- 
stretcher.' I shall not apologise therefore for pausing 
for a moment— 

To catechise 

My picked man of oonntries 


of the days of King James L, and to learn what he may 
have to say — 

■ Of the Alps and Apennines, 

The Pyrenean and the River Po. 

In listening to Tom Coryat's gossip we realise as 
far as is now possible snch an evening's entertainment 
as may have suggested these lines to Shakspeare. We 
can almost fancy ourselves seated in the Mermaid 
Tavern, while our traveller, swollen with his own im- 
portance, told his tales, and the wits laughed over some 
of the earliest ^ Alpine shop.' The address of one of 
Coryat's letters * to the Bight WorshipfuU Society of 
Sirenaical Gentlemen that meet the first Fridaie of 
every moneth at the signe of the Mermaide in Bread 
Street' «hows him a frequent guest at the famous inn. 
His friends have diuwn his character with force and 
perfect freedom. He was one of those wits who are 
more often laughed at than with. ' He is,' writes Ben 
Jonson, * always Tongue-Major of the Company, and 
if ever perpetual motion be to be hoped it is from 
thence. He is frequent at all sorts of Free-Tables, 
where though he might sit as a guest he would rather 
be seirved in as a dish, and is loth to have anything of 
himself kept cold against the next day.' In conversation 
as well as writing he was an euphuist, ' a great carpenter 
of words.' Travel was so far his engrossing passion 
that he would give up any company to talk with even 
a carrier. * The mere superscription of a letter from 
Zurich set him up like a top ; Basel or Heidelberg made 
him spin,' 

The prominent mention in the title of his book of 
Alpine regions naturally suggests that we may have 
here lit on an early appreciator of the Alps ; and in 


the first few pages this hope receives some confirmatioiK 
Mr. Stephen has told us that the Qothic cathedral and 
the granite cliffs have many properties in common, and 
that ' one might venture to predict &om a man's taste 
in human buildings whether he preferred the delicate 
grace of. lowland scenery or the more startling effects 
only to be seen in the heart of the mountains.' Coryat's 
avowal therefore \hsA> Amiens Cathedral is ^ the Queen 
of all the churches in France and the fairest that ever 
I saw till then,' seems to promise well for his taste in 

We get the first Alpine adventure just before 
reaching Chambery. Cory at was apparently a nervous 
horseman, and would not with his companions ride over 
the ^ Montagae Aiguebelette.' Consequently he was led 
^ to compound for a cardakew, which is eighteen pence 
English,' with * certain poore fellowes which get their 
living especially by carrying men in chairs to the toppe 
ot the mountain^' ^ This,' he says, ^ was the manner of 
their carrying of me. They did put two slender poles 
through certaine woodden rings which were at the foure 
corners of the chaire, and so carried me on their 
shoulders, sitting in the chaire, one before and another 
behinde; but such was the miserable paines that the 
poore slaves willingly underix>oke for the gaine of that 
cardakew, that I would not have done the like for five 
hundred.' ' The worst wayes that ever I travelled in all 
my life in the summer were those betwixt Chamberie 
and Aiguebelle, which were as bad as the worst I ever 
rode in England in the midst of winter;' but still 
Coryat says, * I commended Savoy a pretty while for the 
best place that ever I saw in n^y life for abundance of 
pleasant springs descending from the mountaines, till 


at the last I considered the cause of those springs, for 
they are not fresh springs, as I conjectured at the first, 
but only little torrents of snow-water.* Why snow- 
water should be held of no value is explained afterwards. 
It is the cause of the bunches, ' almost as great as an 
ordinary football with us in England,' on the necks of 
the Savoyards. The swiftness of the Is^re, the great 
blocks fallen from the mountain-side, of course strike 
Coryat, but he has also his eyes open for the snow- 
mountains ; he mentions one ' wondrous high mountain 
at the top whereof there is an exceeding high rock,* 
BJid another ^ covered with snow, and of a most excessive 
and stupendious height.' From Lanslebourg he sets out 
for the Cenis. *The waies were exceeding uneasie, 
wonderfuU hard, all stony, and fuU of windings and 
intricate turnings.' Coryat therefore had to walk down 
the mountain, passing on the way ^ many people ascend- 
ing, mules laden with carriage, and a great company of 
dunne kine driven up the hiU with collars about their 

The ^ Boch Melow' (Boche Melon) was said to be ^the 
highest mountain of all the Alpes, saving one of those 
that part Italy and Germany.' We learn afterwards that 
this was the ^ Mountaine Groddard, commonly esteemed 
the highest of all the Alpine mountains.' ^ Monte Yiso 
Coryat knew only by name. Otherwise he has no in- 
formation as to peaks, and he believes that the Alps 
^ consiste of two ranges sunderd by the space of many 

' In this statement Coryat is supported bj the beet Swiss authorities of 
the time. The belief in the pre-eminence of this part of the chain was 
probably grounded on the plausible argument that, as the two greatest 
riyers of the Alps rise in this group, and all rivers flow down* hill, the 
region containing their sources must be the most elerated. 


miles/ and dividing respectively Italy from France and 
Grermany. As to passes, he mentions besides the 
Cenis, the Brenner, the St. Gothard and the Splugen ; 
he knows that the Rhone springs from ^ the BheticaU 
Alpes out of a certain high mountaine called Furca ; ' 
that the Bhine has two sources from ^the mountain 
Adula,' between which and the springs of the Khone 
^ there is interjected no longer space than of 8 houres 
journey.' So much for his Alpine geography. 

I wish I had space to follow Coryat into Italy, where 
he discovers forks and umbrellas, and describes them 
with the minuteness appropriate to such important 
novelties. Venice was the goal of his journey, and 
there he ^swam in a gondola' for six weeks — ^the 
sweetest time (I must needs confesse) that ever I spent 
in my life.' He saw and describes all the sights we 
know so well, filled with the crowd which for us lives 
only in pictures, visited the Arsenal in its glory, was 
shown the Titians and Tintorettos in their fresh beauty, 
and bursts out into an enthusiasm which might satisfy 
Mr. Buskin for that ' peerlesse place' the Piazza di San 

Coryat's homeward journey through the Alps began 
at Bergamo. On reaching that town his route was 
altered by the news given him by a friendly Dominican 
monk, who warned him that a castle near the head of 
the Lago di Como was held by Spaniards,^ who would 
have little scruple in submitting a heretic to the tor- 
tures of the Inquisition. He consequently gave up the 
lake for Yal Brembana and the Passo di San Marco. 

* Od the rocky knoll in the centre of the delta of the Adda, I find 
printed on the Lombard map the Spanish word ' Fuenteo.* This was doubt- 
less the site of the castle. 


In Yal Brembana be saw exposed tbe bodies of some 
banditSy members of a party of thirty who had been 
recently captured while lying in wait for passengers to 
the great fair of Bergamo. The Passo di San Marco 
was then the limit of Venetian rule, and the frontier 
was marked by an inn bearing on its front the golden- 
winged lion. The house still exists. 

In descending towards the Val Tellina Coryat saw 
the Bergamasque flocks being driven home from their 
summer pasturages. Near Chiavenna the * very sharp 
and rough stones * were * very offensive to foot tra- 
vellers ; ' on the other hand, the security of the country 
was such that a priest told him no robbery had 
ever been heard of. The passage of the Splugen is 
passed over very slightly. The cataracts of the Bofna 
defile attracted Coryat's notice, but the old path of 
course did not penetrate the crack of the Via Mala. 

The inveterate Swiss habit of reckoning distance by 
hours rather than miles is justly criticised as yielding ^ a 
very uncertain satisfaction to a traveller, because the 
speed of all is not alike in travelling; for some can 
travel further in one hour than others in three.' 

At Bagatz he leaves * Rhetia * for * Helvetia,' and at 
Walenstadt Val Tellina wine, of which he has a good 
opinion, for Bhenish. Swiss diet he finds ^passing 
good in most places,' and ' the charge something rea- 
sonable,' varying from a Spanish shilling to 15^. of 
English money. Duvets are novelties observed for the 
first time in Swiss inns, and much appreciated. 

In Zurich Coryat was taken to see the sword of 
William Tell and told his history, on which he y&rj 
pertinently suggested that ' it would have been much 
better to have preserved the arrow.* At the Swiss 


Baden he was shown and properly shocked at the 
sociable manner of bathing, which seems not to have 
diflfered much, except in the quantity of clothing worn, 
from that now in use at Leukerbad. At Basel Swit- 
zerland is left, with the unexpected remark that the 
bridge, the established favourite of modem sketch- 
books, is ^ a base and mean thing.' But our traveller 
has already led us too far from the high-road of Yal 
Brembana — and here we must leave him to find his 
way home. 

After all, what impression did the mountains make 
on Coryat? I think we must answer, about the same 
as on a commonplace tourist of our own day who has 
sufficient sturdiness of mind to be independent of 
fashion in his likes and dislikes. Horror of them he 
has none, and their dangers he is little disposed to 

He is struck by a bold peak ; he notes a waterfall ; 
he is amused to find himself above the clouds ; he likeR 
to be able to see a good many things at once, as from 
St. Mark's tower, whence he admires * The Alpes, the 
Apennines, the pleasant Euganean hills, with a little 

' Unless indeed we take him to task for a passage found, of all odd 
places* in an answer to a Chancery Bill filed by a certain ' vilipendious 
linendraper/ to restrain him from common law proceedings for the recovery 
of a debt. His ' r^trsate adversarie,' amongst other impertinent matters, seems 
to have inserted allegations as to the ' smallnesse and commonnesse ' of 
Coryat's voyage. The enraged traveller retorts, with an eloquence seldom 
reached by modern pleaders, * has he not walked above the clouds over hils 
that are at least 7 miles high ? For indeed so high is the mountaine 
Cenys, the danger of which is such, that if in some places the 
traveller should but trip aside in certaine narrow wayes that are scarcely a 
yard broade, he is precipitated into a very IStygian barathrum, or Tartarean 
lake, six timps deeper than PauVs tower is high.' Has he not 'continu- 
ally stood in feare of the Alpine cut-throats called the Bandits?' 

140 PIAZZA. 

world of other most delectable objects.' But he has 
not an imaginative mind, and a few days is a short 
time in which to develop an intelligent taste for 
mountain scenery. He is at a loss in the Alps from 
want of familiarity. His feeling towards them may be 
fairly illustrated by his attitude in matters of art. He 
is equally embarrassed by the glorious Tintorettos of 
the ducal palace. These he can only note down, he 
cannot appreciate. What he really could understand 
and admire comes out naively elsewhere. He saw in a 
' painter's shop,' near San Marco, two things which ^ I did 
not a little admire, a picture of a hinder quarter of veal 
— the rarest invention that ever I saw before,' and * the 
picture of a Gentlewoman whose eyes were contrived 
that they moved up and down of themselves, not after 
a seeming manner but truly and iudeed.' 

The neighbouring village of Olmo produced a car- 
riage. A short drive through an open valley brought 
us to Piazza, the market-town and centre of the upper 
vaUey, placed on a low flat-topped brow, the last spur of 
the range dividing the stream of Yal Torta from the 
Brembo. Throughout these vaUeys the villages, although 
in number of inhabitants only villages, take the air of 
towns. Italians, as contrasted with Swiss, are essen- 
tially a to¥m-loving race ; north of the Alps it is mere 
matter of chance whether the brown cottages are scat- 
tered widely over the hillsides or clustered together; 
the southerner is more sociable and more ambitious, 
having ever before his eyes the nearest large town as a 
model. Even in the mountains he likes his native 
place to boast a ^ piazza,' and perhaps even a ^ Oorso,' a 
name which can be easily stuck on to the first quarter 

PIAZZA. 141 

of a mile of road. He builds lofty white houses and 
ranges them along the sides of a narrow street, which, 
with its barred windows, gloomy little shops, and bright 
fruitstalls, might be in a back quarter of Bergamo or 
even Milan. 

The ambition of Piazza is leading it to erect a vast 
church with columns and porticoes, incongruous enough 
in a mountain landscape. Beneath the uncompleted edifice 
a car-road turns off to the upper Yal BrembanaandBranzi. 
The high-road goes away to the south through a narrow 
rift in the hills in company with the united streams. I 
longed to follow it and see something more of the Ber- 
gamasque valleys than their heads. Amongst these 
bold hills rising so near the plain there must be a crowd 
of landscapes of romantic beauty, and from every brow 
the most exquisite views. Moreover if Herr Iwan von 
Tschudi's * Schweizerfiihrer ' is as trustworthy in matters 
of art as with respect to mountains this region is rich 
indeed. In every village church there are said to be 
good pictures.* The great names of Tintoretto and 
Paul Veronese are coupled in the list with a host of local 
painters, such as Cavagna and G. B. Morone, many of 
them natives of the upland villages in which their works 
are found. But it must be remembered that hidden 
gems are rare, and that in remote hamlets great names 
are readily bestowed and seldom disputed. The real 
worth of these art-remains is a matter to be determined 
by further research. Objects of architectural interest 
are less open to doubt.* At Almenno San Salvatore is 

* Since -writing the above, I have been favoured by Signor Cure, 
President of the Bei^masque Section of the Italian Alpine Club, with a 
list of some of the most remarkable works of art in this region. It is 
printed as Appendix B. 


a small Botanda of the fifth century dedicated to St. 
Thomas : at Alm^ an old and very remarkable chapel 
attributed by popular legend to the Gothic queen Theo- 
dolinda. In the church of Leprenno, itself of the twelfth 
century, is to be seen ^ a costly altar brought out of 
England at the time of the schism under Henry VIII.' 

Convenient resting-places are not wanting. At 
Zogno, in Yal Brembana, there is said to be a ^ delight- 
ful ' inn ; at San Pellegrino, higher in the valley, and 
at San Omobuono, in Yal Imagna, bathing establish- 
ments described as ^ comfortable and much frequented.' 
For the present, however, I had to turn my back on 
these varied attractions. Athletic companions, a Cha- 
monix guide, and four ice-axes, all pointed towards 
the rocks and snows, and were only prevented from 
rushing straight to the Bernina or the Adamello by my 
assertion, somewhat recklessly made, that there were 
glaciers in the next valley. 

Our course lay up the eastern stream by a country 
road rougher than that we had left, but still passable 
for spring- carriages. In the morning the variety ot 
Val Torta had come up to our hopes, the scenery of the 
main valley for the next two hours surpassed them. The 
rocky defile leading to Branzi fairly rivals any of the 
similar scenes amongst the branches of Yal Sesia. If less 
noble and majestic than Yal Bavona or Yal di Genova, 
it could scarcely be more fascinating. The track climbs 
steeply amidst ruddy boulders and cliff faces stained 
a deep purple. Against these the chestnuts stretch 
their green branches or spread out at their feet in banks 
where the deep green of the leaves is shot with the 
lighter hue of the unripe fruitpod. Side-glens break 
through the opposing walls and give variety to the 


gorge, peaks bold in form and rich in colonr fill the 
gaps, the water is blue and sparkling, the foliage fresh 
and varied. Churches and villages, with the nsaal 
accompaniments of frescoed campaniles and high- 
pitched bridges, are always ready in the right place to 
give variety to each sunny picture. 

Nature presents herself in Yal Brembana in a bright 
fantastic mood, full of life and vigour, yet not so earnest 
and severe as to strain our comprehension or our sym- 
pathy, or so large as to be beyond — more than, in its 
many-sidedness, all nature is beyond — the grasp of 
even an unambitious art. To employ a much-abused 
yet useful phrase, the scenery is essentially picturesque. 

The valley when it opens again is more Alpine, 
although we are still only at the moderate height of 
2,200 feet. A village, Trabuchetto, stands on the edge 
of the first meadows of a long steep-sided basin fringed 
with pines. For the next mile or two the road runs 
at a level over fields of the greenest turf broken by 
mossy boulders. A very slight ascent leads up to the 
first houses of Branzi, the chief place of the upper 
valley, locally famous for a great cheese-fair held in 
September, before the departure of the herds for the 

Steep hills hem in on all sides the verdant meadows 
amongst which the village stands. Two streams and 
paths, issuing out of deep-cut clefts, descend from the 
chain dividing us from the Yal Tellina. A third torrent 
pours down from the top of the eastern hillside, some 
3,000 feet above, in a scarcely broken fall which only 
wants volume, and must be superb after any heavy 

Driving under a dark archway we entered the little 


piazza, and, following a priest's directions, passed one 
not ill-looking ^ osteria/ and sought another standing 
back from the high-road at the top of the village. Here 
again we were &ted to be disappointed in our inn. Our 
arrival was doubly ill-timed. In the first place the 
house was under repair, and the upstairs rooms — if in 
their present condition they could be called rooms — 
showed ribs as bare as a ship in the first stage of con- 
struction. Secondly the culinary and conversational 
resources of the establishment were alike engrossed on 
behalf of two Italian ^ Alpinisti ' who had preceded us. 
The ^ Alpinista ' is a novelty in Italy, and seems to 
bid fair to become a fashionable one. His creation is 
due to the assiduous zeal of the promoters of the Italian 
Alpine Club. That institution has ends far broader 
and deeper than those proposed by the founders of our 
own merely social club. Among its many objects are 
the strengthening of good-fellowship between the dif- 
ferent provinces of United Italy, the advancement of 
science by the multiplication of observatories and other 
means, and the promotion of the welfare of the moxmtain 
districts by turning attention to the preservation of 
their forests and the embankment of their streams, and 
also by attracting to them some of the foreign gold 
which flows so freely into the pockets of their Swiss 
neighbours. Such a body demands of course no climb- 
ing qualification. Yet there are in Italy some proved 
and first-rate mountaineers, and, if the outward ap- 
pearance of the novices is sometimes amusing to an 
Englishman, it is only owing to the apparent incon- 
gruity between a southern face and figure and an 
equipment so completely British, from the knapsack 
down to the boots, that one is tempted to believe the 


Italian Clnb must have given a wholesale order in 
Oxford Street for a regulation dress. But these young 
mountaineers are, as a rule, very pleasant fellows, and 
though exceedingly vague on mountain matters in 
general walk well. On the present occasion I fear we 
wished our fellow-guests elsewhere, for their claim to 
precedence turned our dinner into one of those hopes 
deferred which make the heart — or something very near 
it — sick. 

There are on the map two obvious passes from 
Branzi to Yal Seriana, one foUowing the main valley to 
its principal head, the other climbing beside the water* 
fall and then traversing a wide stretch of loffcy lakelet- 
dotted table-land. We chose the latter. The first 
ascent seemed endless ; the houses of Branzi were always 
but a stone's throve in lateral distance, while the bells of 
its church tower rang out successive quarters of an hour 
enough to have put us ten miles off in any reasonable 
country. At last a green hillock was turned and the 
upper region discovered; a long green valley with 
shelving sides surrounded by bold scattered peaks. A 
terrace-path led along the hillside past an opening 
within which lies a large lake, the object of the day's 
walk of the ^ Alpinisti.' We passed presently another 
tarn of clear blue water, the Lago di Gornigo, hidden 
away among the hills. The scenery was pleasing though 
not of a high order, but near the lake an exquisite touch 
of beauty was given to it by the apparition of Monte 
Bosa, a frail opal vision floating on the tops of the 
nearer ranges. 

Grassy baoks lead to the apparent pass. On reaching 
it, however, it is, in clear weather, easy to see that the 
glen on the further side is another feeder of Yal Brem- 



bana. A short level traverse to the right, or the ascent 
of the rocky knoll in the same direction, leads to a point 
overlooking the true valley of descent. But the T-shaped 
ridges may well perplex a stranger, and the pass, though 
absolutely free from difiSculty, is one where most people 
will find a native indicator useful* From the knoll 
where the two ridges join Monte Bosa is still seen, 
together with several of the Bemina peaks and a wide 
view to the eastward. 

The entire descent was for a pass of this nature ex- 
ceedingly fine and varied. First we plunged under purple 
cliffs and past a ch&let into a wilderness of stone blocks, 
a rough setting for a cluster of gem-like pools; some 
blue, some the colour of the Bluebeard when, to quote 
the latest version of an old story, * it writhed in an 
indigo blackness.' Then a steep rocky stair or ^ scala ' 
amongst waterfalls, and a stride over juniper bushes 
brought us to a path, level, green, shaded by tall pines, 
with bright glimpses of distant hills and once of the 
golden floor of Lago d' Iseo between the moss-grown 
columns. We came out on to a mountain of hayfields, 
whence the Presolana, an isolated limestone mass 
between us and the Val di Scalve, tried with some 
success to look like the Pelmo. 

When we turned downwards the path was a stony 
impossibility, and trespassing on the new-mown turf a 
delicious and harmless necessity. Beyond a picturesque, 
warm-looking village we were caught between maize- 
fields by a most penitential pav6, which led to a corner 
where a handsome young priest advanced book in 
hand before a fountain and a vista, as ' complete a 
picture as any composed for Burlington House. 

Gromo and the * Strada Provinciale' were now below 


US, and in five minutes more we passed under the church 
tower and the one unfallen feudal keep which still 
overshadows the village, and found ourselves at the 
doorway of the inn. This time there was no disappoint- 
ment. We entered a large, handsome house, with a 
kitchen and a store-room, such as the painters of Bas- 
sano so often chose for subjects, dark and cool, yet lit 
with the reflected gleams of copper and the bright hues 
of southern fruit and vegetables. 

Food here was as ready and good as it had been 
lately hard to obtain and indiflFerent ; and but for the 
distance from the head of the valley and our next 
mountain we should have gladly stayed the night. 
Forewarned, but we felt also forearmed, against the 
kitchen of Bondione, we mounted the carriage which 
had been without diflSculty procured for us. 

Yal Seriana, at any rate in its upper portion, is 
wider and straighter than Yal Brembana, and the 
mountains, although lofty, do not make up in sublimity 
for what they lose in variety. As far as Fiumenero the 
drive is in fact a trifle monotonous. At this point the 
river turns round a -sharp corner, and its last reach, 
backed by the horseshoe clifl^s closing the valley, comes 
into view. 

The Monte Bedorta (9,975 feet), the highest summit 
between Lago di Como and the Aprica Patis, rises in 
rough tiers of precipice on the lefb. Near Bondione 
large iron mines are worked, and the leading industry 
gives the place the air of hopeless grime peculiar to 
underground pursuits. Dirt nowhere looks so dirty as 
on the pure mountains, and the village is the last place 
one would care to make a stay in. Moreover nothing 
can be less tempting than the inn, although a neigh- 

L 2 


bouring house provides the unexpected luxury of two 
decent bedrooms and clean beds. 

The houses are built among the huge ruins of a 
fallen buttress of the Bedoi*ta ; and the natural cavities 
under the boulders, which are rather bigger than the 
houses, serve the inhabitants for store-rooms, cellars, 
and other purposes. The population of Bondione seem 
to hold firmly to the theory expounded to Peter Simple 
that a second cannon-ball never comes through the hole 
made by the first, and to look on these, to strangers 
somewhat unpleasantly suggestive neighbours, as among 
the 'amenities' of their situation. 

Next morning we crossed the river by a bridge, 
beyond which was an ' osteria ' with a rhyming sign, 
suggesting to the wayfarer bound for the Barbellino 
the need of refreshing himself first with the ' buon vino' 
of the host. Leaving on the right a glen through 
which an easy track crosses to the remote villages of 
Yal di Scalve, a steady ascent through beech copses 
led us to a narrow platform at the foot of a great rock 
wall, like that which bars the Schachenthal in Canton 
Uri. It is difficult to see where the path will find 
passage ; at the left-hand corner the Serio flings itself 
ofiF the brow, crashing on the rocks, and throwing itself 
out again with fresh energy into space. As we mounted 
the steep /igzags of the path the first arrows of sun- 
light, shooting over the hills and striking obliquely 
across the rock-face, caught the most outward-flung 
part of the fall, leaving the crags behind still in shadow. 
Seldom had we witnessed so fantastic and fairylike a 
play of the elements as that now exhibited before our 
eyes. The water-rockets, thrown out in regtdar succes- 


sion from tlie first rade contact of stream and rock, 
leapt forth masses of pure cold wliite. In a moment, 
as they entered the illumined space, they were trans- 
figured in a glory of reflected light. The comparison 
to a bursting firework is inevitable but unworthy. At 
first they shone with the colours of the rainbow, then 
with a hundred other indescribably delicate and unex- 
pected shades, from a brilliant green-blue to a rich 
purple. A minute or two later and the cloud of foam 
below caught the illumination, and the whole cascade 
was one mass of radiant colour thrown out against a 
dark background. 

When the coat of many colours was stripped from 
it the fall, though a fine one, did no*l seem full enough 
to rank in the very first class of Alpine cascades. Buc 
its comparative merits can hardly be decided without a 
nearer approach than we made. 

A slight gap in the rocky crest lets the path through 
to the Barbellino Alp, a flat meadow, hemmed in by 
rugged slopes. Near the huts we halted for breakfast 
and to decide on our future course. We were bound 
to Yal Camonica, and time not allowing us to explore 
Val di Scalve, had determined to cross the ridge sepa- 
rating the head of Yal Seriana from Yal Belviso, a side- 
glen of the Yal Tellina, by which the Aprica posthouse 
could be gained without a preliminary plunge into the 
great valley* The straightest and easiest course was 
doubtless to strike the ridge due east of Lago Barbellino, 
where, although no track is shown on the map, it is 
certainly easy to pass. But the day was fine enough 
for a peak, and Monte Gleno lying at the angle of the 
chain where it turns northward round the sources of 


the Serio, seemed capable of being combined with a pass 
into Yal BelTiso. 

Seen from the Barbellino Alp, the Pizzo di Cocca 
and its neighbours are a bold group of rock-peaks, but 
thej do not show any ice. Mj friends did not fail to 
point out this unfortunate deficiency, and to remind me 
that I had only a few hours left within which to produce 
the promised glacier which was to justify the intrusion 
of rope aud ice-axes into Bergamasque valleys. 

My own confidence in my assertions, never very 
strong, was now at its lowest ebb, and I could only 
repeat them with renewed vigour. Fortunately, un- 
expected assistance was afforded me by the stream 
which joins the S#rio at the upper end of the level 
pasturage. Its waters were milky white, a strong indi- 
cation that it was icebom. 

We followed the sides of this torrent, climbing by 
steep sheep-paths, until we were almost on a level with 
the base of the surrounding peaks. A rocky bluff cut 
off the view of what lay beyond. The head of the glen 
was evidently a broad basin, but how was it filled? 
Suddenly we saw before us a sheet of ice at least two 
miles long by one broad — the glacier of Val Seriana. 

The broken pinnacles of the Como dei Tre Confini 
shot up opposite us on the right, and between two 
broad snowy depressions rose the comb of Monte Gleno. 
To reach it we must ascend the glacier. The ice, though 
in places steep, was not rent by any wide fissures, 
and an hour's quick walking brought us to the gap at 
the north-east base of the mountain. Below us, as we 
had hoped, lay Val Belviso. 

Fifteen minutes of rapid scrambling finished the 
peak, the highest between the Barbellino and Aprica 


Passes.^ There was no sign on the summit of any 
earlier visitor. 

The distance was for the most part in cloud, but the 
Adamello group was excellently seen, and the rock- 
wall above Val Miller, by which I had once descended, 
appeared as impossible as any easy climb well could. 
Yal di Scalve was at our feet, and looked inviting, as 
did the carriage-road winding away from it towards 
Clusone over the spurs of the fortress-like Presolana. 

Two cleffcs or chimneys offered themselves for the 
descent. We were I think right in choosing the 
northernmost or furthest from the peak. The other, 
as seen afberwards from below, seemed steep for a 
greater distance. The first few hundred feet required 
considerable care. The centre of the cleft was swept 
bare and smooth by spring avalanches, and cut in many 
places by low cliffs. We made therefore frequent use 
of the more broken crags on our right, where there was 
plenty of hold both for legs and arms. We did not 
meet with any serious difficulties, although we suffered 
now and then from a momentary embarrassment con- 
sequent on having put the wrong foot foremost, a mis- 
take which the practised climber is always ready to 

Had it not been for the course of action pursued by 
one of my companions we might perhaps have got down 
in shorter time. Having some old grudge, as what 
Alpine Clubman has not, against a loose stone, he had 
this year constituted himself the foe of the lace, and 
the chief adjutant of Time in his attack on the moun- 
tains. Did an unlucky rock show the smallest tendency 

> The height may be roughly estimated at 9,300 feet. 


to looseness, down it went. Besistance was useless, for 
m J friend's perseverance and patience are proverbial ; 
the rock might retain roots which woald have held it 
for a centurjy but an ice-axe will serve also as a crow- 
bar, and sooner or later, — down it went. 

The process was necessarily sometimes tedious, and 
those behind watching it from a constrained perch, even 
if not susceptible enough to see in the downward roar 
and shiver of the released rock what might happen to 
themselves if thej did not hold on, were liable to become 
impatient and to protest against the violence of the 
attack on a peak which had really done nothing to 
provoke such treatment, and might possibly take to 
reprisals. A volley from the upper ledges would have 
been anything but pleasant. 

After creeping round the edges of some snow-beds, 
too short and steep to glissade, the angle of the slope 
diminished and banks of loose stones fell away to a 
brow overlooking the highest pasturage. This consists 
of two shelves, divided by a low cliff and cut oflf by a 
much deeper one from the valley. At the chdiets on 
the lower shelf the herdsmen recommended us a long 
circuit round the head of the glen. With some hesita- 
tion we decided to trust the map, and took to the left, 
keeping at a level for twenty minutes as far as another 
group of huts. Thence we descended rapidly a trackless 
hillside, until on drawing near the forest we found a 
shady path to take us to \he bottx^m. 

The upper half of Val Belviso is smooth, green, and 
pleasant, with fine backward views of Monte Gleno and 
its gullies, and near at hand a clear, copious stream 
always dashing in and out of still, deep-coloured pools. 

VAL BEL Visa 168 

Lower down the path becomes steep, stony, and tiresome, 

and everyone was glad when the last bridge — a bold arch 

near some ruined mills — seemed to put us within a 

definite distance of the end. I have seldom known a 

warmer or more beautiful half hour's walk than the 

climb of a thousand feet round a projecting hillside 

to the village of Aprica. 

But the high-road to the Adamello marks the close 

of the Bergamasque valleys. 




Vineyards and maize, that's pleasant for sore eyes. — Clouoh. 


OuB acquaintances might, I sometimes fancy, be roughly 
divided into two classes. There are some who find 
sympathy in inanimate nature by itself ; there are many 
to whom the universe speaks only through the person 
of their fellow creatures. 

With the latter, human interests and emotions are 
always in the front, and the most glorious landscape or 
the most thrilling sunset makes only a background to 
the particular mites in whom they are for the moment 
interested. Nature is just thought worthy to play a 
humble accompaniment to the piece — ^to act the part of 
the two or three fiddlers who are left in the orchestra to 
give forth soft music when the heroine dreams, or a tri- 
umphant squeak at the approach of the hero. Such 
dispositions, and they are often those of most strength 
or genius, colour nature out of their own consciousness 
rather than accept impressions from without. 

There is much to be said at the present day for this 



mood. The long line of evolution so slightly alluded 
to in the Book of Genesis between the mud and the 
man has been nearly made out. Why should we waste 
more time over the lower developments of matter 
than is necessary to ascertain our own family history ? 
The human intelligence, philosophers tell us, is the 
crowning flower of the universe. Let us then no longer 
worship stocks and stones, or invisible and inconceivable 
abstractions, but reserve all our attention for the highest 
thing we know, and concentrate ourselves on our fellow 
creatures. Thus perhaps we shall best urge on that 
true golden age, when mankind, grown less material, 
will burn with a purer jet of intellect, when Mr. Wallace 
will talk with spirits who can talk sense and Mr. Galton 
and artificial selection will have replaced Cupid with 
his random darts. 

Yet we can never wholly separate ourselves from 
the system of which we form a part. ^ Homo sum nihil 
humani' requires such extension as will include the 
universe. Positivist congregations are, I believe, in 
the habit of expressing their grateful acknowledg- 
ments to interplanetary space. Even advanced thinkers 
therefore may pardon a sentiment for such much nearer 
relations as the crystalline rocks. 

Those, however, who deliberately prefer at all times 
the study of human emotion to the inarticulate voice 
of nature must not — unless indeed they are prepared to 
live, as few travellers can, amongst the people of the 
country — come to the Lombard Alps. Their field of 
observation is on the terrace at St. Moritz or on the 
summit of Piz Languard ; and they will do well to picnic 
in company amongst Swiss pines rather than to wander 
alone under Italian beeches. 


The road which links the Adamello country to the 
Stelvio highway, and through it to the Bemina Pass 
and Upper Engadine, leaves the Val Tellina midway 
between Tirano and Sondrio, and only a few hours* 
drive from Le Prese. For many miles it climbs in 
one enormous zigzag through the chestnut forests, until 
from the last brow overlooking the Val Tellina it gains 
a view which, of its kind, has few rivals. I have seen it 
twice under very different circumstances. 

First in early morning, half-an-hour after a June 
sunrise, the air ringing with the song of birds and bells, 
the high crest of the Disgrazia golden in light, the long 
shadows of the Bergamasque mountains falling across 
their lower slopes, the white villages caught here and 
there by sunbeams, the broad valley throwing off a 
light cover of soft mist. Beneath us Italy, around 
the Alps ; and when these two meet lovingly, what can 
nature do more ? 

Again on a late autumn afternoon, in dumb sultry 
heat, the sunlight veiled for the most part in yellow 
mists, but breaking forth from time to time with vivid 
force, and answered by lightning from the thick impene- 
trable pall lying over the Disgrazia, and the masses of 
storm-cloud gathering on the lower ranges. The valley 
silent and mournfril, all peace and harmony gone, the 
mountains glaring savagely from their obscurity, as if 
their wild nature had broken loose from the shrinking 
loveliness at its feet, and was preparing for it outrage 
and ruin. 

From the inn known as * The Belvedere * it is still 
half-an-hour's ascent to the smooth meadows which 
form the watershed between the Yal Camonica and the 
Yal Tellina, the well-named Apnea Pass. 

EDOLO. 157 

The descent towards Edolo lies through the green 
and fertile Yal Corteno. As the capital of the upper 
Yal Camouica is approached loftj snow-capped crags 
tower opposite. These are not part of the main mass 
of the Adamello, but belong to the outlying group of 
Monte Ayiolo. 

Edolo lies on either side of a strong green torrent, 
fed bj the eternal snows, which seems a river compared 
to the slender streams of the Bergamasque yallejs. 
Across the bridge on a high platform stand a large 
white church and campanile, backed by rich foliage 
and a hillside, steep yet fertile, which rises straight into 
the clouds. The little mountain-town is medieeval and 
Italian in character. The streets are narrow and shady ; 
old coats-of arms are carved on the walls, queer-headed 
monsters glower between the windows, arched loggias 
run round the interior courtyards. The place tells you 
it has a history, and one wonders for a moment what 
that history was. We know that German emperors 
came this way through the mountains, that Barbarossa 
confirmed the liberties of Yal Camouica, and that 
Maximilian once halted within these walls. Further 
details must be sought in the works of local historians 
and in the libraries of Bergamo or Brescia. 

Edolo has long been notorious for bad inns. Lately, 
however, the * Leone d'Oro,* the house in the centre of 
the town, has come into the hands of a most well- 
meaning proprietor, who provides very fair food and 
lodging at reasonable prices. Unfortunately nothing 
seems to get rid of the extraordinarily pungent flavour 
of stables which has for years pervaded the premises. 
I can only compare it to that of an underground stall 
in Armenia, in which it was once my ill-fortune to spend 



the night. Such a smell convinces one that at least 
there can be no difficulty as to means of conveyance. 
Strangers are doubly annoyed when they discover that 
they are in one of the few towns in the Alps where it is 
often impossible at short notice to get horses or a car- 
riage. If animals even cannot endure the atmosphere, it 
is surely high time to advertise * Wanted a Hercules.' 

On my last visit the demand for a carriage and pair 
was triumphantly met by the production of a diligence 
that had retired on account of old age and failing 
powers from public service, but was still ready to do a 
job for friends. Although built to contain some fifteen 
persons, it was so ingeniously arranged that, except 
from the box-seats, nothing could possibly be seen 
except the horses' tails and a few yards of highroad. 
We were compelled to cluster round the driver like a 
bunch of schoolboys, leaving the body of our machine 
to lumber along empty in the rear. 

To drive down Val Camonica on a fresh summer's 
morning before the sunlight has lost its first grace and 
glitter, when, without a breath of wind, every particle 
in earth and air, and even our own dull frames, seem to 
vibrate with the joy of existence, is to have one of the 
most delicious sensations imaginable. The scenery rivals 
and equals that of the Yal d'Aosta near Yilleneuve. 
The valley curves gracefully, the hillsides are cut by 
ravines or open out into great bays rich with woods. 
Every bush stands clearly defined in the translucent 
air, every leaf reflects back from a lustrous surface, 
unclogged by damp and smuts, the welcome sunbeams 
with which the whole atmosphere is in a dance. Lower 
down the slopes sweep out in folds of chestnut forest. 
High overhead a company of granitic peaks stand up 


stiff and straight in their icy armour against an 
Italian skj. 

Below the opening of Val di Malga there is a long 
straight reach of road ; then Yal Paisco, with a path 
leading to Yal di Scalve, is parsed on the right and a 
bridge crossed. Amidst broken ground and closing 
hillsides we approached Cedegolo, a considerable village, 
built between two torrents and under sheltering rocks, 
in a sunny romantic situation. As we drove up the 
street a quack doctor, taking advantage of the assembly 
drawn down to Sunday high mass, was haranguing a 
crowd of bright-kerchiefed girls and bronzed peasants 
from the hill villages. Women from the lower valley 
were offering for sale grapes, figs and peaches of 
the second crop^ the latter red as roses and hard as 

The inn here has been visited and commended by 
several travellers as clean and comfortable. Such praise 
it fully merits, but on other grounds we had much 
reason to complain of the Cedegolans. 

The habit of asking a very great deal more than 
you expect to get, common in foreign, and particularly 
in Italian shops, is perhaps as often an amusement as 
a vexation. The practice is most likely a survival from 
the old system of barter, which must have necessarily 
been incompatible with fixed prices. It will always be 
routed when time becomes of more value to the pur- 
chaser than a possible diminution in price. Heavy 
denunciations of its immorality sound to me rather odd 
when they come from the mouths of those who them* 
selves adopt in large affairs the very same practice they 
condemn in small. Why it should be dishonest to ask 
more than you will take for a ring or a piece of lace, 


bat perfectly right and fair to do the same for a house 
or estate is a difficult question. The answer must be 
sought from our worthy countryman who discourses on 
the rascality of the Jew with whom he haggled six 
months for a cameo, and if he wants to get rid of a 
farm is ready to fight for the hundreds sterling as hardly 
as ever shopkeeper for the francs. 

But the inconvenience of a system of bargain be- 
comes, it must be allowed, intolerable, when it is adopted 
by innkeepers. Their charges differ from others in not 
being usually a subject of previous arrangement. From 
the beginning the relation is a friendly one ; there is, 
or ought to be, a tacit understanding between host and 
guest that no undue advantage will be taken. An ex- 
tortionate bill is felt by the traveller as a breach of 
good faith, and he resents it accordingly. Of course it 
is always open to him to settle the price of everything 
before he takes it. But fortunately this precaution is 
seldom necessary, and it is much too tiresome to be 
adopted generally on the chance. 

However, £ must, I fear, recommend this last resource 
to those who visit Cedegolo, or the more western Ber- 
gamasque valleys. If they do not adopt it they will often 
have to choose between paying five francs for a bed or 
having their parting delayed and embittered by a dis- 
cussion, which, whatever its result weak concession or 
successful protest, leaves behind it nothing but un- 
pleasant recollections. 

In this respect the unfrequented German Alps are 
happier resorts for the wanderer. One could wish that 
these Italians had a little less vigour of imagination, 
and did not see in every foreigner a mine of unlimited 
wealth. If the story of the golden-egg-laying goose 


exists in their language, the nearest branch of the 
National Alpine Club would do well to distribute it as 
a tract throughout Cedegolo, and in one or two other 
Tillages which I should be happy to indicate. 

Yal Saviore, the vallej which joins Yal Camonica at 
Cedegolo, is a deep, short trough running west and east. 
The hillsides on the left bank of its stream are steep 
and uninhabited* High upon them a white spot is 
conspicuous against the green. It is an ice-cave, where 
the snow never melts from year's end to year's end. 
The opposite sunward-facing slopes are more gentle, 
and the principal villages lie high up on the mountain 
side. Behind them two torrents issue out of deep 
recesses, the Yal di Salamo and Yal d'Adame, the 
heads of which are closed by branches of the great 
Adamello ice-field.^ 

A short zigzag amongst the boles and roots of an 
old chestnut forest brought us to the level of the straight 
trench-like valley, from which no view is gained of the 
neighbouring snows. But the scenery had scarcely 
time to grow monotonous before we reached Fresine, a 
smutty charcoal-burners' hamlet on the banks of the 
Salarno torrent, and at the foot of the northern hill- 

A little further are the few houses of Isola, so called 
from their peninsular position between the torrent is- 
suing from Yal d'Adame and the smaller stream from 
Lago d'Arno. The hillside to be climbed before we 
could see this lake, shown on maps as one of the largest 
of high Alpine tarns, looked very long, steep and warm, 
and it proved considerably longer, steeper and warmer 
than it looked. It is one of the greatest climbs of its 

> See Appendix A. for mention of the paases they o£&r. 


kind in the Alps. The Adamello valleys abound in 
steep steps or * scalas,' but this surpasses all the others, 
near or far. From Isola to the water's edge the baro- 
meter showed a diflference of level of over 4,000 feet. 
For two-thirds of the ascent the gradient and character 
of the path are the same as those of a turret staircase, 
and the only level places are old charcoal-burners' plat- 
forms. For the rest of the way the track, after having 
climbed the cliff-faces which enclose the lower falls, 
penetrates the mountain side by a clefb, through which 
the stream descends in a succession of cascades and 
rapids. Except for its ambition to do too many feet in 
the hour, the path could not be pleasanter. It winds 
through a shifting and picturesque foreground of wood, 
crag and water, behind which the far-off peaks of the 
Zupo, Bella Vista and Falu shine like snowy pavilions 
spread out against the evening sun. 

It might be worth a geologist's or physical geo- 
grapher's while to follow this track. On the vexed 
question of the share of work done by glaciers in exca* 
vating valleys and lake-basins I do not presume to offer 
an opinion. But I think a careftil examination of the 
Adamello group could scarcely fail to repay the trouble 
and add some new materials for the discussion. In the 
numerous lakes scattered amongst the upper branches 
of Val Camonica the followers of Professor Bamsay may 
find support for their views. The believers in the 
potent action of glaciers in the excavation of valleys 
will see in the Val di Fum one of the few valleys in 
the Alps which answer to the picture fancy draws of 
what a nice-dug valley should be like. On the other 
hand they would be called on to explain how the 
majority of glaciers came to act in a manner so unlike 




planes, and left the Val di Geneva, and nearly every other 
valley of the group, a mere flight of stairs. If the bed 
of the Lago d'Amo was once occupied by ice it must 
have presented an appearance not unlike the lowest 
plain of the Mandron Glacier, with a tongue curling over 
towards Val Saviore. 

A warm glow still rested on the granite ridges and 
glaciers, but in the hollow all wa& already blue and 
grey, when the level of Lago d'Arno at last opened 
before our eyes. A long, still sheet of dark water 
wound away out of sight between bare hiUsides, broken 
only here and there by a solitary pine. There was no 
sound but the gentle lapping of the waves or the con- 
tinual murmur of a distant waterfall. The air seemed 
fraught with a solemn peacefulness, the strange mere 
to be a living thing asleep among the dead mountains. 
It was a scene to recall all old legends of enchanted 
pools, and a spectre bark or an arm ^ robed in white 
samite ' would in the falling gloom have seemed perfectly 
natural and in keeping. 

The character of the landscape was in no respect 
Italian. It was scarcely Smss, but rather, if I may 
judge of the unseen from painters, Norwegian. High 
Alpine tarns are for the most part circular or straight- 
sided ; seldom, like Lago d'Amo, long, serpentine sheets 
of water. Moreover its great height above the sea, by 
giving sternness to the shores and bringing the snows 
down close upon them, naturally suggests a more 
northern latitude. 

We hurried along the rough hillside in search of 
the fisherman's hut wliich was to be our night quarters* 
We found it among tbfr boulders on the very brink of 
the water. 

M 2 


Previous experience of Adamello huts had inspired 
me with the deepest distrust of our prospects. But 
this time our shelter, if lowly in outward appearance, 
proved comfortable enough inside. At one end of the 
little cabin blazed a cheery fire, the smoke of which, 
for a wonder, found its way out without first making the 
round of the interior. At the other end was a hay-bed, 
arranged like a berth in two shelves, one above the 
other. The centre was occupied by a bench ; and there 
were spoons and mugs stuck into odd holes and comers. 
Two worthy but fussy fowls cackled away under the 
roof, apparently embarrassed by the hospitable reflection 
that with their best endeavours they could hardly pro- 
vide eggs for the whole party. The only other tenant 
in possession was a bright- eyed boy. A great many 
English boys would have seen in his tenement their 
ideal of a BobiniBon Crusoe home. Even to us dis- 
illusioned wanderers it looked fascinating, and had we 
been any of us fishermen we might have been induced 
to spend a day or two in paddling about in the trian- 
gular tub which was moored close by. 

Daylight had barely lighted us to our goal, and 
now night added its mystery to this wild spot. Faint 
rays from a still unseen moon lit up the opposite peaks 
and snows, the great stars shone and were reflected in 
the dark depths of sky and lake which faced each other. 

In the earliest dawn the fisherboy launched his crafb, 
and soon returned with a fine pink-fleshed trout which 
we carried off with us. He then led us up the steep 
rocks behind his hut to regain the track we had left 
the night before. 

The path from Isola is not the only route to the 
Fasso di Monte Campo. We shortly joined a broader 



track, which makes along circuit from the lower valley, 
and is said to be passable for horses, which the stair- 
case we had climbed could scarcely be called, though 
cows were evidently in the habit of using it When we 
left our boy it was quite a pleasure, after the impositions 
of the last few days, to see his simple delight over a 
piece of silver. The metal ia rare in Italy in these days 
of paper currency. 

The lake, seen from the high terraces which we were 
now traversing, appeared to be about three miles in 
length. It does not entirely fill the basin, at the upper 
end of which is an alp and a small pool. Higher up 
on the right lie the ice-fields and blunt summits of 
Monte Castello. The ridge to be crossed now comes 
into view — a long saw, the teeth of which, tolerably 
uniform in height, stretch from a rocky eminence 
(Monte Campo) on the north to the glaciers on the 
south. The path, running as a terrace along a steep 
hiUside, gains, with little climbing, a broad grassy gap 
near the foot of Monte Campo. The ruined cabin on 
the crest may either be a douanier's outpost or a relic 
of the Graribaldian corps, which in 1866 bivouacked here 
with bold intentions but small result. This country 
has not been fortunate for the Italian Irregulars. A 
body who established themselves near Fonte di Legno, 
and talked largely about invading Yal di Sole, were 
surprised one morning by the Austrians anticipating 
their visit. The unlucky volunteers were all at break- 
fast, scattered about the village, and before they could 
offer any effective resistance were crushed with great 

Beyond the level meadows of Yal di Fum rose the 
massive peak of the Car^ Alto, on this side an impos- 


sible precipice. But otherwise the view was limited, 
and we readily decided to add the Monte del Oastello 
to our day's work. A most convenient goat-path, 
skirting the roots of the rock-teeth, brought us to the 
edge of the ice. The glacier was steep and slippery, 
and only just manageable without steps. The top 
proved a double-crested ridge of loose granite boulders. 
On the further and slightly lower point was a wooden 
cross, planted probably by some shepherd from the 
Yal del Leno, the glen on the southern flank of the 
mountain. It would be easy to climb Monte del Castello 
from the level of Lago d'Amo and to descend by this 
valley to Boazze; and the route is recommended to 
mountaineers who already know Yal di Fum. In itself, 
Monte Castello is, it must be confessed, a very inferior 
peak. It does not reach 10,000 feet, and it is out- 
topped by a southern outlier, probably Monte Prerone. 
But as a view-point it has merits. The long line of 
glaciers and peaks between the Adamello and the Car^ 
Alto presents an imposing appearance. From the oppo- 
site horizons the Schreckhom and Cimon della Fala, a 
worthy pair, exchange greetings. The Grand Paradis 
is also in sight ; but too many famous and familiar forms 
are conspicuous by their absence, and one finds oneself 
longing for the extra 1,000 feet of height which would 
sink half the subordinate ridges and give true greatness 
its proper place. 

We returned to the pass, whence a short zigzag 
leads down to the pasturage and brilliantly blue lakelet 
known as the Alpe and Lago di Caf. A broken hillside, 
on which scattered pines make foregrounds for a pic- 
turesque view of the Oar^ Alto, the prominent peak of 
ell this country, slopes down upon the valley at the 

VAL DI FUM. 167 

point where the torrent of Yal di Fnm first leaves the 
level and plunges into a narrow gorge. 

Yal di Fam is said to be a corruption of Yal dei 
Fini, a name due to the ridge on its west being the 
limit between the territories of Trent and Brescia. 
It is a broad, level meadow some eight miles long, 
valuable as pasturage, and as such a subject of conten* 
tion in former times. The highest alp is known as the 
Coel dei Yighi, from its former possessors, the commune 
of Yigo in Yal Bendena, who drove their cows thither 
by a paved track leading over a pass from Yal San 
Yalentino. Over the door of the principal chdlet of a 
lower alp is the inscription— 

1656 A. d. 18 L • • • • o, 

which is read ' 1656 addl 18 Luglio,' and records what 
a local writer with reason calls a ^ fatto luttuosissimo.' 

Then, as now, the commune of Daone were in pos- 
session of the pasturage. The Cedegolans, however, 
imagined themselves to have a better claim to it. With 
some brutality they proceeded to enforce their supposed 
rights by bursting in a body on the ch&lets, suffocating 
the seven shepherds in the large caldron, and cutting 
the legs of all the herd. After this story we no longer 
wondered at the greed and depravity of the modern 
villagers, the descendants of these ruffians. The claim 
so iniquitously enforced does not seem to have been 
practically known in recent times, but a strong tradi- 
tion of it must have lingered to induce the Atwtnan 
Engineers to give the Yal di Fum to Lombardy on their 
large map. 

As usual in this part of the Alps we scarcely reach 
the valley before meeting a fine waterfall. At first the 


gorge descends in steps, separated by swampy plat- 
forms ; lower down, its fall becomes more regular, 
gradually steepening as it approaches Boazze. The 
ground is broken and rugged, and the path until recent 
improvements must have been very bad. The Chiese 
is a noble torrent, green and clear despite its glacier 
birth, and a perpetual delight to the eyes, whether it 
leaps in white foam over some ash-hung crag or swirls in 
pure eddies in a bubbling caldron. 

fioazze, a sawmill and a chdlet, stands in a sharp 
angle under wooded cliffs. The houses are built, like 
villages in the Northern Caucasus, of huge, red, un- 
smoothed pine-trunks. The woodcutters have amused 
their leisure by painting imaginative titles over the 
various doors. Here we read * CafS e Billiardo,' there 
' Sala di Becreazione,' or ' Buvetta.' But the thirsty 
traveller must not be deluded thereby into expecting 
anything but a glass of the very roughest of country 

It is a long but very beautiful three hours' walk 
down Yal Daone to the high-road at Fieve di Buono. 
The mountains are not so high as those which surround 
Val di Oenova, but they are rich in colour and pic- 
turesque in form. There are steep steps, down which 
the river thunders in sheets of foam, level meadow ex- 
panses, tall cliffs fringed with graceful foliage. Side- 
glens break through the walls on either hand, and give 
glimpses into an upper land of lawns and pines, from 
which we are being rapidly carried away towards hill- 
sides clothed with walnuts and chestnuts and all green 
Italian things. Some two hours from Boazze the 
Chiese is left to fight its own way out through a deep 
ravine, and the road takes an upward inclination. On 


urm afternoon one is disposed to feel strongly the 
;tism of the Daonians in reqairing everybody to pass 
jugh their high-perched village. Although they 
y own the whole valley, a short cut through the 
eyards would have been, one fancies, a harmless 
ricession to public convenience. 
The village overlooks a wide basin, clothed in vine- 
irds and studded with castles and churches. A long 
Dad circling from hamlet to hamlet plunges at last 
ipon Pieve di Buono, a double row of houses lying in 
f he bottom along either side of the high-road. A country 
inn offers rest and refreshment to those who are un- 
willing or unable to get a carriage and push on for 
Tione or Condino. 

Here we enter fairly on the valleys of the Giudicaria, 
so called in witness of certain rights early granted to 
the inhabitants by the Bishops of Trent. This mountain 
region has little in common with the Swiss Alps. The 
low elevation of the valleys, their sunny exposure, and 
the gentle slope of their hillsides, give the scenery an 
air of richness rarely found at the very base of great 
snow-mountains. The frequent and gay-looking villages, 
the woods of chestnuts, the knots of walnut-trees, the 
great fields of yellow-podded maize, the luxuriant vines 
and orchards, have the charm which the spontaneous 
bounty and colour of southern nature always exercise 
on the native of the more reserved and sober North. 
No contrast could be at once more sudden and more 
welcome than that offered by these softer landscapes to 
the eye fresh from the rugged granite of the Adamello 

Life here, it is evident, is not the hard struggle with 
stubborn and grudging nature of the peasant of Uri 


or the Upper Engadine. Com and wine grow at every 
man's door, and the mountains offer abundant timber 
and pasturage. 

There remains, it is true, sufficient call for energy : 
torrents to be embanked, hillsides to be terraced, gorges 
to be pierced by high-roads. But all this lies well 
within the powers of a population which unites in some 
degree German industry with Italian grace. Massive 
dykes stem the stream and protect the water-meadows 
of Finzolo; one of the finest roads in Europe, built 
entirely at the cost of the neighbouring * communes,' 
traverses the two great gorges of the Sarca. Here we 
see no squalor, none of that sufferance of decay and 
ruin in whatever is old which amongst southern Euro- 
peans as well as Orientals is often found united with 
lavish expenditure on what is new. 

The exceptional wellbeing and intelligence of the 
people is no doubt to some extent referable to the phy- 
sical features of their country. The Northern Alps 
seem to have been more or less laid out according to 
rule ; valley is severed from valley by lofty and abrupt 
ridges; thus isolation and seclusion are enforced on 
the mountain communities. Here one can imagine 
that nature first planned a rolling hill-country and put 
in the mountains as an afterthought, planting them 
here and there at haphazard in isolated masses. Inter- 
course is thus rendered easy, for the heads of the valleys 
are often rolling pasturages. It is in fact rather the 
lower gorges than the crests of the hills which sever 
the different districts. Yal Bendena can always go to 
Yal di Sole or Yal Buona ; the defile of the Sarca has 
been but lately pierced. 

Moreover, whatever may be the value of Mr. Buskin's 


remarks on the moral influence of granite, there can be 
no doubt of its material advantages, and some of the 
orderly appearance of Yal Bendena is certainly due to 
its geology. The clean grey stone of the Adamello is 
ever at hand in the form of erratic boulders, and is 
fouad useful for every purpose, from a bell-tower or a 
dyke to a curbstone or a vine-prop. 

The road which runs through Pieve di Buono leads 
northwards over a low pass, protected by several forts, 
to Tione, southwards past the shores of Lago d'Idro to 
Salo or Brescia. But a more tempting branch turns 
suddenly east and motmts through the fine gorge of 
Yal Ampola, the scene of Garibaldi's solitary success in 
1866, to marshy uplands, whence it descends on the 
still basin of Lago di Ledro, a Cumberland tarn as far 
as hill-shapes go, but girt round with all the warmth 
and colour of Italy. The landscape is imbued with 
cheerful sweetness, but without any pretence to moun- 
tain sublimity. The little ' pension ' lately opened at 
Pieve di Ledro may, however, well detain for a few days 
those who can dispense for a time with snow and wild 
crags and find satisfaction in more homely beauties. 

It is a country for strolls, not for expeditions, for 
idle rambles over the forested hillsides among the taU 
alders and untamed hedgerows which fringe the lake, 
or along the banks of the delicious stream which flows 
from it, dancing down between the boles of chestnuts 
and vine-trellises until under a spreading fig-tree it 
makes a last, bold, green leap into the broad waters of 
the Lago di Garda. 

The air at Ledro is already, after the mountains, 
soft and warm, and the 2,000 feet of descent to Biva 
are a suiprise. The road runs near the torrent through 

172 EIVA. 

a narrow glen, between vineyards^ mulberries, fig- 
orchards, and villages, in September a yerj Alcinons' 
garden of ripeness. 

Suddenly the verdure ceases on the brink of the 
great mural precipice which overhangs the upper end 
of Lago di Garda. After several zigzags the road boldly 
turns on to the face of the rock. The descent to Biva 
is henceforth a mere groove blasted out of a smooth 
perpendicular cliff. Deep below lie the dark waters, 
flecked by white birdlike sails flying southwards before 
the morning breeze; opposite is the broad crest of 
Monte Baldo rising above an olive-fringed shore. The 
horses trot swiftly in and out of the tunnels and round 
the slow bullock-waggons creaking heavily up to the 
hills. Biva bursts suddenly into view, a line of bright- 
coloured houses and mediaeval towers crowded in between 
the lake, red cactus-spotted cliffs, and a wealth of olive- 
gardens, orchards and cane-brakes — the most southern 
scene north of Naples. 

But before the latter half of September Biva is too 
hot to linger in. Delicious as is an evening spent in 
the inn garden, where supper is served under a trellis 
overlooking the moonlit lake, it scarcely makes up the 
second time for a night &^nt in vain resistance to the 
assaults of mosquitoes. It is best to return to the 
mountains which are still so near at hand. 

The river, which here enters the lake, will be our 
guide back to the snows. No stream in Europe can 
boast a more varied or splendid youth than the un- 
known Sarca, famous in its smooth-flowing old age, 
when it issues again from Lago di Garda, under the 
new name of Mincio. It is only necessary to look for 
a moment at the map to see what vicissitudes the Sarca 


encounters, and what straggles it has to go through. 
One is tempted to imagine that after Nature had once 
settled the Alpine streams of this region in their proper 
and comfortable beds she gaire the whole country a 
rough squeeze, heaving up a hill here, making a huge 
split there, and turning everything topsy-turvy. The 
Adige has, I fancy, been cheated somehow out of the 
Lago di Grarda. The Sarca clearly ought to have joined 
the Chiese, and flowed down into Lago d'Idro. There is 
something very unnatural about the eastward reach 
,from Tione, even before one knows how prodigious a 
feat in hill-splitting it really is.^ 

Thanks, however, to its singular course, the scenery 
along the banks of the Sarca is extraordinarily varied. 
Boughly speaking, the river*s progress may be divided 
into four great stages. The first, beginning from the 
lake, is the Yal del Lago, the deep trench which forms 
the continuation of the Garda basin. Two or three 
miles through high-walled gardens and vineyards which 
recall the environs of an eastern city bring us to Arco, 
lying under a huge castled crag. After leaving behind 
the broad streets and cypress avenues of the hot-looking 
town, the drive grows monotonous. The road stretches 
on through the - half-desolate, half-luxuriant valley, 
from time to time the wheels rattle over pavement, and 
we pass through the long, gloomy street of some road- 
side village. The trough is now a wilderness of fallen 
blocks, the road crosses a bridge, and winds along under 
great cliffs, which threaten further destruction. AUe 

> The suggeetions made here at haphazard are, I Bee, seriously supported 
by Dr. Julius Morstadt in a long article Ueher die TerraingeataUung in SOd- 
weaiiieken Tirol in the last publication of the German Alpine Club, Zeit' 
aekri/t dea Deutsehen Mpmvtreina, Band Y. Heft 1, 1874. 


Sarcbe, a wajside inn where the road fix>m the Gindi- 
caria joins that from fiiya to Trent, is the end of the 
first stage in oar joomej. 

The Talley continues in a straight line, bat our riyer 
suddenlj bursts out of a deep narrow cleft in the wall 
of rock which has so long oyerhung us. 

The road first climbs the cliff-face by two long zig* 
zags, then a terrace cut in a bare bold wall of yellow 
rock pierces the jaws of the defile. High up on the 
opposite cliff runs the thin track from Molyeno to Castel 
Toblino. The Sarca, yictorious over all obstructions, 
glides along its narrow bed swiftly, yet smoothly, that 
Mr. Macgregor, or some one accustomed to those fear- 
ful feats in a ' canon ' pietoriaUy recorded in books of 
North American travel, might find it possible to shoot 
the defile. When the walls break back a rich yalley 
opens round us. The red crags of the Brenta chain 
glow for a moment in the north, then the Baths of 
Comano, a health-resort of local celebrity, is passed, 
and Stenico and its castle are seen on the right, high- 
perched on a green brow, holding the keys of the upper 
valley. The road and the river force their way side 
by side through an extraordinary cleft, split or cut 
through the heart of a chain rising on either side 
6,000 feet above the gulf. The gorge is greener and 
less savage than the last, yet on a still more magnifi- 
cent scale. Slender streams fall in glittering showers 
from the shelves above, and are carried under or over 
the road by ingeniously-contrived shafts or galleries. 

The rocks at length withdraw, the hills open, and 
while we ascend gently amongst orchards and rich fields 
of Indian com, the Car^- Alto suddenly raises his icy 
horn over the gfreen lower range. We are close to 


Tione, and at another of the great tnming-points in the 
Sarca valley. 

Tione itself is a thoroughly Italian country town, 
with dark narrow streets crossed by archways, large 
houses built round courtyards, low-roofed caf^s, and 
miscellaneous shops. A happy sign of the times may 
be seen in the conversion of the large barrack outside 
the town into an elementary school. 

Here we are but a short distance from Fieve di 
Buono, and a two hours' drive would complete the 
circle. The valleys of the Sarca and Chiese are at this 
point separated only by a low grassy ridge over which 
runs a fine high-road, defended, like every road in this 
country, by a chain of forts, the scene of some of the 
desultory skirmishes of 1866. 

Above Tione the broad open basin which divides the 
granite and the dolomite is known as Yal Bendena. 
Owing to its peculiar situation between two mountain- 
chains unconnected at their head, but little is seen of 
the higher summits, and the landscape is rich and 
smiling. The road, winding at first high on a wooded 
hillside, commands a charming view of the upper valley 
as far as Pinzolo. 

Orchards and cornfields separate the rapidly suc- 
ceeding hamlets, each of which resembles its neighbour. 
The method of construction in this country is peculiar. 
The lower stories only, containing the living-rooms, are 
built of stone ; from the top of their walls rise large 
upright beams supporting an immensely broad roof. 
The spaces between the beams are not filled up, and 
the whole edifice has the air of having been begun on 
too large a scale, and temporarily completed and roofed 
in. The great upstairs bam is used for the storage of 


wood, hajy com, and aU sorts of inflamniable drj goods. 
The roof being also of wood, tlie lightning finds it easj 
enough to set the whole mass in a blaze, and fires 
arising firom this canse are of common oocarrence. 
Caresolo, the next Tillage above Pinzolo, was almost 
coropletelj destroyed in a night-storm during the 
autumn of 1873. 

The openings of two lateral glens, Val di San Va- 
lentino and Yal di Borzago, are passed in quick suc- 
cession. Near the latter stands the oldest church in 
the valley, a square box covered with ruined frescoes, 
and said to mark the spot of the martyrdom of St. Yigi- 
lius, a great' local evangeliser and patron saint. Hea- 
thenism lingered in this remote region until the eighth 
century, and two hundred years earlier the first unfor- 
tunate missionary was done to death by the inhabit- 
ants of Mortaso, who, according to the tradition, 
finding no stones handy, used their loaves as missiles. 
For this unlucky piece of barbarity the perpetual hard- 
ness of their bread, even at the present day, is said to 
be a punishment. It is difficult, however, to believe 
that loaves which could kill a saint can have been very 
sofb to begin with. 

To judge from their habits and from the size and 
number of their churches, the people are still as re* 
markable for devotion to their religion as they were in 
pagan days. The wayfarer passing along the valley in 
the early morning sees a crowd both of men and 
women streaming out from early mass. In most cases 
the church seems to have been rebuilt and enlarged in 
modern times, and a curious effect is often produced by 
the juxtaposition of the huge whitewashed building 
and the campanile of the older structure, a little stone 


tower with circular-headed apertures, which scarcely 
reaches to the upper windows of its overgrown com- 

The river is presently crossed, and as we approach 
the end of our long drive and of the third stage in the 
Sarca's progress the mouth of Yal di Gendva comes 
into sight on the left, and the snows of the Presanella 
shine for a moment above the lower ridges. We are 
now within half a mile of Pinzolo, the Grindelwald, or 
Cortina of this country. But in this chapter I propose 
to confine myself to the southern approaches to the two 
groups of the Adamello and the Brenta. The excur- 
sions round Pinzolo must be reserved for future pages. 

For the moment I shall ask the reader to stop short 
at the neighbouring village of Giustino, and return 
with me thence to Trent by a byway which enables as 
to avoid retracing our steps through Tione. 

The walk from Yal Bendena to Stenico, through Yal 
d'AIgone, is dismissed in the guide-books with a few 
words of faint praise which raise no expectation of its 
varied beauty. We left Pinzolo one perfectly cloudless 
morning, to descend to the shores of Lago di Garda, 
having for our companion a peasant familiar as the man 
who, seven years before, had led me up to the Bocca 
dei Camozzi under pretence of its being the pass to 
Molveno. To-day he was only engaged as an attendant 
on the donkey which carried our traps ; and it was 
chiefly to the quadruped's sagacity that we trusted not 
to be misled. 

We soon quitted the high-road down the valley, 
and climbed a steep pav6 past the stations leading to a 
whitewashed church perched on a knoll amongst the 


mossj chestnut-groves. A large villagey with a trim 
granite-edged fountain and a tall campanile, was soon 
left below. The ascent then became hot and tiresome 
for a time, where the path perversely left the woods and 
chose for its zigzags a loose, dustj, shadeless slope. 
The summit of the Presanella was now in view. The 
ungainly hump here representing the mountain is the 
greatest possible contrast to the noble mass which, 
with its long escarped sides and icj pinnacles, towers 
above the Tonale road. The Grivola is the only other 
peak I know of which undergoes so complete a trans- 
formation. Above the bare ascent lies a sloping shelf 
of meadow, dotted with hay-chfilets. The path then 
enters the forest, the thick stems of which shut out all 
distant view. Suddenly they open and leave room fcp- 
a smooth level glade : shut round by a green wall of 
pines, it is a place where an altar to Pan may have 
risen out of the mossy sward, and shepherds have held 
their sylvan revelries. This ^ leafy pleasantness ' is the 
top of the ridge known by the poetical name of the 
Pra Fiori. Behind us the icy comb of the Car^ Alto 
gleamed through the branches; in front the massive 
form of a dolomite peak towered over the tree-tops. 
Bearing to the left, and descending very slightly from 
the pass, we came in a few minutes to a grassy brow 
adorned with beech-trees. A more beautiful site is 
hardly to be found; and here, with one consent, we 
built our ideal Alpine chS^let. 

Below us lay the smooth level of the Val d'Algone ; 
on one side rose the bare, torn, and fretted face of a great 
dolomite, surrounded by lower ridges scarcely less pre- 
cipitous, but clothed in green wherever trees or herb- 


age oonld take root. Towards the south the dis* 
tant hills beyond the Sarca waved in gradations of 
purple and blue through the shimmer of the Italian 

A short zigzag through thick copses took us down 
to the meadows. The large solitary building in their 
midst is a glass manufactory. At this point a good 
car.road begins, which, branching lower down, leads 
either to Tione or Stenico. 

The loftier dolomites were soon lost to view behind a 
bend in the yalley, and the road plunged down a deep 
and narrow glen between banks of nodding cyclamens, 
bold crags, and the greenest of green hillsides. About 
two hours' walk from the glass manufactory the gorge 
of the Sarca opened in front, and the road to Stenico, 
leaving the stream to fall into it, wound at a level round 
the face of perpendicular cliffs. Tione and its village- 
dotted valley were seen for a few moments before our 
backs were turned to them, and we fairly entered the 
gorge of the Sarca. The high-road and river thread side 
by side the intricacies of the great cleft ; our way lay 
along a shelf blasted out of the cliffs a thousand feet 
above them. The rays of a midday sun streamed full 
upon us from an unclouded heaven, and every rock 
reflected back the glow of light and heat. Notwith- 
standing, we walked briskly on, for the castle of Stenico 
was ftdl in view and scarcely a mile distant. Before 
reaching it we had to make the circuit of a gorge. 
From the hot golden rocks overhead a great fountain 
burst forth and poured down in a cool cascade, the 
waters of which were soon captured in channels and 
spread amongst terraced orchards and fig gardens, 

M 2 


green— not, as we know greenness— but with the vivid 
colonr of Bronssa or Damascus. Under the shade of 
the picturesque old covered bridge which crosses the 
stream, we halted for a few minutes to admire a view 
almost unique in my Alpine experience. Close beside 
us stood the castle of Stenico, perched high on a crag, 
commanding on one side the entrance to the gorge, 
overlooking on the other a wide sunny basin, girt by 
verdant ridges compared to which the shores of Como 
are bare and brown. The hollows and lower slopes 
sparkle with villages, and teem with Indian com and 
trailing vines. The hills do not, as in the Northern 
Alps, rise in continuous ridges, but are broken up into 
masses of the most romanticallv beautiful forms. Such 
may have been the scenery of the lairest portions of 
Asia Minor before the Mahometan conquest brought 
desolation upon the land. 

A steep car-road connects Stenico with the high- 
road to Trent and Biva. At Alle Sarche we left the Sarca 
and our old tracks, and turned sharply to the north. 
The little pool of Lago Toblino is rendered picturesque 
by its castle, an old fortified dwelling standing on a 
peninsula, and defended landwards by crenellated bat- 
tlements. Beyond the lake a long ascent leads first 
through luxuriant orchards to Pademione, then through 
tame scenery to Yezzano, a large country town lying in 
an upland plain. Another climb brought us to a higher 
basin, still rich in vines and fig-trees. At its further end 
we plunged into a ravine. An Austrian fort crowned 
the hill above us, another was built in the bottom, right 
across road and stream, a scowling black and yellow- 
striped dragon of the defile. Rattling over its draw- 

TRENT. 181 

bridges, we followed the water for some distance throngh 
a narrow clefk, until suddenly the wide valley of the 
Adige broke on our eyes, backed by rich mountain- 
slopes. In the centre of the landscape rose the many 
towers of Trent, a dark ancient city surrounded by a 
ring of bright modern villas scattered on the neigh- 
bouring hills. 




All the pMkB soar, bat one the rest excels ; 
CloadB oTercome it.~B. BsoinnNO, 




The races of English and German mountaineers, after 
making dne allowance for the exceptions which there 
are to every rule, will be found respectively to embody 
many of the characteristics of the two nations. Our 
Alpine Clubman affords while in the Alps an example 
of almost perpetual motion. His motto is taken from 
Clough — 

Each day has got its sight to see. 
Each day must put to profit be. 

Provided with a congenial friend, and secure in the 
company of ^t least one first-rate guide possessed of the 
skill and knowledge necessary to encounter every ob- 
stacle of the snowy Alps, the English mountaineer runs 
a tilt at half the mountain-tops which lie in his erratic 
course, meeting on the whole with wonderfully few &lls 
or failures on the way. He dashes from peak to peak, 
from group to group, even from one end of the Alps to 


the other, in the course of a short summer holiday. 
Exercise in the best of air, a dash of adventure, and a 
love of nature, not felt the less because it is not always 
on his tongue, are his chief motives. A little botany, 
g^ol^gy? or chartography, may come into his plans, but 
only by the way and in a secondary place. He is out 
on a holiday and in a holiday humour. You must not 
be surprised, therefore, if the instruments with which 
one of the party has burdened himself give rise to more 
bad jokes than valuable observations. For the climbers 
are in capital training, and can afford to laugh uphill — 
a power which is freely used, even at moments when 
the peasant who carries the provision sack is appealing 
audibly to his saints. 

On their return home it is with some secret pleasure, 
though much grumbling, that the leader of the party 
hurries off in the intervals of other business a ten-page 
paper for the * Alpine Journal '--an account probably 
of the most adventurous of a dozen ' grandes courses,' 
foil of misspellings of local names, and of the patois he 
talks to his guides, and, as his Teutonic rival would add, 
* utterly devoid of serious aim or importance.' 

Far different is the scheme and mode of operation 
of the German mountaineer. To him his summer 
journey is no holiday, but part of the business of life. 
He either deliberately selects his ' Ezcursions-gebiet' 
in the early spring with a view to do some good work 
in geology or mapping, or more probably has it selected 
for him by a committee of his club. About August you 
will find him seriously at work. While on the march 
he shows in many little ways his sense of the importance 
of his task. His coat is decorated with a ribbon bear- 
ing on it the badge or decoration of his club. He 


carries in bis pockets a notebook, ruled in columns, for 
observations of every conceivable kind, and a supply 
of printed cards ready to deposit on the heights he 
aims at. His orbit, however, is a limited one, and he 
continues to revolve like a satellite, throwing consideiv 
able light on the mass to which he is attached, round 
the Orteler or Marmolata ; while his English rival dashes 
comet- wise, doing little that is immediately useful, from 
Grindelwald, the sun and centre of the Alpine system, 
to tne Uranian distances of the Terglou. His velocity 
also is relatively small; 'a Grerman,' as Hawthorne 
somewhere sajs, ' requires to refresh nature ten times 
to any other person's once,' and to accommodate this 
sluggishness he requires to pass the night on the highest 
and most uncomfortable spot possible. Yet having 
slept or frozen — as you may prefer to call it — scarcely 
3,000 feet below his peak, he manages somehow to get 
benighted before reaching the village on its further side. 
It must in fairness be admitted that this slow rate of 
motion is often, partially at least, owing to his depend- 
ence on the local chamois-hunter. On rocks this 
worthy may be, and sometimes is, all that fancy paints 
him ; but on snow or ice the terror inherited from un- 
roped generations possesses him. At the first ice-rift 
an inch wide, or at a gentle snow-slope of forty-five, 
he shies obstinately. The foreign mountaineer deserves 
well of afber-comers for the pains with which at his 
own expense he trains this raw material, and thus 
founds in every valley a school of native guides. But 
those who carry about one Aimer as an apostle, and 
associate with him the best local talent, do probably 
greater good at a less sacrifice to themselves. The 
party who bring with them a whole train from Zermatt 


or Grindelwald are of course ^vhollj selfish, and can lay 
no claim to have assisted in the progress of Alpine 

But it is not until our ^klubist' comes home after 
having spent a third summer in one valley that we 
realise the full seriousness of his pursuit. No ridiculous 
mouse of a flippant article is born of his mountains. 
We have first a solid monograph, properly divided 
into heads, ' orographical, geological, botanical, and 
touristical,' and published in the leading geographical 
magazine of Germany. This is soon followed by a thick 
volume, printed in luxurious type, and adorned with 
highly coloured illustrations and a prodigious map, 
most valuable doubtless, but, alas I to weak English 
appetites somewhat indigestible. 

The foregoing reflections will appear fully justified 
after any researches into the literature of the Tyrolese 
Alps in general. But with regard to the Lombard Alps 
in particular they may seem unfounded. The papers 
of Lieutenant Payer, their principal German-vndting 
explorer, are as terse as they are full of matter, and 
several pleasant articles have appeared in the ^ Jahr- 
biicher' of the foreign Alpine Clubs on a region which 
has been strangely neglected by our own countrymen. 

The exertions of our German fellow-climbers can, 
however, scarcely justify the annexation of the district 
calmly carried out by one of their writers. *In all our 
German Alps,* says a learned doctor, * there is hardly a 
more forsaken or unknown corner than the Adamello.' 
' In unseren Deutschen Alpen ! ' There is not in the 
whole Alps a region which is more thoroughly Italian 
than the mountain-mass of which the Presanella is the 
highest, the Adamello the most famous, summit. But 


it is only fair to the doctor to state Iiis excuse, for the 
better half of the group lies in Austria, and in 1 864 
Austria had not yet been pushed out of Germany. The 
mountains of the Trentino may be still, politically 
speaking, Austro-Italian Alps ; in every other respect 
they belong entirely to the southern peninsula. 

What was written of their deserted condition in 
1864 remains true, however, ten years later, at least as 
far as the mass of English and German travellers is 
concerned. The splendid gorges which give access 
from Lago di Garda and Trent to Yal Bendena, the 
roads of the Tonale and the Aprica, are undisturbed by 
the *voiturier;' the snow-fields of the Adamello are 
trampled but once a season by the mountaineer.^ 

To most English frequenters of the Swiss Alps the 
Lombard snow^peaks are known but as spots on the 
horizon of the extended view of some mountain^top. It 
was thus that I first made acquaintance vnth them. 

The full midday glow of a July sun was falling from 
the dark vapourless vault overhead on to the topmost 
crags of Monte Bosa. A delicate breeze, or rather air* 
ripple, lapping softly round the mountain-crest, scarcely 
tempered the scorching force with which the rays fell 
through the thin atmosphere. Bound us on three sides 
the thousand-crested Alps swept in a vast semicircle of 
snow and ice, clustering in bright companies or rang- 

* A change seems, however, imminent. In 1873 some of the leading 
inhabitants of Trent and Arco formed themselves into an Alpine Society. 
Its object is at once to excite in the youth of the Trentino the taste for 
healthful exercise, and to increase the material prosperity of the mountain 
▼alleys by drawing to them some of the abundance of foreign gold which 
flows 60 freely into Eastern Switzerland. One of the first consequences of 
this step has been the establishment of Alpine Inns at Campiglio and San 
Martino di Castrozza. 


ing their snowy heads in sun-tipped lines against the 
horizon. But we turned our faces mostly to the south, 
where, beyond the foreshortened foot-hills, and as it 
seemed at little more than a stone's-throw distance, lay 
the broad plains of Piedmont and Lombardy. Through 
a Goan drapery of thin golden haze the great rivers 
could be seen coursing like veins over the bosom of fair 
Italy, open to where it was clasped round by the girdle 
of the far-off Apennine. 

As from our tower we watched the lower world, a 
small cumulus cloud here and there grew into being, 
some 7,000 feet beneath us, and cast a blue shadow on 
the distant plain. These cloud-ships would from time 
to time join company, and, under the favouring influ- 
ence of some local breeze, set sail for the distant Alps. 
A few stranded on the lower slopes of Yal Sesia, others 
floated as in a landlocked bay above the deep basin of 
Macugnaga. A whole fleet sailed away, across the 
lakes, beyond the village-sprinkled slopes of Val Vi- 
gezzo and the crest of Monte Generoso, to find a port 
in the recesses of a distant range, the flrst in the east 
where * Alp met heaven in snow.' 

Where and what, we asked, are these ' silver spear- 
heads ? ' The answer given has both before and since 
satisfled and deluded many enquirers — ^the Orteler 
Spitze. But to have named these peaks might, in 1864, 
have puzzled a better geographer than a Zermatt guide. 

Mountains are not born with names ; most of them 
live for ages without them. It is at last often a mere 
matter of chance and the caprice of an engineer, to 
what syllables, soft or hideous, they are finally linked. 
The herdsmen who feed their flocks on the highest 
pasturages are the authorities to whom the officer in 


charge of the Ordnance snrvej most frequently appeals. 
These worthy peasants seldom speak anything but a 
patois scarcely intelligible to their educated fellow- 
countrymen. Very often, as in the Italian provinces 
of Austria, they are of a totally different race and 
speech to their questioners, and confusion of tongues 
and national antipathy are joined to the fixed notion 
of every peasant, that all enquiries are connected with 
taxes, as obstacles to any clear understanding between 
the parties. 

Moreover, the herdsmen have often never thought 
before of what lies beyond their utmost goat-track. 
Sometimes driven to despair by cross-questions, they 
invent, on the spur of the moment, a name drawn from 
the most obvious characteristic of the peak ; hence 
the crowd and confusion of Como Eossos and Como 
Neros, of Weisshomer and Schwarzhorner. Or they say 
nothing at all, and leave the map-maker to exercise his 
own ingenuity. 

Again, every mountain has at least two sides, and 
it is open to the arbitrary discretion of the engineers 
to prefer the name given on one or the other, which 
is seldom, if ever, found to be the same. 

Until quite recently the two highest peaks of the 
Lombard Alps were unnamed, and their names are 
still unknown to many of the people who live beneath 
them. Two parish priests of Val Gamonica, from which 
the crest of the Adamello is seen for miles closing the 
distance, had in 1865 never heard of such a mountain. 
All that they knew was that there was a ' vedretta * 
somewhere above the summer alps. To them it was 
quite as remote and inaccessible as any other white 
cloud, and they had never thought of naming, &r less 


of approaching, it. The word * Adamello ' is doubtless 
a creation of the Ordnance survey, derived from Val 
d'Adame, one of the glens which penetrate nearest to 
the base of the mountain. The people of Yal di Sole 
called the whole mass of snow and ice — ^the unattainable 
ground — on their south, * Vedretta Presanella.' Stran- 
gers are now teaching them to confine the title to the 
highest peak, and foreign custom is leading to the 
gradual disuse of the name Gima di Nardis, bj which 
the peak was alone known a few years ago in Yal Ben- 
dena. The kingship of the Lombard Alps was in 1864 
still unconferred between these two rival claimants, the 
Adamello and Presanella. 

On August 23, four weeks after our day on Monte 
Bosa, we left the Baths of Santa Catarina for the Gktvia 
Pass. The unsettled weather coupled with the reaction 
after an ascent of the Konigsspitze, stolen in a gleam of 
sunshine on the previous day, would probably in any case 
have made us ready to take this easy road in place of 
trying our fortunes over one of the snowy gaps behind 
the Tresero. But we had a better reason for our want 
of venturesomeness. It was necessary for us to ascer- 
tain the exact position and means of approach to our 
mountain. For this purpose our maps helped us little, 
if at all. We had in fact nothing to trust to but the 
little sheet in the ' Alpine Guide,' compiled on inaccurate 
authorities, and hiding ignorance under a specious, but 
to travellers very inconvenient, vagueness. 

We knew, it is true, that the Presanella lay on the 
ridge south of the Tonale Pass, the carriage-road 
crossing the deep gap which severs the Orteler and 
Adamello Alps. But whether the path to it opened 
from the top of that pass or from some point in the 


upper Val di Sole we had no means to decide. To cross 
the Tonale with our eyes open seemed, therefore, the 
only pradent coarse. 

The Garia ia but a gloomy portal to the beauties of 
Santa Catarina, The summit is a wild desolate plain, 
not cheerful eren in fine weather, and deadly enough 
in winter snowatonns. Three rude crosses under a 
rock mark the spot where as many peasants overtaken 
by storm sought shelter in vain, and where their bodies 
were found and buried. Further on the path becomes 
a street of tombs — a * Via Appia ' of the mountains. 
Cross succeeds cross, each carved with rude initials snd 
date, varied here and there by a stone pyramid, in the 
recesses of which, in the place of the usual picture of a 
virgin or saint, you find a sknll and a collection of 
bones, open to the air and bleached by long exposure. 
For riders t^is is the only escape south-eastwards &om 
Santa Catarina ; but moderate walkers — ladies even, 
who do not mind snow — may iind a better and brighter 
path by turning away to the left over the broad shoulders 
of the Pizzo della Mare, and descending through Yal 
del Monte, and past the dirty bath-houses of Pejo to 
the upper Val di Sole.' 

Ponte di Legno is e. shabby village, and in 1864 its 
inn was in character. Since tben, however, there has 
been an improvement, and a very fair country inn now 
offers a convenient starting-point for travellere 
wish to cross the I'iwLjiiiia Phb3, the easiest of th« 
leading to the head nf Val di Genova and Pin: 
During our meal~-a bannuft of liot water flav 
pepper, followed by pudilfn ven!, — we were df 
the entrance of a vtiiLTiiblu personage 

' 3ee Appendix C for Wo r^uWn frura Sunu Cutr 




anxious to render us assistance. As he spoke a patois 
Italian, and was as deaf as he was talkative, his atten- 
tions soon became embarrassing. Having listened to a 
long harangue on the excellence of the road and the 
inns between us and Trent, we ventured mildly to hint 
a dislike for roads and to enquire with solicitude about 
the Fresanella. But our protest and enquiries were put 
aside with equal indifference. Even on the only topic 
of immediate interest to us, what sort of a place was 
the inn near the top of the Tonale, we could get no 
certain information. If age despised the ' innovating 
spirit of youth, youth, I am a&aid, grew impatient of 
the resolve * stare super antiquas vias ' of age. When 
we found that we might as well enquire about the moun- 
tains of the moon as the Presanella, we also became 
deaf, and turned to our veal with such affectation of 
enthusiasm as that immature viand can command. 

Soon after leaving Ponte di Legno the road, a rough 
cart-track, climbs a wooded hillside by the steepest 
possible zigzags. The air was hot and steamy, and 
dark clouds were creeping up Yal Camonica. The mists 
soon enveloped us, all further view was lost, and the 
rain began to pour as it only can pour among the moun- 
tains. Thunder boomed away behind us like heavy 
artillery, each report followed by a sharp fire of musketry, 
as the echoes ran along the crags. 

The top of the pass is a wide tract of pasture, in the 
absence of distant view more Scotch than Alpine. At 
last the road, which, to avoid a swamp, rises higher 
than the actual gap, began to descend, and tall black 
and yellow posts, crowned by two-headed eagles, an- 
nounced the Austrian frontier. The country road of 
the Italian side suddenly came to an end, and a mili- 



tsLTj highway, marked bj a long line of granite corb- 
stonos, wound down before us. A deep hollow, the 
head of Val Vermiglio, presently opened at our feet, and 
the road, swerving to the left, approached the Tonale 
Hospice, a massive, modern, whitewashed house. Un- 
fortunately for our comfort it was crowded with la- 
bourers, employed on the new fort which the Austrians 
were then erecting to protect themselves against their 

The kitchen fire lighted up a picturesque scene. Over 
the flames hung a huge caldron of polenta, into which 
two dark-haired girls dashed from time to time some 
new ingredient, while a hungry crowd of men, young 
and old, sat round, watching eagerly the progress of 
their supper. Iloom was made for us in the chimney- 
seats, where we steamed in our damp clothes until the 
crowd had been fed, and some one could find time to 
give us our meal of potatoes and butter. By the time 
this was over it was already late, and we were ready 
to distribute ourselves between the two spare beds 
which the house afforded, while Fran9ois went off 
to join the workmen in the bam. The inmates 
retired into an inner room, and all was still by nine 
o'clock, save for the ceaseless patter of the rain. 
Before five next morning the women came out of their 
chamber, and from that time there was a constant 
flow of company backwards and forwards through our 
room. Seizing on propitious intervals, we dressed in 
spasms, and, seeing the weather still hopeless, made up 
our minds to set out at once for the nearest village in 
Val di Sole, where we might hope to obtain better fare 
and possibly some further information ; for at the Hos- 
pice our endeavours to learn anything of the Presanella 


had again been fruitless. No one liad ever heard of 
such a mountain. One fact alone was ascertained before 
leaving. The stream which waters Yal di Sole ha» its 
highest source in a wild glen at the back of Monte 
PiscannOy named in the Lombard map Yal Presena. 
This I had believed would lead us up to the PresaneUa, 
but through the glimpses of the storm no conspicuous 
snow-peak appeared in that direction, and it was plain 
we must look further for our mysterious mountain. 

On a projecting knoll, about half way to VernrigMo,' 
stands an Austrian blockhouse, mounting seven- guns. 
It is commanded by many neighbouring heights, but 
would be of use against a Garibaldian inroad. As we 
passed it a momentary break revealed a lofky snow-peak 
at the head of a glen opening immediately opposite. 

There at last was the Presanella. A fir-forest 
clothed the lower slopes; higher up a large glacier 
spread out its icy skirts. The vision, though sufficient 
for our purpose, lasted only a few moments. In clear 
weather the view from this spot must be one of the 
most picturesque glimpses of a great snow-peak any- 
where to be seen from a carriage-pass. Clinging still 
to the northern slopes of the valley, the road presently 
entered Pizzano. The first house was the Austrian 
douane ; the second, the inn. We of course gave up 
our passports, but Fran9ois, being unprovided, handed 
the officers his *livre des voyageurs,* containing his 
certificate as guide.^ The Austrian, with much show 

> Yermiglio, like Primiero, is the name of a group of villageB, of which 
the highest is Pizsano. 

* This refers to eleven years ago. Proofs of nationality are no longer 
asked for anywLere in the Alps unless, perhaps, in Franoei where even a Re- 
publican Qovemment finds itself forced to gratify the peculiar passion of 
the nation for restrictions on liberty of trayel by retaining passports for 



of sternness, pushed it away contemptuously, and deli- 
vered himself in this wise : — * You have no passport. 
You must go back to your country. At any rate you 
• can enter no further into the Imperial and Boyal 
dominions/ Here was a serious crisis. We felt our 
only chance was to temporise, *Very well,* we re- 
plied, ^ if you must refuse our servant permission to 
enter Austria, at least there can be no objection to his 
getting something to eat next door before he returns.* 
This concession the officers did not deny ; and entering 
the inn we ordered breakfast, and prepared to wait for 
better weather. A scout was posted outside by the 
douaniers to prevent Franfois from giving them the slip. 
In the meantime we of course again enquired after the 
Presanella, and, almost to our surprise, everyone in 
Pizzano was acquainted with the name. ^ Oh, yes ! ' 
said our host, ' a German Herr Professor from Vienna 
tried the mountain a year or two ago, and found it 
quite impracticable. The final peak is like the stove in 
"ttLis room, and all ice.' ^ Well,' said I, ^ but the stove 
is easy,' and climbed to the top. Staggered by this 
argument, he offered to bring the man who had accom- 
panied the Viennese Professor in his attempt. In due 
time a native made his appearance, who satisfied us 
that he really knew where the mountain was, and could 
lead us to its foot ; which was all we wanted. 

The name of our predecessor was at the time un- 
known to us, but I learnt afterwards^ that he was Dr, 

Frenchmen only. So long as this disiinction ia maintained, members of 
other nations are liable to be occasionally required to proTe their dis- 
qualification for the privilege of carrying about one of the minute descrip- 
tions of their own persons, which seem to gire our neighbours so much 

' From an article, Vie grosteren Erpeditumen in den Oeeterreichitehen 


yon Buthner, then the Yice-President of the Austrian 
Alpine Club. From the account given of his attempt 
it is clear that he followed the same roate as ourselves ; 
our Italian in fact led us in his footsteps, up to the 
saddle at the north-west base of the mountain. His 
failure to get further was entirely owing to his guides, 
who, unused to such expeditions, and appalled bj the 
sight of a broken and somewhat steep snow-slope, re- 
fused to proceed. The Italian, as our experience proved, 
was a poor creature, his second guide, Kuenz, though, 
as we are told, renowned as a keen chamois and bear- 
hunter, declared to Dr. von Buthner ' that he had once 
in his youth descended amongst the wild chasms of the 
glacier which pours steeply over into Val Cercen, and 
that he would never do it again.' This descent we sub- 
sequently found an admirable spot for a glissade ! 

Watching from our window the rain, which after a 
deceitful lull now fell again in torrents, we saw the 
scout, who was still on duty, in deep converse with a 
friend. In a few minutes the friend sauntered casually 
into our room, and enquired our plans with an air of 
indifference. I assured him that our intention was to 
climb the Presanella, without thinking it necessary to 
add — and find a way down the other side of it. His 
object thus satisfactorily attained, the man soon left us, 
and no doubt imparted the valuable information to his 
brother officials, for their demeanour suddenly changed, 
and one of them told us that they should not object to 
our guide's accompanying us to the Presanella. We 
of course expressed ourselves duly thankful for their 

Alpm^ aus dem Jahre 1864, Ton Dr. Anton yon Rathnor, published ia 
Petermann'a MittheUungen for 1865. 

O 2 


small mercies, and in fact felt mncli relieved at this 
happj issue of a dilemma which might easily have 
become serioos. Soon after three o'clock the clonds 
grew gradually lighter, the sun straggled through, and 
patches of blue broke the leaden monotony of the sky. 
No more watery storms swept down from the Tonale, 
but a steady northern breeze carried away the vapours, 
except one or two unfortunates which had sunk so 
deep into the valley that they could not find the way . 
out again. We hurried our dinner, gfot together our 
provisions, and sent the porter to look for a rope — a 
necessary which we were too young in Alpine travel to 
have brought with us frt>m England, according to the 
custom of experienced mountaineers. Yermiglio did 
not possess a cord more than thirty feet long ; but after 
a good deal of delay some leather thongs were procured, 
and about 5 p.m. we finally got o£r, leaving the 
douaniers to look out at their leisure for our expected 

Instead of remounting the Tonale road we kept by 
the side of the river for half-an-hour, until it was joined 
by the torrent from the lateral glen which we had 
passed in the morning. A well-made path led up a 
steep hillside covered with bilberries and Alpine straw- 
berries, and turned some precipitous rocks by pic- 
turesque wooden galleries. 

After passing a group of charcoal-burners' huts the 
ascent ceased, and winding round a wooded brow we 
entered a secluded basin shut in by steep ridges, where 
the stream rested for a while in its troubled course 
before plunging into the valley. Tar above gleamed 
the object of our expedition — the long-talked-of, and at 
last almost-despaired-of Fresanella, no longer shrouded 


in mist, but sharp cut against the darkening sky. It 
presented an apparently level wall, tnrreted at either 
end ; the western tower was of mgged rock, the eastern 
more massiye and snow-clad, rising in the centre to a 
sharp shining point, evidently the tme ^ cima' of the 

A flock of Bergamasque sheep were huddled together 
in our way ; disregarding the protests of the shaggy 
sheep-dog we forced a passage through them, and 
reached the hut — a rough shelter, half open on one 
side to the sky. 

Pushing back the rude door, we entered a small 
cabin, looking at first sight like a butcher's shop, for 
several carcases of departed sheep were hung up to 
smoke over the smouldering fire. Its occupants were 
three shepherds, who received ns most hospitably, 
packed away the drying meat, and made room by the 
fireside. Presently one of them went out with the dog. 
On enquiring where the man was going so late, we 
were told that they were obliged to patrol by turns at 
night to keep off the bears ; several were known to be 
prowling about the mountains, and one had been seen 
only the previous day. Our hosts took needless pains 
to assure us that the animals would not enter the chdJet, 
and that there was no occasion for alarm at their 

As fresh logs were piled on, and the blaze rose 
higher, a homed monster with a pair of gleaming eyes 
was seen gazing at us from the upper gloom. It was 
only a patriarchal goat, stabled in a lofb opening on one 
side into the ch&let. Two of us spent the night in a 
bed of hay, built up on pine-logs ; the third lay down 
with the shepherds among the skins and logs by the 


fireside. Fraii9oi8 scrambled into the loft, where he 
was welcomed bjr the old goat, which settled itself be- 
side him. Later in the night the rest of the flock 
became boisterous, quarrelled with the biped intruder, 
and expelled him from their abode. 

At 8 A.M. the waning moon was still bright enough 
to guide our steps along the zigzags of a well-marked 
track leading to the rocky waste, furrowed and polished 
by glacier action, which lies above the head of the glen. 
Our porter was very anxious to take us round by the 
spur on our right dividing Val Presanella and Val 
Presena, but we preferred a much more direct course 
over the ice. Although the valley at our feet was 
already bathed in golden light, the early rays still lefb 
cold the snows we were about to enter. The rain of 
the previous day had frozen over the glacier in a slip- 
pery crust, and made every slope into a sort of * Mon- 
tague Busse.' We crept catwise as best we could along 
cracks, cutting steps when these failed us, until the 
more level and upper snows were safely if not quickly 

We were now at the very foot of the Presanella, and 
coald judge of the nature of the work immediately 
before us. Prom the western extremity of the wall 
which we had seen from below, a ridge receded from us 
ending towards Val di Genova in a snow-dome. This 
secondary peak (Monte Gabbiol) with the rock turret at 
the angle (the Piccola Presanella) and the sharp east- 
em crest, probably make up the three summits to which 
the mass owes a local name, ^ H Triplice.' The only 
route open to us seemed to be to cross the lowest point 
in the ridge between the Monte Gabbiol and the Piccola 
Presanella, and then gain the eastern or highest peak by 


the back of the snow-wall. Dr. von Buthner'a Italian 
scoated the idea. ' Then/ said Fran9ois, ' we must cut 
steps up the face of the wall.' This proposal struck 
our native with horror, and he protested against it as 
* Molto molto impossibile ! ' His idea of the impos* 
sible was evidently somewhat vague, and not founded 
on experience. We stuck therefore to our first plan, and, 
walking briskly up the glacier, reached in half-an-hoor 
a gap at its head overlooking the ice-fields which en- 
close Val di Genova. At this point the real attack on 
the mountain began. Hitherto we had only been 
making for a pass. 

The ascent now led us over steep slopes of snow, 
broken by great rifts and icicle-fringed vaults, none of 
which, however, were continuous enough to cause any 
difiiculty. Often a few steps had to be cut, but the 
delay was pleasantly spent in studying the glorious view 
already spread out behind us. In the foreground lay 
the unknown glacier-fields of the Adamello ; the Orteler 
and Bemina ranges rose in the middle distance ; on the 
horizon glowed Monte Bosa and the Saasgrat. Even 
these were not the furthest objects in view, for I dis- 
tinctly recognised the Graian peaks melting into the 
safiron sky. 

The deep moat crossed, a dozen steps had to be cut 
up an ice-bank ; then, after climbing over an awkward 
boulder, we reached the ridge. Great was the anxiety 
as to what would be seen on the other side, for on the 
steepness of the back of the wall between us and the 
final peak our success hung. Great in proportion was 
the satisfaction of those below, when, as his head rose 
above the rocks, Fran9ois shouted, 'Bien; tout est 
facile ! ' 



The semicircle enclosed between the three sum- 
mits of the Presanella was filled by the snow-fields 
of an extensive glacier which flowed away to the 
south-east. The snow rose nearly to the level of the 
lowest point of the crest connecting the Ficcola Pre- 
sanella and the highest peak. We qnickly passed 
under the former, and found ourselves standing on the 
summit of the wall we had gazed up at the previous 

We now looked down upon the shepherds' hut and 
the Tonale road, where the Austrian blockhouse and its 
constructors seen through the glasses appeared like a 
diminutive beehive. A coping of fresh snow overhung 
the edge of the wall ; this we dislodged with our alpen- 
stocks, sending it whirling down 1,000 feet upon the 
glacier beneath. 

Our hopes of immediate success now met with one 
of those checks, so frequent in the Alps, which test 
piost severely the moral endurance needed^ much more 
than physical strength, in a good mountaineer. The 
crest suddenly turned into hard ice ; each step had to 
be wou patiently by the axe. Careless or inefficient 
work might have led to an awkward tumble; an at- 
tempt such as a tyro would probably have made to 
make use of the snow coping would have inevitably 
resulted in sudden disaster. In such positions ama- 
teurs without guides most ofben fiiil. It is rare to find 
a party of whom some member will not utter an impa- 
tient exclamation, or suggest some tempting, but un- 
wise, expedient to gain time ; it is rarer still to find a 
leader who will act as a good guide invariably does — 
refuse to pay the slightest heed to such murmurs in 
his rear. Yet if he listens to them he will learn sooner 


or later the truth of a line which oaght to be embla- 
zoned as a text over every A. C.'s mantelpiece, ^ Hasty 
climbers oft do fall.' 

We advanced but slowly along our laboured way. 
Once the porter was sent to the front, but after cutting 
some half-dozen steps he retired again of his own 
accord to the rear, informing us, in passing, that ^ he 
could do no more.' He accordingly reserved all his 
strength for frequent ejaculations respecting the im- 
possibility of attaining the top under at least eight 
hours I . Franfois had all the work to do, and for the 
next two hours and a half he did it manfolly. Hack ! 
hack ! went the axe, till a step was hewn out ; then 
with a final flourish the loose ice was cleared o£F, and 
the process began again. At last the wearisome task 
was done, and we all stepped gladly on to a little snow- 
platform, about half of which was occupied by a huge 
cup-shaped crevasse. The final peak alone now re- 
mained to be conquered. ' Encore dix pas seulement,' 
said Fran9ois, and he hacked away as if it was his first 
step. We cut across a steep ice-slope, and in five mi- 
nutes stood upon some broken rocks which ran up the 
southern face of the mountain. Here we had to wriggle 
across an awkward boulder ; and our porter, who had 
insisted on throwing off the rope, was fain to be re- 
attached. By a vigorous haul we cut short his hesita- 
tion and drew him halfway over, but there he stuck 
clinging on to the rock with all his limbs spread out in 
different directions, like a distressed starfish. At last 
some one went |}ack and stretched out a helping hand ; 
then, aggravated by the delay, we made a rush at the 
last rocks, and in a few moments were treading down 
the virgin snows at which we had so long and wistfully 


looked up. The actual top was a snow-crest lying as a 
cap on the brow of the cliflF which faces Val di Sole, 
The ascent from the hut had taken us eight hours — a 
long time for a mountain of only 11,688 feet. 

As soon as the first excitement of victory was over 
we began to look with interest at the new mountain 
region spread at our feet. The central mass of the 
Adamello was for the first time before me in such near- 
ness and completeness as to allow of a ready insight 
into, and understanding of, its character. It is a huge 
block, large enough to supply materials for half-a-dozen 
fine mountains. But it is in fact only one. For a 
length and breadth of many miles the ground never 
falls below 9,500 feet. The vast central snow- field feeds 
glaciers pouring to every point of the compass. The 
highest peaks, such as the Car^ Alto and Adamello, are 
merely slight elevations of the rim of this uplifted 
plain. Seen from within they are mere hummocks ; 
from without they are very noble mountains falling in 
great precipices towards the wild glacier-closed glens 
which run up to their feet. 

Imagine an enormous white cloth unevenly laid 
upon a table, and its shining skirts hanging over here 
and there between the dark massive supports. The 
reader, if he will excuse so humble a comparison, may 
thereby form a better idea of the general aspect of the 
snow-plains, the rocky buttresses, and overhanging 
glaciers of the Adamello as they now met our view. 

It was clear that the descent of the Nardis Glacier, 
leading in a direct line to Pinzolo, was perfectly easy, 
and we half regretted having left our goods on the pass. 

Returning a few paces to the highest rocks we 
spent an hour of pleasant idleness, only broken by 


the duty of building a cairn in wliicli to ensconce a 
gigantic water-bottle charged with our cards. About 
three weeks later our representative received a visitor. 
Lieut. Julius Payer,^ an Austrian officer whose name 
has since become £a.miliar to the English public as the 
leader of a North Pole expedition, had, unknown to us, 
been spending the summer in exploring the peaks round 
Val di Genova. The Presanella, owing partly to the 
difficulties he found with his native guides, was left to 
the last, and consequently, when its summit was at 
length reached, the astonished mountaineers were 
greeted, not by a maiden peak, but by a fine stoneman. 

The staircase which had taken three hours and a 
half to hew was readily run down in forty-five minutes. 
On the pass, hereafter to be known as the Fasso di 
Cercen, we dismissed our hunter, with materials for 
many a long story, and our kindest regards to the 

A steep, short glacier fell away from our feet into 
Val di Genova. The ice was at first much fissured, but 
by bearing towards the rocks on the right we found a 
slope clear from crevasses and favourable to a long 
glissade. Soon afterwards we left the glacier, and de- 
scended through a gully and over some rough ground 
till, reaching a lower range of cliffs, we bore well to the 
left, and discovered a faint track which led us down 
through underwood to the side of the stream and the 
first hut. From this point there is a noble view of the 
Adamello, with the Mandron and Lobbia glaciers' 

' Lieut. Payer's pamphlet Die Adamdlo-'PresaneUa Jlpen, Petennann*s 
MitthrilungtUt Ergansttngsheft, No. 17, Got ha, J. Perthes, 1866, is a very 
valuable contribution to the orography of the group he describes. 

' I follow Lieutenant Payer^s nomenclature, as it has been adopted in 


ohootixi^ oat their icT toogues ot^t the rocks at the 
head of the vallef. Hence we dropped down bj % good 
path into the bottom of Tal di Genov% which was 
reached in two hoon from the pads^ 

Althongh the description of Mr. Ball relieves me 
Arom the responsibility of standing ap^maor for this won- 
derfiil TaUer, I cannot pass over withoat a tribote 
the long, jet though now four times trodden, never 
wearisome twelve miles which separate the sources of 
the Sarca above the Bedole Alp from Pinsolo^ the first 
Tillage on its banks* 

The Yal di Genova leaves behind it an impression 
as vivid and lasting as anjr of the more £unous scenes 
of the Alps or the P]rrenees<. It is in one aspect a 
trench cut 8,000 feet deep between the opposite masses 
of the Adamello and Ptesanella. From another and 
perhaps troer point of view it is a winding staircase 
leading by a succession of abrupt flights and level land- 
ings from the low-lying Val Bendena to the crowning 
heights of the Adamello itself. In the valley there are 
four such flights or steps, locally called ^ scale/ each 
the cause of a noble waterfiUl ; the fifth step closes the 
valley proper, and the fall that pours over it is of ice, 
the flashing tongue of the great Msndron Glacier. The 
last step divides the glacier from the snow region, and 
is partiaUy smoothed out by the vast frozen masses which 
slide over it, as a rapid is concealed by a swollen flood. 
Besides the fidls of the Sarca in the bottom of the valley, 
the meltings of two great ice-fields have to find a way 
down its precipitous sides. 

Hence Nature has here a great opportunity for a 

the Alpine Clob nmp. Mr. Ball prefen the name of Bedole Glacier for 
the Mandron Ghuner, and of Matarotto Glacier for the Lobbia Glacier. 

r J 




display of waterfalls, a branch of landscape gardening 
in whicli as a rule she seems strangely chary of exerting 
her powers. The skill with which a large body of vmter 
manages to descend a mountain side at an extremely 
high angle without dashing itself anywhere to pieces is, 
I fancy, often extremely provoking to the tourist in 
search of a sensation. 

In the Adamello country, however, the greediest 
sightseer will be satisfied. Folr ' grandes eaux ' Yal di 
Geneva is the Versailles of North Italy. Besides three 
first-rate falls of the Sarca itself, there are two more of 
the torrents draining the glaciers of Nardis and Lares. 
But I am in danger of falling into a numerical, or 
auctioneer's catalogue, style of description, by which no 
justice can be done to the manifold charms of rock, wood, 
and water, which await the wanderer in this forgotten 
valley. We must return to the Bedole Alp and endea- 
vour to sketch some two or three of the splendid sur- 
prises of the path to Pinzolo. 

We entered the valley above its highest step on the 
level where the Sarca first gathers up its new-bom 
strength. A smooth meadow-foreground, alive with 
cattle, spread between low pine-clad knolls from under 
the shelter of which issued a thin column of smoke, 
showing the whereabouts of the chfilets. Close at hand 
two great glaciers poured their icy ruin into the pastoral 
scene, which was encompassed on all sides by bare or 
wooded cliffs, most savage in the direction of the river's 
course, where the vast outworks of the Presanella, keen 
granite ridges, saw the sky with their solid pinnacles. 

After a few hundred yards of level we came to the 
brink of what we could hardly tell. The grey water 
which had been flowing at our side dropped suddenly out 

906 VAL 1)1 QENOVA. 

of sight amidst a mighty roar. A slender and hazardous 
bridge of a single log crossed the stream on the brink 
of the precipice. 

From it,if your head is steady enough,you may watch 
the waters as they leap in solid sheets into the air and dis- 
appear amidst the foam-cloud, until a growing impulse 
to join in their mad motion warns you to regain the bank. 
It is as well to remain content with this impression. 
But those who wish to see more may easily push their 
way through a tangle of pine and thick undergrowth by 
tracks best known to the cattle who come here to bathe 
themselves in the cool spray. From below the fall is 
still noble, but it is no longer a mystery. The plunge 
into the infinite has become only the first step in life. 

A second plain is covered with lawn-like turf or 
bilberry-carpeted woodland ; here and there stand shep- 
herds' huts, locally known as ^ malghe,' built of ruddy 
unsmoothed fir-logs. Overhead tower the sheer but- 
tresses of the Fresanella, so lofty that it seemed incred- 
ible how a few hours ago we had been higher than the 
highest of these soaring cliffs. At the next ' scala ' the 
foot tra veUer should cross by a bridge to the right bank 
in order to pass in front of the second Sarca fall, where 
the river, caught midway by a bluff of rock, is shivered 
into a wide-spreading veil, in which the bright water- 
drops chase one another in recurrent waves over the 
bosses of the crag. 

The succeeding plain is shorter and more broken. 
At its lower end are some saw-mills and a group of 
huts, the summer residence of a worthy called Fantoma, 
once employed as a guide by Lieut. Payer, a great 
talker, and, by his own account, still greater Nimrod, 
having slain to his own gun seventeen bears and over 


three. hundred chamois. Here we .came on another fall 
of the Sarca, or rather a succession of leaps imbedded in 
a deep cleft crossed by bold bridges, and lit up by the 
scarlet berries of the mountain ash. High upon the 
right an unchanging cloud hangs on the mountain side 
where the Lares torrent hurries Sown to the valley. A 
cart-road made for the saw-mills now traverses a flat 
stony tract where the river for the first time breaks loose 
and devastates the meadows, and huge blocks, fallen 
from scars in the cliff-faces above, lie beside the track. 
Sheltered from the spray-shower between two of these 
we paused to admire the last great cascade, that of the 
Nardis, which comes shooting and shivering out of the 
sky down almost upon our heads in a double column. 
Seen once in June, when the snows were melting, it 
seemed to me the most beautiful of Alpine water- 

Some distance further, on the verge of the last de- 
scent into Val Bendena, we reached, as evening fell, the 
old church of Charlemagne, and looked down for the 
first time over the softer landscape and sylvan slopes 
of the lower valley. The fading light below brought 
out on the hillsides the delicate shades of green lost in 
the full blaze of the noonday sun, while high up in air 
the red cliffs of the Brenta, glowing with the last rays 
of sunset, seemed unearthly enough to form part of the 
poet's palace of Hyperion which, 

Bastioii'd with pyramids of glowing gold 
And touch'd with shade of bronzed obilisques, 
Glared a blood red through all its thousand courts, 
Arches and domes and fiery galleries. 




Cloae to the mm in lonely lands 

Ring'd with the aEure world he stands. — TmnfTSON. 


A YEAB after the ascent of the Fresanella I again found 
myself at the head of Val di Genova, one of a for- 
midable party of seven, including two Swiss guides 
and a Tyrolese porter. Gutmann was something of a 
character. A native of Berchtesgaden, in the Bavarian 
Tjrrol, he had been picked up there a year before by 
Mr. Tuckett, and carried on through the northern 
valleys of the Venetian Alps. He had then proved an 
amusing and good-tempered companion, and was in 
consequence engaged a second time to take the place 
of the chance peasant whom one picks up to carry a 
knapsack — an individual whose obstinate prejudice 
against ropes, and glaciers, and snow- work generally, 
is, or used to be, a source of difficulty in out-of-the-way 
parts of the Alps. 

Gutmann was a well-grown^ fine-looking young 
man of twenty-five, and became well his national 
costume, which he always wore. In his short coat and 


knee-breeches, with his half-bare legs and tall green hat 
and feather, he might have stepped at once on to any 
operatic stage. From his watch-chain hnng a bundle of 
silver-mounted charms; true hunter's trophies — ^teeth 
of chamois and marmot, and claws of the ' lammergeier.' 
He was a great dandy, and amongst the other unex- 
pected articles which tumbled out of the large blue bag 
slung across his back was a brush for his whiskers and 
a shaving-glass. Naturally the effect on his complexion 
of the first snow-day quite horrified our Adonis. On 
the next occasion he came down in the morning with 
his face completely plastered over with a mixture of soot 
and taUow, when his app^^arance, if no longer ' a thing 
of beauty,* became a * joy for ever ' to the guides, whose 
talent for small jokes found abundant scope for exercise 
at the porter's expense. 

But in the evening and after a good wash in a way- 
side fountain, Gutmann had his revenge. Then he 
was to be seen in the (}aststube, the centre of an 
admiring crowd, fresh and blooming enough to win the 
heart of the coyest Phillis — a kind of conquest on which 
I fear he set far greater store than on the victories over 
snowy maidens won during the day. The tales of his 
prowess which at such moments he was heard to recount 
gave us frequent amusement. For though below the 
snow-line an active walker, above it Gutmann became 
a changed man. Once on ice, the quips and cranks with 
which he usually overflowed gave place to the most 
dismal of groans. He walked daintily, like a cat afraid 
of wetting its feet, at slippery comers detained us twice 
as long as anybody else, and when the top was gained 
habitually lay down at once and fell asleep. 

At home our companion was by profession a poacheif 


— a precarious means of livelihood in a district where 
the mountains are strictly preserved for Bavarian royalty, 
and the keepers fire on any man seen carrying a gun. 
A month before he joined us his brother had had a 
piece of one of his calves shot away, and he had himself 
been slightly wounded on more than one occasion. 
During the past winter he had found for a few months 
a less hazardous employment in cutting wood near one 
of the Bavarian lakes, but had gone back in spring to 
the old and irresistible pursuit, from which he was only 
called away by our summons. He did not, however, 
return to it — at any rate for long; before the next 
summer he had emigrated to America, probably with 
the money gained in our service, a larger sum than he 
had ever before had at his disposal. 

The position of the Bedole Alp as it is seen in 
descending from the Presanella has been described in 
the last chapter. Beyond the final bend in Yal di 
Geneva lies a level plain enclosed by sheer granite 
cli£fs. I know few spots so completely secluded from 
the outer world. Dreaming away the afternoon hours 
on a pine-clad knoll among the outskirts of the Yenezia 
foi*est, which stretches^ for a mile to the foot of the 
great glaciers, a wanderer easily fancies himself in one 
of the lost valleys of legend where the people live in a 
bygone age, where pastoral life is a reality, and the 
nineteenth century a yet undreamt dream. 

The herdsmen were hospitably inclined, but the 
accommodation they had to offer was of the roughest. 
By means of a ladder we scaled our bedroom, a plat- 
form of hay BO narrow that the slightest roll would 

* I ought, perhnps, to say * stretched/ The axe has laid low much of 
it daring the past ten years. 


have ended in a tumble on to the heap of pails twelve 
feet below. The time has scarcely yet come for a small 
mountain-inn on this spot to be rendered profitable, but , 
it would be a step in the right direction and a great 
boon to travellers if the Trentine Alpine Club would 
incite or assist the herdsmen to build a * spare ' chdlet 
and furnish it with beds and cooking materials. Ro- 
mantic in its situation, the Bedole Alp is also the true 
centre of the district. From it active travellers might 
ascend in the day the Adamello, Fresanella, or Card 
Alto, or cross by glacier passes into Val di Fum or Val 
Saviore, to Edolo by the Val di Malga, to Ponte di 
Legno, or to the Val di Sole. 

A perfect morning relieved our spirits from the 
otherwise depressing influence of climbing a rough 
track in the dark. 

The head of Val di Genova is almost too perfect 
a 'cul de sac' for the mountaineer who wants to get 
higher. Some way up or by the side of the icefall of 
the Lobbia Glacier is yet to be found, but is probably 
possible. The upper regions of the Mandron Glacier, 
the Adamello, and all the passes to Val Camonica are, 
except in one place, completely cut off by the continuous 
cliffs which hem in the valley. 

To reach the upper pasturages and the hut of 
Mandron, sometimes very needlessly used as night- 
quarters by foreign climbers, it is necessary to turn 
northwards and hit on a rough track which finds a 
way up the crags near a slender waterfall. A herdsman 
with a lantern guided us up the steepest part of the 
ascent, and was then sent back, leaving us and our 
Swiss guides to find our own way, a task to which we 
were all pretty well accustomed* 

p 2 


We now turned again sharply southwards, making 
for the side of the Mandron Glacier. A considerable 
extent of ground had to be traversed, rough and boulder- 
strewn, jet bright with flowers. Amongst them was a 
profusion of ' Edelweiss,' a plant which may doubtless 
be found in dangerous positions, but is quite as often 
plucked where cows might crop it. But ground safe 
for cows is not always safe for amateur botanists in 
high-heeled and nailless boots. 

We climbed steadily the slopes of snow on the (true) 
left bank of the ice. From the top of the last we looked 
over a smooth expanse of gloriously bright snow-field, 
bounded on the west l^ a range of peaks, and on the 
east by a long white crest, terminating in the rock 
peak of La Lobbia, first ascended by Yon Sonklar. 
The Fresanella, on this side massive and less graceful 
than from the north, closed the backward view. The 
still frost-bound surface was crisp and crackling under 
our feet, and we made quick progress, passing the gap 
on our right through which eight years afterwards I 
crossed into Yal d'Avio. A shapely snow-peak at the 
head of the glacier was at first sight assumed to be our 
mountain, but a reference to the map saved us from re- 
peating Payer's mistake, and convinced us that this 
was the Como Bianco, and that the Adamello must be 
further round to the right. Accordingly after reaching 
the slightly higher plain whence the ice falls also into the 
upper branches of Yal Saviore, we rounded the snow- 
peak, and ascended slopes in its rear which brought us 
up to the highest reservoir of all, a snow-basin sloping 
downwards from the foot of a conical peak, a steeper but 
scarcely loftier Cima di Jazi, the Adamello itself. On 
gaining the ridge at its eastern base we looked down 


precipices on to the head of Yal d'Avio and its lake. 
The side of the peak above us was steep, but thanks to 
some rocks and the splendid condition of the snow it 
took but twenty minutes to gain the summit, a snow- 
crest some fifty yards long rising at either extremity, 
the north-eastern point being the highest. 

From its position as an outlier of the great chain, 
we had expected much from the Adamello, and now we 
were not disappointed. The morning had held good to 
its promise and brought forth one of those golden mid- 
summer days which, as some think, are best spent on 
the tops of mountains. 

Par away in the east we could trace the line of our 
wanderings from their very commencement. There 
were the dolomite peaks of Primiero, a little further the 
Marmolata, Pelmo, and the pyramidal Antelao; then 
the eye had only to leap the broad gap of the Pusterthal 
to run over the Tauern from the Ankogel (above 
Gastein) to the Brenner. The Glockner was as well 
defined as from Heiligen Blut, only that its snows were 
tinted an .exquisite rose colour, as if they had made 
prisoner of a sunset. The Orteler and Bernina, from 
which we were nearly equidistant, made a fine show of 
snow and ice ; still closer at hand we surveyed the great 
snow-fields of our own group, overlooked by our two 
rivals, the Fresanella and Car^ Alto. To the south lay 
a labyrinth of granite peaks and ridges, separating the 
many glens which ran up from Yal Camonica. This 
great valley was visible for miles, and the eye rested 
with pleasure on its fields of Indian com and chestnut 
woods, until led on by the white thread of road to 
the blue waters of Lago d'Iseo basking amidst bright 
green hills. When tired of this prospect we could take 


a bird's-eye view of the Val Tellina, a long deep trench 
of cultivation, heat, and fertility, closed at ita lower 
end by the mountains round the head of Lago di Como. 
These were crowned by a coronet of snowy peaks, which, 
so clear was the air, almost seemed part of them, but 
were in reality the Pennine giants encircling Zermatt. 
Most notable of all was the splendid pyramid of the 
Matterhom, seen in its sharpest aspect, towering im- 
mediately over the Weissthor. In another directionr 
far away across the shoulders of lower hills the wide 
waters of Lago di Garda glowed like burnished metal 
beneath the cloudless sunshine, while further still the 
mounds of Solferino were faintly seen through a haze 
of heat. 

The view was perhaps the most beautiful, though 
not the most extensive,' I have seen from a snowy Alp, 
and the pleasure of it even in memory must be my 
excuse for having to some extent recalled its details. 

But it is impossible to infuse into a catalogue of 
names any trace of the colouring of the originaL I can 
only hope to induce some reader sceptical of the beauties 
of the snow-world to climb one of these Italian Alps for 
himself. But he must remember that it is not, as some 
critics of the Alpine Club seem to think, enough to have 
scaled a peak once or twice under unfavourable con-* 
ditions in order to be capable ^.nd entitled to express an 
authoritative opinion on the scenery of the upper Alps. 
Time as well as place is required. One of those days, 
not rare in a southern summer, must be chosen, when 

' The widest range of Tision I have ever gained was from the Piczo 
della Mare in the Orteler group, from which the Ankogel above Wildbad 
Gaetein, and Monte Vi8o, distant from each other over 400 miles, the 
Apennines above Bolo|g^», and the hills of the Yorarlberg were visible at 
the same time. 


the mountains are at rest from their task of moisture 
condensers, and stand basking in the sunshine and 
well-earned idleness. 

At such moments the climber's toil is richly paid. 
Over his head stretches the pure vault of the sky, below 
lies a vast expanse of earth ; the mountain- top seems 
poised between the two, a point in the centre of a hollow 
globe. From the refulgent snows of the neighbouring 
peak, glittering with such excess of light as to be 
scarcely endurable, the eye turns for relief to gaze up 
into the intense colour of the zenith, or wanders over 
miles of green and countless changes of blue distances 
to the saffron of the extreme chain which forms the 
link between earth and heaven. 

Surely no one who has enjoyed such a view would 
deny the beauty of the forms and colours gathered 
round him. To represent to others the glory of the 
mountain-tops requires, it is true, either a poet or one 
of the greatest and rarest landscape painters. But even 
if these fail, if the scenery of the highest Alps proves 
altogether unpaintable and indescribable, it may yet be 
in the highest sense beautiful. The skill of the inter- 
preter cannot be accepted as the measure of that which 
is to be interpreted, nor can the noble and delightful 
in nature be made subject to the limitations of art. 

But the vision of those hours ^ on a great peak 
stretches beyond what is actually before the eyes. At 

* There is an opinion current, based only on the habitual hurry of 
some mountaineers and the slowness of others, that it is impossible to 
spend hours on a great peak. On a calm, fine day no pleasanter resting- 
place can be found, and the time you can pass on the top depends only on 
the time of day you reach it. I have spent three hours on the Aletschhoni 
and Monte Rosa with the greatest enjoyment, less than an hour rarely, in 
decent weather on any peak of oyer 10,000 feet. 


such moments even the dullest soul shares with inar- 
ticulate emotion the feelings which poets have put into 
words for all ages. Our pulses beat in tune with the 
great pulse of Life which is breathing round us. We lose 
ourselves and become part of the vast order into the 
visible presence of which we seem for a brief space to 
have been translated. On a lesser height, whence some 
town is seen like a great ant-heap with the black in- 
sects hurrying backwards and forwards across its lanes, 
the insignificance of the human race is often painfully 
prominent. But here, removed by leagues of snow and 
ice and a mUe or two of sheer height from the rest 
of our race, no such thought oppresses us. Man is 
merged in nature, cities have become specks, provinces 
are spread out like fields, the eye ranges across a king- 
dom. Through the stillness which fills the upper air 
the ear seems to catch from time to time some faint 
echo of 

-i^-^ The deep music of the rolling world 
Kindling within the strings of the waved air 
.£olian modulations. 

On its lofby standpoint the mind feels in harmony with 
the soul of the universe, and almost fancies itself to 
gain a glimpse of its workings. 

Seen from the valley the sublimity of the mountain 
precipice may be due to a sentiment at root akin to 
terror. Grandeur is there shown in its most overpower- 
ing — a Frenchman might say brutal — form by some 
giant peak towering defiantly skywards, * remote, serene, 
and inaccessible,' a chill colossus alien to human life. 
But on the peak we are conquerors ; its terrors are left 
below and behind us. In our new scale of vision the 


Titans gathered in silent session round us are brothers. 
The masses which appeared from below 'confusedly 
hurled ^ have become ordered. The valleys unfold their 
labyrinths. The rivers, cleansed from all stain of early 
turbulence in the calm of heaven-reflecting lakes, are 
seen to set forth, at first gently directed and compelled 
by the lower hills, for the great plain where each has 
its own mission of life and bounty to fulfil. We are no 
longer, like the old-world theologian, frightened into 
thinking our mountain a monument of man's wicked- 
ness and God's anger, or like the modem philosopher, 
oppressed by the bulk of the giant ; we know him in his 
true character as a 

Factory of river and of rain, 

Link in the Alps* globe-circling chain. 

The sense of the sublime excited in us is due not to 
mere ' extension of space,' but to admiration of the 
excellence revealed by our larger range of vision. The 
barren ice-field is seen to water a thousand meadows, 
the destructive torrent to fertilise a whole province. 
The evil of the world seems for once contained within 
the good. 

Had Mr. Mill lived a generation later, and wandered 
upon Tyrolean snows as well as amongst the meadows 
at their feet,^ he would probably have hesitated to state 
so broadly that ' what makes the greater natural phe- 
nomena so impressive is simply their vastness,' and 
that no * admiration for excellence ' enters into the 
feeling they inspire. 

' ' J. S. Mill nnd Tochter/ ii a frequent entry in the strangers' books of 
Tyrolean inns. 


So far (except that we bad not crossed oyer the top 
of the Como Bianco) we had followed in the footsteps of 
Lient. Payer, who had first conquered the AdameUo 
in the preyions year. Henceforth onr course lay over 
unknown ground. The descent from the AdameUo snow- 
fields into Yal Camonica had never been attempted, 
and, fix>m the config^uration of the range, was likely to 
be a matter of difficulty. We had, however, a large 
space to search oyer and a choice of several glens to 
descend into, any one of which would bring us, with 
more or less circuit, to the great valley. We naturally 
determined to try first the nearest gap, looking down 
into the Yal Miller and leading directly to Edolo; if 
that failed we were prepared to go further and force 
a passage down one of the glaciers falling towards Yal 

Having returned in our old footsteps to the base of 
the peak, we traversed the snow out of which it rises to 
its farther or south-western foot. On the rock-face over- 
head I noticed several small ranunculuses in flower at 
an elevation of 11,600 feet above the sea. A projecting 
crag on the right of the gap which we had selected 
as our first point of attack enabled us to reconnoitre 
what lay below us. We were in a position very much 
resembling that of the traveller from Zermatt, when he 
has reached the summit of the Weissthor and gazes 
down at Macugnaga, except that in our case the 
valley was not more than 3,600 feet below us. On the 
other hand, we were on unknown ground and had to 
trust entirely to our own judgment. That of the 
guides was prompt and favourable. A nasty tongue of 
glacier curled over the ridge, but soon broke short from 


the steepness of the cliff; so long as we gave a wide 
berth to the stones discharged by this ill-conditioned 
neighbour they foresaw no impossibilities or dangers 
ahead. The rocks proved worthy of our estimate. 
Although steep — quite as steep as those leading up to 
the Schreckhorn Sattel — they were thoroughly safe, and 
gaye firm foothold on broad shelves and rough ridges. 
We went on without check, until within a hundred 
feet of their base we found ourselves apparently cut off 
from the snow-field below by a smooth cliff. We under- 
went a few minutes' grim suspense while Michel and 
Fran9ois searched right and left for some ledge or 
crack. But soon the welcome shout of ' es geht ' rose 
to our ears, and we found our escape. Swift glissades 
followed, and we shot quickly down the slopes of the 
little glacier which nestles beneath the crags. Nothing 
now remained but to scramble over the huge boulders 
to the stream below us and follow its waters until we 
struck a path. The Yal Miller is a wild upland glen, 
hemmed in by cliffs, above which are seen the twin 
snow-crests of the Adamello. In an hour from the 
glacier we reached the only chalets in the upper valley, 
known as the Casetta di Miller.^ The rock on which 
the hut was founded was highly < moutonn^,' or polished 
by glacier action, as our scientific companion did not fail 
to point out. A few moments later he impressed the 
fact still more forcibly on our memories. A large bowl 
brimming with delicious milk had been brought out for 
our refreshment. Either in the excitement of draining 

> Mmsrs. Taylor and Montgomery passed two nights in these huts later 
in the same year, and, weather forbidding an ascent of the Adamello, crossed 
into Yal Sayiore by a wild but easy Pass. 


it the drinker overbalanced himself, or a perverse baro- 
meter chose that moment to swing between his legs. 

Down he fell with a thump, and the aneroids rattled about him. 

The consequences of the fall were serious: a thick 
coating of cream, quicksilver and chdlet dirt, a bruised 
knee and — worst of all in the sufferer's mind — several 
broken instruments. 

Opposite the huts we crossed to the left bank of the 
stream, and followed a cow-path which soon brought 
us to the verge of the long, abrupt descent separating 
Yal Miller from its continuation the Yal di Malga. 
The path corkscrewed through a gully in quaint little 
zigzags, built up toilsomely with stones, steep as an 
attic staircase and odious enough to wind down under 
a hot afternoon sun. The cows whom we had seen 
above can scarcely look upon the day of their move for 
the summer months with the same pleasure which their 
sisters throughout the Alps are said to exhibit. An 
English farmer would as soon think of driving his herd 
to the top of the Monument as up such a place. 

We were now again amongst trees, which clothed 
either bank and added to the beauty of the scenery. The 
descent was continuous, until a cluster of houses was 
reached, prettily placed among meadows, in which all 
the inhabitants were at work, profiting by the fine 
weather to gather in their hay-harvest. The only 
creatures left at home were families of white rabbits, 
which seem to live here on the footing of domestic pets. 
The elders sat lazily sunning themselves, while the 
young ones played high jinks without showing the least 

THE CAR£ alto. 221 

fear at our presence. The track now became passable 
for carts, and fearfully stony. From this point to the 
high-road we met a specimen of every kind of pavement 
invented for human torture in Italian valleys. First 
there was the * pav6 au naturel/ formed of native rock 
and those wandering stones which seem to grow out of 
the ground everywhere ; next came a steep pitch of the 
^ pav6 aux Alpes/ in which the stones are fixed side by 
side in wild disorder ; then, worse than all, a long spell 
of round pebbles, such as are found at a third-rate 
watering-place which cannot afford even one flag down 
the middle of the footpath. Even the natives seemed 
to revolt against this precious medley, and frequent 
short-cuts and side-tracks showed how they avoided 
the work of their own hands. Presently the road 
swerved round the hillside to the right, and a lovely 
reach of Yal Camonica opened before our eyes. Imme- 
diately in front, surrounded by a wood of chestnuts, was 
Sonico, and in the distance, built up a slope above the 
junction of Yal Corteno with Yal Camonica, rose the 
towers of Edolo, about one hour's walk distant. 

The great shining tableland, lifbed above all the 
loffcy Lombard ridges, had fascinated my imagination. 
When another opportunity offered, I laid my plans so 
as to combine an ascent of its second summit, the Card 
Alto, with a passage across its greatest breadth. At 
first sight on the map this might seem a bold, even an 
impossible, attempt, for it involved the crossing of no 
less than five loffcy ridges, varying between 9,800 and 
10,000 feet in height. But a study of the levels showed 
that owing to the uniform upheaval of the mass there 
would be no descent of more than . 200 or 300 feet iu 


the ten miles between the first auid last. Still we 
thought it well to sleep in the highest chalet on this 
side the snows. 

On a glorious August afternoon we drore down the 
high-road from Pinzolo to Borzago, whence a mountain- 
path leads into the glen to which the Tillage has giren 
its name. 

At the top of the first ascent a veiy happDy-balanced 
view opens. The yalley slopes are feathered with light 
fidliage. High above them shine the white folds of 
glacier, while the Car^ Alto, half rock half a glittering 
ice-comb, is the centre of the landscape. Deeper in the 
glen^ beyond the pinetrees and thehaybams, great birches 
hang over the path which splits into branches in the 
forest. Here we lost ourselves, and plunged for several 
minutes amidst broken rocks and dense underwood, 
tearing our hands and clothes, but filling our mouths 
with delicious raspberries. On a slope below the cliffs 
which close the valley stand two summer cottages where 
we had hoped to sleept An old woman and her son 
were cooking their polenta, but no herds were in sight. 
The old woman seemed only anxious to be rid of the 
unexpected invaders — she had no milk, no hay to sleep 
on, absolutely * niente.' The herd was higher on the 
mountain, but it was too late for us to reach them — we 
had better go back. An hour's daylight remained, and 
we bribed, not without difficulty, the boy to leave his 
porridge and lead us at once to the herds. We followed 
him at a swinging cowboy pace up steep hillsides, over 
rocks, and between waterfalls. But darkness fell and 
still no friendly tinkle reached our ears. Hurrying on 
over broken but more level ground, we saw at last 
something whiter than Adamello granite at our feet. 


We were among a flock of Bergamasque sheep. A 
minute later we plunged into unseen filth, and were 
brought up short before an enormous boulder. The 
boy's cheerful statement of ^ Ecco la malga' was at first 
simply incredible.' A rock, experience affirmed, could 
not be a ^ malga.' But the boy was right. His shrill 
shout was sleepily answered from the bowels of the 
earth, and from a hole under the boulder human forms 
were dimly seen to issue. For the next few minutes a 
shower of patois filled the air, amidst which we pene- 
trated a low door and found ourselves in a cave con- 
structed by building a wall of stones against the lower 
side of the boulder where it overhung. A dying fire 
threw a feeble light over a crowd of pails and cheeses 
which filled every foot of available space. One of us 
sat down on a cheese, another found a cover which con- 
verted a milk-pail into a seat. The low slanting roof 
rendered the least movement difficult and perilous. In 
the furthest comer where the rock left no space except 
for a prostrate figure was a bed of hay and skins, fully 
filled by three shepherds and a girl. 

The smallness of the accommodation was made more 
conspicuous by the disproportion between it and the 
voices which issued from the shepherds as they moved 
about to help us in our arrangements. Within a few 
inches of our ears they bellowed every remark in a 
Homeric roar, which might without exaggeration have 
been heard half a mile off. Long habit in shouting to 
their fiocks on a distant hillside, or carr}'ing on con- 
versations across a valley, had so taken hold of them 
that they seemed quite incapable of reducing their voices 
to the ordinary pitch of regions where population is less 
thinly scattered. 


Our night did not promise to be luxurious. After 
a frugal supper on bread and chocolate, we made our 
bed as well as we could. The shelter being far above 
the forest, logs were not easilj procurable, and the 
shepherds had consequently collected as fuel a heap of 
slender brushwood. Having piled away some of the 
pails and cheeses we spread the green branches out on 
the floor as a mattress. A macintosh served for a 
sheet, and our entertainers supplied a rug for our feet. 
The couch was at least not painfully uncomfortable ; 
and though each of us felt sure in the morning that he 
had not slept, no one had found the night interminable 
except poor Fran9oi8, who insisted on sitting and 
smoking over the fire, and was consequently only half 
awake all the next day. 

At daybreak we issued into the open air. We found 
ourselves in the wild hollow at the eastern base of 
the Car^ Alto, separated from the great Borzago Glacier 
by a rocky spur. Mounting first towards and then 
along this ridge, we quickly approached the mountain. 
Had we remained on the rocks, and then boldly struck 
up the eastern face, we should, I believe, quickly have 
settled with our peak. But Fran9ois did not favour this 
plan; moreover, our further intentions gave a motive 
for carrying our baggage to the side of the peak to 
which it would be most convenient to descend. 

We consequently slid down several hundred feet on 
to the great glacier, and made a flank march towards the 
much higher northern base of the Card Alto. This 
operation caused some delay. The snow, where it curled 
over from the highest plain, broke into huge chasms. 
There was, it was true, always an easy way round each 
of them ; but the ways round seldom coincided^ and for 


some time our ascent was conducted in a very crab-like 

Above these obstacles an easy slope led to the moun* 
tain, on this side a cocked-hat of ice sharply cut off 
from the snow-fields by a continuous moat, bridged only 
at one spot near the southern corner of the peak. 
Tracks across the snow-arch showed that feet guided 
by true mountaineering instinct had lately crossed. On 
approach they turned out to be a broad chamois-trail. 
The herd which had made them we saw hiter in the day. 

A little step-cutting enabled us to follow our four- 
footed guides and reach the rocky ridge. As we gained 
it, our eyes, accustomed for the last hour or two to the 
white glare of sun-facing snows, suddenly fell on a wide 
basin of pure green, seemingly at our feet. We were 
looking on the pasturages of Yal di Fum. Some such 
glimpse, aided by a few clouds to confuse topography, 
may well have given rise to the legend of the Lost 
Yalley of Monte Bosa, or the Bose Grarden of King 

The last scramble was easy except in one place, 
where the rocks failed to give foothold for a few yards, 
and steps had to be cut between them and the ice. An 
accident might easily happen here with careless guides ; 
but, as one steady man can ensure the safety of a party, 
the spot can hardly be called dangerous. 

The mountain culminates in a double peak; the 
furthest point is a broken tooth of bare granite. The 
gap between this and the snow-crest is narrow and 
not deep, and a convenient crack supplies a way to the 
highest crag. On it we found traces of a stoneman 
built probably by Messrs. S. Taylor and Montgomery 
who made the first ascent in 1865. 

226 THE CAIt£ ALTO. 

This peak, if less favourably placed than the 
Adamello, commands a noble view. In the east deep 
forested glens, fertile yalleys and green ridges crowned 
by ruddy crags contrast witii the eternal snow-iSelds 
which stretch away for miles towards the west. From 
the Car^ Alto, as from an outpost, the genius of wint^ 
may look down on the country he has lost since the 
great ice-epoch, on the trenches through which his 
rivers flowed, on the hills they rounded, and see even, 
far off in the haze, the mounds which he erected as 
monuments of his widest power, the huge terminal 
moraines of Somma and Solferino. Behind him lies 
his last refuge, the great granite castle from whose 
summit his forces cannot be dislodged even by the 
summer sun of Lombardy. 

Across this fastness we intended to make our way. 
For the uext six hours we steadily pursued a westward 
course over the snow-fields. Now we wandered at the 
foot of Monte FoUetto^ amongst snow-caves huge enough 
to puzzle for a moment even the herd of chamois whose 
gambols we had interrupted. Then we passed through 
a narrow gap, the Passo di Cavento, on each side of 
which the grey and red pinnacles shot up in a fantastic 
fence, while at their base a great ditch waited the 
unwary mountaineer. Beyond it we found another snow- 
reservoir, almost as flat as a cricket-field, feeding the 
ice- streams of Yal di Fum and the Lobbia Glacier. A 
broad gap, the Passo della Lobbia Alta, let us through 

* Payer^fl account of the answers giyen to his enquiries about this 
summitf furnishes a good illustration of the difficulty of naming a 
peak : — ' Botteri declared the mountain was nameless ; from others I got 
the names Monte Mulat, Monte Folletto, Monte Marmotta (from Marmot), 
Monte Calotta (from cap). I chose finally the name Foil etto (from moun- 
tain-tipirit, Kohold).' 


to another basin, that of the Mandron Grlacier, where 
we crossed the track to the Adamello. At its farther 
extremity — it is about three miles broad — ^we saw before 
us the fifth ridge, the last which divided us from Yal 

As we approached the pass a family groilp of three 
chamois were seen moving before us on the snow. Pre- 
sently a gun was fired from among the rocks of the Comi 
del Confine, and a solitary hunter sprang forward. The 
shot had missed, and the chamois, whom we had been 
unconsciously driving, raced past us. One of them was 
quite young, and it was touching to see how the two 
parents not only would move no faster than the pace of 
their child, but placed themselves on either side of it, 
as if purposely sheltering it from danger. My con^ 
dolences with the sportsman were not very heartfelt. 

A steep gully, an easy glacier, a pathless hillside, 
helped us quickly down to the first chd^let in Val d'Avio* 
A few yards beyond it the valley is broken by a lofty 
cliflF. At the foot of a steep zigzag beside the thundei-- 
ing waters we entered one of the level platforms common 
in this group. Its smooth expanse of meadow was alive 
with cows and goats, now collected for the night round 
the herdsmen's huts. Two torrents— one the grey child 
of the glaciers, the other clear and spring-bom — ^rushed 
down upon us in splendid cascades. In the background 
the Adamello raised its icy horn. 

Immediately below the alp lies a large lake. The 

' A good Tiew of the Bedole Glacier from this point, the Fasso del 
MandroD, appeared in the publications for 1874 of the German Alpine 
Club. There &re some serious mistakes, however, in the identification of 
Tarious points. The Lobbia Bassa should be the Lobbia Alta, the Lobbia 
Alta the Dosson di Genova, and the Fasso della Lobbia Alta the Fasso 

Q 2 


scene someirhat resembles the Lac de Graabe, bnt the 
features of the hmdscape ate more sarage, bolder^ and 
on a lai^r scale. The lake itself^ however, is onfor- 
tunatelj of the ordinarj mnrkj-grej colonr of Swiss 
glacier water. 

Beyond the platform of the lake the glen fidls with 
eztraordinah^ rapiditj, and a rery stony path, mainly 
on the left bank, leads down past a succession of water- 
&lls, any one of which in another country might become 

The lower lerel of the ralley is devastated by the 
torrent. For Ponte di Legno it is best to cross its stony 
bed and follow a cart-track joining the Tonale road a 
little below Pontagna. When we entered the high-road 
night overtook us, and we walked the three uphill kilo- 
metres to Ponte di Legno at our fastest pace, killing 
distance and fatigue with the present pleasure of rapid 




For August be your dwelling thirty towers 

Within ao Alpine yalley mountainous, 
' Where never the sea wind may vex your house, 
But clear life, separate, like a star, be yours. 
80 alway drawing homeward ye shall tread. 
Your yalley parted by a rivulet. 
Which day and night shall flow sedate and smooth, 
There all through noon ye may possess the shade. 

FOLGOBB DA SAK GsMiovAiro, ▲.!>. 1260 ; 
Bos/tettCs Drandation* 


PmzoLO is conspicuous amougst the Tillages which 
cluster round the head of Yal Bendena bj its tall 
campanile of Adamello granite, a pretty feature of the 
landscape, but^ as I shall afterwards show, an evil sign 
of the times. Its houses, gathered along two stone* 
payed streets and round a little open space — the piazza 
— stand close against the eastern hillside at the point 
where the mountain-ranges, bending towards one another 
and almobt joining, enclose in their semicircular folds the 
lower yalley. Great torrents rush out of two clefts in the 
hills, the openings of Yal Nambino and Yal di Genova, 
and but for human industry would devastate the low 


ground on their banks. But they are held fast in fetters 
of their own contriying. The huge granite boulders, 
which in former floods they have borne down from the 
heart of the Presanella or the Adamello, have been 
turned to account for the building of massive dykes 
through which so much water only is allowed to pass as 
will sufBce to irrigate the plain and turn its alluvial soil 
into the richest of water-meadows. 

The beauty of the situation does not, like that of 
Qrindelwald or Chamonix, depend on mountain sublimity. 
On one sid§ sonie shreds of snow and granite belonging 
to the Presanella come into view. On the other the 
southern crest of the Brenta group lies couched like a 
l^ug^ goldtred Egyptian sphinx on the green back of a 
lower hill. But these are mere glimpses of the upper 
world, valuable and suggestive glimpses it is true, but 
not sufficient to decide the character of the whole land- 
scape. The hills which encircle the head of Yal Ben- 
dena rise in steep but nowhere perpendicular banks, 
swathed in chestnut woods about their base, lying open 
higher up in sloping meadows fringed with mountain 
ash, birch and pine. The valley floor, a smooth, bril- 
liantly green carpet, gives an impression of wealth and 
softness rendered more welcome by the knowledge of 
the rugged grandeur so close at hand. 

It would be hard to find a more delightful spot in 
which to idle away a sunny day than the hillside im- 
mediately behind Pinzolo. It is only needfal to climb 
a few hundred yards among the chestnut-boles to find 
platforms covered with a soft carpet of moss, ferns and 
delicate southern flowers. Here under the shade of 
dancing leaves, fanned by soft breezes and lulled by the 
coiol tinkle of falling water and the murmur of innumer- 


able living things which fills an Italian noon, the rest- 
less traveller may for once enjoy unmixed with other 
thoughts the sympathetic delight of coexistence with 
a world seemingly for the moment wholly given up to 

In another mood he may climb higher and higher 
through the forest, gaining at each step new glimpses 
of the bright fields and villages of Yal Bendena, and 
watching the icy horns of the Adamello group as they 
shoot out one by one against the sky. Then entering a 
hidden upland glen he will reach a gap where, in the 
opposite direction, the dolomite towers soar stark and 
red over the green slopes. Hence he may descend into 
Yal Agola, and so to Campiglio, or, turning to the right, 
wander along shady forest paths to the ridge of the Pra 
Fiori. But left of the depression, and cut off by it from 
the other hills, rises a grassy down which must give one 
of the most perfect views of the surrounding ranges, 
raking as it does Yal di Genova, Yal Eendena, and Yal 
Nambino. There is a ch&let within five minutes of the 
meadow*top, but any lady who likes the walk may, so 
far as I know, boast herself afterwards of having made 
'the first ascent by travellers' of the Dos di Sabione. 

If the rain-clouds hang low on the hills and the 
woods are too wet for loitering in, the old churches of 
the valley may give employment. The mother-chapel 
near the mouth of Yal di Borzago has been already re- 
ferred to. The large modem church in the village, with 
its campanile built at the cost of the noble forests of 
Yal di Genova, has no particular interest.^ But five 

* In Southern Tyrol campaniles aire generally built by the communes 
which have realised their wealth by cutting down their forests, and the 
great sawmills at the mouth of Val di GenoTa hare undoubtedly had a 


handled yards north of Pinzolo stands San Yigilio, a 
plain building consisting of a nave and small chancel, 
with a belfrj, probably of older date, at the western 
end. The southern face is decorated with a frescoed 
Dance of Death, dated 1539, a work of some spirit, and 
retaining traces of rich colouring. We may stroll 
further across the valley to the romantically situated 
chapel of San Stefano perched high among the woods 
on a granite bluff above the mouth of Yal di Geneva. 
The outside is covered with representations of the life 
of the saint, and another Triumph of Death, dated 1519 ; 
within is a very carious fresco of Charlemagne — I beg 
Mr. Freeman's pardon, the great E[arl — engaged, in 
company with a Pope, in baptising the heathen. Close 
by, a long and most interesting inscription tells the 
history of the campaign, in the course of which the 
great emperor penetrated this remote region. The fol- 
lowing is a very curtailed summary of the events there 

Lupus, Lord of Bergamo, was a pagan, and Charles 
strove with him to convert him. But Lupus took a 
certain Sandro and many others and cut off their heads ; 
whereupon there appeared six burning torches, no one 

large share in the execution of this pions work. It is most distressing to 
see from year to year how greed of immediate gain is leading the peasantry 
to treat their mountains like convicts. Ample as the locks were, they haTe 
been terribly thinned even in the last few years. Yal di GenoTa, within 
my recollection, has lost much of its ancient and primeval wealth of 
verdure. The comparative barrenness of its lower portion was painful on 
my last visit. Good forest-laws may retrieve in the future the waste of the 
last few years, but no traveller in this century will ever see the vallfj 
clothed in the same full-folded mantle which, eleven years ago, made our 
long walk from the Presanella to Val Rendena one continuous delight. 

* See Appendix D, where this inscription is given in full, together with 
a description of the frescoes of San Vigilio, 

.rt;FANu AND I'Ht; '-■lUi III NAKDISIO. 


holding them ; and by God's grace the bells rang without 
earthly aid. Seeing this miracle, Lupus with all his 
people was converted to the Catholic faith, and joined 
Charles. The host, numbering 4,000 spears, marched 
up Yal Camonica, slaying heretics, such as Lord Her- 
cules and King Comerus, destroying castles, and build- 
ing churches. Then they crossed a mountain where 
there was a great fight between the Christians and 
pagans, at a place since known as ' Mortarolus.' 

Prom the *Mons Toni* (the Tonale) the army de- 
scended to Plezau (Pelizzano), where it made a great 
slaughter of the heathen, and so reached Yal Bendena by 
the route of the Ginevrie Pass. * And they came to the 
church of San Stefano and baptised a very great people. 
And the said Charles made an end of converting all the 
Jews and pagans at the church of San Stefano, and 
there he left; a book in which were contained all the 
things he had done throughout the world.' 

The chroniclers tell us little of all these matters.^ 
The Alpine Passes of the Middle Ages is a chapter of 
history which, so far as I know, has not yet been satis* 
factorily written. Much material for it doubtless exists, 
although not in a form very easy of collection. It would 
be a work full of interest to trace how in succeeding 
centuries first one then another route rose into import- 
ance ; and the present moment, when the Alps are for 
all practical and commercial purposes on the brink of 
annihilation, when mountain roads are about to yield 

* In the Vita Caroli of Dginhardt in the following tantalising passage : 
* Italiam iptranti quam difBcilis Alpium tmnsitus fnerit qnantoque Fran- 
corum labore invia montium juga et eminentes in coUum tcoptdi atque aspertB 
cautes saperatfiB sint hoc loco describerem, nisi/ &c. The words italicise^ 
apply singularly well to dolomitic landscapes, but it was probably the St. 
Bernard and Mt. Cenis that the chronicler had in mind. 


to burrows, seems peculiarly well suited for a review of 
the whole subject. 

Higher in the hills between Yal di Grenova and Yal 
di Borzago, beside a little lake, lies the chapel of San 
Giuliano, a tempting object for an excursion, including 
a visit to the latter valley, and perhaps an ascent of the 
Corno Alto, one of the high points seen from Yal Nam- 
bino against the Lares snows. The saint, according to 
local legend, seems to have been a somewhat testy old 
hermit. Having been refused milk by some shepherds, 
he at once turned them and their flocks into boulders, 
which may still be seen. I suspect San Giuliano was no 
saint at all, but some mountain spirit known to earlier 
times, who reappeared under this new disguise with the 
malicious intention of discrediting the new religion. 

I can only indicate briefly the varied attractions of 
Pinzolo and its immediate neighbourhood, leaving to 
each visitor the pleasure of fresh discovery. But on 
looking back I find that I have left out what ought to 
have been the most prominent object in my picture. 
Most English travellers are disposed to agree with Dr. 
Johnson that the most beautiful landscape in the world 
would be improved by a good inn in the foreground. 
It is too late to put Signor Bonapace's in this position, 
but I will do my best to repair the slight by describing 
it at once, and with some minuteness. 

The house remains up to the present time a good 
specimen of the country inn of Southern Tyrol. It is 
kept by well-to-do people, who drive an excellent trade 
with their own country-folk, and until the last year or 
two looked with some astonishment on the few pleasure- 
travellers whom each summer brought them. An arched 
doorway opens out of the paved street into a sort of 


bam, whence a steep stone staircase leads up into a dark, 
low-roofed hall or lobby, crowded with benches and tables. 
Out of it open two still gloomier inner chambers. In 
one a faint glimmer of bright copper, a sound of hissing, 
and a bustling of Marthas, reveal the kitchen ; in the 
other, at the foot of an enormous family bed, leaning 
over a table, sits the master of the house, one eye intent 
on accounts, the other keeping a quiet watch over what 
goes on around. At his order a handmaiden will leave 
her labours in the kitchen and conduct you up another 
steep flight of stairs, and into a large dormitory con- 
taining five beds, three tables, and two washing-basins, 
which used to be considered to fulfil every possible re- 
quirement for night accommodation. Now, however, 
several smaller apartments have been furnished for 
guests, and a cheerful room in the next house, over the 
grocer's shop, is also put at the service of English 
prejudice. Meals cooked in the fashion of the country, 
but very plentiful, are served in a little room with a bed 
in the comer, which opens out of the lobby. 

Both are generally filled of an evening with a crowd 
of customers of the peasant-farmer class, perfectly well 
conducted, but too talkative and fond of smoking to be 
altogether agreeable companions. Yet dark and dingy 
and crowded though it is, there is romance about this 
typical Italian mountain inn. Its discomforts are soon 
forgotten, and it lives in our memories by many cheer- 
ful sights and sounds : the splash of the fountain at the 
comer under the walnut-tree, where the women in their 
bright-coloured handkerchiefs wash their linen, and call 
out cheerily to the barefooted little Fietros and Marias 
playing in the sunshine ; the sudden bustle and tinkle 
of the goats returning firom the mountain as they troop 


off in litUe companies to their separate homes ; the noise 
of the bowls and the laughter of the players, kept up till 
there is no longer light to pursue tJie game : last of all, 
as if in solemn contrast to the exuberant life of the 
day, the melancholy voice of the watchman ringing out 
through the silent night. 

The larger of the two streams which meet at Pinzolo 
issues from Yal di Genova ; the second flows out of a 
gap in the hills continuing the line of depression of Yal 
Bendena. Scarcely two miles higher, beyond the neigh- 
bouring village of Caresolo, this toirent again divides. 
On the left Yal Nambrone leads up towards the flanks 
of the Presanella. A steep ascent is necessary to gain 
the highest stretch of Yal Nambino, a wide, sunny vale^ 
studded with cottages and surrounded by green slopes 

and forests. 

The old cart-track, lately converted into a good 

carriage-road, skirts continuously the western hillside, 

leaving the stream &r below in a narrow bed. Behind 

us the snows of the Card Alto and its neighbours 

gradually rise into sight above a lower ridge graced with 

singularly symmetrical summits. 

But our attention is soon riveted on the new 

mountain range which rises beyond the valley. High 

amongst the clouds soar its red towers and pinnacles ; 

the bold ridges which support them sweep down upon 

us in majestic curves. Three glens, green with beech 

copses, push up boldly into the heart of the mountain. 

The one opposite is Yal di Brenta, rising towards its 

Bocca, the gap on the north of the most stupendous 

castle ; the furthest, the Yallesinella, leads by another 

strange gateway to Molveno, the nearest is Yal Agola, 

also with passes for mountaineers or paths for ramblers. 

Horn CLq Roiil Lu C'iiiupigli.j 


We have already seen from, a distance, or skirted 
the sides of, the Brenta group. From the crests of the 
Adamello chain or from the depths of Yal di Genova a 
mysterious range utterly unlike anything in the central 
Alps ^ has been frequently before our eyes. At Pinzolo, 
or on the Pra Fiori, we have had glimpses of strange 
red peaks. But we seem now to have come for the first 
time into their immediate presence. 

The spectator standing on the western slopes of 
Yal Nambino sees high above everything else against 
the eastern sky two huge square fortresses built up of 
horizontal courses of masonry. The ground-colour of 
their walls is a yellowish grey, streaked with red and 
black, and broken here and there by lines of shining 
white, where a steep glacier-stair scales the precipice. 
The massiveness of these blocks adds by contrast to the 
efPect of the surrounding pinnacles. Before the travel- 
ler's eyes rise towers, horns, cupolas, columns, spires, 
crowded together in endless variety. Here he fancies 
must be the workshop of Nature, and these are her store 
of models. Or he is reminded of some architectural 
drawing, a collection of the great buildings of the 
world, or the spires of Sir Christopher Wren. 

These peaks are the advance-guard of the Tyrolese 
dolomites, boldly thrown across the valley of the Adige, 
as if to challenge on their own ground the snowy ranks 

' There are seyeral dolomltic groups in Swiss territory. One of the 
most considerable has already been described (Ch. V.). Another is the 
duster of bold peaks standing between the Julier and Albula roads, of which 
the highest summits are the Piz d'Aela, Tinzenhorn, and Fiz St. Michel. 
There is also dolomite between the Via Mala and the Sarien Thai, and in other 
parts of Switzerland. But none of these masses — probably owing to some 
slight difibrence in the composition of their crags — show the peculiar cha- 
racteristics of the rock in a sufficiently marked manner to attract attention 
except on dose approach. 


of the Orteler and Adamello. They are separated from 
the granite by no wide depression such as divides the 
Venetian Alps and the Tanem, but only by a single 
valley. The boulder which rolls from the flanks of the 
Presanella will scarcely halt before it rests on dolomitic 

The Eastern Alps could scarcely have put forward 
a nobler champion than the range before us. Pri- 
miero and Auronzo may perhaps equal the marvel- 
lous skyline ; but they oflFer nothing to rival the sym- 
metry of the whole mass of the Brenta as it rises above 
Val Nambino. Consider the lower stories of the huge 
edifice. The slope is not monotonous in uniformity, yet 
the platforms which break it are too narrow to diminish 
by foreshortening the apparent height of the summits. 
IVom our feet rise powerful spurs, below dark with 
pines, above bare and white ; their form is simple and 
severe, but every shifting light brings out fresh details 
in the fretwork which time has carved deeply into their 
sides. Like the flying buttresses of some vast cathedral 
they lead the eye up to the straight perpendicular lines 
of the crowning towers. 

When we come to study the range more generally, 
what incomparable variety of beauty ! On the west lies 
a green, open Alpine valley. The Lago di Molveno re- 
flects in its blue mirror the eastern crags. The southern 
slopes are a rich tangle of vines and chestnuts; the 
beeches push up and dispute with the pines the inner 
glens ; the cyclamens and gentians gird with successive 
belts of brightness the mountain form. 

The traveller, when he penetrates this fantastic 
chain, finds himself at first in narrow glens watered 
by clear streams, now smooth-flowing over lawns of the 


Bofbest turf, now dancing through beechwoods, now 
plunging deep into some miniature ravine hung with 
mosses and bright-berried ashes. He forgets, in the 
charm of what is near at hand, what he came to see. 
Then suddenly through the tree-tops an incredible 
yellow flame, set for ever between the green and blue, 
recalls the presence of the dolomites, and urges him to 
further exertion. He climbs a steep barrier, and the 
pinnaoles range themselves as portions of a vast amphi- 
theatre of rock. He advances a few hundred yards 
further along the level and the scene is changed. One 
solitary tower overclimbs the clouds and mixes with the 
sky. A second ascent brings another shift. Bocks, 
grey, gold, red, brown and black, cluster round his 
bewildered eyes, and he begins to doubt whether the 
scene is a solid reality or some Alastor-inspired Vision 
of Solitude. 

Then, after wandering all the morning between red 
rocks and over two or three hours of ice, he may find 
himself in the evening amongst figs, olives and lemon- 
groves. For the Brenta group is planted not in the 
midst of a mountain maze, but on the edge of the 
deepest cleft in the Alps. From the white crown of the 
highest peak to Alle Sarche is a descent of 10,500 feet. 

It is a disappointment to find that, for the moment, 
we must turn our backs on all this beauty, and that our 
resting-place lies out of sight of it, a mile further on. 

The builders of the hospice of ^ La Madonna di 
Campiglio * were more anxious for safety in winter than 
for a fair prospect in summer. They naturally pre- 
ferred a meadow secure from avalanches, yet sufficiently 
protected from the north by low banks, to the steeper 


and more broken hillsides of tbe lower Yal Nambino. 
After turning a comer beyond which the wooded spurs 
of Monte Spinale cut off the view of the Brenta chain, 
the road crosses the stream and enters a broad, smooth 
hay-field, surrounded by slopes the summits of which 
lie too far back to give dignity to the landscape. In 
the centre of this plain, far away from any village, 
stands the hospice and pilgrimage church of Cam- 

The existence of so large a building on a route now 
so little frequented must strike everyone as curious and 
unexpected. But in fact these remote valleys* were 
once the highways of traffic. Not only, as has been 
shown in an earlier chapter, did emperors lead their 
hosts through the recesses of the Lombard Alps, but 
the merchandise of Venice also sought these roundabout 

In olden times the gorge of the Adige was narrow 
and perilous for an invader, crowded with feudal 
castles, each claiming its toll from commerce. Princes 
and merchants seem to have frequently turned west- 
wards from Botzen across the Tonale, or southwards 
through Pinzolo and Yal Buona to Brescia. Then 
Gampiglio was built, it is said by the Templars, to lodge 
the frequent passers-by and break the long stage be- 
tween the inhabited valleys. 

Similar hospices are found elsewhere in the Eastern 
Alps : at San Martino, Paneveggio, and Auf der Plecken. 
•But Campiglio is the largest establishment of its kind. 
The buildings are ranged in the form of a quadrangle, 
of which the hospice occupies three sides. Long gal- 
leries lead from wing to wing and give access to the 
rooms, which all face outwards and are cheerful and 


well lighted. The church, at the building of which, 
according to local legend, angels assisted, occupies part 
of the fourth side of the quadrangle. It contains a 
fresco, not without merit, of the early part of the six- 
teenth century. 

Afker some centuries traffic turned into other chan- 
nels, and the monks who had hitherto fulfilled the duties 
of hospitality departed, leaving their place scantily filled 
by a peasant farmer, who kept one or two rooms ready 
for strangers. On my first visit the old hospice was in 
this phase of its existence. The fare was rough but good, 
and the milk, cream, and butter delicious. The cows 
indeed seemed the mistresses of the place, and all the 
other living creatures their attendants. For their 
accommodation a new and spacious stable had been 
lately raised. The front was decorated with carving ; 
the interior formed a sort of hall of columns, each column 
an unsmoothed fir-trunk. Down the centre ran a 
spacious passage, on either side of which thirty-five 
cows were ranged before their mangers. 

Lately, however, the herd has been disturbed in its 
sole possession, and Campiglio has started on a new 
path to fame. The farmer who owns all the surround- 
ing alps and woods, and whose wealth is locally looked 
on as boundless, conceived an idea. Why should not 
the big house be made use of? Babbi, across the Yal 
di Sole, was crowded with the fashion of the Trentino. 
Campiglio also should become a ^ Stabilimento Alpino/ 
a 'Kurort' for Brescia and Botzen. He secured a 
coadjutor in the owner of a large inn at Arco, a young 
man with international views and desirous for more 
than a local success. In a Florence newspaper, addressed 
to tourists of all nations, appeared, in the spring of 



1874, a large announcement of the opening of a ' mag* 
nifico stabilimento/ with polyglot attendance, a resident 
physician, and the usual advantages. 

Last year I explored this new magnificence. Ex- 
temally it displayed itself in some additions and wooden 
gaUeries over the courtyard. Indoors many of the 
rooms had been prepared for occupation and a large 
bare saUe-a-manger added. There was also a comfort- 
able general sitting-room. 

The splendour was still growing, for, as new guests 
arrived, a carpenter employed downstairs ran up fresh 
furniture for their use, some of the hundred bedrooms 
of the advertisement being still in a state of more 
than conventual simplicity. The ^ service bon et exact ' 
was represented by three Italian youths, pale, untidy 
and swift-footed, who fled with the greatest alacrity 
from any guest whose face gave tokens of an approach- 
ing want. Their goodwill, however, was on the whole 
so much in excess of their capacities that it was im- 
possible to treat them seriously.^ For instance, the 

* It would be unfair to dwell on the shortcomings of an inn but just 
opened in a remote and, until the completion of the new road, somewhat 
inaccessible situation, without adding that great improTements were promised 
for this year (1875)' As these pages are passing through the press, I 
learn from a new advertisement in Le Tonriste^ that the owner of the house 
and land has taken the management of the hotel into his own hands. I 
shall let him speak for himself. 

' Campiolio. Tyrol. Le grandiose Etablissement Alpin de Campiglio, 
dans une position enchanteresse, 4 plus de ]600 metres de hauteur, est 
honor^ par le conoours de nombreux Tisiteurs, qui trouvent la sant^ et le 
repos dans son air dee plus salubres, ses laitages exquis, ses bains et boissons 
ferrugineuBOB, see douches, ses cures de lait et petit lait, son service m^cal, 
ses eaux ferrugineuses, apport^es joumellement de Pejo et Habbi aux prix 
de soldi autrichiens la bouteille de 2 livres, dans sa cuisine choisie, dans 
•on service bien oiganis^ dans les nombreux amusements qu*ofifre I'endroit^ 


liead waiter, having been charged by an Englishman to 
wake him and get ready an early breakfast, was fonnd 
in the morning fast asleep in a chair in which he had 
sat np all night with a fond intention of carrying out 
his instructions. It must in fairness be added that, if 
an early start was not better understood and provided 
for, it was chiefly the fault of the guests. With a 
few notable exceptions they were the least active 
and enterprising company I ever set eyes on. With 
exquisite scenes on every side of them within a short 
half-hour's distance, they were content to spend their 
days in the sleepy hollow, or, if they took a walk at all, 
stroUed along the new road for three hundred yards, 
that is, nearly halfway to the comer of revelation 
where the great view bursts so splendidly into sight. 
Gruide-books not having yet catalogued ^ excursions from 
Campiglio,' it never seemed to enter their minds that 
there could be any ; and they were content to loiter 
away their time among the glories of nature, having 
eyes and seeing nothing. If you asked your neighbour 
at the dinner-table which of the glens of the dolomites 

dans loB belles ezcursions anx environs, dans les confozts int^eun de 
r^tablissement, see vastes salons avec pianos, les cavalcades, etc etc 

* Le Propri^taire soussign^ en ajant pris lui-mdme la direction, pour 
^viter tout inconvenient, offre des pensions k 6 frs. pour ceux qui j feront 
un s^jour d'au moins 10 jours, comprenant le logement, dejeuner, diner et 
Bouper, vin k part, et sans aucune obligation pour le service. 

' II n'a pas regard^ a la d^pense pour mettre F^tablissement en commu- 
nication avec la route postale, et une nouvelle route carzossable le r^unit 4 
Pinzsolo. II tient aussi des voitures de Campiglio k Pinzolo k des prix tr^ 
mod^r^iOt, en recevant I'avis k temps, aussi de Campiglio k TrentoetBiva, 
et vice-versa, au prix de 60 frs. pour 5 personnes, pour ceux qui prennent la 

'L'^tablissement s'ouvre le 1 Juin prochain. 

* Le ProprUtaire, Ot, Battista Biom. 

* Campiglio, 1 Mais 1875.' 



he had rambled into? he did not know there were 
any ; if he had seen the Lares snow-fields flush at sun* 
rise or swim in sunset hazeP if he had stood on any 
crest or ^ tower of observance ' high enough to overlook 
the Trentino to where the peaks of Primiero and Cadore 
raise their ramparts against a golden sky ? — ^he could 
only reply with a stare of dull incredulity. 

But, once hardened to the contemplation of such 
misery in one's fellow-creatures, the state of the pension 
was not without its advantages. The gregarious British 
tourist was happily conspicuous by his absence ; Grer- 
mans were rare, and the few who passed did not care 
to linger where they were not allowed to smoke with 
their guides in a public room during other people's meals. 

Consequently there were none of those absurd 
but most disagreeable dififerences over windows which 
arise whenever the haters of fresh air gather in any 
number. For even with the greatest respect for a nation 
and the strongest desire to fraternise with its members, 
it is hardly possible to get on well with people whose 
favourite atmosphere is to you as insupportable as Mars 
might be to the inhabitants of this earth. Extended 
travel must surely in time enable the North German 
mind to realise the existence, at least in others, of a 
horror of stuffiness. I am sure that when this fact is 
once grasped many worthy men will be saved from 
behaviour which if it did not arise from want of 
imagination would be intolerable bearishness. 

But if we speak freely of the shortcomings of others 
we must not forget our own excesses. The appropriation, 
no matter for what purpose, of the public room of an 
inn by a section of the guests is a thoroughly selfish 
and unwarrantable proceeding. What should we think 


in Scotland if an American congregation were to take 
possession of the inn coffee-room every Sunday, and nse 
it constantly on weekday evenings for practising hymns ? 
Yet this is what on the Continent tourists of other 
nations have to submit to in all spots which have been 
discovered by either of our missionary societies. No 
one can reasonably object to English churches being 
built wherever the sick are sent, or even, as a luxury 
and by those who can afford it, at such places as Cha- 
monix and Zermatt. But it is difficult to believe that 
our countrymen are so much creatures of habit that 
they cannot sometimes gratify their religious emotion 
in the Greek clearness of the mountain-top or under 
the Gothic shade of the neighbouring grove without 
intruding their devotions on their fellow-travellers of 
other creeds or countries. 

At Campiglio, for the present at least, the Italian 
coming down on Sunday morning runs no risk of finding 
himself in the midst of a transformation scene; the 
tables chased, the chairs ranged in regimental ranks, 
his acquaintance in the grey suit of last night, black- 
coated and roped round his neck with a white tie, 
pinning up notices of hymns on the backs of ^ menus,' 
and a much-embarrassed host endeavouring to explain 
to the non-British guests the cause of the general 

I must not dismiss the StabUimento without a short 
mention of its two most important inmates at the time 
of my visit. The first was a young member of the local 
' Societa Alpina,' whose adventures and heroism had 
made him a public character. Accompanied by the 
gardener and carpenter of the establishment, he had 
ventured to attack one of the limestone peaks east of 


Val Selva. The way proved longer and more ardnoni^ 
than had been expected, and night was falling as the 
party descended a narrow crest of the mountain. Sud- 
denly they were made to pause by a terrific roar, and a 
few moments afterwards beheld, several hundred feet 
below, and on a spot they must pass, what they believed 
to be a large bear. The animal instead of walking o£F, 
as bears in every-day life are accustomed to do, behaved 
exactly like a bear in a story, or one of the animals 
which are the terror and delight of the modem nursery* 
Erect on his hind legs, he flashed fury from his eyes, 
opening his red mouth and snapping his jaws at in- 
tervals with ferocious significance. ' Si pud immaginare 
nostra paura,' said the poor mountaineer. He and 
his companions prudently decided not to risk a nearer 
encounter with a monster who knew his part so per- 
fectly. They stopped exactly where they were, and 
spent the night, haunted by deep breathings and strange 
sounds, which they attributed generally to wild animals, 
and more particularly to the bear, camozzi and contra- 

, The gardener who was a sharer in this adventure 
was, it appeared, permanently attached to the establish- 
ment. This gentleman spent many hours daily under 
the shelter of a vast felt wideawake, superintending the 
laying out of the surrounding grounds, which consisted 
of a flat square plot of meadow, perhaps thirty yards by 
twenty. Bat genius shows itself in small things as well 
as great. The variety of shape of which flower-beds 
are capable is endless ; and with an underling provided 
with long strips of turf to mark the edges, our artist 
studied at leisure the most pleasing forms and com- 
binations. The ground idea, one showing no slight 


originality, was taken from a plate of veal cutlets such 
as sometimes appeared at the midday meal. One cutlet 
a day was as much, however, as the creative mind could 
accomplish without risk of repetition ; and this finished, 
the broad hat and its owner would after a few minutes 
of thankful contemplation retreat for rest to a neigh- 
bouring bench. 

To sum up. Those who look for the charm of Cam- 
piglio in any view from the windows will be cruelly 
disappointed. Its attraction lies in the wonderful 
freshness and purity of the air, which rivals that of the 
Engadine, and in the variety and beauty of the excur- 
sions within reach. 

For ladies, botanists, and quiet stroUers there is an 
unusual abundance of easy walks, through shady glades 
full of rare and beautiful flowers and ferns, by the side 
of clear dove-coloured brooks glancing down over the 
limestone shelves, or up to secluded tarns and grassy 
ridges whence the great horns and teeth glow orange 
against the sky, or the Adamello snows glitter in the 
sunlight. Moreover, active climbers have within easy 
reach a variety of glacier-work which all but two or 
three of the greatest Swiss centres might envy, and 
rock scenery such as Switzerland can nowhere rival. 



THE mti-lTTA Q^jTTJ 

fu. M mtirmt^- math um iAtunm — tal aooha — rAtaa i 

'$nnit,¥ifmt»k''Wrt,yi^M*» aMA to«ia — bocca n bbbita. 

It whh from VinwAo that we first started for the Booea 
di Umniju. On the erening of onr ascent of the Pre- 
Nurutlla ¥fii u€*nt Francois to enquire about the pass, onr 
only kriowU<<l{(o of which was drawn from the notice in 
iiui ttmi ifdition of the 'Alpine Gnide/ where it was 
i«|iok<Mi of * as likoly hereafter to be familiar to monn- 
iairMMirs an one of the most romantic walks in the Alps.' 
A pittiMaiii who declared himself to be well acquainted 
wiili ihn way was easily found, and at a reasonably earl j 
liour nnxi niorninf^ wo had slept off the fatigues of the 
(lay boforc) and were ag;ain on the march. Leaving the 
c«iir<-roud to C!ami)i(|;lio wo followed a footpath passing 
anions Hontiorod hamlets and through fertile meadows, 
nulll luntr souio saw-mills it crossed to the left bank of 
tho sitHuun. 

Wo lunv quitted tlie main valley and entered the 

* 8<H> Api^niUx K on the nomencUture of this group. 


month of Yal di Brenta, a deep short glen clothed 
m beech and pine-woods. Our track led us through 
forest glades and over grassy banks covered in profusion 
with the wild firuits of the Alps. Bilberries carpeted the 
ground, strawberries fit for Titania's own table dangled 
temptingly on the banks. While we lingered a morn- 
ing mist swept off and a bevy of wild pinnacles peered 
down on us, one gigantic tower looming above them all. 

The scenery we were entering was at once strange 
and exciting. The common features of Alpine landscapes 
were changed ; as if by some sudden enchantment we 
found ourselves amongst richer forests, purer streams, 
more fantastic crags. 

The rocks which pierced the sky seemed solid, yet 
how could limestone take the form and subtle colours of 
flame ? We could see ice overhead, yet how could the 
stream which sparkled at our side between mossy banks 
be a glacier child, or any relation to the noisy and 
muddy Swiss torrent? Later in th^ day we learnt the 
secret of its purity ; the water as it creeps from the ice 
is filtered underground until it is fit company for the 
delicate trees and flowers which it soon joins. 

Where a barrier of rock completely closed the glen 
we began to climb the southern hillside, zigzagg^g 
steeply amidst wet mossy crags and the tangled branches 
of a wood of creeping pines. The path suddenly reached 
the rim of an upper platform lying in the centre of the 
great peaks. Hitherto we had been wandering amidst 
woods and over broken ground, whence no general view 
could be gained. But the lawn on which we now lay 
was in the very heart of things. Full opposite to us 
rose a colossal rock, one of the most prodigious monu- 
ments of Nature's forces. Its lower portion rose in 


diminishing stories like the Tower of Babel of old Bible 
pictures. Above it was a perfect precipice, an upright 
block, the top of which was 4,000 to 4,500 feet above 
our heads. Behind this gigantic keep a vast mountain 
fortress stretched out its long lines of turrets and bas- 
tions. But as we approached its base the great tower 
rose alone and unsupported, and the boldness of its 
outline became almost incredible. It fairly challenges 
comparison with the Matterhorn from the Homli, or 
the Cimon della Pala from above Paneveggio ; and it 
combines to a great extent the noble solidity of the 
Swiss peak with the peculiar upright structure which 
gives dolomite its strange resemblance to human archi- 

But if the central object of the picture was enough 
to keep our attention fixed in growing astonishment, 
there was much else which called for notice. On our 
left was a second massive rock castle, the Cima di 
Brenta, connected With the Cima Tosa by the Fulmini 
di Brenta, a long line of flame-like pinnacles of the 
strangest shapes, some of them seeming to bulge near the 
top like a Russian steeple. Before us, between one of 
the loftiest of these spires and the Cima Tosa, lay a deep 
snowy gap which I pointed out as the Bocca di Brenta. 
Our peasant guide at once corrected me ; he declared 
that the only passage to Molveno was to be found at 
the head of a long glacier ribbon crumpled up amongst 
the cliffs of the Tosa. As he professed to have stood 
on the summit and looked down the other side, we were 
unwillingly forced to believe him. 

A very steep goat- track led us through rhododendron 
bushes to the level of the glacier, from which no visible 
stream came forth. After traversing a huge and un- 


uBuallj crumbling moraine, we entered npon the ice 
which, though steep, was little crevassed. The rock 
scenery was now most extraordinary. On either hand 
a line of ramparts rose sheer out of the glacier in pre* 
cipices of mingled murky red and ashy-tinted grey; 
behind us lay the massive block of the Cima di Brenta, 
its precipices relieved by slender snow*streaks. In the 
distance was the Orteler group, with ominous clouds 
hanging about its summits. As we penetrated further 
the valley of ice rose in long steep steps before us. 
Overcoming these by the occasional use of the axe we 
reached a recess, the reservoir of the winter snows, at 
the back of the great tower of the Cima Tosa. On the 
right was a well-marked gap, which the guide pointed 
out as the fiocca. We were soon standing on it ; at the 
same moment a pair of horns appeared on the opposite 
side, and we found ourselves face to face with a chamois. 
For some seconds we stared at the animal, and it at us, 
in mutual surprise. The moment some one spoke the 
chamois started off over the snow-field, and when we 
shouted after it took to the almost perpendicular rocks 
of the Cima Pra dei Camozzi, halting occasionally for a 
moment at Fran9ois' whistle. 

A considerable ice-field now lay before us, apparently 
slanting away to the west, in the direction of Pinzolo. 
The porter nevertheless insisted that we were on the 
true pass ; but I soon saw that instead of having crossed 
the real backbone of the range we were only on one of 
its ribs, a secondary ridge which joins the Cima Tosa 
with the peak marked in the Austrian Ordnance Survey 
as the Cima Pra dei Camozzi. What was to be doneP 
We were in the centre of a wilderness, clouds were 
rapidly sweeping up from behind, and we had fairly lost 


our waj. The glacier before us most come down from 
the main ridge. Would this afford a passage? We 
determined to try, the porter following in sullen silence. 
After climbing a hard-frozen bank we reached the crest 
and looked down on a sea of mist. As we stood there 
the clouds enveloped us and snow began to fall heavilj. 
Sheltering in a niche among the rocks on the eastern 
side of the ridge we turned to that universal resource 
under difficulties, the provision-sack, while Fran9oiB 
explored the cliffs below. Our guide soon returned 
with a face portepding failure. After descending about 
100 feet, he had reached an absolute precipice, so 
lofty that no noise announced the fall of the stones he 
rolled over its edge. The shouts of herdsmen rose tanta- 
lisingly out of the depths below, coming, no doubt, from 
the highest alp in Yal d'Ambies, a lateral glen which 
falls into the Sarca valley near the Baths of Comano. 

What was to be done ? We were, like Bunyan's 
pilgrims in the Enchanted Ground, amidst the ruins of 
Castle Doubting, with no clue to guide us out of the 
wilderness. My companions appreciated the position 
and played their parts accordingly,— one, as Giant De- 
spair, sallying on us with frightful prognostications of a 
night in the snow, while another, as Hopeful, main- 
tained that we should still sleep at Molveno. Finally 
we determined to follow wherever the glacier led us. 

The porter, the source of all our misfortunes, had 
been discovered to be profiting by our discussion to 
pocket a large share of our already small stock of provi- 
sions. He had been engaged only as far as the Bocca, 
and as he still insisted, that we were on it we took 
him at his word and dismissed him on the spot. 

Slithering somehow down the ice-slope we tramped 


on through mists until in half-an-hour we reached a 
moraine which we followed for some distance. Then 
we took shelter for some time in a cuplike hollow 
amongst the rocks, in hopes that a partial lifting of the 
snow-veil might show us something more of the face of 
the country around. But, far from amending, the storm 
only grew thicker. 

We had barely advanced a hundred yards fi*om the 
hospitable cranny when Fran9ois, who was leading, 
came to a sudden halt. We were standing, so far as 
we could see, on the brow of a precipice. Nothing 
was visible below but one mass of mist, dense with 
snow-flakes; around us whirled the seething clouds, 
which had already draped the crags in wintry mantles. 
A more dismal scene I never wish to look upon; we 
realised the terrors of the Alps in a spring ^ tourmente,' 
when an icy wind is added to the snow and mists. A 
momentary break revealed a shelf some fifty feet below 
us. By making a slight circuit a practicable course 
was found, and we let ourselves from ledge to ledge of a 
face of rocks, made slippery by the melting snow. Thus 
we worked slowly downwards, now stumbling over 
broken boulders, now clambering down ledges by the 
help of hands and feet. Occasionally we were brought 
to a standstill; but Fran9ois' ^AUez seulement' was 
soon heard, the signal for further progress. A friendly 
cleft came to our aid, and when forced to leave it we 
were again in the region of creeping pines. Using their 
gnarled branches to swing ourselves down by, we finally 
reached a faint track, which bore to the right across a 
rough slope of scree, and then descended into a marshy 
basin. This must have been the head of Yal d'Agola, 
recommended as an excursion from Pinzolo by Mr. Ball. 


The track mounted slightly towards the left, until 
it joined a broad terrace-path winding at a level along 
the hillside. 

Here with the suddenness of enchantment the scene 
changed. The gloom was broken by a dart of sunshine, 
blue shone overhead, and in a moment the mists lifted 
on all sides, disclosing a view of the most dazzlmg 
beauiy. We were on a green hillside opposite the 
mouth of Yal di Genova, which was flanked on one side 
by the Presanella, the victim of yesterday's onslaught, 
on the other by the Card Alto. These were the out- 
posts of a vast amphitheatre of ice and snow, in the 
bend of which stood the Adamello.^ Below us was a 
group of chdlets at the head of a little glen, whose 
stream trickled down into the Sarca ; beyond lay the 
whole Yal Rendena, almost to Tion^, a rich mass of 
verdure, dotted by frequent villages, and set oflf by the 
soft moulded mask of new-fallen sno w hich hid the 
hills down to the highest pine-forests. 

Instead of following the stream we turned to the 
right and descended by a sledge-track to Baldino, a 
village twenty minutes below Pinzolo. 

In after years I satisfied myself that the cli£F we 
had turned back from was visible from the high-road 
at the upper end of the gorge of Le Sarche. The rocks 
seen from a distance did not look so formidable as they 
had from above. The pass, if it could be made, would 
be a very convenient one, leading directly from Cam- 
piglio to the Baths of Comano, and enabling a moun-. 
taineer to pass through the pinnacles of the Brenta 
Alta, and by means of a carriage reach Riva the same 

> We may possibly have mistaken the DoMon di OenoTa or Corno 
Bianco for tihis peak. 


evening ; and there still remained sufficient doubt about 
the ascent on the south-east side to render the problem 

Ten years later I mustered some friends* and Fran9oi8 
at the Baths of Comano. We enquired of the master 
of the house for a porter acquainted with the paths in 
Val d'Ambies. Such a valley, however, was unknown, 
at least by that name, to all the inmates of the esta- 
blishment. This, considering the vague state of the 
mountain nomenclature in this district, was not won- 
derful. We were more surprised when the existence of 
any valley between Val d'Algone and the Molveno cart* 
track was denied with persistent positiveness. At last 
a guest completely crushed our importunate enquiries 
by producing a map on which the valley we spoke of 
was not to be found. The map, it should be mentioned, 
was one of the Island of Sardinia ! 

Upon this we gave up the struggle, and contented 
ourselves with hiring a peasant to carry provisions to 
one of the villages on the rolling upland above the 
Baths, where we should at least be able to point out 
the mouth of the glen we meant to explore. 

In three-quarters of an hour we had reached Tavodo, 
built on a brow immediately over the torrent of Val 
d'Ambies. Behind us lay the beautiful basin of Stenico, 
threatened by an advancing storm, through the skirts 
of which the low sun flung Titianesque lances upon the 
glittering orchards. In front the towers of the Cima 
Tosa were framed between two bold buttresses, the ends 
of the bounding ridges of our valley. 

We had to cross a torrent and reascend to the 
neighbouring hamlet of San Lorenzo in order to obtain 
quarters for the night. There was no regular inn in 


the place, but we found clean beds and cooking mate* 
rialB in the house over the village shop. 

Our start next morning was unexpectedly delayed. 
We had agreed overnight with an elderly and loquacious 
inhabitant for the carriage of our provisions and a bag 
to the top of the pass for four gulden. Our porter's 
first act on appearing at six a.m. was to call for spirits ; 
his second, to declare he must have five gulden to go 
not to the pass but to the highest 'malga.' His 
pretensions were increasing with his ^little glasses,' 
and in inverse ratio to his competency, when we cut 
the matter short by engaging another man. 

We had got fairly off when the old Bacchanalian 
shuffled up in the rear and enlivened the first half-hour 
by an energetic declamation, in which the chief points 
seemed to be that he alone in the countryside knew 
every crag and cranny where we were going, that he 
was ^President of the Village' and a ^ galantuomo,' 
and that, ' corpo di Bacco,' the least we could do was to 
pay Ms tayen. score. 

Above some saw-mills a good cattle-path mounted 
steadily along the left bank of a very slender stream. 
At the first bend in the narrow valley we had a good 
view of the barrier to be crossed. The gap we must 
aim at was clearly the second on the south-west of the 
mass of the Cima Tosa. We could recognise the very 
spot where Fran9ois had halted that day ten years on 
the brink of the precipice. A hundred yards further 
south a fan*shaped snow-bed lay against the base of the 
abrupt crags. This snow must have fallen tlirough 
some breach ; and closer inspection showed a shadow 
on the face of the cliff — good proof that it was not so 
smooth as it looked, and that a hidden gully might be 
foimd at our need. 

PA8S0 D'AMBIES. 267 

A long and steep ascent, like that of Yal di Brenta, 
closes the lower glen. 

Halfway np the barrier the path splits, and the 
traveller must either continue to cUmb steeply and 
afterwards traverse at a level the higher slopes, or re- 
cross the stream and remain in the valley. The upper 
basin is hemmed in by wooded cliffs, on the top of 
which lies a ring of pasturages, the base of the dolo- 
mite peaks which extend in a complete semicircle round 
the head of the glen. The sky-line of the range does 
not equal in boldness or eccentricity of form that of 
Yal di Brenta ; but, except where a high but obvious 
pass leads over towards Molveno, it presents to the eye 
a most formidable barrier. 

As we approached the rock-wall clouds swept rapidly 
over it. Eran9ois suggested dolefully that history was 
apt to repeat itself. But we knew enough already to 
be tolerably independent of weather. There were two 
bays in the cliffs before us, one to our right filled by 
a small glacier ^vith which we had nothing to do, the 
other containing the fan-shaped snow-slope seen from 
below. A rough ascent over the last grass, snow and 
boulders led to the latter. 

The steep snow-slope was hard-frozen and slippery, 
and altogether too much for our porter's powers. Like 
the schoolboy he went two steps back for each for- 
ward, and, as even turning his back to the slope 
proved ineffectual, we were constrained to shoulder his 
burden and let him go. Had it not been for his ludi- 
crous incapacity to follow we should have had a long 
financial discussion ; as it was, his murmurs at pay for 
which a Swiss porter would have been thankful, soon 
grew faint with distance. At the head of the snow-bed 




we were met by an almost vertical rock ; but a sharp 
scramble of fifty feet gave us the key of the pass. On 
our right, slanting parallel to the cliff like a staircase 
to a castle-wally and completely masked up to the pre- 
sent moment by a buttress, was a steep narrow snow- 
filled gully. While Fran9ois was converting the hard 
snow into a convenient ladder, we watched with wonder 
and admiration the great red towers which broke out 
of the neighbouring mists. ^ Pour moi je pr^fiSre votre 
maison de Parlement,' said our guide when we called 
his attention to the mountain architecture. 

We gained the watershed a few yards to the south 
of the spot we had reached from the other side. The 
pass has two crests, one of rock, one of snow, with a 
bowl between them. The distant view was veiled ; but 
the Presanella, rising through clouds opposite, proved 
that the chain was really crossed. Either side of the 
Bocca dei Camozzi was now open to us. We pre- 
ferred to pass through the gap and follow the glacier of 
Val di Brenta, by which, descending at our leisure, we 
reached in good time the ^ Stabilimento Alpino ' of 

Our first glimpse, in the summer of 1872, of the 
peaks of the Trentino was from the gap at the western 
foot of the Pizzo della Mare. As our heads rose above 
the ridge of pure snow which had hitherto formed our 
horizon, and we walked up against the hard blue sky, a 
well-known pinnacle shot up before us, and out of the 
great sea of cotton-wool cloud spread over the Italian 
hills and valleys rose the shining cliffs of the Presanella. 
Further from us the serrated outline of the dolomite 
range cut sharply against the clear upper heaven. 

^ VAL DI SOLE. 269 

Familiarity never renders commonplace this marrellous 
chain. Seen from the Orteler group it is a gigantic 
wall crowned by square towers and riven in places to 
its base by mighty clefts. The breaches, despite their 
depth, are cut so narrow and so clean that fancy sug- 
gests that the elements must have borrowed some magic 
power with which to work such fantastic ruin. 

It was partly the intention of scaling the Cima di: 
Brenta, one of the loftiest towers of the dolomites, 
which was taking us for the third time to Pinzolo. So 
the mountaineers among us pulled out field-glasses and 
began at once to dissect the peak ; to decide that this 
* couloir * was snow and available, that * arfite ' broken 
and useless ; in short, to converse in that Alpine jargon 
which marks the race which Mr. Buskin once thought 
capable of treating the Alps only as greased poles. 

On the same afternoon we descended into the head 
of the great valley, which was the home of the ' Nauni 
feroces* of Horace's times, the highway to Italy of 
Charlemagne and Barbarossa. It now bears two names. 
The upper portion, where it is comparatively narrow, is 
called the Yal di Sole, probably from its direction 
admitting both the sun's morning and evening rays ; 
the lower, where the hills drop into broad-backed 
downs, preserves the memory of the ancient tribe in the 
titles Yal di Non or Nonsberg. It is as a whole a wide 
sunny valley, rich in fields of maize and vines, and 
crowded with prosperous villages overlooked by the 
ruins of mediseval fortresses. Two of its side-glens, 
Yal di Pejo and Yal di Babbi, penetrate deeply into the 
Orteler range, and the bath-houses they contain have 
a local fashion amongst the people of the hotter parts 
of the Trentino ; but the accommodation is not such as 

8 2 

sea VAL DI 80LK 


will tempt foreign Tisiton. To catalogae the bath- 
hooses of the Orteler bb Thaekeray has inns, if Santa 
Catarina is the * oochon d'or/ Babbi is the silTer, and 
Pejo the black animal, and I scarcely know where to 
find a blacker. Besides, the scenery accessible to any 
bat Tery good walkers is not of a high order; the heads 
of the glens are wild and savage rather than beantifol, 
and their lower portions, thongh delightful to drive 
down for a mountaineer coming fix)m the glaciers, wonld 
scarcely repay a separate visit. From Santa Cata- 
rina, Babbi can only be reached by a long but most 
glorious march over the Monte Cevedale and Pizzo 
della Yenezia ; ' Pejo, over the Pizzo della^Mare, is a 
comparatively short journey, and the traveller will do 
well to escape from its slovenliness and discomfort by 
driving on to the junction of Yal dei Monti and the 
main valley and the clean country inn at Fosine. 

Thewallsofitschief room were someyears ago adorned 
with a remarkable series of Bible pictures. One plate 
illustrated an unusual subject, the early life of Mary 
Magdalene, who was represented receiving the atten- 
tions of a moustache-twirling young officer in full 
Austrian uniform. It seemed doubtful whether a re- 
flection was intended on military men in general, or 
whether the Milanese artist had taken this indirect 
means to insinuate the peculiar profligacy of his then 

On the morning of the day succeeding our ascent of 
the Pizzo della Mare, we found ourselves at a tolerably 
early hour at the little village of Dimaro, a cluster of 
prosperous-looking farmhouses standing some distance 
off the high road, amongst quiet meadows, fields of tall 

* See Appendix C. 


DIMARO. 261 

maize and walnut-trees* Here the mule-patli over the 
Ginevrie Pass leaves Yal di Sole, and we had to abandon 
our car and look for a quadruped of some sort to help 
us oyer the hill. The onlj available mule had just 
come in firom a hard morning's work, drawing down 
granite boulders to embank the bed of the torrent, and 
required some rest; its master also demurred on his 
own account to starting in the heat of the daj. These 
hindrances, joined to the probable length of the joumej, 
and the unanimous voices raised in favo\ir of the hospice 
of Campiglio, made us reconsider our previous plan of 
' pushing on to Pinzolo, and agree to trust to the hos- 
pitality of the ' ricco signor,' who had always meat in 
his house, and whose best room was as beautiful as any 
at Cles, or even Trento. 

The inn at Dimaro is a very clean-looking little house, 
evidently owned by tidy people. Some of us spent the 
midday hours in a siesta in a cool bedroom, with a 
row of bright flower-pots across the window, through 
which there came in to us glimpses of an atmosphere 
quivering with light, mingled with fresh sounds of 
rustling branches and running waters. The sunshine of 
the mountains is always full of life and freshness ; it is 
only down in the stagnant plains that the midday heat 
bums like a dull furnace, drying up the energies alike 
of plants and men. 

Meanwhile the agriculturist of the party found 
interest in watching the threshing in the barn below, 
where a dozen peasants — men, women, and girls — dis- 
posed in a circle, were wielding their short flails with 
incessant industry. At length the mule was rested. 
Its master did not at first seem likely to prove a plea- 
sant addition to our number, for he declined to help 


the guides by carrying a knapsack, resented strongly 
the suggestion that he should go to his animal's head, 
and discoursed gloomily on the difficulties and fatigues 
of the road. This strange conduct on the part of a 
Tyrolese peasant was accounted for by our companion's 
informing us that he had spent a year in Paris. 

A mile of dusty cart-road leads to a bridge at the 
foot of the wooded rock which juts out from the dolo- 
mite range and blocks up the lower part of Val Selva. 
Steep zigzags carried us up through a picturesque 
tangle of trees and crags to where the road turns the 
northern comer of the huge promontory. A fair land- 
scape of the romantic school now opened suddenly 
before our eyes. In front, and slightly beneath us, lay 
a wide green basin, through which the stream wan* 
dered peacefully towards our feet. Above its further 
end rose a sheer cliff, limestone or dolomite, fringed 
with dark pines. Beyond this valley-gate the eye wan- 
dered into the quivering Italian sky, imagining, if it 
did not see, further distances and a limitless extent of 
waving hills and wooded plains. On our right the 
ground rose in wave above wave of forest, in the re- 
cesses of which, the righfc track once lost, one might 
wander for hours without seeing any snowy landmark 
by which to steer a course. 

The path traversed the stream, and then mounted 
gently along the western side of the valley, through 
glades where wild strawberries and bilberries flourished 
in rare profusion. After the foot of the cliff had been 
passed, higher mountains towered on the south, and 
glimpses of the strange red pinnacles and white water- 
less gullies of the Sasso Rosso were caught from time to 
time through the floating vapours that wreathed them. 


A bonndarj stone marked the limit of the districts of 
Cles and Tione« As yet there was no sign of a water- 
shed. In fact there appeared no reason whj we need 
come to one at all. The ground rose sufficiently to 
hinder our seeing for anj distance in advance, but still 
so gentlj that it might have gone on rising almost for 
ever. Deep boggy holes, which we crossed on causeways 
of decaying logs, while the ingenious mule picked his 
own way through the mud, interrupted the path. These 
Were the difficulties of which our Parisian had warned 
us. Meantime the eastern range retreated further from 
us, and a stream flowed out from a broad valley at its 
base. At last the hillside sensibly steepened, and the 
forest grew less thickly. We overtopped the brow of the 
ascent and found ourselves on the edge of a vast undu- 
lating pasture. Barns and stables, too large to be called 
chfilets, were sprinkled here and there. Frequent fences 
and gates suggested an English homestead. Sleek cows 
reposed contentedly on the grass, careless young heifers 
quarrelled and made it up again, while a couple of fussy 
donkeys raised a bray of welcome and galloped up to 
greet their half-brother in our train. 

The highest point of the tableland of the Ginevrie 
Alp was our pass ; from it the path dipped suddenly 
into a waterless dell. A few paces further brought us to 
the verge of the short steep descent whence we looked 
down on the meadows of Yal Nambino and the tower 
of La Madonna di Campiglio. The path made a cir- 
cuit to reach it, but we preferred a short cut, despite 
the warning of a priest who shouted after us that it 
was * piu pericoloso.' 

Before we went to bed it was decided that the 
mountaineers should set oS next morning with Henri 


DerauaMOiid, a brother of the more celebrated Francis, 
in search of a route up the still maiden Cima di Brenta. 
Owing to various delays it was past fire when we started. 
Onr ideas as to the direction to be at first taken were 
rather cmde, and had been rendered more so bj the 
assurances of a German traveller we met overnight that 
there was no valley between the Yal di Brenta and 
Monte Spinale. 

Close to a second inn, a peasants' drinking-honse, we 
left the road to Pinzolo for a terrace-path skirting the 
lower slopes of Monte Spinale. As we gradnallj tamed 
the most projecting spnr of the mountain, the lower 
portion of Yal Nambino opened beneath us. The morn- 
ing clouds were rapidly dispersing under the warm 
influence of the sun. High up in air, severed from the 
solid earth by a grey belt of yet undissolved mist, the 
great snow-plains of the Car^ Alto shone in a golden 
glory such as that in which Mont Blanc veils himself 
when seen from a hundred miles' distance.' Thin 
vapours still clung round the dolomites of the Bocca di 
Brenta, making their strange forms appear still more 
fantastic. Thus far our path had been gradually de- 
scending. Now a valley opened exactly where we looked 
for it at the south-eastern base of Monte Spinale. A 
timber-slide, which, if in good repair, forms the most 
luxurious of mountain-paths, avoiding all inequalities 
of ground, bridging chasms and mounting by an almost 
uniform gradient, led us up the glen which is known 

> This Tiew is eDgraved as the frontispiece to the Jahrhnch for '69-70 
I of the Swiss Glnb ; bat the artist, fancying himself to have before him the 

snow-fields of the Lobbia Glacier, has gone hopelessly wrong in his identifi-* 
I cation of the peaks. His Crozzon di Lares is the Car6 Alto, his Crozzon 

I di Fargorida the Gomo Alto, his Lobbia Alta the Como di Cavento, and his 

Lobbia Bassa the Grgsion di Lares. 


as the Yallesinella* Through breaks in the forest the 
glacier-crowned crags of the Cima di Brenta were now 
seen for the first time, followed on the north bj an 
array of slender obelisks, beaks, and crooked horns, the 
strangeness of which would, but for a long experience 
in dolomite vagaries, have made us doubt our eyes. 
In the foreg^und a romantic wpiterfall, framed amongst 
woods of birch, beech, ash, and pine, dashed over the 
rocks. We could not but feel the contrast between 
such mountain scenery, where Nature seems to revel in 
the indulgence of her most poetical mood, and the dull 
formality of much we had lately been living amongst 
in eastern Switzerland. To me the Upper Engadine, 
with its long perspective of brown barren mountains 
leading to an ignoble termination, suggests irresistibly 
the last Haussman boulevard. Yet while the choicest 
spots of the Italian Tyrol remain deserted, fashion 
crowds the bleak shores of St. Moritz, and finds a charm 
even in the swamps of Samaden. 

On a knoll above the waterfall stands a group of 
chdiets. We were attacked in passing them by a 
gigantic dog, armed with a collar bristling with iron 
spikes. But for our ice-axes our expedition might have 
been brought to an untimely end. As it was, we stole 
a flank march on the foe, while Henri occupied his at- 
tention with a blow on the nose which indisposed him 
to follow up our retreat. The timber-slide we had 
lately followed comes down from the furthest comer of 
the recess at the back of Monte Spinale, whence an easy 
pass leads into the Val Teresenga, a lateral glen of Yal 
di Sole, parallel to Yal Selva. 

Under the ch&lets a bridge crosses the stream, and 
a path mounts steeply the opposite hillside. We, by 


keeping too long beside the water, missed the track. 
While forcing our way back to it over the slowly decay- 
ing tronks, and amongst the rich ferns and weeds, we 
were tempted for a moment to fancy ourselves in a 
wilder land. Alas! the woodcutter's axe is abeady 
busy on these slopes, and they will not long retain their 
robes of primeval forest. 

The path ree&ined, a well-marked zigzag led us to 
the broad crest of the ridge dividing Yal Brenta from 
the Yallesinella. There is probably no spot in the 
neighbourhood — not even excepting Monte Spinale — 
which commands so general, and at the same time so 
picturesque, a view. On three sides the ground falls 
rapidly towards Yal Nambino and its tributary glens. 
Full in front of us stood the defiant tower of the Cima 
Tosa, with the two Boccas on either side of it. We 
could trace every step of our ascent to the Bocca dei 
Camozzi, an expedition in some respects even more sin* 
gular than the Bocca di Brenta, and one which will in 
time become well known to travellers. Beyond the 
valley rose the comparatively tame forms of the granite 
range. Nearest to us was my old conquest, the 
Presanella, the highest summit of the whole country ; 
further south, the upper snows of the Lares and Lobbia 
glaciers spread in a great white curtain between the 
Car^ Alto and Adamello. Behind Monte Spinale the 
circle of mountains was completed by the dolomites 
of Yal Selva. 

Our path forked on the crest, one branch descending 
to a chMet perched on a shelf immedately overlooking 
the green plain at the head of Yal Brenta. From this 
alp a footpath of some kind leads down to the track of* 
the Bocca — a fact to be borne in mind by future travellers 


who wish to see in a day as much as possible of the 
scenery of the dolomites without crossing the pass to 
Molveno. We followed an upper track, skirting the 
southern base of a group of rocky pinnacles, on the 
highest of which stands a withered pine-stem, perhaps 
planted there by some agile shepherd. Before long the 
path came to an end in a rocky hollow immediately 
at the base of the precipices of the Cima di Brenta. 
Their appearance, had we not learnt from afar some- 
thing of their secrets, would have been sufficiently 
forbidding. Over the gap by which we were about 
to recross into the head of Yallesinella shot up an 
astonishing dolomite, a facsimile of a Ehine castle, 
with a tall slender turret, perhaps 800 feet high, at one 
comer. Once across the ridge, the climber turns his 
back on all green things, and enters on a stony desert. 
He is within range of the mountain batteries, and in a 
fair position to judge of the havoc caused when frost 
and heat are the gunners. Overhead tower sheer 
bastions of red rock ; the ground at their base is strewn 
with fragments varying in size from a suburban villa to 
a lady's travelling-box. A dripping crag, with a scanty 
patch of turf beside it, offered all that was wanted for 
a halting-place. We were now overlooking the lower 
portion of the deep trench, filled higher up by glacier, 
which divides the Cima di Brenta from the rock-peaks 
to its north. Through it a pass, a worthy rival of the 
Bocca di Brenta, and leading like it to the Yal delle 
Seghe, has been discovered by Mr. Tuckett. 

A short distance above us was the glacier-covered 
breach by which we felt confident the fortress might 
be won. To reach the level of the ice we climbed under 
the base of an almost overhanging cliff, and then across 


a boulder-strewn shelf. Mounting the sides of the 
glacier bj a ladder of steps kicked in the snow which 
still covered them, we quickly reached and left below 
precipices and pinnacles which a short time before had 
looked hopelessly near the sky. At the top of the steep 
ascent lay a miniature snow-plain, surrounded by steep 
broken crags. From its further end a sort of funnel 
fell through the cliffs overhanging the Bocca di Brenta. 
The summits of the Cima di Brenta were at some 
distance to the left, and it seemed possible there might 
yet be difficulties in store for us. The steep faces of rock 
fronting the south offered good hold for feet and hands, 
and discarding the rope we took each of us his own 
path. In a quarter of an hour we came to a broader 
part of the mountain, and surmounted in succession two 
snowy cupolas. The second looked like the summit, but 
on reaching it we saw a still higher crest beyond. 
Between us and it was a gap, on the north side of which 
lies a glacier which soon curls steeply over and falls 
upon the larger ice-stream at the base of the mountain. 
A short scramble, down and up again, brought us to the 
real top— a ridge of shattered crag nearly level for 
some distance. From here our eyes should have feasted 
on a view of rare beauty over the rich valleys of the 
Trentino to the rival peaks of Cadore and Primiero, 
down upon the deep-lying waters of Lago di Garda, and 
northwards over the snowy ranges of Tyrol. But our 
ill-luck in distant views that season followed us to the 
last. Dark clouds, the forerunners of a thunder-storm, 
had already wrapped the distant mountain tops, and 
fleecy vapours choked up the valleys at our feet. No- 
thing was clear but our own peak and the Cima Tosa, 
the huge mass of which now scarcely overtopped us by 


the height of its final snow-cap. We waited long and 
patiently for some friendlj breeze to lift even a corner 
of the white carpet which concealed from us all that 
lay at the base of the precipices on the Molveno side. 
We prayed in vain ; the weather changed only for the 
worse^ and we did not care to risk a meeting with the 

The storm which broke on us during the descent 
prevented any attempt to vary the morning's route 
until we reached Val Nambino, when we turned off to 
the left, and hurried down to rejoin our companions at 

Yal Selva, though the shortest, is not the only 
tolerably easy means of access from Campiglio to Yal 
di Sole. To the left from the Ginevrie Pass a path 
branches off to the Passo delle Malghette, and leads in 
six hours to Pelizzano ; to the right another track leads 
over at the back of Monte SpinaJe to the Flavona alp — 
a high pasturage at the head of Yal Teresenga, one of 
the few valleys in the Alps six hours in length which 
have escaped the all-seeing eyes of the author of the 
* Alpine Guide.' 

The Passo di Grostd is sometimes ascended by visi- 
tors to Campiglio as the nearest spot whence it is pos- 
sible to look eastward over the Trentino. The rocks 
fall away from the top towards the Flavona Alp in a 
series of advancing courses of massive masonry, like 
the sides of a Greek theatre. Without local guidance, 
it is easy for a solitary traveller to get into difficulty 
amidst the maze of low cliffs. 

The upper chdiet of the Flavona Alp stands in the 
middle of a broad sloping pasturage overlooked by the 


bold cliffs of Monte Fabian and connected on the far- 
ther side by an eas j shepherds' pass with Yal Sporeggio. 
Another ' Bocca ' latelj brought to light leads under 
the cliffs of the Cima di Brenta to the Yal delle Seghe 
and Mol veno. We must now, however, follow the water, 
which carries us down into one of the strangest recesses 
of the Alps. Oar guide will soon desert us. For the 
greater part of its length Yal Teresenga has no stream 
and no channel for one to run in. Where by every 
precedent there should be a level trough, we find nothing 
but a confusion of high-piled mounds. Mountains 
have fallen and blocked up this glen with their ruins, 
and one's impulse, unscientific it may be, suggests an 
earthquake as the only adequate cause for so extra- 
ordinary a cataclysm. 

The open alps lie high up on the sunny shoulders of 
the Sasso Bosso and Sasso Alto ; the depths are clothed 
in dense forests rich with a rank undergrowth of ferns 
and flowers, and, still more welcome to dry-throated 
travellers, of wild finiit. One Saturday afternoon, when 
the woodcutters and their families who visit the glen in 
summer were on their way down to spend a holiday at 
their villages in Yal di Non, we met at least 200 people, 
scarcely one of whom was without a basket filled with 
bilberries, strawberries and raspberries. 

Suddenly a new colour shines through the branches, 
and we reach the shore of a large circular sheet of 
water hemmed in on every side by cliffs and woods. 
By such a solitary pool might old Saturn have sat. 

Forest on forest hung about his head. 
Like cloud on cloud. 

In the centre the water is dark blue as an Egyptian 
night ; round the rim fallen pine- trunks are strewn in 


disorder aloDg the bottom and dje the border of the 
lake the deepest red. 

Below the lake smooth, wall-like cliffs threaten the 
valley, and huge rock-slips again bury the stream, giving 
by their rough unclothed surface an air of desolation to 
the landscape. When the water suddenly gushes out, 
a noble fountain, half its waters are at once seized and 
imprisoned afresh in stone channels, which are soon 
seen high up on opposite sides of the glen running 
boldly along the face of vertical cliffs to carry refresh- 
ment to the upper slopes of Val di Non. 

The cart-road descends rdpidly through a deep and 
narrow gorge which, after making a sharp angle, opens 
into the noble expanse of the great valley a mile below 
Tuenno, and three or four below Cles. The high-road 
would soon carry us down to the Adige and the railway- 
station of San Michele. But we have vet to see the 
Lago di Molveno and the back of the Brenta. 

At the eastern base of the dolomitic chain, more than 
7,000 feet below its crowning crags, lies a deep trough, 
bounded on the further side by the crest of Monte 
Guzza, which, descending in steep cliffs into the valley 
of the Adige, slopes more gently towards the west. A 
considerable portion of this depression, the waters of 
which are turned in opposite directions by a a low bank 
traversing its centre, is filled by the Lago di Molveno, 
one of the largest of high Alpine lakes. A strong 
stream flowing from the Yal delle Seghe is its principal 
feeder, and, strange to say, it has no visible outlet. 
The village of Molveno, situated at the head of the lake, 
is the natural head-quarters for the exploration of the 
neighbouring mountains. Its situation, at a height 
of 3,000 feet above the sea, and close to peaks of nearly 


11,000 feet, is so attractiye, that if reasonable accom- 
modation were provided it would become a fayonrite 
baiting-place for travellers. At present it is almost 
completely unknown.^ 

The tracks to Molveno most frequented by the country 
people are those from the gorge of the Bocchetta in Yal 
di Non and from the valley of the SaVca, near the 
Baths of Comano. We shall choose the northern. 

We had spent aday of continuous downpour in driving 
down the Yal di Non, and it was already late afternoon 
when our dripping omnibus deposited us in front of the 
wayside inn which marked the turning-point of the 
path to Yal di Spor and Molveno. 

As we wound up the steep hill the last clouds blew 
over, and wide views opened on all sides over the rich 
gentle slopes of the Nonsberg, covered with white vil- 
lages, whose wet walls and roofs glittered in the slant- 
ing sunshine. Before long Spor itself came into sight, 
lifted high on a healthy hillside and capped by a pic- 
turesque castle. The sound of its sonorous church bells 
followed us far on our way. Hereabouts we left the 
cart-road and followed a shorter track under the 
castle-crag and along the eastern hillside to the village 
of Cenedago. Hence a short ascent over meadows, 
gorgeous in June with tiger-lilies, leads to the water- 
shed, and the path, passing a pine-girt pool, begins 
almost imperceptibly to descend before Andolo is 
reached and the road rejoined. , Our way now followed 
the right bank of the Bior brook, through woods above 
whose tree-tops tall dolomite pinnacles shot up against 
the sky. The forest soon thickened, and, although the 

1 Six Englishmen visited it in 1873 ; of these my own party supplied 
three, a fourth was a friend whom I directed thither. 


ground no longer rose in front, shut out all view in the 
direction of Molveno, until on a sudden a comer was 
turned, and at the end of a long dark-green vista, 

Lo ! the shining levels of the lake, 

confined on one side by a steep brow, on the other by 
the bold buttresses of the Brenta group. Far away to 
the south, seen through a space of air still aglow and 
quivering with the late sunbeams, rose the rounded 
crests of the hills above Biva. Close at hand, to be 
reached by some well-made zigzags, lay Molveno village 
on the shore of its lake and beside a little bay of sin-' 
gular beauty, shut in between steep banks and spanned 
at its mouth by a wooden bridge. The whole picture 
recalled some imaginative landscape of a great painter 
rather than any other Alpine scene. 

We would willingly have lingered before it. But the 
sun had already set, and it was necessary to seek food 
and shelter without delay. 

We were led to an irregular open space, which, de- 
spite its fountain, did not venture to call itself a piazza, 
and into a low, broad, dark entry, where among a litter 
of carts and logs we sat down while the guides sought 
the people of the inn. They were already half asleep, 
and came down with bewildered looks to tell us that 
there was no food in the house, but fish — yes — in the 
lake. Had not our own supplies fortunately furnished 
supper we should have fared but poorly. Nor did the 
accommodation promise well. Orcus itself can scarcely 
have a blacker portal than that which yawned for us on 
our way to the upper floor. The walls were coated with 
layer upon layer of soot and smoke, each so thick that 
the only reasonable theory seemed to be that in some 



alteration of the premises the original chimney of the 
house had been turned into the staircase without 
any preliminary cleansing. The bedrooms upstairs 
proved better than such an approach had led us to 
expect. It was an illustration of the primitive and 
trustful manners of the place that my bed and the next 
were separated by a baby's cot, the tenant of which, 
thus abandoned to our tender mercies by its parents, 
wisely refrained from expressing any emotion, and was 
not even discovered until morning. 

The access from Molveno into the heart of the 
Brenta chain is by the Val delle Seghe — the valley of 
the saw-mills, the torrent of which discharges itself 
through a considerable delta into the lake a quarter of 
a mile south of the village. This glen is narrow and 
shut in by magnificent smooth, red clijffs of great height 
shooting out of dense beech forests. After penetrating 
three or four miles due west, rising steeply all the time, 
it abruptly terminates in a basin enclosed by the wildest 
crags. The two streams which here meet fall from 
recesses lying noiiih and south, and giving access re- 
spectively to the Bocca di Yallazza, a pass leading to 
the high pasturages at the head of Yal Teresenga, and 
to the more famous Bocca di Brenta. Between the two 
a third pass, discovered by Mr. Tuckett, leads directly 
to Campiglio by the Yallesinella. 

We left Molveno by starlight, and dawn had but 
just bared the sky when we turned up the rough hill- 
side leading to the Bocca di Brenta. The track at first 
climbed so steeply through the dewy forest that we were 
often glad to catch at a branch or root to ease the strain. 
The pasturage above is the Malga dei Yitelli, and the 
calves and the boys who tend them can afford to dis- 


pense with zigzags. The mothers of the herd are in 
more luxurious quarters, chewing the sweet herbage of 
the Flavona Alp or wandering over the broad ridges 
of Monte Gazza. 

On a sudden the tip of the rock opposite us glowed 
as if with ruddy flame ; for a few seconds every pin- 
nacle was of the same colour, then the whole sun reached 
them, and orer the solemn greens and greys of the 
lower earth the mountain rampart flashed out gorgeous 
with light and colour. The red gold assumed at sun- 
rise by rocks of this formation may be better realised by 
a glance at Turner's ' Agrippina landing with the Ashe? 
of Germanicus ' (No. 523 in the National Gallery), than 
by reading pages of description. 

Nowhere does a climber's attempt appear more 
ambitious and hopeless than in a dolomite country. 
The broken crags serve as scales by which to measure 
distance and emphasise height. There is none of the 
encouraging but deceitful monotony of snow*slopes. 
Yet as, ourselves still untouched by the sun's rays, we 
steadily mounted our treadmill path, huge towers- 
which half-an-hour before had seemed sky-piercing, 
sank beneath us and gave place to another tier 
rising far overhead. At last the battlements were 
reached and the snowy breach of the Bocca opened on 
the right. But the pass did not satisfy our ambition, 
and we told Nicolosi to lead us against the keep 
itself. Passing round a rocky comer, we found our- 
selves for the first time facing the huge mass of the 
Cima Tosa. Two fields of ice lying at different levels 
clothed its shoulders, over which rose a bold head of rock. 
Below and behind us lay a strange tableland pierced by 
a deep punchbowl, empty as if it had been recently 



drained in a witches' Sabbat. But its singularity did 
not long detain our eyes, for in the east, far as the eye 
could reach, shone range behind radge of deep-toned 
mountains, and the memory wandered to past summers 
as we counted over again the noble roll of the Venetian 

The Cima Tosa is everywhere cliff-girt, and it is 
difficult to decide where to attack it. The spot where 
we approached it did not look more tempting than 
others. But Nicolosi had the advantage of experience, 
whereby we gained confidence and lost excitement. 

To avoid a burning sun, we lunched in the cave 
between the ice and rock. After a few yards' scrambling 
the foot of an absolute wall was reached. Its height 
may be estimated by the fact that our rope, sixty feet 
long, just sufficed to pull a man up the whole of it. It 
was therefore some ten feet less than the rope. But 
although practically perpendicular throughout, and at the 
top even considerably overhanging, so much so that in 
descending I tried in vain, sitting on the edge, to watch 
the progress of my predecessor, it was not dangerous or 
even difficult. Leave on any wall bricks projecting 
throughout and send a man to the top of it with a rope, 
it is no hard matter for any one of moderate activity 
and nerve to follow. No strain may be put on the 
rope round your waist, yet it is a sort of moral banister 
which places one completely at one's ease. 

This crag scaled, the rest of the way, though steep, 
proved easy. The rope was left, and we scrambled as 
we liked up alternate rocks and snow-beds until the 
final snow-dome of the mountain was gained. 

The view resembled in general character those from 
the Adamello summits, except that the neighbouring 

THE CIMA T08A. 277 

snow-fields hid the Swiss Alps, and in revenge the upper 
end of Lago di Garda lay, a blue polished sheet, 
beneath the broad back of Monte BaJdo. 

The neighbouring tower or buttress, so noble from 
the Yal di Brenta, was now a stone's throw below us. 
Its top may some day be reached, but there is a gap to 
be crossed, and the Matterhom has not more awful pre- 
cipices. A long trough, filled with the snows which 
break off year by year from the mountain crest, falls 
3,000 feet, at an almost uniform angle, on to the Yal 
di Brenta side of the Bocca. A party of steady, patient 
men with ice-axes might mount or even descend it in 
safety, but it is a place where haste or carelessness 
would mean broken necks. 

It is easy to return by the ordinary route to the 
comer whence the peak was first seen, and th^u traverse 
ledges to the top of the Bocca. The way from the pass 
to the plain beneath the great tower lies along the 
bottom of a trough, snow-filled and steep above, then 
more level and grassy. The last descent is made by a 
stony zigzag on the right-hand side of the cleft. Bun 
down it as swiftly as you may, and then fling yourself 
on your back among the creeping pines and look up 
straight into the sky, where more than 4,000 feet over- 
head the vapours meet and part round the astounding 
rock-tower which shoots up solitary and unsupported 
until its top is lost in the sky. Nowhere in the 
Alps will you gain so strong an impression of sheer 

Then careless of * times,* and leisurely, as if your 
sinews had not been strung up by a severe climb, loiter 
through the strawberry-beds and linger at the ' malghe ' 
until the sun shines only on the great Lares snow- 


fields, and the lower world is cool in shade and rich in 

When as yon stroll down to Pinzolo or up to Cam- 
piglio yon think over the impressions of the day, we 
shall snrely agree that the Brenta group are as ' De- 
lectable Mountains' as any Alpine pilgrim need sigh 


Scaleof Eiighah Jiile». 
1 ^ % ^ o 1 a 3 

London: Longmans & CV, 



— I 





Put those jagged spires, where yet 
Foot of man was never set ; 
Past a castle yawning wide, 
With a great breach in its side, 
To a nest-like valley. — J. Inoklow. 

The rede is ryfe that oftentime 

Great clymbers fall nnsoft. — Spbnsbr. 


Some time since a nineteenth-century Arthur, an enemy 

■^ of shams moral or mountainous and a President of the 

'Csiu Alpine Club, wandering beyond his usual bounds, found 

himself suddenly in the presence of a bevy of formidable 

f giants. Accustomed though he wa« to such encounters, 

/ the prodigious stature of these monsters, their impene- 

^/^'^ trable armour, and perhaps more than all the weird 

/ cruelty of their appearance, as with flame-tipped crests 

they stood up in a mighty line against the sunset, made 

such an impression on his mind that on his return, 

instead of calling on his Bound Table — the Alpine Club 

— to overthrow the untamed brood, he solemnly warned 

them as they valued their lives to let it alone. 

The warning was of course ine£Eectual. One of the 


yocmgest knights rashed to the spot, went straight at 
the yerj tallest and most repulsive of the giant familj, 
and returned victorious after an encounter, brief it is 
true, but of the most deadly character. Their prestige 
thus rudely shaken, others of the giants fell tamely 
enough, and but two or three still remain, owing perhaps 
their prolonged escape as much to their remoteness as 
to their individual terrors. 

So far as I am concerned I have no such thrilling 
tale to tell as that recorded by Mr. Whitwell in tbe 
' Alpine Journal ' * of the ascent of the Cimon della Pala. 
On the only two occasions when I have come near the 
giants of Primiero circumstances have hindered me 
from doing much more than seek to detect the weak 
points in their harness ; to abandon a somewhat strained 
metaphor, to make passes. For although I have been 
successful in reaching the second in height of these sum- 
mits, this was, as it proved, little of a mountaineering 
feat compared to the passage of the gap beside it. 

Passes have, however, for the general tourist more 
practical if less poetical interest than peaks. I shall 
not scruple therefore to devote some pages to the tracks 
which lead either round or across this singular group. 

The mountain- knot which raises its wellnigh per* 
pendicular masses behind Primiero may be compared 
to a horseshoe from which protrude spikes of irregular 
length. The easiest paths, the only ones practicable 
for beasts of burden, wind round the base of the pro- 
tuberances ; the higher passes, fit for shepherds or foot- 
travellers, peuetrate the recesses between the lofty 
spurs and cross the horseshoe itself. The former are 
not the least fascinating. 

* Aipine Journal^ toI. t. p. 111« 


For this country owes its wonderful beauty in great 
part to the constantly recurriog contrast between the 
tall bare cliffs of the great rock islands and the soft 
forms of the green hills which like a sea roll their ver- 
durous waves between them. Bound the peaks of 
Primiero lies a region of wide-spreading downs, scarcely 
divided from each other by low grassy ridges ; of forest- 
dad vales where the rich soil nurtures a dense un- 
dergrowth of ferns and moisture-loving plants. The 
huge crests of the Sass Maor or the Cimon della 
Pala never look so wonderful as when, seen from 
among the rhododendrons and between the dark 
spu*es of pine, their ^ rosy heights come out above the 

It may perhaps be thought that I might well have 
passed over as described by former travellers the two 
main lines of traffic by which the people of the country 
communicate with their neighbours of Yal Fassa and 
Agordo. But the account given of these passes by 
Messrs. Gilbert and Churchill seems to me to have been 
damped by the bad weather which those energetic ex- 
plorers met with in this neighbourhood ; and the pages 
of subsequent travellers have added but little to their 
report. Moreover, the times marching on, even at 
Primiero, have made many changes and smoothed away 
many obstacles, and thus rendered more or less obsolete 
the tales of even a few years ago. 

The greatest of these changes is the new carriage- 
road which has lately been constructed from Primiero 
to Predazzo, in Yal Fassa. From Primiero to the top 
of the pass it is finished in ' the well-known style ' of an 
Austrian military highway; the descent through the 
forest to Paneveggio is not as yet equally solidly con- 


stmcted,' bat the whole road is perfectly safe and easy 
for spring-carriages. 

The inns along the way (there are now three in the 
space of an eight hours' drive) have shared the fortunes 
of the road. At San Martino di Castrozza an hotel to 
contain twenty bedrooms has just been built, and will 
be opened next summer. The situation, 5,000 feet above 
the sea, amidst luxuriant meadows but at the very base 
of the greatest peaks of the country, is, so far as I know, 
unequalled amongst the dolomites. A new inn of more 
modest capacity has been erected on the very crest of 
the Pass. Paneveggio, once the rudest of peasants' 
houses of call, now furnishes ample if homely fare, and 
boasts at least one comfortable bedroom. 

Yal Fassa ends, and the country under the spell of 
the Primiero peaks begins, where the new road, having 
toiled up a green hillside to the little chapel and hamlet 
of La Madonna della Neve, bends at a level round the 
base of a flat-topped block of rock and pines which lies 
across the valley and cuts off the * Forest of Paneveggio ' 
from the outer world. 

Those who have seen mountain forests in their 
virgin splendour amongst ranges moistened by more 
abundant rains and heated by stronger suns must ever 
after feel that, beautiful, nay incomparable, as the Alps 
are in many respects, in this one they distinctly fail. 
Even setting aside the ravages of man, Alpine forests 
can hardly have equalled in richness and variety those 
of the more southern ranges, such as the Himalayas, 
and Caucasus, which seem the paradise of the vege- 
tation of the temperate zone. But the axe, in the 

' This part of the road was being remade in September 1874. 


hands of Swiss and Italian peasants, has been used 
with equal stupidity and effect. The barrier interposed 
by nature between the valley and the impending ava- 
lanches has been destroyed^ the foliage which caught 
and distributed the rain-storms has been hacked away. 
For the sake of an immediate gain, the ignorant villa- 
gers have left their homes open to the rushing snows of 
spring; their saturated hillsides and meadows to be 
torn up by the autumn rains. 

The ' Forest of Paneveggio ' is interesting as an 
almost solitary specimen of a district where sensible 
forest laws have been for some time in force, and where 
in consequence the pine-woods are, for general luxuriance 
and for the size attained by single trees, amongst the 
finest in the Alps. The trees are periodically thinned, 
and wherever a patch has been cleared young pines 
are at once planted, and the space enclosed so as to pro- 
tect the tender tops against cattle. Let us hope that 
the exertions of many intelligent men both in Switzer- 
land and Italy may induce the peasantry in other 
districts to follow the wise example set by these 
southern Tyrolese. 

The hospice of Paneveggio stands on a sloping 
meadow on the right bank of the Travignolo. It is a 
plain massive building, one of those raised in bygone 
years as resting-places and refuges for the people of 
the country on the long roads through the wilder- 
nesses separating their scattered hamlets. Across the 
stream rise the steep, green sides of Monte Castellazzo. 
Guiribello, a model 'casera' or mountain-farm, the 
property of an Austrian archduke, Ues high on one of 
its upper shelves. On either side of this promontory 
flow the sources of the Travignolo, one gathering itself 


in a wide ba«in under the (laBses to San Maitino and 
the Laghi di Colbricon, the other flowing ont of a deep 
dell at the immediate base of the Pala and Yezzana, 
both peaks of 11,000 feet, and, next to the Marmolatay 
the highest summits of the dolomite coontiy. 

The high-road, soon crossing the latter stream, winds 
in long, shady zigzags through the forest, and then 
reaches broad, sweet-scented pastures Ijing on the 
shoulder of Monte Castellazzo, and overhung by the 
thin wedge of the Cimon deUa Pala. 

The Costonzella Pass is a mere grassy bank, from 
which a gradual descent over open alps leads to San 
Martino. The great peaks are almost too near for 
picturesque effect, unless when clouds partially veil 
them, filling the place of foreground. Then the spec- 
tacle of the top of the Cimon breaking through a mist 
might be enough to frighten a nervous traveller, who 
may naturally expect it the next moment to topple 
over on his head. 

Pedestrians who are not afraid of distance, especially 
those going towards Primiero, will do well to abandon 
the high-road. From the hospice of Paneveggio a track 
mounts along the main branch of the Travignolo, and 
passing in succession before the precipices of the Fuoco- 
bono, the Vezzana, and the Pala, and leaving on the left 
the glacier which descends between the two latter peaks, 
crosses the back of Monte Castellazzo near the foot of 
the Pala, and rejoins the high-road. Lovers of Alpine 
tarns should cross it at right angles and take a track 
which, starting from the highest chfilet on the northern 
side of the carriage-pass, leads over the broken slopes 
of Monte Cavallazzo to the Laghi di Colbricon, two 
blue lakes frumed by green fir-clad mounds, over which 


peer the crests not only of the great Pala but of 
the more distant Bosengarten and Marmolata. The 
upper lake lies on the lowest pass between the head- 
waters of the Cismone and the Travignolo. The de- 
scent towards San Martino is at first steep ; the 
mule-track lies some distance to the right, bnt a foot- 
path a few yards to the left of the lake leads down 
at once into a picturesque glen. At the foot of 
the second descent is a ' casera ' standing on a green 
lawn. Seen from this point the great turret-crowned 
wall is like a vivid but impossible dream of moun- 
tain splendour. The sweeping outlines of dark forest 
form a foreground out of which its rigid flame-coloured 
ramparts rise like some phantom castle against the 
Italian blue. 

A short walk over hay meadows leads to San Martino 
di Castrozza, a chapel standing near a substantial build- 
ing formerly used as a hospice and frontier station, but 
lately converted into an Alpine ' pension.' It stands on 
a level meadow near the point where the stream, hitherto 
tranquil, makes a sudden plunge southwards. Imme- 
diately behind the house rises the giant row of Primiero 
peaks. From the Pala to the Cima Cimedo the whole 
line is in sight from top to bottom, and the only fault 
of the view, if it can be called one, is that we are too 
near the mountains. At Campiglio we long to ap- 
proach the peaks ; here we draw back on to the opposite 
hillsides, where we may break their outline and see but 
one or two at a time between the nearer brows. 

But a more delightful halting-place I cannot ima- 
gine, whether for climbers or idlers. At hand are many 
easy and shady strolls, and two or three hours places 
you on the top of the great wall free to climb its crests 


and explore all the mysteries of the weird tableland 
which lies behind it. To the south the Sass Maor and 
Palle di San Martino raise their unconqnered, but pro- 
bably conquerable, peaks. The former at any rate 
may best be attacked from this side. The road to 
Primiero sinks in a long descent, terraced along the 
right-hand hills, and commanding superb and constantly 
shifting views of the opposite chain. 

The path from Agordo, still the most frequented, 
though no longer since the construction of the carriage- 
road to Predazzo the easiest, approach to Primiero, has 
often had injustice done to it in many ways. It has 
been described on the one hand as shorter than it really 
is, on the other as a difficult and rugged track; and 
little justice has been done in any quarter to its great 
and varied beauty. 

Average walkers must allow for the pass seven hours 
of very ' actual walking,' excluding all those ' petites 
haltes ' which Toppfer justly counted amongst the hap- 
piest moments of life, the five or ten minutes' rest in 
the shade to admire a view or drink a cup of cold water. 
But for the whole way there is a good mule-path, 
although, as on almost all mule-paths, there are pieces 
which no one with the free use of his limbs would by pre- 
ference ride down. One of the most tiresome of these 
rough places is the steep hill under the castle of LaPietra. 
But this the foot-traveller may easily avoid, and at the 
same time gain some superb views. On leaving La 
Fiera he will have to cross the river, and pass through 
the village of Transacqua, one of the cluster which 
form Primiero, then to climb a very steep little track 
up the hill immediately behind until he reaches a 
terrace-path running nearly at a level along the moun- 


tain-side. From the first comer one looks back for 
the last time on the lake-like yallej, with its islands 
of Tillages and waves of Indian com. The path then 
bends along a shelf of meadows, with the whole '' 
chain of the dolomites in fiiU view opposite. Fur- 
ther the shelf broadens to a crescent-like plain dotted 
with ch&lets lying immediately above the castle of 
La Pietra, and looking over Count Welsberg's park 
and away into the heart of Yal Pravitale and Yal di 
Canale. Hence a short descent leads back into the 
regular road above the stoniest part of the ascent, and 
about halfway between the castle and the pass. 

A little inn, supplying drinkable wine, stands on 
the further side of the ridge. For the next two hours 
the path leads through scenery of a large and noble 
aspect. Deep below lies a valley, narrowing to a savage 
gorge before it releases its stream to flow out into the 
sunny meadows of Yal di Mel. Above its head a broad* 
shouldered isolated mountain, known by the simple 
name of H Piz, towers high into the air. 

The first village in Yenetia, conspicuous by a large 
new church, offers itself for a midday halt. A grassy 
slope leads thence to the crests of the wooded ridges 
which divide the glens sloping towards Agordo. 
Numerous paths wander about their tops, and unless 
the first leffc-hand track is taken it is easy to miss 
the way amongst them. This leads down into Yal 
Sarzana, a long but pleasant glen, supporting several 
villages, and opening nearly opposite the little town of 

So much for those of the main tracks, of which I 
can speak from experience. The road down the valley 
to Feltre is still incomplete ; other paths can be leamt 


of from the * Alpine Guide.' I must turn to the higher 
passages across the great horseshoe, which, if not abso- 
lutely unknown, were in anjcase known onlytoafew goat- 
herds and hunters before the expeditions here described. 
On the morning of May 30, 1864, a strange arrival 
disturbed the quiet of the little mountain town of Agordo, 
and collected what might pass for a crowd on the piazza, 
which in England we should call a green. Soon after 
nine a.m. the strangers who were the cause of this un- 
usual stir issued from the inn door in an armed procession 
— four Englishmen headed by a Swiss and a Savoyard, 
the two latter girt with rope. Each individual bran- 
dished a formidable axe. The natiye mind was by no 
means satisfied with the explanations offered by the 
strangers, and (as our guides afterwards told us) rushed 
to the conclusion that we were a party of diggers wan- 
dering over the mountains to seek spots favourable for 
mines, and that our strange-looking implements must be 
for breaking rocks in search of gold. At the village of 
Taibon, some half-an-hour above Agordo, a path crosses 
the river and turns into a side-glen — the Valle di San 
Lncano. After-experience has confirmed our first im- 
pressions of this valley. It is one of the most imposing 
spots in this romantic region. The level bottom is dotted 
with pines and watered by one of those sparkling 
streams too rare in the Western Alps, which, content 
with their own station in life, do not seek notoriety by 
doing harm to their neighbours. On one hand the 
Palle di San Lucano rises in stupendous cliffs, in many 
places smooth and perpendicular as a newly-built wall, 
and capped by three massive towers. On the other is 
Monte Agnaro, a more broken and slightly less preci- 
pitous dolomite, its nigged face furrowed by numerous 


clefts filled at this early season bj beds of snow, the 
remains of spring avalanches. At the ch&lets of Col, 
an hoards walk from the high-road, the glen split into 
two branches, the one short and steep running up to 
the Forcella Gesurette, a grassy gap leading to Gares, 
the other a deep trench (sometimes called the Yal d'An- 
goraz) penetrating deeply into the comer of the Primiero 
horseshoe and ending in a wild precipice-closed amphi- 
theatre. A herdsman assured us that by following a 
path on the western slopes of Yal d'Angoraz we might 
find a passage across the mountains, occasionally used 
by shepherds, but, as he added, over snow and superla- 
tively * cattivo.' The savage and uninviting character 
of the cliffs at the extreme head of the valley made 
us quite ready to follow his advice. 

Our first start that morning had been from Belluno, 
and it was now approaching noon. Just torn from the 
languid luxury of Venetian gondolas and under the 
scorching influence of a midday sun we crept upwards 
but slowly, and the only eagerness displayed amongst 
us was in finding from time to time some plausible 
excuse for a halt. 

Underwood slowly gave place to pines, and these in 
turn yielded to Alpine rhododendrons, amongst which 
our path came to an end. Several hours, however, had 
passed before we gained the limit of vegetation, and 
sat down on the rocks to consider our line of march 
over the snow-slopes which still separated us from the 
wished-for ridge. The wild cliffs of the Sasso di 
Campo, here and there nursing infant glaciers in their 
rough recesses, rose opposite. On the north stretched a 
wide elevated pasture, lying on the back of the Palle di 
San Lucano and the slopes of the Cima di Pape. 



Once on the snow all our fatigue yanished before 
the delicious air, and our spirits shared the exhilara- 
tion. It was fortunate they did so, for the scouts of 
the party, who had pressed on to the apparent pass, 
found on the further side wide-spreading snow-fields, 
barred at a great distance by a rocky ridge. Afber 
studying the military map of Venetia (in which, as we 
afterwards found, all this region is laid down in the 
vaguest and most misleading manner), we determined 
to retrace our steps and make. for a higher gap in the 
ridge on our right. This was a mistake, for had we 
gone straight on we should have found ourselves, with 
hardly any further ascent, on the edge of Val di 
Canale,^ near the spot we afterwards reached by a most 
circuitous route. 

On gaining this second depression we saw more 
slopes between us and the ridge which now seemed to be 
the watershed. The third pass in its turn proved only 
a gap in one of the numerous low spurs running across 
the great tableland which lies at the back of the rim 
of peaks seen from the valley of the Cismone. 

We were now in the very heart of this huge stony 
wilderness. In every direction stretched an undulating 
expanse of whitish- grey rock, brittle in substance and 
pockmarked by weather. Strange snow-filled pits here 
and there broke the monotony of the weird waste, 
which, but for these and its greater unevenness, resem- 

> CaDale is a frequent sjnonym for * Vallo 'in the Venetian Alps, and 
trayeUers have been led to suppose that a fanciful analogy between the 
glens of the mountain provinces and the water-streets of the capital led 
to the use of the word. But ' canale* was used in the sense of valley before 
the period of Venetian rule, and it is found at the present day in mountain 
districts of the Apennines near Spezsia^ far removed ftom any Venetian in- 
fluences. See Pa Gauge's * Olossarium ' for some curious details and quota- 
tions as to this word. 


bled a rocky shore between low and high water-mark. 
But the impression of barrenness and desolation far 
exceeded what such a comparison will suggest ; snow 
instead of water filled the crannies, and the life of sea- 
weeds and sea-creatures was altogether wanting in 
this middle realm of utter nakedness. There was too 
much sunshine for the glacier, too much frost for the 
flowers which began to find root scarcely 500 feet 
lower wherever the sun shone on a patch of disinte- 
grated rock. Here there was nothing even for a cha- 
mois to nibble. 

On the south the tableland was bounded by a line 
of snowy eminences, on the west by a fantastic cocks- 
comb of lofby crags, perhaps part of the spur of the 
Palle di San Martino. But the wide horizon to the 
north and east bore witness to the height on which we 
stood. Nothing impeded our view over the central 
dolomite region, and beyond it we recognised against 
the horizon the pale snowy line of the distant Tauem. 

But the beautiful evening shadows already creeping 
over the view gave us cause for as much uneasiness as 
delight. We had started late from Agordo ; time had 
fiown by and it was within an hour of sunset, while 
we were yet far on the wrong side of the Pass. Not a 
moment was to be lost if we wished to sleep in the 
valley of Primiero. We wandered incessantly on over 
shoulders, down gullies, across wide basins of soft snow, 
until about sunset we stood at last on the edge of 
steep rocks falling away into a southern valley, the far- 
sought Yal di Canale. A succession of snow-filled 
gullies rendered the descent easy, and enabled us to 
slide swiftly downwards for some 2,000 feet. When we 
reached the bottom of the glen daylight had already 



left na, and the young moon, which threw romantic 
lights upon the huge pinnacles of the Sasso di Campo 
and SasBO Ortiga, disdained the humbler office of serviog 
as a lantern to our path. 

It was now so dark that we had to keep close to- 
gether to avoid losing ourselves. After reaching a 
brow we too hostU; began to swing ourselvea down 
steep slopes by the tough branches of the creeping 
pines. There was a cliff at the bottom, and it weis 
necessary to remount. Anyone who knows the difference 
between working upwards and downwards through such 
a thicket, even when fresh and by daylight, will sympa- 
thise with our despair. Yet despite slips, tumbles into 
holes, slaps in the face from swinging branches, we 
scrambled somehow up again. At the next attempt 
we got down with less difficulty. 

In time we came to the bed of a torrent, here dry, 
as the water preferred a subterranean course ; for balf- 
on-hour more we stumbled along amongst the white 
boulders, every minute adding to our bruises. Then 
we fancied we had found a path, and got into thick 
woods on the left side of the glen. Soon the track, if it 
was one, was lost sight of, and we wandered off into 
deeper darkness than ever. At last we were brought 
to a dead halt. A steep step broke the valley, and cliffs, 
from the base of which the river sent up far distant 
murmurs, barred our progres.-'. Whiliit we weie all 
engaged in beating about for any tniofa of a path, a 
shout was raised. We eagerly ciKiuireil the cause. 
have got a native here, hut I i-.m'i muktr him 
stand,' was the reply. We inslu'd to our flltf' 
assistance, and found his nativo to be our Oi 



whom in the darkness he had taken for a shepherd, and 
was now cross-examining in his best Italian. 

After this disappointment we resigned ourselves to 
the prospect of a night in the forest. A fire was soon 
lighted in the nearest sheltered hollow, and sufficient 
fir-branches cut down to form a bed. We should have 
been happj had any water been at hand, but two 
oranges divided between four were but poor relief to 
parched throats. As it was, we were disposed to reflect 
that the same moonlight which lit our sky was falling 
softly on the Piazza di San Marco, and to look back 
with fond regret on the ices and lemonade of Florian^s. 
After a long absence Fran9ois reappeared with the 
indiarubber bag, which usually held our wine, foil of 
water. Then our cravings were satisfied, and we soon 
gave up watching the stars sparkling between the pine- 
branches and fell fast asleep. 

Daylight, as usual, revealed an easy escape from the 
perplexities of the night, and we speedily found ourselves 
in the exquisite meadows surrounding Count Welsberg's 
shooting-box, and an hour later filed down the high 
street of La Fiera. 

In 1864 * Alpinisti Inglesi' were unheard-of novel- 
ties at Primiero, and our procession filled every door- 
way with large wondering eyes, and roused conjec- 
tures wilder even than those of the Agordans. Some 
words of French spoken to Fran9ois were caught by 
eager listeners, and it was currently reported in the 
little town that we were a party of French officers 
engaged in a surreptitious survey of the mountains. 
For the simple mountaineers could not believe that 
Napoleon's word would not yet be kept, and at least an 


effort made to complete the work of 1859 and free Italy 
from the Alps to the Adriatic. 

No one, however, interfered with our siesta, or pre- 
vented us from leaving early in the affcemoon for San 
Martino. Here, however, we foimd some officious 
person had given warning to the douaniers, and had 
not Tuclcett's German been fluent and our passports in 
order, we should have no doubt had difficulty. As it 
was, we spent a very pleasant evening with the officials, 
who were glad enough of a little company, and invited 
us to join them in the circular chimney-comer which 
is the best, if not the only, invention which has come 
out of Tyrol. 

The old hospice was as rough quarters as could well 
be found, and our beds did not interfei'e with early 
rising. Our object was to discover a pass leading 
directly to Gares and so to Cencenighe and Caprile. 
We had found it impossible to obtain any information 
overnight, but, as we were starting, a peasant on his way 
to Yal Fassa offered to set us in the right path. We 
soon found, however, that he was leading us too far 
north, towards a far-away mule-track on the other side 
of Paneveggio. Much to our friend's surprise, there- 
fore, we turned our backs on him and our faces towards 
the great wall of cliffs which rises immediately to the 
east of San Martino. A long climb through a fir-wood 
brought us to the bare crags. The only difficulty, if it 
can be called one, lies in hitting off the easiest point at 
which to pass a low cliff. Above this the way lies over 
steep slopes covered with loose rubbish. Three hours 
after leaving Skn Martino we stood on the crest close to 
the base of the Cima della Bosetta. The view to the 
west was very wide and beautiful. We looked over a 



foreground composed of mountains pasture-clothed to 
their summits, beyond which the snows of the Orteler 
and (Etzthaler groups, the towers of the Brenta, and 
the sharp peak of the Presanella shone in the distance. 
We were now on the further edge of the great waste 
we had wandered over two days previously, and in the 
centre of the rocky peaks which dominate it* Several 
of them appeared accessible. One, the Eosetta, is in 
fact only half-an-hour's easy scramble, and well rewards 
the trouble of an ascent by a delicious glimpse of the 
fertile fields of Primiero as well as a more extensive 

At our feet was a deep hollow lying under the back 
of the Cimon della Pala. We descended into it, and 
found it the first of a series of basins connected by 
steep troughs, at this early season snow-filled, but later 
in the year, when the rocks are bare, steep enough to 
require some scrambling. 

We were threading a defile among the mountain-* 
tops. Sheer walls of cliff impended on one hand ; on 
the other the rocks of the Cima di Yezzana towered 
aloft in forms of the utmost daring, yet too massive and 
sublime to suggest the epithet ' grotesque.' Here was 
rock scenery seen in its purest simplicity, with no 
variety or relief from its sternness except what it could 
itself afford in the shapes and colouring of the crags. 
It was a Y&l Travemanzes destitute of its only ele- 
ments of life — ^verdure and water. In one of the lower 
troughs a slender stream took the place of snow as a 
covering for the rock-surfaces, and we were forced to 
get down as best we could by the side of and sometimes 
through the cascade. At the end of the last basin the 
stream entered a narrow gorge. There was still no 

296 GARES. 

trace of path, and sometimes only just sufficient footing 
beside the water. We began to fear lest we might be 
trapped, when notched logs of wood placed as rough 
ladders against the rocks showed that some passage 
existed. Presently the opening of the gorge came in 
sight, and the opposing rock-walls gave space for an 
exquisite picture — the green slopes and rugged summit 
of the Cima di Pape bathed in a flood of sunshine. 
After plundering a bed of lilies of the valley (a rare 
flower in the Alps), we came to the brink of the cliff 
above the Gares valley. A log had been thrown across 
the water on the very edge of a waterfall. This 
rustic bridge was not substantial to look at, and too 
narrow for anything but Blondin or a monkey to walk 
over. We crossed it singly astride, and found on the 
other side a path which led us by a wide sweep round the 
rock-walL This track recrosses the stream, still a mass 
of foam, beneath a fall which is perhaps the prettiest 
in the dolomite country. It then zigzags down rhodo- 
dendron-covered slopes, to the floor of the valley. 

The village of Gares is perched on a knoll in the 
centre of a fertile basin and in full view of the green 
slopes of the Gresurette. Eugged cliffi3 form a complete 
barrier on the west, and the tiny gap from which we 
had emerged looked now the most unlikely entrance 
possible to a pass. 

A haymaker of whom we enquired for an * osteria ' 
took possession of us and led the way to his cottage, 
where, having first hunted out benches and stools from 
all sorts of comers, he entertained us on milk, cheese, 
and butter. He knew of the existence of the pass we 
had crossed, but spoke of it as only used by chamois- 
hunters, and was unable to give it a name. Our host 


was most unwilling to receive even a trifle for his 
hospitality. Beyond Gares the valley is open and less 
wild and savage than most of ih^ neighbooring glens. 
It runs at first in a north-easterly direction along the 
base of the Cima di Pape, until at an hour's distance 
from Gares the Yal di Yallefl, through which runs the 
mule-track of the Yalles Pass to Paneveggio, opens on 
the lefb and the united streams bend due east to join 
Yal d'Agordo. At the comer stands Fomo dei Canali, 
the bakehouse of the valleys, a long straggling village 
which uses the only path for a drain, and sadly needs 
sanitary reform. We had to creep under the walls and 
jump from stone to stone to avoid the sea of filth. 
Just beyond the last houses Monte Civetta, more tower- 
like in form than usual, closes the view. A picturesque 
defile — where the river, which flows beside the road, 
was almost choked by logs on their voyage from the 
upper forest to the saw-mills — ^led down to Cencenighe, 
a short two hours below the lake of AUeghe and some- 
what less from Agordo. 

We have now twice crossed the great horseshoe. 
There remains a third passage, the only one unknown 
to the people of the country, across the deep narrow 
gap between the Cimon della Pala and the Cima di 
Yezzana. This pass — ^which, in virtue of the privilege 
of discoverers, I venture to call the Passo di Travignolo 
— ^leads from Paneveggio to Gares. 

On a clear starlight evening in September 1872 our 
carriage, hired at an exorbitant rate from the inn- 
master at Yigo, drew up before the shining windows of 
the hospice of Paneveggio. My friend and I were un- 
provided with guides, not purposely or because no 
peasants fit to undertake such service were to be found 


in the Venetian Alps, but from a combination of personal 
accidents. In the Alps only for a fortnight I had not 
thought it worth while to summon Fran9ois Devouassoud 
from his far-off home. My friend, who had counted on 
the services of Santo Siorpaes of Cortina, had found 
him already engaged to a lady who had taken the first 
cragsman in Tyrol to lead her mule. 

But the assurances we had received before leaving 
England that the untrodden crest of the Cima di 
Yezzana was likely to be attainable without serious 
difficulty encouraged us to persevere in our intentions 
against that mountain ; and at the first opportunity we 
applied to the people of the inn to procure for us the 
best chamois-hunter of the neighbourhood to carry our 
provisions and to serve as a third on the rope. A 
peasant of stalwart size and manly bearing was soon 
produced who, by his professions of readiness to go 
anywhere, created a favourable first impression, weak^ 
ened it is true, in my mind, by some slight suspicion 
that his ' anywhere ' might be different to ours, and 
possibly mean anywhere he had been before. But for 
this doubt I had no foundation except the stubborn 
disbelief shown by our proposed companion in Mr. 
Whitwell's ascent of the Cimon della Pala. In such a 
discussion it is difficult to know how to act. To tamely 
leave a fellow-countryman's credit to take care of itself, 
with the precarious assistance of any stonemen he may 
have lefb behind him, is opposed to one's impulse* Yet 
the statement that an Englishman's word is above 
question loses its impressiveness when delivered with a 
consciousness that your assertions are at that very 
moment accepted as the strongest evidence to the 


Shortly after five a.k. we were on the path which 
follows the eastern branch of the Travignolo. After 
some time the hills opened, the stream bent suddenly 
to the south, and wide grassy spaces extended along its 
banks. High a^inst the sky the pale heads of the 
dolomites rose in a bare gigantic row. Above the end 
of the glen towered the gannt form of the Cimon della 
Pala girt about his loins by a glacier, the only ice- 
stream in this group which makes a determined effort 
to descend into the valley. A grass-slope and a stone- 
slope led us to the ice, which rose in a steep and 
slippery bank. Higher up its more level surface was 
split by a few incipient crevasses, the largest of a 
size to engulf the heel of a boot or a torpid butterfly. 
Unluckily they did not escape the keen eyes of our hunter, 
and he proceeded to probe one of them with his staff. 
When he had done so his face assumed an air of singular 
resolution, and to our utter astonishment he informed 
us that the ice was hollow and that it would be mad- 
ness to proceed. We of course pointed to the rope he 
carried on his shoulders. In vain; our philosopher 
briefly remarked that ^ life was more than gulden,' and 
prepared to descend. 

From our standpoint the whole upper glacier was 
in sight, a semicircular hollow open to the north-west, 
hemmed in elsewhere by the cliffs of the Yezzana and 
the steep broken face of the Pala. Between them lay a 
natural pass, approached on this side by a long bank of 
snow, between which and us the crevasses were evi- 
dently easy of circumvention. The day was cloudless. 
The path to a maiden peak was open. Should we follow 
the craven-hearted hunter ? The suggestion, if made^ 


was not for a moment entertained. We roped ourselves 
together and turned our faces to the mountain. 

I feel it well here to guard myself from the risk of 
being reckoned amongst those who woidd set up an 
example of 'mountaineering without guides.' We 
were in fact neither of us disposed to disregard the 
verdict of the Alpine Club. That verdict may be thus 
summarised — 'Do not dispense with a guide except 
when and where you are capable of taking his place.' 

An heretical but excellent climber, driven into 
revolt, perhaps, by some of the excesses of Grindelwald 
or Chamonix orthodoxy, once endeavoured to incite 
Englishmen to begin climbing by themselves. I quite 
agree with Mr. Girdlestone in disliking the passive 
position of the man who, having linked himself 
between two first-rate guides, leans on them entirely 
for support, moral and physical, under every circum- 

This situation may be appropriate and even accept- 
able to the ' homo unius montis ' who wishes once for 
all to do, or rather have done, his Wetterhom or Mont 
Blanc. But for my own part I can never feel in it any 
of the pride of a mountaineer, or resist from comparing 
myself to the bale of calico which abandons itself to 
the force of a pulley in order to reach the top storey of 
the warehouse. 

But in order to avoid this position it is surely not ne- 
cessary, as Mr. Girdlestone would have us, to rush into 
the opposite extreme and do without guides altogether. 
Employing guides need not involve self-e£Pacement. A 
guide may be looked to as a teacher instead of as a 
mere steam-tug ; he may be followed intelligently in- 
stead of mechanically. 


Although we may feel very far from, and may de- 
spair of attaining, the ideal of a mountain athlete em- 
bodied in an Aimer, there is no reason why we should 
not endeavour to make some humble approach to it. 

Let the traveller accustom ^imself to choosing his 
own line of march, practise his skill by steering through 
an easy bit of an ice-fall, cutting steps down a snow- 
bank, or taking the lead along a rock-ridge such as that 
of Monte Sosa. In this way he will, without much 
additional risk, test and improve his own skill, and 
may become in time capable of undertaking, without 
other company than that of similarly qualified friends, 
any expedition of moderate difficulty. Let it never be 
forgotten, however, that in sports as well as in trades 
an . apprenticeship must be served. Forgetfulness of 
this fact has led to the worst of Alpine disasters, and 
it is by its tendency to ignore it that the doctrine of 
* mountaineering without guides * is most dangerous. 

In the present case we considered ourselves qualified 
to undertake the work before us ; that is to say, we 
saw nothing to lead us to suppose that we were about 
to enter on ground where we could not tread safely, or 
on which a chance slip, should one occur, would not 
be remediable by such skill as we might have previously 

The ice-chasms, some of them of formidable breadth, 
of the upper glacier were easily turned, and in a time 
which seemed short we came to the last of them, 
the great moat which ran round the base of the 
mountain. It was furnished with two bridges, one 
immediately under the centre of the snow-wall, over 
which any bodies falling from above would probably 
pass; the second, over which we crossed, somewhat 


nearer the Pala. This steep bank, for most snow- walls 
are little more, maj haye been at a rough guess 800 
feet high* 

The snow, though in a very trustworthy condition, 
was a little too hard for speed, and my friend, who is 
an excellent step-cutter, found plenty of occupation for 
his axe. Some hour and a half had slipped by and we 
were still 150 to 200 feet below the crest, when a 
low bank of rock, parallel to the slope and lying along 
the base of the cliffs on our left, offered us an alterna- 
tive path. We swerved towards them, not however 
without exchanging a reminder of the need of caution 
in crossing from snow to rock. An unusually capacious 
last step had been cut, and my friend had already 
attached to the crag all his limbs with the exception 
of one leg, when his whole body suddenly became subject 
to a struggle between the laws of gravity and the will 
of the climber. He had grasped a portion of the living 
rock which came away in his hand, for the first time, 
as if it had been the least stable of loose boulders. I had 
hardly time to close my axe in a tighter grip before my 
companion flew past me at a velocity of I cannot say 
how many feet to the second. 

My foothold was too slight to resist any severe shock; 
the power of resistance lay in arms and axe. In a 
moment the rope tightened, rather, however, with a 
strong increasing pull than with a sharp jerk. I felt 
myself moving downwards, but in my old position, erect, 
my face to the slope and my axe-head buried as deeply 
as ever in the snow, and dragging heavily like an anchor 
through its hard surface. Two or three seconds more 
and I felt the impulse less, my power of tension in- 
creasing. In another moment I had stopped alto- 


gether. Mj companion's fall, checked at the first bj m j 
resistance^ and still more afterwards by his own exertions 
with his axe, of which he had with the impulse of an 
old climber retained his hold, had come to an end, 
and the moment the downward strain was taken off I 
stopped also. 

I have no mental sensations to record during the 
time of the slide. The mind has, or seems to have, 
at times an extraordinary power while the body is flying 
down a snow- slope of, as it were, anticipating its separa- 
tion from its old companion, and standing apart to 
watch its fate, in what a writer in ^ Eraser ' has happily 
called ^ colonrless expectation.' The phrase may sug- 
gest of itself an explanation of this curious indiffer- 
ence. In such situations the brain is called upon to 
register so many sensations at the same moment that 
as in a well-spun top the various hues are mingled 
into one, and the pale complexion of terror has not 
time to predominate. But in order to experience this 
frame of mind the slip must be irremediable by any 
present exertion; our moments of descent had their 
practical impulses, and these were quite sufficient to 
occupy them. 

We now found ourselves respectively some sixty 
and twenty-five feet lower than we had been before, and 
with our positions reversed, but otherwise none the 
worse for our accident. So at least I thought for the 
first moment ; but a red patch on the snow immediately 
drew my attention, and I found that my knuckles, 
skinned by the friction against the frozen surface, were 
bleeding freely. My friend, who had fallen further, had 
suffered more, and the backs of his hands were indeed 
in a pitiable condition. 


Such a temporary inconvenience was not likely, 
however, to render us melancholy. Confident that no 
worse thing could happen to us, and that despite foul 
play we had proved our ability to cope with the Cima 
di Yezzana, we looked for the best means of gaining 
the crest and a convenient halting-place. An upright 
comiched wall, representing the thickness of the snow- 
field lying across the top of the pass, barred the head 
of the gully. With the rocks on our left we naturally 
declined to have any fiirther dealings ; those on the 
right did not look much more inviting. But, though 
loose and very steep, they proved with care to be quite 
manageable ; and ten minutes' careful climbing brought 
us in safety to a spur of rock some fifty feet above the 
lowest gap. 

The way to our maiden peak was still blind. It 
presented to us a massive shoulder of crag and snow- 
beds, masking the real summit which lay somewhere 
out of sight. We bore well to the right along the Gares 
side of the mountain, and over the shoulder, until we 
found a gully which took us back towards the crest. 
A short scramble placed us on it, and by a few steps 
more along a shattered ridge the summit was conquered. 

Our perch was a narrow one, and when our future 
champion, the indispensable stoneman, had taken his 
place between us, there would have been little room for 
a fourth. Still we soon made ourselves comfortable 
enough to enjoy to the utmost the glory spread out 
around us. The Cimon della Pala, a great unstable 
wedge of a mountain, shot up opposite us, its highest 
rocks overtopping ours by little more than the height 
of Mr. Whitwell's cairn. The white houses of Pri- 
miero showed over the huge shoulder of the Pala. 


The lake of AUeghe lay peaceMlj in its hollow. Be- 
yond it rose the central dolomites, the Pelmo, the Civetta, 
and the Tofana, looming largely through the glistening 
air, like Preadamite monsters couched on the green 
hills and sunning themselves in the noontide blaze. 
On one side we looked down on the white stony deso- 
lation of the great wilderness which fills the hoof of the 
shoe, on one of the nails of which we stood, on the other 
on the forest of Paneveggio and a green stretch of lake- 
let studded pastures. Far away to the west spread th^ 
rolling hill-waves of the Trentino, a vast expanse of 
broken country stretching out towards the Brenta and 
the Orteler. 

In this region the common rule is reversed. While 
the troughs of the streams are narrow and rugged, the 
summits are wooded downs covered with villages. Seen 
from any moderate eminence, such as the Caressa Pass, 
the hill-tops compose instead of confining the landscape, 
they spread out their broad backs to the sunshine in 
place of cutting it off. Instead of striking against one 
opposite range the eye sweeps across twenty surging 
ridges, and wanders in and out of a hundred hollows, 
distinct or veiled, according as the sunlight fiills on 
them, until it meets on the horizon the snows of the 
distant range extending from the Adamello to the 

So far as I know, no great painter has chosen a sub- 
ject from the basin of the Adige. Yet here, even more 
than in Titian's country and the Val di Mel, all the 
breadth and romance of Italian landscape is united to 
Alpine grandeur and nobleness of form. 

The full blaze of an unclouded heaven was just tem- 
pered into the most delicious warmth by a gentle breath 



of air. We could have lingered for maDj happy hours, 
and the moment for parting came but too soon. 

The return to the gap was only a matter of minutes. 
There we left our old tracks, and, turning in the opposite 
direction, slid quickly down snow-slopes filling a recess 
between the wildest cliffs. The brow on which we 
halted to tie up the rope was green with grass and gay 
with the brightest flowers, a tiny garden in the desert, 
where the seeds wind-borne from far-off pastures are 
caught by the earth and nursed into being by the kindly 
rays of the sun streaming full on the southward-fac'ing 

We were now immediately above the ravine descend- 
ing trom the Cornelle Pass. Once in this glen we were 
on old ground, and might easily have descended to 
Qares.* Anxious, however, to regain Paneveggio be- 
fore dark, we turned our faces to a steep ascent. The 
way across the level ground on the crest of the ridge 
had been newly marked out by stonemen. We rested 
for a few minutes to gaze again over the broad field 
of the blue and green Trentino, and then plunged be- 
neath the breeze and into an atmosphere of sunbeams. 
The rays came down on our heads, reflected themselves 
from the white cliffs, and fastened on us with a steady 
persecution, from which there was no great rock to flee 
unto. I need not enter into any details as to our exact 
route, which was so contrived as to cut into the carriage- 
road between Paneveggio and San Martino as nearly as 
possible at its summit-level. If anybody ever chances 
to aim at the same end he cannot do better than bear to 

' An inn will probably be established before long at Gares. The ascent 
of the Cima di Yezzana from that side is a fine expedition, free from the 
slightest difficulty. 


the chilets which he will see below him on the right, 
and there hire a cow-boy to gnide him through the ups 
and downs of the forests and across the great stony 
scars which mar the mountain side. Anyhow he mast 
make up his mind to reascend the final zigzags to the 
Costonzella Pass. 

After the pathless thirsty hillside and the burning 
heat, our walk in the luminous deep-hued evening 
shadows down a smooth road, varied by a milk-giving 
ch^et or a mossy short cut, was most enjoyable. 

' As the air grew chill and the golden radiance of the 
sunbeams died out of it the mountain forms exchanged 
their flaming splendours for a cool grey-blue tint. In 
some strange way this bloom in the air seemed to 
thicken until it became no longer transparent. A thin 
shadowy film grew into being, and the huge spectral 
dolomites faded away into it like genii of the ^ Arabian 

Their battle was over ; they had done their worst ; 
and the Pala and Yezzana, knowing themselves van- 
quished, might well be imagined, like respectable Afreets, 
to have retired into the bottles with which their con- 
querors had, after the custom of climbers, provided.them. 
But the Alpine Club has no seal of Solomon with which 
to bind its captives. The Primiero giants have doubt- 
less by this time come forth again, and are neady for 
fresh encounters with human foes*. 

X 2 




Iacb de moire, coteauz bleoB, 
Ciel o^ le nuage passe, 

Large espace, 
Montfl aux rochen anguleux. — Thbophilb GATrriRR. 


Even in the Venetian Tyrol the tendency of tourists to 
choose the colder pine-clad north in place of the more 
tender and varied grace of the south has become ob- 
servable. Cortina, Caprile, and the Val Fassa are even 
now on the, in everything but prices, downward path 
of corruption. But away to the south and outside the 
* regular round' there are still many quiet nooks known 
as yet only to those who 

Love to enter pleasure by a postern, 

Not the broad populous gate which gulps the mob. 

It is across the Italian frontier, and not amongst 
the stem peaks and solemn pines of Cortina, or in the 
savage gorge of Landrx)t, that we find the nature which 
Titian so often sketched and painted. In the fore- 
grounds of the northern dolomite country there is a 
commonplace stiffness and want of variety, which even 

VAL Dl ZOLDO. 309 

the weird crags of the Drei Zinnen or ColP Agnello 
cannot render romantic ; it lacks the noble spaciousness, 
the soft and changeful beauties, of the southern region. 
Its character is German in the place of Italian, it re- 
minds us rather of Diirer than of Titian. It excites 
and interests the appetite for the wonderful rather than 
soothes and satisfies our longing for complete and har^ 
monious beauty. 

Landscapes composed of blue surging waves of 
mountains, broken by sharp fins and tusks of rock, of 
deep skies peopled with luminous masses of white cloud, 
are familiar to the eyes of thousands who have never 
seen Italy nor heard of a dolomite. Side by side with 
the wide sunny spaces, the soft hills and unclouded 
heaven of the early schools of Perugia and Tuscany, 
they remain to us as types of what Italian art found 
most beautiftd and sympathetic in nature. The hill- 
villages of Yal di Zoldo claim our interest as the frequent 
haunts of Titian. While wandering between them, we 
are amongst the influences which impressed his boyhood 
and were afterwards the sources of his inspiration. The 
Pelmo may on good ground assert itself as Titian's own 
mountain. Mr. Gilbert, in his ' Cadore,' has shown it to 
us as it stands over against the painter's native town ; 
and it is impossible to turn over the facsimiles of the 
master's drawings contained in that charming volume 
without being persuaded that he drew the mountain 
from life more than once, and his recollection of it very 

Yal di Zoldo resembles many of the Venetian valleys 
in being shaped like a long-necked bottle. In its lower 
portion a narrow gorge hemmed in by beetling crags, 
it expands at its head into what, seen from any vantage- 


ground, shows as a broad sonny basin, divided by green 
ridges into a labyrinth of fertile glens. The outlines 
of these ridges are symmetrical m themselves, and they 
are grouped together in a constantly shifting but har- 
monious complexity. . Away to the south the horizon is 
fringed by splintered edges of dolomite, black as the 
receding night when cut clear against the first orange 
of dawn, or pale gold in the palpable haze of an Italian 
noon, or crimson with the reflected rays of sunset. As 
the paths cross the crests irom glen to glen, the snowy 
boss of the Antelao or the painted cliffs of the Sorapis 
tower loftily over the low intervening ridge which 
divides Zopp6 from the Val d'Ampezzo. But (to accept 
the hypothesis of Von Eichthofen) the great glory of 
Yal di Zoldo lies in the chance which led the coral in- 
sects to select the broad downs lying behind the hamlets 
of Pecol and Brusadaz for pedestals on which to plant 
their two noblest efforts, the huge wall of the Civetta 
and the tower of the Pelmo. Elsewhere in the dolomite 
country edifices may be seen covering a wider space of 
ground, or decorated with more fantastic pinnacles, the 
Westminster Palaces and Milan Cathedrals of their 
order. But these two works belong to the best style or 
period of insect art; their builders have shown that 
simplicity of intention and subordination of detail to 
a central controlling purpose which mark the highest 
of the comparatively puny efforts of their human 

To travellers the Civetta is best known by its north- 
western face, to which the little lake of Alleghe lends 
a picturesque charm sure to catch the fancy of every 
passes-by. The structure of the mountain as seen from 
Yal di Zoldo appears less intricate ; and if the cliffis are 


not so perpendicular^ the prevailing angle from base to 
cope is steeper* Its crags, glittering with rain or 
sprinkled with recent snow, shine out at an incredible 
height athwart the slant rays of a setting sun ; in the 
cloudless momiug hours they become ordinary rocks up 
which the experienced cragsman detects a path, safe 
enough when the spring is over and the upper ledges 
have * voided their rheum/ 

To the mind of the climber who wanders beneath 
its cliffs I know not what incongruous fancies the 
Pelmo may not suggest. From Yal Fiorentina and 
Santa Lucia its broad shoulders and massive head 
resemble an Egyptian sphynx ; as we move southwards 
one of the shoulders becomes detached, and the moun- 
tain is. transformed into a colossal antediluvian cub 
crouching beside its parent. When clouds part to 
show the vast glittering crest which overlooks Val di 
Zoldo we seem to realise ^ the great and high wall ' of 
the city coming down from heaven of Apocalyptic 
vision. If we ever have a ^ Practical Tyrol,' the like- 
ness of the solid mass seen from the Ampezzo road to 
the Round Tower of Windsor will probably be remarked 
on, — and there will be a certain amount of vulgar truth 
in the observation. 

One of the easiest paths to Yal di Zoldo starts from 
Alleghe, and has been described by Messrs. Gilbert and 
Churchill. Prom Caprile, the more usual point of de- 
parture, there is a direct track which first attacks the 
mountain with the headstrong energy of a novice, and 
then takes a long breathing-space along the level. 
After passing several bunches of farm-houses, clinging 
to the steep sides of Monte Femazza like flies to a 
window-pane, it again climbs up through woods to the 

312 SA2i mCOLO. 

hamlet of Coi.' The needful height is then won, and 
a green terrace, overhanging AUeghe and looking into 
the heart of the Civetta, leads to the great rolling down 
which spreads out towards the Pelmo. 

Heavy clouds, charged with electricity and rain, had 
swept about j&om peak to peak during our walk from 
Caprile, and the greyness of evening was deepened by 
heavy showers as we splashed down the wet path from 
Pecol. Near the river, and nestling under a steep 
bank crowned by a far-seen church and spire, we came 
upon the inn of San Nicol6. It stands a little back 
from the path behind a courtyard, a tall three-storied 
house, hanging out no vulgar sign of entertainment for 
man and beast. At the top of the three stories are 
two bedrooms, clean and spotless, hung with engrav- 
ings, and furnished with the air of conscious wealth of 
a farmhouse best-parlour. Their windows give an ex- 
quisite glimpse down the deep glen which falls towards 
Fomo di Zoldo, and across to a high ridge capped by a 
most fantastic fence of dolomite splinters. But if the 
upstairs rooms are bright and comfortable, they have 
not the homely charm of the great ground-floor kitchen* 
It is a wide room, ranged round with rows of lustrous 
brass pans, alternating with generous, fall-bodied, wide- 
mouthed jugs, which could never give a drop less than 
the measure painted across them. At one end is the fire- 
place, of the sort common in southern Tyrol, a deep 
semicircular bow forming a projection m the outer 
wall of the house ; the floor is slightly raised, and a 
bench runs round it, leaving the centre to be used for 
the hearth, — an arrangement which seems to solve the 
problem of the greatest happiness of the greatest 

> Not the hamlet of the same name rabsequenUy mentioned. 

SAIi mCOLd. 813 

number better even than our old English chimney- 

The structure which supports — ^not the fire, for that 
lies on the hearthstone, but the pots and pans which 
may be cooking upon it — is a piece of smith's work, 
enriched with wrought-out conventional foliage, chains 
and two noble brass griffins. All the character of the 
workman has been stamped into the metal, and comes 
out even in the irregularities of detail which Bir- 
mingham might call defects, — a modem and native 
product, however, as our host with pardonable pride 
assured us, and the best that the neighbouring forges 
of Fomo di Zoldo can send out. 

The master of the house proved to be a man of 
wealth and position in his native vaUey. He knew 
Venice well, and something of the more distant world. 
' What can one do P ' he said, in answer to our compli- 
ments on his house; 'in the mountains there are no 
ca£6sy no theatres ; one must build a fine house, and get 
what novelty one can from strangers ; but,' he added 
with a sigh, ' there are not so many.' 

In the gloom of a wet evening the conquest of the 
Felmo on the morrow seemed little more than a slender 
hope. Still, in the Alps successes are chiefly won by 
being always prepared for the best, and we were resolved 
not to lose a chance. In the matter of guides, however, 
we found a difficulty. We were ourselves, owing to the 
causes mentioned in the last chapter, but poorly pro- 
vided. The Yezzana had not proved beyond our un- 
aided powers. But we had no ambition to dispense with 
native assistance any further, or to go up the Felmo by 
any but the easiest route. The native of Caprile who 
had carried our wraps over the Passo d'Alleghe was a 


pleasant fellow, but he had never been on the Pelmo, 
where, if anywhere, local knowledge is indispensable. 
It was with some dismay, therefore, that we first learnt 
that no hnnter who knew the moimtain could be found 
nearer than Brusadaz, a hamlet an hour o£P. However, 
Brusadaz turned out to be on the way to the Felmo, and 
in the early morning we could reckon on finding the 
inhabitants at home. 

As at five a.m. we took the path which wound round 
the hill rising above the church of San Nicold, the saw- 
blade of Monte Piacedel cut a clear sky to the south- 
wards. Brusadaz was soon discovered lying in the 
centre of a natural theatre, which opens into the main 
valley very near its fork at Forno di Zoldo, and is 
directly overlooked on the north by the Pelmo, a square 
block of smooth, solid and apparently inaccessible preci- 
pice. The hunter Agosto di Marco, to whom we bore an 
introduction, was quickly forthcoming, and, with unusual 
but welcome readiness, in five minutes prepared to lead 
us to the mountain. Our luck seemed altogether good, 
for the stonemen on the Pelmo were clear of mist, and 
we promised ourselves a day of more than usual enjoy- 

A steep grassy bank severs the quiet hollow of Bru- 
sadaz from the Zopp6 branch of the valley. We reached 
the crest at some distance firom the base of the Pelmo, 
and had to follow an up-and-down track in order to 
gain the lower end of the Campo di Butorto, a broad 
level pasture^, lying at the eastern foot of the moun- 
tain. The cliffs, up which a way was to be made, were 
now before us ; but we found, to our surprise, that their 
appearance — partially veiled, it is true, by floating 


mists — was almost as discouraging as that of the 
southern face. 

There is scarcely any summit in the Alps which 
from every point of view presents so formidable an ap- 
pearance as the Pelmo. Time and the various forces 
of nature, almost invariably create a breach in the 
defences of great mountains. Here, however, their 
work has been left unfinished. The upper cliffs are, it 
is true, broken on the east by a long slope, where, after 
a fresh fall, snow lies in such quantities as to show that 
it is easy of ascent. But this snow, when, as in spring, 
it has accumulated to a 8u£Bicient mass, falls from the 
bottom of the slope over a perpendicular cliff of at least 
1,000 feet in height. It is only at what may be called 
the northern cape of the bay formed by the whole S.E. 
or Zopp6 face of the mountain, that the ridge dividing 
the'Campo di Rutorto from Val Buton runs up, buttress- 
like, against the cliffs to a point not perhaps more than 
400 or 500 feet lower than the bottom of the upper 
breach, but fully half a mile distant from it ; and the 
cliffs along this half-mile are quite hopeless in appear- 

It was consequently with some surprise that we found 
ourselves climbing the buttress in question, and, as far 
as we could see, about to run our heads against the 
wall-like rocks on which it rested. Before setting foot 
on the crags the rope was uncoiled and brought into use. 
We at once found sufficient employment for our muscles 
in making long steps, or rather lifts of the body, from 
ledge to ledge of a rock-face, ihe angle of which (dis- 
regarding our footholds) appeared to approximate very 
closely on 90. The transverse shelves, however, afforded 


excellent support, and made our progress a matter of 
perfect security. 

Above the first 150 feet a narrow gully disclosed 
itself, which led us to higher and more broken rocks. 
Then, again, the wall looked perfectly smooth, upright, 
and iinassailable. On the last place where it could have 
found room to rest was a low pile of stones. Standing 
beside it, we began for the first time to comprehend the 
key to our dilemma ; we were now to turn altogether to 
the left, and to attempt the formidable task of traversing 
the face of the Pelmo. Our pathway was before us, a 
horizontal ledge or groove, at present a few feet broad, 
shortly narrowing so as to a£Pord only sufficient standing- 
ground, threatening before long not to do even this. 
The cliffs around us bent into deep recesses, and each 
time a projecting angle was reached, the side of the 
bay seen opposite appeared wholly smooth and im- 

This portion of the ascent of the Felmo is, in my 
limited experience, one of the most impressive, and at 
the same time enjoyable, positions in which a climber 
can find himself. Even a sluggish imagination has 
here enough to stimulate it. The mysterious pathway, 
unseen from a short distance, seems to open for the 
mountaineer's passage^ and to close up again behind 
him as he advances. The stones he dislodges, after 
two or three long bounds, disappear with a whirr into 
a sheer depth of seething mist, of which the final far-off 
crash reveals the immensity. The overhanging rocks 
above, the absence of any resting^-place even for the 
eye below, do not allow him for a moment to forget 
that the crags to which he clings form part of one of 
the wildest precipices in Europe. 



To walk for a mile or so along a ledge no broader 
than the sill which runs underneath the top story win- 
dows of a London square, with, for twice the height of 
St. Paul's cross above the pavement, no shelf below 
wide enough to arrest your fall, must sound an alarm- 
ing feat to anyone, except perhaps a professional burglar. 
And yet to a head naturally free from giddiness, and 
to nerves moderately hardened by mountain experiences, 
the full sense of the majesty of the situation need not 
be disturbed by physical fear. The animal ^homo 
scandens ' is not in the slightest danger. His pedestal 
may be scanty, but it is sufficient. He can follow his 
chamois-hunter amongst the abysses with as much 
confidence as Dante followed the elder poet amidst the 
boiling gulfs of Tartarus. 

As we went on, the height of the groove, and con- 
sequently the head-room, became, for a time, inadequate 
to our requirements— a fact which a moment's inatten- 
tion seldom fiiiled to impress forcibly on the brain. Let 
the reader picture himself walking along the mantel- 
piece and the cornice coming down on him so as to 
force him to stoop or lie flat. ^ Ya bene ! ' cheerily re- 
marked the Brusadaz hunter, in reply to some grumbles 
on this score, ^ it is all as easy as this, except one place, 
and that is of no consequence.' This place, the 'eccen- 
tric obstacle ' of the guidebook, arrived in due course, 
a projecting corner where the ledge was not broken 
away but partially closed in by a roof of rock. There 
was just room enough to allow a thin person to lie down 
and worm himself round with due care and delibera- 
tion ; a brilliant climber, could find some support for 
portions of his body on slight knobs below ; those who 
were neither thin nor brilliant had to trust to the rope 


and their coiopaoions. For as, who followed an adroit 
and confident leader, there was little difficnlty in the 
feat ; but the happy boldness of onr predecessor, who, 
when his companion's courage failed him, himself led 
the way, did not the less impress ns. Mr. Ball, we 
agreed, had here proved himself in the body as well as 
in the spirit the true * Alpine Guide.' 

Having all wound or scrambled past the comer as 
instinct led us, we followed round yet another bay the 
faithful ledge. At last the precipice above us broke 
back, and our guide announced that all di£Sculty was 
at an end. And so it proved, at least as far as nerves 
and gymnastics were concerned. But to keep up the 
pace he now set us was no slight task. We raced up- 
wards through the mists at true chamois-hunter speed, 
over steep slopes, now of large broken crags,* now of 
smaller and less cohesive fragments, up low cliffs, then 
over more slopes, until we began to think the mountain 
interminable. At last, where a stream, the hidden roar 
of which was often heard, flashed for a moment into 
light, I was glad to call a halt. Two buttresses of 
rock, the ends of the topmost ridge of the Pelmo, 
loomed largely, and, despite our exertions, still loftily 
overhead ; a glimmer of ice shone between them. 

We soon came to the glacier, a sheet of uncrevassed 
ice, sloping slightly from south to north, and filling the 
large but from below unseen and unsuspected hollow 
which lies between the horseshoe-shaped battlements 
of the mountain. ^ If the water of the ocean,' writes 
Professor Huxley, * could be suddenly drained away we 
should see the atolls rising firom the sea-bed like vast 
truncated cones, and resembling so many volcanic 
craters, except that their sides would be steeper than 


those of an ordinary volcano.' The description exactly 
fits our peak ; and if, reversing the picture, we imagine 
the level of the Adriatic raised a trifle of 1 0,000 feet, 
the glacier would yield its place to a lagoon, and these 
ridges would exactly represent an atoll of the southern 
ocean. Our leader at first swerved to the left towards 
the lower crags which immediately overlooked his native 
village ; turned by our remonstrances, he led us to the 
highest i*ocks, a broken crest perfectly easy of access.^ 
The verge of the huge outer cliffs, in some places level 
up to the extreme edge, and unencumbered with loose 
stones so as to allow of the closest approach, was 
gained within a few yards of the cairn which marks 
the summit. 

Through a framework of mists we could see down 
from time to time into Yal Fiorentina and along the 
gorge of Sottoguda, but the upper mass of the Marmo- 
lata and all the neighbouring peaks were wrapped in 
dense folds of leaden-coloured cloud. Feeling that a 
distant view was hopeless, we hastened to retrace our 
steps before any wandering storm should burst on the 
mountain. During the descent the fog became at times 
thick enough to suggest unpleasant fears of missing 
the direction; No such calamity, however, occurred ; 
and, gaining a slide on every slope composed of frag- 
ments minute enough to allow it, we found ourselves far 
sooner than we had expected on the brink of the lower 
precipice. The spot was marked by a patch of dwarf 
Edelweiss, which, in company with other bright but 

* The asBunnca given b/ tlie San Vito landlord to Meflsrs. Gilbert and 
Ohnrchill, that 'only the final ice-portion was difficult' {ThB Dolomite 
Mountains, p. 399), was, I need scarcely say, wholly misleading and con- 
trary to fact. 


tiny flowering plants, grew here and there open the 
moantain. We made our way rapidly back along the 
ledge ; the confidence of experience more than compen- 
sating for the inconvenience of the cliff, to which we 
had ofben to hold, being now on the left instead of the 
right hand. Where the direct descent on to the green 
buttress had to be made we, by keeping a few yards too 
much to the left, nearly got into a scrape, which was 
only avoided by a timely acknowledgment of the error. 
Strait and narrow as is the right path on the Pelmo, 
all other ways lead to destruction far too palpably not 
to induce one immediately to return to it. 

On the top of the buttress we rejoined our provision- 
sack, and enjoyed a long halt in full view of the Antelao, 
now towering above the clouds, a gigantic vapour- 
wreathed pyramid. From this point it is, as we found 
the next day, but a two hours' walk or ride amongst 
bilberry-bushes and forests to San Yito on the Ampezzo 
road. To return to San Nicold was, however, our 
present object, and our hunter promised a new and 
easy path. We rushed rapidly down a very steep funnel 
to the great patch of avalanche-snow which lies against 
the base of the cliffs in the centre of the Campo di 
Sutorto. In the sort of cave lefb between the crag and 
snow a jet of water, spouting like a fountain of Moses 
from the arid rocks, served to fill our cups. A little 
footpath mounts gently the rhododendron-covered slope 
beyond, and winds as near as it can creep to the huge 
mountain. The cliffs above are broken, and in this 
part there was formerly a possibility of scrambling 
through them. Our guide declared that owing to a fall 
of rock the passage had now become extremely difficult ; 
and his statement gains some confirmation from the 


fact that two of mj friends who attempted (with a San 
Yito man) an escalade from this direction, were forced 
to retreat, one of them with a broken head. While 
climbing in advance he dislodged with one hand a 
boulder from a shelf above him, which made its first 
bound on his skull, fortunately without loosening the 
firm grasp of his other arm or inflicting any permanent 
injury. Unstable boulders are the great source of 
danger in this part of the Alps, and even old climbers 
require to be constantly reminded that on dolomite 
rocks they must test before they trust every hand- 

At the south-eastern angle of the Pelmo the cliff 
rises sheer for some distance and then a wedge of stone 
suddenly juts out, overhanging its base to an extent 
which I fear to estimate in figures, and can only describe 
as incredible. The under part has fallen ana lies on the 
path, but a huge block still hangs threateningly over- 
head, an appropriate gurgoyle for so Titanic an edifice. 

The brow beneath it commanded a wide and splendid 
prospect. To the north rose the red crags of the Sorapis 
and the more symmetrical outlines of the Antelao. 
Turning eastwards, green pasturages and gable-formed 
ridges filled the foreground. The blunt-headed crags of 
the Sasso di Bosco Nero occupied the middle distance. 
Beyond the gorge of the Piave we looked across to 
the least-known portion of the dolomites, the blue 
mountains, crested with dark teeth and horns, which 
encompass remote Cimolais. 

A sturdy little goatherd, the first human being we 
had seen since leaving Brusadaz, here came up to greet 
us. The boy did not depend on his voice alone to 
summon his flock. Bound his shoulders was slung a 



trumpet, one blast from which sent flying a peal of wild 
echoes not to be disregarded even by the deafest and 
most obstinate of goats* 

The terrace path continued to skirt the base of the 
Pelmo, until it reached a platform of pasturage, the 
Campo sd Pelmo, lying due south of the mountain. 
From this pasturage a second way may be found to the 
upper slopes of the Pelmo. It is curious that this line 
of attack should have been adopted by the Cortina 
guides in preference to that by the angle of the moun- 
tain facing San Yito, so far the nearest and most 
natural route from Yal d'Ampezzo. 

The difference in difficulty is probably in favour of 
the southern ascent, but it can scarcely be sufficient to 
account for good rock-climbers making a circuit of 
several miles. Yet Santo Siorpaes in 1872 led Mr. 
Tuckett round the mountain. 

The only English ascent by the southern route was 
made by Mr. and Mrs. Packe in 1870. They camped 
out for the night at the southern foot of the mountain. 
I am glad to be able to quote Mr. Packers description 
of the climb, both because his impressions confirm 
my own, and for the sake of any ladies who may be 
thereby encouraged to venture on the Pelmo. 

^ From our camp a gentle ascent of twenty minutes 
over undulating ground brought us to a grassy mam^lon, 
forming an outlying buttress of the mountain. Here we 
left the heavier portion of our provisions, and at once 
commenced to climb north-east up a very steep rocky 
gully which separates the detached shoulder described 
by Mr. Freshfield as "the antediluvian cub crouching 
beside its parent." In this part of the ascent, partly 
over snow, partly over rocks, though the rope was 


sometimes brought into use, there was nothing very 
formidable. When at the foot of the ridge which 
nnites the cub to its parent, we turned to the right, 
traversing transversely a steep talus of schist, with a 
precipice below, but at some metres' distance. After 
passing this we reached a comer, where the rock came 
down vertically from above, falling in the same way 
below ; and here the difficulty commenced. For about 
an hour we were passing along a ledge, which wound 
round the recesses of the mountain^ in one place en- 
tirely riven away by a rent in the fece of the rock, 
across which we had to step, whUe the stones we dis- 
lodged fell with a sheer descent to a depth which the 
eye dared not fathom, but which might have been some 
six hundred metres beneath our feet. 

^ It is this system of ledges on the face of a perpen- 
dicular clifiP, which, moreover, is crumbling in its nature, 
that forms the difficulty of the Pelmo ; and these cannot 
be escaped, though they may be varied, approach it from 
whatever side you will ; but, that ours was not the same 
ledge as that by which Mr. Freshfield mounted is, I 
think, at once evident from the reasons I have aUeged, 
that our left hand was always to the mountain in 
ascending, and that there was no place where we were 
compelled to crawl. 

' On emerging from this ledge the precipice on our 
left hand broke back, and I take it here we had reached 
the same spot as that attained by Mr. Freshfield frt)m 
the opposite side. At any rate, from this spot, Ms 
description would exactly apply to our route till we 
reached the summit, which was still about a thousand 
metres above us. All serious difficulty was at an end. 
Our course lay over steep rocks, laced with streams 

T 2 


descending from the glacier,^ and the only vegetation 
which attracted m j notice was here and there the bright 
yellow flowers of the Alpine poppy. Above these rocks 
comes the glacier basin, which we crossed, like Mr. 
Freshfield avoiding the lower ridges on the left, and 
keeping to the right close to the highest crags of the 
Pelmo, which we at last reached after a rough and 
laborious escalade. 

' We remained on the summit from 11.30 to 1 p.m., 
and then returned by exactly the same route, traversing 
the same ledge, but this time, of course, with our right 
shoulders to the rock. After a halt at our camp of the 
preceding night, we made the best of our way down to 
San Vito, which we reached at 7, and drove thence in 
our carriage to Cortina the same evening. The moun* 
tain of course may be done quicker, but I give the 
times, if any other lady should like to try the ascent.* 

After -crossing a gentle elevation, we found ourselves 
on the verge of the hollow of Brusadaz, and turned 
along a ededge-track leading down the crest between it 
and the western branch of Val di Zoldo, beyond which 
the crest of the Civetta stood forth high above the belts 
of vapour. The hamlet of Coi, seated as it were astride 
the narrow ridge, looks down at once on Brusadaz and 
San Nicold ; a steep corkscrew path led us in twenty 
minutes to the latter village, where we found our return 
not even begun to be expected.' 

The Pelmo and Civetta naturally engross the.atten- 
tion of the traveller on his first visit to Val di Zoldo ; 

* Mr. Bryce tells me that among the upper rocks of the PelmOi above 
the ice and somewhat £. of the highest point he foand a strong iron spring. 

' We had been absent 10^ hours. The ascent occupied five hours of 
quick walking ; the return, made on the whole much more leisurely, about 
four ; halts accounted for the remaining hour and a half. 


bnt the splendid walls of dolomite which fence in the 
valley on the south-east and south-west invite a second 
visit and farther exploration. Passes may be found 
through the western range to Agordo; through the 
eastern, presided over by the strange block of the Sasso 
di Bosco Nero, the 'unknown mountains' of Miss 
Edwards, to the valley of the Piave. They have been 
already traversed by Mr. M. Holzmann, one of the most 
indefatigable explorers of this region.^ 

I cannot bring myself to conclude this imperfect 
notice without paying a tribute to the Italians of the 
southern dolomites, rendered, as it seems to me, the 
more due and necessary by the frequent praise which the 
Boeotian simplicity of their German-speaking neighbours 
has received from English writers. A mountaineer may 
well have a good word for the population of Val di 
Zoldo. Where else in the Alps will he find a valley the 
natives of which, alone and unincited by foreign gold, 
have found their way to the tops of the highest peaks P 
And let it not be thought that this success was an easy 
one. The Civetta, from whatever side it is seen, is of 
formidable steepness, and, as I have said before, the 
Pelmo is to the eye of a mountaineer one of the most 
perplexing peaks in the Alps. Yet the men of Yal di 
Zoldo, by following their game- day after day, and 
learning that the ledge which offered the chamois a 
means of escape was also for the hunter a means of 
pursuit, found out at last the secret of the circuitous 
access to the upper rocks, which had been for centuries 
a true * Gemsen-Freiheit.* 

I do not doubt that Mr. Ball was the first man 
to stand on the highest crest of the Pelmo. Its attain- 

> See Appendix A. 


ment was probably not an object of sufficient value to 
the hunters to induce them to cross the upper glacier 
and brave the peril of being swallowed up alive by some 
hidden chasm, a risk which weighs heavily on the mind 
of the peasant who has yet to learn the saving grace of 
a rope. But the real difficulty lies below, and amateur 
climbers with foreign guides might hav^ sought long 
and vainly for the passage which the spirit of the 
neighbouring villagers had found ready for them. 

But it is not alone on the narrow ground of venture- 
someness that the people of Yal di Zoldo recommend 
themselves to an English traveller. They possess in a 
high degree the intelligence and quick courtesy we are 
accustomed to meet with in Northern Italy. No 
peasant will pass the stranger as he sits to rest or sketch 
beside the path without a few bright words of greet- 
ing and enquiry, showing often a feeling for natural 
beauty and a quickness of apprehension rare amongst a 
secluded population. The slowness alike of mind and 
of action, the refusal to grasp anything outside their 
own daily experiences, so common among the peasantry 
of the Pusterthaly is here unknown. To quote a shrewd 
observer, ^ the men are such gentlemen and the women 
such ladies, that every chance meeting becomes an 
interchange of courtesies ; ' and the traveller, turning 
northwards,. wiU often have occasion to join in Dickens's 
regret for what he has left behind, ^ the beautiful Italian 
manners, the sweet language, the quick recognition of 
a pleasant look or cheerful word, the captivating ex- 
pression of a desire to oblige in everything/ 




What, I pray yon, is more pleasant, more delectable and more 
acceptable unto a man than to behold the height of hills as if they 
were the very Atlantes themselves of heaven ? 

Art thou in natnre, and yet hast not known nature? 

Hkricaitk KiBcmrEB, circa a.d. 1600. 


SwiTZEBLAND, from a distance practicall j beyond that of 
the Caucasus at the present day, has in the last thirty 
years been brought within a few hours of our homes. 
Increased facilities of travel and of residence in Alpine 
regions, acting in unison with many less obvious but 
equally real influences, have extended human sympathy 
to Nature in her wildest forms and created a new senti- 
ment, the Love of the Alps. 

The indifierence of men to mountains in past ages 
has perhaps been exaggerated. The prevalence through- 
out the world of mountain-worship in different forms 
seems to show that the great peaks and the eternal 
snows have before now had power to stir men's minds 
and to mix with their lives. But the image which has 
been adored as a god is for a time cast aside, and it is 
only to distant generations that it becomes valuable for 


its intrinsio beautj of design and workmanship. In 
the case of the great ranges the period of neglect had 
been a long one. In the Europe of the Middle Ages all 
hilly regions became surrounded by associations of fear 
and danger. The plan of the universe was indeed held 
to have been originally divine ; but the devil had some- 
how become clerk of the works, and managed to put in 
a good deal not in the original specification. Earth- 
quakes, tempests, venomous reptiles and mountains 
were all accepted as productions of the evil principle. 

From this disfavour the mountains have been during 
the last century slowly emerging. Better acquaintance 
has led to the discovery of all the beauties and benefits 
the Alps offer to those who seek them in a proper mood. 
We have learnt thoroughly to appreciate the variety 
imparted to aU nature by the accidents of hill scenery, 
to know and love the thousand forms of peaks, the 
changing charm of lakes and forests, the rush of the 
grey Swiss torrent under the upright pines, and the 
blue repose of the Italian stream under the beech 
shadows. Moreover, Alpine climbing has revealed the 
wonders of the kingdom of frost and snow. The impri* 
soned colours of glacier ice, the ruin of its fSa.nta8tic 
towers and tottering minarets, the splendour of its 
fretted and icicle-hung caves are no longer familiar 
only to Arctic travellers. The overpowering height of 
some peak soaring majestically heavenwards can never 
have been felt as it is by those who understand through 
experience the dimensions and meaning of each rock 
and patch of snow on its ridges. 

The flow of human sympathy towards the mountains 
has, however, been too recent not to have left many 
traces of the deep ebb of antipathy which had preceded 
it. ' Survivals ' of the old and narrower tone of thought 


of a hnndred years ago are constantly to be met with in 
English society. They even penetrate occasionally to 
the tables-d'h6te of Swiss inns, where they may be re- 
cognised by the air of calm superiority generally as- 
sumed by the unappreciative, whether in the presence 
of music, a picture, or a peak. 

These representatives of mediaeval sentiment are 
often medisdvalists also in their practice. Where their 
opinions are based on anything besides hereditary pre- 
judice it is very ofben found if you examine them 
tenderly that their experience has been coloured, or 
more correctly speaking obscured, by bodily torture; 
They have climbed with unboiled peas in their shoes, 
and without the excuse of their forefathers. For they 
have deadened their natural senses by bodily discomfort 
without any hope of prospective gain for their souls. 
They have literally repeated the old penance by setting 
out to walk with new boots and cotton socks and a 
ponderous knapsack. They have rushed over passes 
and up peaks in bad weather; or overtaxed their 
powers in a first tour: or they have perhaps never 
persevered long enough to be able to tread with ease a 
mountain-path, where the novice dares not lift his eyes 
from the ground, while his companion, some days or 
weeks more experienced, can enjoy at once the scenery 
and motion. No wonder that what is a delight to the 
wise is to them foolishness, and that they speedily 
renounce the mountains. 

Such mountain-haters still find champions botn in 
English and foreign modem literature. I shall not be 
tempted to take the late Canon Eingsley as an example, 
for his amusing attack on mountains^ is in truth only 
a plea for flats, and in that light I heartily sympathise 

1 Brofe Idylls. 


with it. Moreover Mr. Kingslej loyed all nature so well 
that his cursing is of the most superficial and Balaamitic 
character, and the argument he puts in the mouth of his 
* peevish friend ' would invite mercy by its very feebleness. 

A distinguished French critic will furnish us with a 
far more genuine example of the old schooL M. Taine, 
travelling in the Pyrenees to write a book, experiences 
a difficulty the reverse of Mr. Eingsley's. Feeling that 
he ought, as a man of his time, to bless, he yet cannot 
refiuin from cursing altogether. The antique modes of 
expression flow naturally from his pen ; he is constantly 
reminding us of the once favourite theological view 
that the mountains are a disease of nature. His lan- 
guage at times resembles that of a medical student 
fresh from the hospitals and the dissecting-room. He 
sums up his impressions of the Pyrenees in the re- 
flection that they are ' monstrous protuberances.' Here 
is a picture from Luchon I * The slopes hang one over 
the other notched, dislocated, bleeding; the sharp 
ridges and fractures are yellow with miserable mosses, 
vegetable ulcers which defile the nakedness of the rocks 
with their leprous spots.' ' This loathsome simile for 
mountain mosses pleases M. Taine so much that he 
never mentions them without repeating it. Take now 
a more general sketch. 

^ How grotesque are these jagged heads, these 
bodies bruised and heaped together, these distorted 
shoulders ! What unknown monsters, what a deformed 
and gloomy race, outside humanity ! Par quel horrible 
accouchement la terre les a-t-elle soulev6s hors de ses 
entrailles P ' It would be easy to fill a page or two with 
such ^ elegant extracts.' 

> Contrast this comparison with Hr. Browning's, quoted p. 28. 


Mountaineers may sometimes feel disposed to resent 
sach unworthy treatment of mountain beauty. But the 
true lover of the Alps is not necessarily disposed to be 
arrogant in his faith or to wish all the world of the same 
mind. While he knows that to him the mountains are 
sympathetic, he admits that they have also an unsym- 
pathetic side which is the first to present itself to many. 
He recognises in the hill country a type of nature, free, 
vigorous and healthy, and is glad that others should 
share the enjoyment of it. But as the affection of a 
sailor for the sea does not blunt him to the pleasures of 
dry land, so his feeling for the Alps does not make him 
less susceptible to milder scenes. He does not assert 
that mountains are the most beautiful objects in crea- 
tion, but only that they are beautiful. He does not claim 
for them undivided worship, but a share of admiration. 

Little disposed however as we may generally be to 
proselytise, we must feel that there is one class of our 
fellow-countrymen amongst whom we like to make 
converts. We too often find blind to mountain beauty 
those who, as we think, ought to be its priests and in- 
terpreters. For the painter, like the poet, can feel 
' harmonies of the mountains and the skies ' invisible 
to the general eye ; it is his gift by a higher or more 
developed sense to recognise and reveal to others the 
beauties of the visible world. By his happy power of 
fixing on canvas the vision of a moment, he extends 
the appreciation of nature of all who intelligently look 
at his work. Paul Potter and Hobbema have taught us 
the charm which lurks in the flat and at first sight 
monotonous landscapes of Holland. Looking through 
their eyes we see the beauty of the moist sun-sufEiised 
atmosphere, of the sudden alternations of shadow and 


gleam which chequer and gild the abundant verdure 
and peaceful homesteads. Corot and Daubignj lead 
us better to appreciate the unfamiliar spirit of French 
river-sides in the dewy morning hours or the red gleam- 
ingy a beauty indistinct in form jet vivid in impression 
as that of a dream. When we exclaim as we rush past 
in the steamer or the express, * What a Cuyp !* or * How 
like Corot ! ' we pay a just tribute to the artist through 
whose works the essential features of the scene before 
us have been made so readily recognisable. 

In the same way those who have already studied 
the beautiful Titian (No. 635) in our National GraUery, 
or the landscape lately exhibited at Burlington House, 
will find a deeper and subtler pleasure in their first 
view of the great Belluno valley. But this unfor- 
tunately is a rare example. As a rule the Alpine 
traveller must depend entirely on his own powers of 
observation and selection, or must sharpen his apprecia- 
tive faculty by the aid of poets. 

For at least the word-painters of our generation 
have not been false to their mission of expressing and 
carrying on the best feelings of their age. The works 
of our living poets abound with sketches of mountain 
scenery the precision of which may satisfy even a 
literal-minded enthusiast. In the exquisite Alpine 
idyll iA the * Princess * we have brought before us one 
after another the scenes of the Bernese Oberland; 
Grindelwald with its firths of ice, Lauterbrunnen with 
its monstrous ledges and ' thousand wreaths of dangling 
water-smoke,' or the gentler beauties of the vale of 
Frutigen and the Lake of Brienz. Beside this finished 
picture might be placed a gallery of sketches familiar 
to every reader of contemporary poetry. Mr. Browning 


draws with sharp, firm strokes the paths over the foot- 
hills of Lombardy, where the high arched bridge leaps 
the blue brook, and at each sadden turn the faded 
frescoes of a chapel gleam from between the chestnut- 
trees over whose tops ^ the silver spearheads charge.' 
Mr. Matthew Arnold prefers the more solemn mood of 
the inner Alps, where above the hillside, ^ thin sprinkled 
with snow,' ^ the pines slope, the cloudstrips hung sofb 
in their heads.' 

Across the Atlantic, among the other great English- 
speaking people, the poets have not any more than our 
own treated mountains as ' outside humanity.' Emerson 
has dwelt more fully than any of his forerunners on the 
appeal they make to our intellectual faculty ; Joaquin 
Miller reflects the fascination exerted over the senses 
by the great Califomian ranges. 

Art, like poetry, ought surely to be the expression 
of the strongest and clearest feelings of its day, and 
thus the interpreter and instructor of weaker or more 
confused minds. The iypes of beauty are eternal, but 
painters are human beings, and a man can successfully 
paint or describe only what he has seen and felt for 
himself. The most vivid impressions of each age and 
individual are necessarily derived from the forms of life 
around them, and these are therefore the best suited to 
inspire their art- faculty. The sculptors of the Parthenon 
did not carve Egyptian dances but Attic festivals ; the 
great Italian masters painted, whether as Virgin, God, 
or Saint, their own countrymen or women in the scenery 
of their own homes. In the dulness of our outer lives, 
the deadness of our souls to natural enjoyments, lies as- 
suredly one of the chief causes of the artistic barrenness 
of our century. Can we then afford to throw away lightly. 


as material for art, any form of nature which seems 
really capable of stirring our minds into some sort of 
enthusiasm P 

Neglect of to us familiar scenes and contemporary 
subjects is, however, often excused on the ground that 
these things were unknown to the painters of the 
Benaissance. In point of fact this amounts to a pro- 
testation of our incapacity or unwillingness to discover 
beauty where it has not been already pointed out, to a 
confession that amongst us art is dead. For to be able 
to choose out, harmonise, and idealise the elements of 
beauty in the world as it goes on around us is the 
essential quality of living art. It is one, it is true, 
which is too often missed on the walls of Burlington 

Many of the most cultivated living artists show 
their veneration for the old masters by endeavouring to 
reproduce the results they arrived at, rather than by 
studying nature at first-hand and in their spirit. Con- 
sequently in one half of modem painting we see, in the 
place of free and spontaneous accomplishment, an abun- 
dance of tentative and over-conscious reproduction. And 
unfortunately this half finds its best justification in the 
character of the other. To put it simply, our school 
may — of course with some illustrious exceptions — ^be 
divided into those who think too much and feel too 
little, and those who neither think nor feel at all. 

Some of our friends are sitting all the day long 
watching seriously in dim galleries if perchance they 
may yet catch the mantle fallen fr*om the prophets of 
old. There are others who, going straight to daily life 
and nature, are often too idle or duU-eyed to penetrate 
beneath the surface. In place of selecting and com- 


bining for us elements of beauty, they attempt to tickle 
our senses with yulgar tricks of imitation. For one 
* Chill October' we have had twenty river scenes crowded 
with smart people in boats ; for one sketch of Leighton, 
Walker, or Mason half a hundred showy trivialities. 

From both schools, the Betrospective and the Com- 
monplace, any invitation to the Alps will receive the 
same answer. The mountains, begins one voice, are 
harsh, violent, and unmanageable in outline, crude and 
monotonous in colour, and devoid of atmosphere. The 
great masters of the Renaissance never painted the Alps, 
continues the other, with, remembering Titian, doubtful 
accuracy. In short, we are given to understand, as politely 
as may be, that the hill-country may be good for those 
dull souls which, incapable naturally of appreciating 
more delicate or subtle charms, require to be strongly 
stirred; but that to the artist's eye the Alps are the 
chromolithography of nature — that, in fact, a taste for 
mountain scenery is bad taste. 

Yet the majesty and poetry of the great ranges are 
not incapable of representation. One mountain. sketch 
of Turner is enough to prove this. But if such an ex- 
ample is thought too exceptional let us take another. 
I have before me pictures in brown, twelve inches 
by ten, showing above the mossy roofs of a Tyrolese 
homestead and the broad sunny downs of Botzen the 
tusked and homed ramparts which guard King Laurin's 
rose-garden ; the Orteler, its vast precipices of crowning 
ice-pyramid half seen through belts of cloud ; the soar- 
ing curve of the Wetterhorn as it sweeps up like an 
aspiring thought from the calm level life of the 
pasturages at its feet; the Matterhom, an Alpine 
Prometheus chained down on its icy pedestal, yet chal- 


lenging the aides with daimtleflB front. Is mind power- 
less where mere reflection can saooeed not once but 
repeated! J? Can it be impossible to pot on canvas 
sabjects which readilj adapt themaelres to modest-siaed 
photographs? So long as form as well as colour is a 
source of pleasure, the Alps wiU oflisr a store of the most 
ralnable material for art. 

Neyertheless, a certain amount of truth underlies 
all the current criticisms on Alpine scenery. In ' the 
blue tmclouded weather ' which sometimes, to the J07 of 
mountaineers and sightseers who reckon what they see 
b J quantity rather than quality, extends through a Swiss 
August, the air is deficient in tone and gradation. In 
the central Cantons the preyailing colours are two tints 
of green. The vivid hue of pasturages and broad-leaved 
trees is belted by the heavier shade of pine-woods, and 
both are capped by a dazzling snow-crown, producing an 
effect to a painter's eye crude and unmanageable. The 
Alps have, in common with most great natures, rough 
and rugged places, such as are not found in more every- 
day lives or landscapes. Their outlines are often wanting 
in grace, and of a character which does not readily fall 
into a harmonious composition. 

But to allow all this is only to show that here as 
elsewhere there is need for selection before imitation. 
Those who, ignoring the essential qualities of the 
mountains, insist only on their blemishes remind me of 
the foreigner who sees in English landscapes nothing 
but a monotony of heavy green earth overshadowed by 
a sunless sky. Their disparagement is like most erro- 
neous criticism, the honest expression of the little 
knowledge described in the proverb. 

Familiarity with what he represents is essential to 



the painter's success. Men paint best as a role the 
sceneiy of their own homes. Pemgino gives ns TTmbrian 
hills and the lake of Thrasimene ; Cima and Titian Ve- 
netian landscapes and colours ; Turner loves most English 
seas and mists. It is useless, except for a rare genius, to 
go once to Switzerland and paint one or two pictures, for 
in the mountains knowledge is especially needed. The 
first view of the Alps is in most cases a disappointment. 
Our expectations have been unconsciously based on the 
great mounds of cumulus cloud which roU up against 
lowland skies. We expect something comparable to 
them, and we find only a thin white line which the 
smaUest'cloud-belt altogether efiaces. First impressions 
require to be corrected by patient study of detail before 
any adequate comprehension can be formed of the true 
scale. The stories of our countryman who proposed to 
spend a quiet day in strolling along the crest of the 
chain from the St. Theodule to Monte Bosa, of the 
New Yorker who thought he saw one of the mules of a 
party descending the Matterhom, have become proverbs. 
I suppose no season passes without the Grands Mulets 
being mistaken for a company of mountaineers by some 
new arrivals at Chamonix. And too often Alpine 
pictures betray a similar confusion of mind in their 
painters. I ha?re seen the Schreckhom through utter 
ignorance of rock-drawing converted into a slender 
pyramid which might have stood comfortably beside 
the Mammoth Tree under the roof of the Crystal Palace. 
Not long ago there was a picture in the Academy of 
the Lake of Lucerne, where the mountain-tops looked' 
scarcely so high above the water as the frame was 
above the ground. The hangers had done their best, 
but nothing could give those mountains height. 



Moreover it is well to know something of the sub- 
stance as weU as the size of jonr subject. Some painters, 
it is true, have had a conventional mode of expressing 
all foliage ; but their example is not one to be imitated. 
The di£Eerent forms and texture of granite and limestone 
must be carefuUj attended to. Again, before it is pos- 
sible properly to paint the golden lights and pearl-grey 
shadows on the face of the Jungfrau some knowledge 
must be gained of the meaning of the lines and farrows 
which seam the upper snows. 

A sense for colour is doubtless a bom gift. Never- 
theless it will take many days of watching before even 
the keenest apprehension seizes upon all the subtleties 
of distance and light and shade in the mountains. A 
dark green pine, a brown chMet, and a white peak may 
do very weU in a German chromolithograph. But the 
artist and the mountain-lover ask for something better 
than the clever landscapes of Bierstadt and the Munich 
school, faithful it may be, but faithful in a dry and 
narrow manner, and giving us every detail without the 
spirit of the scene. The forms are there exactly enough^ 
but local colour and sentiment are wanting. We have 
a catalogue instead of a poem. One of Turner's noble 
pictures of the gorge of Goschenen is worth a gallery of 
such compositions. 

Those who are seeking to understand mountains will 
do well not to confine themselves to the round of the 
tourist. Convenience and health, not love of beauty, 
have been the chief influences in determining the orbits 
of our fellow-countrymen. Nothing compels the painter 
to linger on the bleak uplands round the sources of the 
Inn, where a shallow uniform trench does duty for 


the valley v^liich has never yet been dng out, and where 
the minor and most conspicaons peaks have a mean 
and roinons aspect.^ 

If he wishes to paint the central snowy range as 
portions of the landscape rather than to study them 
for themselves, he should begin with the ftirther side of 
the Alps. There, even in the clear summer weather, 
when the Swiss crags seem most hard and near, and 
the pine-trees crude and stiff, all the hollows of the 
hills are filled with waves of iridescent air, as if a 
rainbow had been diffused through the sky. The 
distances, purple and blue, float before the eye with a 
soffc outline like that of the young horns of a stag. 
Even the snows are never a cold white ; after the red 
flush of dawn has leffc them they pass through grada- 
tions of golden brightness until, when the sun is gone, 
they sink into a sofb spectral grey. And in the fore- 
ground woods of chestnuts and beeches spread their 
broad branches over wayside chapels bright with colour, 
and mossy banks the home of delicate ferns and purple- 
hearted cyclamens. To those who know them the 
names of Yal Bendena, Yal Sesia, Yal Anzasca, and Val 
Maggia call up visions of the sweetest beauty. But 
the whole Italian slope is free at all times from the 
alleged defects of Swiss scenery. Further east lies the 
Trentino, where the mountains stand apart and the 
valleys spread out to an ampler width, where nature 
is rich and open-handed, and the landscapes unite 

* A distinction must be made between the scenery of the Engadine 
itself, aDd of the Bemina. In the side-glens behind Fontresina, the lover of 
peak-form and the student of snow and ice will find abundant and singularly 
accessible subjects. 

E 2 


Alpine nobility of form to the sniiny spadoiuiiess and 
deep ccdonr of Italj. And dose at hand, bejond the 
Adige, is the oonntiy of Titian^ where the new school 
maj find a precedent and an example in the great 
painter of Cadore. 

Bat at length when the crowd has departed let the 
painter in late September or October pass back to the 
Swiss Alps. However much he maj dislike podtive 
colours^ he will find subjects to his taste, harmonies in 
blue and grej, or studies in grej alone, when the thin 
antnmn yaponrs swim np the vallej and entangle them- 
selves amongst the pine-tops, or when the whole heaven 
is veiled, and 

White agunBt the cold white sky 
Shine oat the crowiiiiig enoire. 

Or, if he delights in the subtle play and contrast of 
colour, he may study the lights and shadows and re- 
flections of the lakes, as the wind and clouds sweep 
over them, the hue of the hillsides when the purple 
darkness of the pines becomes a grateful contrast to the 
rich warm tints of the lower woods, and the rhodo- 
dendron leaves on the high alps flush with a red 
brighter than their May blossoms. From some lonely 
height he may watch the shiftings and gatherings of 
the mist as it spreads in a ' fleecelike floor ' beneath his 
feet, or the storm-wreaths as they surge in tall columns 
to the heaven, and break open to reveal a mountain 
shrine glowing in the rich lights of evening or the 
pale splendour of a summer moon. He must be a dull 
man if he does not acknowledge that the mountains 
have a language worth interpreting, and that to those 
who can listen, they speak, as Lord Lytton tells us in 
his pretty fable. 


With signs all day. 

BowD drawing o'er their shoulders fair, 
This way and that soft veils of air, 
And colours never twice the same 
WoTen of wind, and dew, and flame. 

We do not ask or expect many artists to devote them- 
selves to the new country which has been discovered 
by the Alpine Club above the belt of black and white 
barrenness which was once thought the typical scenery 
of the Upper Alps. That there is much that is beau- 
tiful, however, in this Wonderland will be readily ad- 
mitted even by those who doubt whether its beauties 
are reproducible by art. 

The painter who ventures into the snow-world will 
find, I think, that the subjects it offers divide them- 
selves roughly into three classes: portraits of high 
peaks; studies of mountain views, that is, of earth 
and sky-colours blended in the vast distances visible 
from a lofty stand-point ; and studies of snow and 
ice — of the forms and colours of the snow-field and 
the glacier. In the first two no conspicuous success 
has yet been obtained. The great mountains still 
await their ' vates sacer.' ^ It is in the last-mentioned, 

' I do not forget the somewhat spasmodic efforts in Alpine painting 
which haye been made in late years by one or two of our landscape-painters. 
But so fieir as I know, despite one or two fairly successful beginnings, none of 
them (except an amateur, Sir Hobert Collier) have persevered in the en* 
deavour to represent mountains. Of all men, Mr. Edward Whymper has 
effected most in this field. His wood engrayings show how much may be 
done eren on a very small scale and without colour. A volume of portraits 
of the great peaks by his hand, an English edition of Herr Stnder's, Th$ 
Highut Summits of Switzerland^ and ths Story of their Aecentj would be 
welcomed both by lorers of the arts and of the Alps. Mr. Elijah Walton, 
with much feeling for colour, and occasionally for mountain form, seems to 
lack the force and persererance necessary for the production of complete 
work. He seldom reaches the standard of rod[-dzawing held up in his own 



at first siglit the least inviting and most perplexing of 
the branches of Alpine art, that the greatest efforts 
have been made and with the most result. Until 
M. Lopp4 painted, it was only the mountaineer who 
knew the beauty of the glacier. Its broken cataracts 
and wave-filled seas were to the stranger formless, 
colourless masses. The Genevese painter, by dint of 
patient study and laborious, if pleasurable, exertion, 
has revealed its secrets to the world, and more than 
justified the enthusiasm of the Alpine Club. 

M. Lopp^'s pictures might easily be arranged so 
as to form a kind of ^ glacier's progress.' We first find 
the snows reposing tranquilly in their high rock-cradle 
and reflecting on their pure surface the tones of the 
sky from which they have fallen. Then we have the 
struggle and confusion which attend the encounter of 
the young glacier with the first obstacles. An irre- 
sistible impulse urges the still half-formed ice over the 
edge, and it is transformed in a moment into a maze 

book. Peaks in Pen and Pencil. His sketches are too often scampedf and it 
is impossible to repress impatience of their mannerism, and of the peipetnal 
blot of mist -which he is ever ready to throw in. Nor can I recognise as 
worthy of such frequent reproduction the sorely somewhat ignoble, and ia 
nature rare, form of hillside found where, through the friable character of 
the rock, isolated, pine-tufted blocks are left standing amidst deep trenches. 
But he can, when he pleases, paint truly and beautifully a dolomite pinnacle, 
a wall of ice, or a bank of pines. I still hope he may be able to forget 
some of his fayourite effects, and to give us a series of simple transcripts of 
fresh impressions from nature, embodied in drawings studied throughout 
with equal care. 

Other water-colour painters have, during the last few seasons, tried 
their hands on the snowy Alps. We owe gratitude to everyone who aids 
to raise mountain-drawing from the bathos of such works as those of Ool- 
lingwood Smith. But I could wish this young school showed less facility 
and more signs of a progress which is only to be won by thoughtful obser- 
vation, patience, and refinement. At present their works ara seen more 
often in the rooms of dimben than of connoisseurs. 


of towers and bine abysses, of walls of marble-like snow 
seamed with the soft veins which mark each year's 
fall, of crystal-roofed and fretted vaults hnng with 
pendant icicles. M. Lopp^ paints with wonderful skill 
not only the forms of the ' s^racs/ but the shades and 
hues given by the imprisoned light and reflections to 
the frozen mass, combining the whole into a harmony 
of soft pale colour. 

Again we meet the glacier, as it is best known to 
the world, settled down into middle life, but still seamed 
by the scars of a stormy youth, earthier, more stained 
and travel-worn than in its first combat. Here the 
mottled crust, the green light of the smaller crevices, 
and the wavelike undulations of the surface are repre- 
flented with admirable fidelity ; but we feel the air is 
less poetic, and a stray tourist does not offend us as 
out of place. And now we are present at the last 
struggle where, under a pall of cloud through which 
the parent peaks shine down a far-off farewell, the 
glacier makes its fatal plunge into the valley, for it 
a valley of death, and we see its end amid the earth 
and rock-heap8 of the termtoal moraine. But from 
under the muddy ruin springs out of a * dusky door ' 
a new and fuller life, and the mountain stream dashes 
off on its happy course through the new world of the 
fields and orchards. 

So faithful are these pictures that Professor Tyndall 
would find in them fit illustrations for a popular dis- 
course. So perfect is sometimes the illusion that we 
should almost fear a modem version of Zeuxis and 
the birds, and expect to hear the lecturer calling on 
his assistant to drive stakes into the canvas. 

When M. Lopp6 turns to summit views we feel that 


his success is less complete. He has led the way to 

High mountain pUtformB 

Where mom first appears ; 
Where the white mists for ever 

Are spread and upforrd, 

and has dared to be the first to depict the mysterioas 
light of the fa]>-o£P sunrise playing on the highest snows 
of Mont Blanc, the snowy cantonments of the Alps se- 
parated by grey cloud-streams, the gradations from the 
purple of the zenith to the crocus of the horizon in the 
vajilt of heaven seen from 15,000 feet above the sea-level; 
or the red glow of sunset, when the lowlands are ahready 
dark in shadow, and the upper world has a moment of 
hot splendour before it, too, is overwhelmed by the 

The deep hues of the upper air, the torn edges of 
the clouds as they are caught by the morning breeze, 
bear witness to study on the spot. But we demand more 
delicacy of aerial effect, greater depth of distance, more 
precision in the handling of the nearer rock-peaks. 
The painter clearly spends all his love on snow, a<nd 
does not care so much for the forms of crags. We miss, 
too, that combined breadth and subtlety of interpreta- 
tion which belong only to the very highest genius a<nd 
which no study or perseverance can impart. 

But fault-finding is ungrateful where so much has 
been dared and accomplished. M. Lopp^'s pictures 
are doubtless open to criticism in many respects, and 
they could hardly be otherwise. But the amount of suc- 
cess he has achieved in a region where no one else had 
ever dared to venture is surely sufficient to make his ex- 
ample worth more than many precepts. At any rate the 
moment at which a painter has shown London for the 


fii-st time the capabilities for artistic treatment of the 
most unpromising of mountain-subjects seems a fitting 
one for urging the general claims of the Alps. 

Let it not be said that Englishmen are dead to the 
finer influences of the eternal hills to which they so 
much resort. Let our painters avoid hasty conclusions 
founded on imperfect knowledge, and attempt the 
mountains with the same energy and perseverance 
which have made them subject to our athletic youth. 
Let them be ready to climb enough to understand the 
scale and nature of the objects they have to paint, and 
content, like young mountaineers, to spend season after 
season in slow training and only partial success. Thus, 
and thus only, can they hope to conquer the beauties of 
the mountain-world. But the conquest will repay its 
cost. The existence of a school of intelligent Alpine 
landscape-painters would contribute in no small degree 
to the maintenance of Art in her true position, not as 
* the empty singer of a bygone day,' but the visible 
sign and interpreter of the feeling for beauty of the 
world of our own days. It also could not fail to result 
in the increased and more intelligent appreciation of 
some of the highest forms of scenery, and the consequent 
repression of the tendency to 

Glance and nod and bustle by, 

which wastes so many of the hours when our souls 
should be most receptive. 




Thb following notes have been framed for nse 'with the 'Alpine Guide/ 
and make no pretence to be complete in themaelTes. Besides the necessary 
references to Mr. Ball's book, they consist of such corrections and additions 
as I should have supplied had a new edition been in immediate prospect. 
The edition referred to is that in 10 small sections {2$. 6d, each), 
Longmans & Co., 1873. The sections which include the country here dealt 
with are three — * The St. Gothard and Italian Lakes/ * East Switzerland,' 
and ' South Tjrrol and the Venetian Alps.' 

The best maps for use in the country here described are, for ordinary 
travellers, Majr*B * Karte der Alpen * (Ostalpen, Sheets 1 and 3) corrected 
by Berghaus (Perthes. Gotha. 1871)» and the Alpine Club Map of the 
Central Alps, Sheet IV. 

Mountaineers will also require the Swiss (Sheet XX.) and Lombardo- 
Venetian (Sheets B. 3, 4 ; C. 8, 4 ; D. 3, 4) Ck)Temment Maps. The new 
survey of Tyrol by the Austrian engineers has been completed, and its 
result will shortly be given to the public. The existing maps of S. Tyrol 
and the Trentino are most inaccurate. 


Approaches and CABBiAaE-BOADS. 

From central Switzerland by the St. Gothard road or Gries (mule-pass) ; 
from the west by the Simplon road and Val Formaosa ; from the south by 
Lago Maggiore. 


There is an omnibas twice daily ap Val Maggia between Locarno and 
Bignasoo, and once daily between Bignaeco and Fnno, to which the carriage- 
road now extenda. The carriage-road in Val Versasca extends tx> Sonogno, 
but there is no public oonyeyance beyond LaTerteno. 

The carriage-road np Val Onsemone is open as far as Comologno. 

The road £rom Locarno to Domo d'Oasola is not, as stated in the 
' Alpine Guide/ practicable throughout for cars. There is a break of some 
length near the frontier. 

The road from Capobbio through Val Canobbina to Val Vigecso was still 
incomplete in 1874. 


Val Magffia, 

Cevio, An Inn well spoken of by German travellers. 

Biffnatco, The house kept by Da Ponte, mentioned in the ' Alpine 
Guide' still * very &ir* (1874). The *Posta' supplies clean beds 
and good country cooking, and is in a charming situation (1874). 

Fuiio, Inn and pension frequented by Italians, and said by F. 
Devouassoud to promise well externally (1874). 

Val Verzoica, 

Lavertegzo, A poor-looking Inn. There is a roadside tayem, where 
bread and wine may be obtained, below the bridge over the stream 
of Val d'Osola. At Sonpgno there is no inn (1874). 

Vol Vigegzo, 

Santa Maria Maggwn, A fair country Inn (1874). 

Peaks and Passes. 

The ascent of the lesser peaks of the Ticinese valleys scarcely repays the 
labour. The Basodine and Pis Campo Tencca are mentioned among the 
passes. No riding animals are to be found in Val Maggia : they must be 
brought from Faido or Premia. The master of the Tosa Falls inn is a good 
guide to the Basodine, and peasants are doubtless to be found in Val Bavona 
who would undertake to lead a trareller to the top. 

Val Formazsa to Val Maggia. 

Premia or Andermatten to Cevio by Val Bovana, horsepath. See 

'Alpine Guide,' vol. ii. p. 311.* 
Andermatten to Bignasco by the Forcolaccia and Val Bavona, 6) hrs. ; 

Andermatten to San Carlo in Val Bavona by Passo d'Antabbia ; 

foot ; probably fine. 

' The references in this Appendix from the fint to the eleventh chapter we to voL li. 
af the 8-vohune editloa of the Alpin/i Ouide, which has not heen repsged for the 10,. 
aection edition. 


Tofla FallB to San Oftrlo aad Bignasco ; by PaMO del Baaodine ; 

foot; rope neeeaBaiy. See p. 15-.16: 
or Bocchetta di Val Maggia ; foot ; either pass about 10 hn. 
The Baeodine, 10,748 feet^ can be climbed in ^ hi, from the former 

pass. See p. 16. 

For the passes from Val Bavona to Airolo, and to Val Peocia. See 
* Alpine Guide,* pp. 311, 313. 

Vol Moffffia to Val Leventina. 

Airolo to Fusio by Val Lavizzara, see * Alpine Gnide,* p. 811. 
There is a more direct foot-pass between the two there mentioned, 
the descent from which on the £. side is by a goat-track down a 
steep face of rocks. 

Faido to Fusio. See * Alpine Guide,' p. 311. 

Faido to Broglio and Bignasco by Passo di Campo Tencca. Through 
the gap between the N. (highest 10,099 ft) and central peak of 
Pis C. Tencca ; see p. 20-25; foot, 10 hrs. It is not neoessaiy to 
go round by Prato to enter Val Lavizzara, but the short cut to 
Broglio is rather difficult to hit off in descending. See p. 20. 

Val Maggia to Vol Verzasca, 

Broglio to SoDOgno ; Passo di Redorta, through Val di Prato and Val 

Partusio, foot, 6 hours. See p. 29. 
Bignasco to Brione; Passo d'Osola,' through Val Coccho (foot), pro^ 

bably the most interesting path between the two Talleys. 

I can add no information to that contained in the 'Alpine Guide' 
as to the other passes from Val Maggia to Val Verzasca, or as to the passes 
from Val Verzasca to Val Lerentina. 


Carriage travellers can only drive from Bomo d'Ossola to Canobbio 
(with the break mentioned above), and up and down Val Maggia, Val Ver- 
zasca, and Val Onsemone. 

For ridsrs and moderate waUcere perhaps the best route is 

From Faido to Fusio by Campolungo Pass, thence to Bignasco; 
spend a day in Val Bavona, and cross by Val Bovana to Val 
Formazza or Val Onsemone. 

For mountaineere — 

Ascend the Basodine from the Tosa Falls, descending through Val 
Bavona to Bignasco ; thence cross Piz Campo Tencca to Faido ; 

> Thb Is the ipellliig of Dtifoai'a ma^ A aeoond * t* was wrongly inserted in tlie 
text tftar it bad kft my taudk 


drive down to Locarno and up Val Maggia (or by Val Onsernone 
and Val Rovana) to Bignasoo ; cross the Fasso d'Osola, retom- 
ing to Locarno by Val Venasca. 
There are many ways through the hills between Locarno and Domo 

d'Ossola, but none probably to be preferred to the route through Val Canob- 



Approaches and CARRiAas-ROADs. 

Thb Tillages of Val Bregaglia are half-a-day's drire from Pontresina or 
St. Moritz, or, coming the opposite way, two or three hours from Chiavenna. 
The baths of Masino are a short day's drive from Colico, or about five hours 
fh>m Sondrio. The road to the Baths is the only one inside the district 
practicable for carriages. 


Bregaglia, See * Alpine Guide/ p. 886. 

Maloga, Much improved ; good accommodation, but a bear for a 
landlord (1873). 

Val Masino, 

I Bagni, Clean beds, untidy rooms, excellent food, and much civility, 
frith rather high prices to passing travellers (1873). 

Vol Malenco. 

ChieM, Two fair country Inns, improving (1878). 
Chiareggio, Very rough quarters, and little food to be depended on 

Val Codera, 

Codera. Two very primitive Inns kept by tidy and civil people 
(Tschudi*s * Schweizerfiihrer*). 

Passes of Val Masino. 

No good glacier guides are to be found in Val Mssino or Val Bregag;lia. 
At Ghiesa in Val Malenco there are several men who have made glacier 
excursions, and two or three (Flematti of Spriana, Joli of Torre) who have 
recently been up the Bisgrazia. 

/ Bagni to Val Codera, 

There are three passes, all only practicable on foot : I. Over Alp Li- 
gondo to a pass at the foot of Monte Lis d'Amasca and through 
Val del Pussato— the easiest. II. Through Val PorceUioa to 


Alp cT Ayerta. III. A rough way, wrongly marked on maps, be- 
tween the two last. All lead through gaps in an almost perpen- 
dicular granite wall. The scenery of the npper portion of Val 
Codera is wildly heaatifol (Tschndrs * Schweizerfiihrer^). 

FuoTcla di BoecHette, 

I Bagni to Gastasegna. Two steep and rongh foot-passes ; crossing 
between them one of the heads of Val Codera. 

Fasso di Bond^. 

I Bagni to Promontogno. A difficult glacier pass, involving the 
descent of an ice-wall, only to be attempted by practised climbers. 
The pass we crossed lies at the head of the most easterly of the 
glaciers seen from Alp Mazza in Porcellizsa. In descending the 
Bondasca glacier it is generally best to keep to the right. The 
spot at which to leave the ice for the pasturages is easily re- 
cognised. See p. 73. 

Paa&o di Ferro, 

Val di Mello to Promontogno. A fine glacier pass, difficulty vary- 
ing according to the state of the crevasses. In ascending from 
Val di Mello keep the £. side of the Ferro Glacier. See p. 49. 

Basso di T^ooca, (Forcella di S. Martino of Swiss map.) 

Val di Mello to Vico Soprano, a glacier pass well known to people of 
the country. Ko difficulty with a rope. * Alpine Guide,' p. 407. 

Basso di Monte Sissone, 

Val di Mello to Maloya. See p. 61. A fine and long, but not at all 
difficult, glacier pass. Monte Sissone is easily recognisable on the 
S. side. In descending to the Fomo Glacier bear along the N.E. 
ridge until it seems easy to get down. The right-hand side of the 
glacier is the best. 

Thero aro two passes known to the shepherds, connecting respec- 
tively the lower portion of the Forno Glacier with the ch&lets 
at the foot of the Albigna Glacier, and these with the highest 
pasturage in Val Bondasca. An active walker starting from 
the Maloya Inn would have little difficulty in crossing both 
in the same day. Owing to the much lower level of the starting- 
point, the excursion, taken the other way, would be too &tiguing 
to be recommended. 

Basso di MeUo, 

n Val di Mello to Chiareggio. Glacier pass, liable to be difficult on the 
£. side if the rocks aro icy or the glacier much crevassed. The 
gap is that nearest the Pico della Speranza. See p. 68. 

Basso ddla Sperantta and Basso della Breda Bossa. 

Val di Mello to Sasso Bisolo Glacier ; * 



Sftiflo Bitolo Glacier to Val di Tom ; 

Form together a high-lerel route from the Baths to Sondrio, pass- 
ing uider the Disgnuns. 

From Val dx Mello make for the pass at the W. foot of the Pico della 
Speranza ; the 2nd pass is conspicuous to anyone on the Sasso Btsolo Olaeier. 
See p. 87. 

These are not the passes alluded to bj Mr. Ball (' Alpine Guide,' p. 
408). There is a lower pass from Val Torreggio to the Sasso Bisolo ch&lets. 
The range S.W. of the Disgraaia is very badly laid down in all maps 
except the A. C. map of Switzerland. 


Afante deUa JHsgreuria, 12,067 ft. See p. 84, and ' Alpine Guide/ p. 408. 

In ordinary circumstances, about 6 hrs. from the highest Sasso 
Bisolo ch&lets, or hrs. from the Baths. Has also been ascended 
by Italians by the Passo della Freda Kossa starting from the 
Alpe Bali on the Val Halenco side. 

Mtmte SUtoM, 10,800 ft (?) See Sissone Pass. 
Oima di Bosso, 11,024 ft 

From the Maloya, an easy snow-peak, ascent 5 hrs., descent 2^ hrs. 
dma dd Largo, 11,162 ft. 

From the Maloya ; a steep ice-wall near the top. Bequires a good 
guide. Ascent 6 hrs ; descent 4^ hrs. This peak can undoubtedly 
be reached from the head of the Albigna Glacier. See p. 77. 
Punta TVuhinesca, 11,106 ft. 

From I Bagni ; easy for good walkers. Bope and ice-axe necessary. 
Ascend glacier W. of the peak and gully at its head to the gap 
between the P. T. and the Cima di Tschingel. Thence by the 
ridge. See p. 81. 

Cima di Tschingd, 10,853 ft. 

From I Bagni, lower and more difficult than the last. Ascent 
6 hrs. ; descent 4 hrs. 

Monte 1m cCAmatcat 10,600 ft. (?)^No information; quite unknown to 
Monte SjUugUt 0,038 ft. J English mountaineers. 


Carriages can only go to the Baths and back. Riders may yisit Val 
Bondasca from Promontogno, the Albigna Glacier from Vico Soprano, the 
foot of the Fomo Glacier from the Maloya Inn, and Alp Massa in Porcelliiza 
from the Baths. For climbers, the following route embraces the moot 
inviting peaks: — Ascend Cima del Largo from Maloya Inn; descend on to 


Zocca Pass (new, but perfectly practicable) ; sleep at La Basica. Ascend 
Disgrasia, return by Val Sasso Bisolo. Order a car from Baths to 
meet yoa at Cattaeggio. Ascend Ponta Trnbinesca. Cross by Val Codera 
to Spliigen road. The two last maif, no doubts be combined in die same day. 


Approaches and Carbiaob roads. 

Fbok the Rheinthal by the Pr&tigan and fluela roads. From the Tyrol 
Innthal by the new road from the Finstermiins through the Lower Engadioe. 
From the Etachthal (Vintschgau), by the Miinsterthal and Ofen road (now 
practicable for carriages, and crossed by a diligenceX or by the Stelvio road 
to the Baths of Bormio. The high-roads of the Val Tellina and Bemtna 
Pass skirt the district on the S. and W. 


Hotel and Pension Silyretta — frequented by Swiss — good (1866). 

Lower Engadine, 

Lavm, two new good Inns, Piz Linard, or Post, and &teinbock (1871). 

Zemetz. Bar, best (1871 ). 

lAvigno, A very rude country Inn (1866). 

Val Viola, No inns between La Bosa and Bormio (1873). 

Passes from the Southern Rhine Yallet into the Lower 


Fluela Pass, carriage-road. Vereina Pass, Klosters — Siis; rough walk. 
Verstankla Thor, Klosters — ^Lavin Glacier Pass, see p. 98. Silvretta Pass, 
Klosters— Guarda Glacier Pass, see * Alpine Guide,' p. 368. Grialetsch 
Pass, Bavoe-Sus, taking on the way Pis Vadret, a difficult rock-climb. 

For the passes from the Tyrolese valleys of Montafon and Paznaun 
see Tschudi's ' 08tschweiz,'Herr Weilenmann's 'Ausder Firnenwelt,' yol. ii., 
and Weltenbergei's ' Rhatikon-Kettet Lechthaler, und Vorarlberger Alpen,' 
Perthes, 1875 (valuable map), and * Alpine Guide,' p. 362. 

Excursions from Tarasp. 

See Tschudi's 'Schweizeifuhrer: Ostschweiz.' Recommended for climbers, 
Pis Linard, 11,207 ft. Piz Pisoc, 10,427 ft, or Pic Lischanna, 10,181 ft., 
returning by the Scarlthal. 

A A 



Ghiides oompetent for any monntsiDeering in this district can be found at 
ZemetE, and probably also at tbe Baths of Bormio. 

From the Engadine to Vol lAvigno. 

From the Ofenhans by path thronf^ the gorge of the Spol. See 

* Alpine Ghiide/ p. 418. 
Through Val Clnoca and Val del Diarel, and over Paseo del Diarel, 

r^hrs. Seepp. 112-U. 
From Scanfii ; Casana Pass, hone-road. * Alpine Gnide,' p. 418. 
From Ponte ; LaTimm Pass. ' Alpine Guide/ p. 418. 
Bemina H&aser by Val del Fain and the Passo della Stretta. 

'Alpine Qnide/ p. 406. 

'Paunfrom Val Livigno to Vol Viola, 

To Semogo and Bormio by the Passo di Foseagno. 'Alpine 

Guide/ p. 417. Horse-road. 
To Dosdi Alp by Zembrasca Pass, foot, 6^ hrs. easy, and does not 

lie orer ice as marked on most maps. 
To Val Viola Poschianna, by Passo di Mera (P. di Campo of A. C. 

map), foot. 'Alpine Guide/ p. 415. 
To La Rosa by the Forcola and Val Agone, horse-road. ' Alpine 

Guide/ p. 417. 

For the Passo di Val Viola see ' Alpine Guide,' p. 4 1 5. Most walkers 
will require an hour more than the time allowed by Mx. Ball. 

Paaaea between Val Viola and the Vol TdUna, 

From Campo to Val Grosina ; Passo di Verva, mole-road (?) ' Alpine 

Guide/ p. 404. 
From Dosdi Alp to Val Grosina ; Passo di Dosdi, Glader Pass, 6 hzi. 

toGrosio. Seep. 119-20. 
Between this and the next there is another glacier pass to be dis- 

From Val Viola Poschiavina, to Val Grosina; Passo di Saooo, 

' Alpine Ghiide/ p. 404. 

LiTiQNo District. — Peaks. 

Between Engadine and Vol lAvigno. 

Fiz QuatertfalSf 10,358 ft., the highest in this range, easiest from 

Val CluoKa, but can be reached from any side. 
Pie ePEeen 10,269 ft. from Scanfs. 

Between Val lAtfigno axid Val Viola. 

U<mte Fo,oagno, 10.180 ft. (?)1 jj -^fym^^ 
Monte ddle Mine, 10,800 ft. / """™»™»- 


Monte Zmhraaea, 10,700 ft. (?), 10,827 Studer. 

The gronnd at the head of Val Trefisenda is rerj inaccurately laid 

down on all maps. I assume the snow-peak oonspicaons at the 

head of Val Tressenda to be Monte Zembrasca, and the slightly 

higher rock summit lying further £. to be the Monte delle Mine. 

Punta del Campo, 10,843 ft. (Monte Vazzugna of A. C. map) as- 
cended in 1866. 
Between Val Viola and Val TelUna. 

Cima diPiazga, 11,718 ft (?), first ascended in 1867 by Heir Weilen- 
mann, 6} to 7^ hrs. from Baths of Bormio ; 2^ to eh&lets of Ma- 
donna d*Oga, Uien leaying the Cima San Colombano on the left, 
in 4 1 hrs. to the top— rope required. 

Pigeo di Dosdi; unascended from Dosdi Alp. [Correct 'Alpine 
Guide,' p. 416, column 1, line 9 from bottom, by omitting words 
from aeeended to Walker, ] 

Como di Logo Spalmo, 10,060 ft., highest peak unascended ; the 2nd 
reached in 1866. 

Como di Doedi, 10,607 ft. See ' Alpine Ghxide,' p. 416. 

Cima di Saoeeo, unascended, 10,729 ft. 

Pimta di Teo, 10,007 ft.* from FosehiaTO or La Bosa, a sharp scram- 
ble at the end. 

Piggodi Sena, 10,099 ft. 


Carriage travellers can drive over the Fluela and Ofen Passes, and 
thence by the Stelvio to the Lombard Alps. 

Moderate walkers and riders should ascend the Schwarzhom from the 
Fluela, go from Tarasp by the Scarlthal to the Ofenhaus and Livigno, and 
thence by the Passo di Foscagno and Passo di Verva to the Val Tellina. 

For walkers a good route is by Silyxetta Glacier to Lower Engadine, 
ascend Fix Linard or Pis Pisoe, retnzning by Scarlthal to Zemets. Liyigno 
by Passo del Diavel ; to ch&lets of Monte EHia in Val Viola by Passo di 
Foscagno ; ascend Cima di Piau, and descend throng^ Val Grosina or to 
the Baths of Bormio. 


Appboaches and Carbiage-boads. 

Ths Milan-Leeco and Milan-Bergamo railroads, the Val Tellina ; the high- 
roads from Bergamo, Bresda, and the Val Camonica to Clusone ; Varenna 
and Bellano on the Lago di Como, axe also good starting-points. 

ThflM are carriage-roads up all the main valleya, but none between them, 
except in the case of Val Seriana and Val di Scalve. 

AA 2 



Eaino, Food for the Grigna can be procured at the first house in the upper 
▼iUage (1874). 

Introbbio, The Albergo delle Miniere is closed, and there is onlj a reej in- 
diflbrent country Inn, * Osteria Antica,' in the middle of the town 

Vol Brembana. 

Vol Torta, Bread, eggs, and wine may be had here. 

There is a good country Inn at the cross*roads below Olmo (1874). 

Branri. The accommodation has been improred. Very civil but 
slow people (1874). 

San PdUgrino. Bath-house, with warm iron springs. 

Zogno. Inn strongly recommended by Herr Tschudi as a comfort- 
able centre for excursions. 

8, Omobuono in Val Imagna. Bath-house ; iron springs. 


Bondione. Very rough, but clean beds (1874). 

Oromo. Capital country Inn, with quick hostess ( 1 874). 

For other Inns, see ' Alpine Guide.* 


In this region erery gap between two peaks is passable, and most of 
them are used more or less by the pCQple of the country. For a detailed 
account of many of these side glens and byways the reader is referred to 
Tschndi's ' Schweiserfuhrer/ vol. iii. ' Ostschweiz,* a rery handy work. 

It is only possible here to indicate a few routes and excursions. Car- 
riage tnureUers must in each yalley return the way they came ; except that, 
from Clusone, ^hey may turn eastwards to the Lego d'Iseo. 

1. (Described in the text as ihr as Monte Gleno). Monte Grigna, 
Introbbio, Val Torta, Branri, Passo di Gomigo, Bondione, 
Monte Gleno, descend to Schilpario in Val di Scalve, cross 
one of the passes to Val Camonica, or drive back to Clusone 
(6 days). 

12. From Lecco through Val Imagna to Almexmo and Val Brembana, 
from Zogno by Oltre il CoUe to Ponte di Nossa and Clusone, 
ascend Presolana, and descend through the lower Val di Scalve 
to Val Camonica (3 days). 

3. From Sondrio ascend Como Stella (8,696 ft.) by a path recently 
made by the Italian Alpine Club ; descend to Branri ; cross 
Passo di Gomigo, or by the sources of the Brembo to Fiu- 
menero ; ascend Monte Redorta (9,976 ft.) and return to Sondrio 
(3 days). . 


Other ezeoTsions to be reeommended are the ascents of Honte Aralalta, 
or raUier the exploration of the glens ronnd its base, and the ascent of the 
Pino del Tre Signori. See ' Alpine Guide/ p. 462. 

CHAPTERS Vn., Vra., IX., X., XI. 

Approaches and Gabriaoe-roads. 

Fbom the Engadine by the Bemina and Apnea Passes, 2 days' drive from 
Pontaresina to Edolo. From Lago di Gomo by the Val TeUina and Apnea 
Pass, a day and a halfs drive from Colioo to Edolo. From Bergamo or 
Brescia by Lago d'Iseo and Val Camonica, a day and a halfs drive to Edolo. 
From Bzescia by Lago d'Idro and Tione to Pinzolo, 2 days' drive. From Riva 
by Lago di Ledro and Tione, a day and a halfs drive, or by AQe Sarche, a 
day's drive, to Campiglio. From Trent by Vezzano and Alle Sarche to Cam- 
piglio, a day. From San Michele by Val di Non to Mali, one day from Bot- 
zen. From Sta. Catarina by the Gavia Pass to Ponte di Legno (mule-road). 
The only carriage-passes in this district are the Aprica and Tonale. A 
new carriage-road from Pimsolo to Campiglio is just opened. It is pro- 
posed to carry it on over the Ginevrie Pass to Val di Sole. 


Vol Camometu 

Edolo. Due Mori, fair and reasonable (1874) 

Ponte di Legno, Inn clean, good food, dvil people (1878). 

Cedegolo, Fair accommodation ; exorbitant charges (1874). 

MaU. Exorbitant charges (J. G. 1874). 

Fotine^ Dimaro, Fair country Inns ; clean beds (1871). 

Pefo, Slow and slovenly people, bad food (1871). 

Rabii. Rough, but clean beds, and enough to eat (1873). 

Campiglio. Inn and Pension. Accommodation good, food indifftr- 
ent, charges somewhat high. Reductions and great improvements 
promised for this year (1875), when it reopens under a new 


Pieve di Buono. Fair country Inn (1874). 
Pieos di Ledro. Inn and Pension. Fairly comfortable (1874). 
Bathe of Comano. Good food and accommodation (1874). 
Tione. Cavallo Bianco, a good country Inn (1874). 
Pineolo. Bonapaoe's. Food and lodging much improved ; great 
civility (1874). 
„ Posta. Also well spoken of by English visitors (1874). 

A teas country Inn (1874). 




FaM$o ddle MalghetU, 

Oampiglio to Pelizzano — b\ hours, easy. 

PtU90 di Cereen. 

Bedole Alp to Vermiglio 7-8 hrs., lOpe required. See p. 203. 

PoMio di Preaena, 

Mandron hut to Vermiglio. 

Boeehetta di Maroearo, &c. See ' Alpine Guide/ p. 476. 

PoMo dd ifandron, 

Bedole Alp to Vol d'Ario and Ponte di Legno, easy glacier pass, 
»*10 hrs. See p. 227. 


Gap at N. base of Adamello ; dii&cnlt descent into Val d' Avio. 

Pas90 dAdanuUo. 

Bedole Alp to Edolo. Gap near S. foot of Adamello ; tolerably easy 
descent into Val Miller, 6 hrs. up, 6 down. S^e p. 218. 

PasBO d^Adame. 

Bedole Alp to Cedegolo. A long but easy glader pass. 

Pano di Fum. 

Val di Fum to Val di GenoTa, by Passo dei TopetL A direct descent 
of the Lobbia Glacier has yet to be effected. 

Paaao di San Valentino, See ' Alpine Guide,' p. 480. 

Paaso di Breguzzo. 

Val di Fum to Bregumo ; easy. 

High-level rtmtefrom Val di Borzago to Vol tCAfrio. 

From Val Bendena to highest hut in Val di Borzago, 4^ hrs. ; Gari 
Alto, 4 hrs. ; Passo di Carento. Lares — Fum Glaciers 2^ ; Passo 
della Lobbia Alta; Lobbia — ^Mandron Glaciers, 1 ; Passo di Man- 
dron, 14 hr. ; down to Ponte di Legno, 4 hrs. ; four hours shorter 
without the Cav& Alto. See p. 224. 


PreeaneUa, 11,688 ft— 8 routes. 

1. From Passo di Geroen — up, 8^ hrs., down, } hr. See p. 199. 

2. From Val di Genofa by Val Gabbiol. 

3. From Val Nambrone or Pinsolo by the Nardis Glacier — ^the 

easiest — a day and a half from Campiglio or Pinzolo. 


JdamMo, 11,637 it--6 routes. 

1. From Bedole Alp, ascent 6^ hrs^ easj. See p. 211. 

2. From Alp in Val d'Avio by P. di Maadron, easy, and not longer 

than from Bedole. 

3. From Alp in Val d'Avio by Passo d'Avio, more direct, but 


4. From Val Miller, not difficult with a good guide, when the rocks 

are free from ice, but unknown to the people of the country. 

5. From Val di Salamo or Val d'Adame^ easy. 

A good day's walk for an active mountaineer, from the Bedole Alp, 
over the Adamello, to Ponte di Legno, Edolo, or Cedegolo. 

Cark AUo, 11,367 ft. (more probably 11,600). See p. 224. 

From highest comfortable chdlet in Val di Borzago, 6 hrs. by the 
W. ridge. The £. ridge may prove possible and shorter. It is 
possible to descend over the Lares Glacier into Val di Genoya, to 
pass through the Passo di Gavento into Val di Fum, or to take 
the course to Val Camonica above referred to. A direct ascent of 
the peak from Val di Fum looks very difficult. 
The minor summits of this group have not all been attained ; there are 
none which appear to ofifor serious difficulties. 


i^ifso dd Groaii. 

Campiglio — Flavona Alp, 4 hrs., easy. 

Bocea di VaUazga, 

Flavona Alp— Val delle Seghe — ^Molveno. Bough walking, difficult 
to find in fog, and not known in the country. In descending, keep 
near the stream down to the bottom of the first step, afterwards 
on the left bank, recrossing at the plain where the two branches 
of Val delle Seghe unite. 

Paaao di Flavona, 

Flavona Alp — Spor. Easy mule-road. 

From the Flavona Alp a rough cart-track leads through Val Tere- 
sena to Tuenno in Val di Non in 4^ hrs. See p. 270. 

Boeca deUa VatteaimUa, 

CamiMglio by the Vallesinella to N. brandi of Val deUe Seghe. A 
fine pass, crosses a glacier, ^~% hrs. 

Booea di Brmta, See ' Alpine Guide,' p. 487. 
At least 9 hrs. from Pincolo to Molveno. 

Pasfo (CAmbies, See p. 267. 

Pinzolo or Campiglio to Baths of Comano, 10-11 hrs. ; requires a 
good guide or practised climber and a rope. From Bocca dei 


Camooi (see post) torn left to gap in snoiry ridge at head of Val 
Agola Glacier. I>e8C6nd trough at 8. comer of gap into head of 
Val d'Ambiee. It is much the Bame distance whether the tnTeller 
goee at once into the glen, or skirts to the right before descending. 
Tracks are soon found in either case. 

V^M from Val d'Ambies to Val Gedeh and Molreno, not difficult. 

Pass from Val d*Ambies to Val d*Algone \ no information, but certainly 

Pra Fiori Fkiss, Finsolo— Val d'Algone, a good mule-path, 8 to 81 hxs. 
to glassworks ; thence camage-road to Stenioo. 


B. Nicoloei of Molveno is an excellent guide for the Brenta group. 
He is strong, skUAil, and always in a good temper. 

Ko information as to the minor peaks N. of the Cima di Brenta, the Sasso 
Alto, Sasso Rpsso, Mondifra and Cima di Grost^. It is beliered they haTe 
been ascended from Gampiglio. 

Cima di Brenta, 10,616 ft. 

Up 5 hn., down 8 hrs. Follow path through wood, round 8. base of 
Honte Spinale ; ascend the Yallesinella to the chAlet^ cross stream, 
and dimb sigiag path to brow overlooking Val Brenta. Skirt Val 
Brenta side of some rooks, then recross into head of the Yallesi- 
nella ; ascend glacier seen among the cliffii right. From platform 
at its head climb rocks left» and pass OTer the first to the highest 
peak. See p. 264. 
2nd route, from Booca deUa VaUeHnella, 

Cut up steep snowHslope S. of Bocca, and keep dose to the £. side 
of a small glader — up 1^ hr., down 20 m. 

Chna 7bM, 10,780 feet. See p. 276 and * Alpine Guide,* p. 489. 
Cima di Nqfditio, or Cinglo di MovUna, 10,000 ft. (?) The peak Tisible 
from Pinzolo. Unascended. 


Guides recommended by the Trentine Alpine Society — G. Botteri, em- 
ployed by Payer ; G. Catturani, has ascended the Adamello ; Antonio 
dalla Giacoma, detto Lusion da Cadenone; aU know the Presanella. 
Good donkeys, but no mules or side-saddles, are to be had at Pintolo. 
B. Nicolosi, of Molreno, has been up the Car6 Alto. N. Clemente of Ron- 
cone (near Tione) knows Val di Fum. Francesco P. Peotta and Sebastiano 
D. Roer, both of Stenico, for Val d*Algone and the Cima Tosa (?) 

For moderate Ufolkert. 

Pra Fiori. Along ridge to Dos di Sabione, descend through Val 
Agola, 6 to 8 hrs. / 


For other ezciumons in the Brenta gfroup, see Campiglio. 
In the Adamello range, — 

La Porta delP Amola. See 'Alpine Guide»' p. 471. 

Lego di San Ginliano and Como Alto. Mnst command fine yiewB. 

Bedole and Venecia ch&lets. 8 hrs. there and back ; car-road for 

some mileai then horse-path * Alpine Guide,' p. 476. 
Val di Boraago. 1 hrs. drire, to Boixsgo 2 hrs. walk, up valley. 
Should, if possible, be combined with Como Alto. 
For climbers. See Peaks and Passes, ante. 


Guides. See Pinsolo. A forester can generally be found, and, except on 
snow or ice, these men are as a rule quite capable. Donkeys may be hired, 
and side-saddles are promised for 1876. Visitors wiU find it easy to add 
largely to the list given below. 
For moderate uxtlikert. 

Monte Spinale, 8 hrs. easy walking. 
Monte Bitorto, a little longer. 

VallesiBella and tour of Monte Spinale — a beautifdl walk. 
Vallesinella. Follow path to Gima Tosa (see ante), but instead of 
recrossing into Vallesinella, foUow track right, leading to upper 
level of Val di Brenta — ^the finest easy excursion. 
To head of Val di Brenta, 6 to 6 hrs. there and back. 
Val Agola, Bos di Sabione^ Pinsolo; or Val Agola, Glassworks in 
Val d'Algone, Piniolo. See ante. 

For elimbert, 

Bocca dei Camoczi, Campiglio— Pinzolo. Mount glacier S.W. of Cima 
Tosa to head, descend glacier falling towards Val Agola, leaving 
it on its left bank, 11 hrs. ; rope necessary ; a magnificent walk. 

See Peaks and Passes, ante. The Cima Tosa and Cima di Brenta 
can be ascended without sleeping out. 


For riders and carrioffe travellers. 

Cross the Apnea,* and Tonale Passes, Val di Sole, Ginevrie P&ss, 
Campiglio, Pinzolo, Tione, Riva, by Lago di Ledro, Baths of 
Comano, Stenico, Molveno, San Michele. 

For walkers. 

Coming fh>m the Orteler. For High Passes from Santa Gatarina to 
Val di Sole, see Appendix C. Over the P^resanella to Pinzolo and 
Campiglio ; over Cima di Brenta to Molveno ; return by Cima Tosa 
to Pinsolo,Val di Genova^ Adamello, Ponte di Legno ; [or AdameUo, 
Val Saviofe, Val di Fum, Car^ Alto by Puso di Cavento, de- 
scending to Tione by Val di Borago.] 





From the West. 

By the high-road ftom the railroad at Neninaikt^ passiDg through 
Predaaso. Carriage-road from Trent, through Val Sugana to 
Strigno and Tesino ; thence mule-path. 

From the South. 

By the high-road from Vioenza, through Bassano to Fonsaeo, and 
thence up the valley of the Cismone to Primiero (oarriage-road, 
with a break of 10 miles between Fonzaao and Pontetto). 

From the East. 

From Cortina (mule-road), or Belluno (carriage-road), to Val 
d'Agordo and thence by mnle-path, or to Foozaso wd Feltre 
and thence as aboye. 

From the North. 

From railroad at Brack, Atswang, or Botzen, oyer Seisser Alp or 
Caressa Pass, to Campidello or Vigo (mule-paths); thence road to 
Predazzo, Paneyeggio, and oyer Costonaella Pass. 



The old Hospice is well kept. There is one good bedroom, and 3 
others tolerable, and the fare is reasonably good (1872). 

San Nartino di CastroMMa. 

A large new Inn and Pension is to be opened here this year (1875). 


The Inn here has been hardly treated by some recent trayellers. It 
fully deseryes the praise giyen in Uie 'Alpine Chiide ' (1872). 

^ Passes. 

round the primiero group. 

Agordo-Primiero, good and much f^uented mule-path 
— 7 to 8 hrs. See p. 286 and * Alpine Guide,' p. 468. 
Food can be got at the yillages on the way, and wine at 
a little inn beautifully situated near the second pass. 

Pasao di CottonzeUa. 

Primiero, S. Hartino, Panereggio, Predazzo. Good cazriage-road. 
See p. 284 and ' Alpine Guide,' p. 468 (yoL iiu). 

Paseo di Goaaldo, 
Paseo di Cereda. 


Ptu$o di Voiles, 

Fftneveggio to Cenoenighe, Agordo or Caprile ; mule-ioad ; < Alpine 
Guide/ p. 488. 

Passo di Jhtviffnolo. 

PaneTeggio to Ghiree, through the gap between the Cimon della Fala 
and VesEana, would be more difficult the other way ; rope and ioe- 
axes required. (6^ hre.) See p. 297. 
Passo delle ComeUe, 

San Martino to Gares ; no difficulty, but rough walking. See p. 294 
and ' Alpine Guide/ p. 469. 
Passo t 

San Martino to Valle di San Lucana From the Faeeo delle Comelle 
strike across the table*land to the route of the Passo di Canale, 
near the Coston di MieL The distance between the tracks of these 
two passes would probably be little more than an hour. Not yet 
made (?) but certainly easy. 

Passo di Vol Pravitale. 

Gares, or San Martino to Val di Pravitale, and Primiero. A rough 
but easy walk. 

Passo di Canals, 

Primiero— Valle di San Lucano — Agorda See p. 288; 'Alpine 
Guide/ p. 469. 

The vanous passes over the table-land behind the Primiero peaks can 
be combined at discretion. It would be quite possible, for instance, 
to go firom Pknereggio to Primiero, by the Passo di Travignolo and 
the Passo di Val PraTitale, ascending either the Veszana or the 

The passes between the Primiero valley and Val di Mel await explora- 
tion. The route over Monte Pavione is described in the ' Alpine Guide,' 
p. 456. 


*im the primiebo 0r0x7p. 

Cima Fuoeobono, Unascended. 

Oima di Vetsana, Easy from Gazes by the route of the Passo di Travignolo, 

more £fficult from Paneve^a 
Cimon della Pala^ Very difficult ; only to be attempted with fint-rate 

guides, and from the side of Paneveggio. 
dma della Sosetta. Easy 4 hr. from Passo delle Ck>melle. 
Palls di San Martino, Unascended. 
Cima di BaU. Tolerably easy from the Val Pravitale. 
Sass Moor, Unaaoended. 


Cima dmedo, Unaaeeiided ; probably easj. ' 
Cima ddla fhidmsta. "Eaaj £K>m Val Pnyitale. 

^^^ ^^ ^'•^•\Emt from P*i«K) di Canale. 
Cotton di Mia, J ^ ^im«u ui v««ua. 

SoBBoOrtiga, J ""**"***^ 

The principal oatljing peaks towaids Val d'Agordo are Honte Agnaio, 
Monte San Lacano, Cima di Fape. The lact is a fine viev point, easily 
acoeesible from Cenoenighe. 


// Ptf. Unaecended (the height is often nnder-eetimated ; it mnst bo 
about 9,600 ft). 


See Ball's < Alpine Guide,' p. 466. 

Monntaineeis can ascend to the table-land by any one of the glens, and 
return by another. See Peaks and Passes, ante. There are no good guides 
as yet at Primiera There are fair men at Cortina and Caprile, a day's 
journey east. To moderate walkers the following excursions are recom- 
mended by Mr. Gilbert. 

I. Down the Valley to Mecsano, and up the reiy fine gorge of the 
Noana. The raTine may be followed till a small malga upon an alp 
is reached; then turning N., the deep Talley of Uie Asinooa is 
crossed, and bearing to the left, the Capella dJ S. Giovanni, upon a 
charming little alp, may be visited. Thence resume the Noithem 
course, and descend direct upon Primiero. This is a pleasant round 
for ladies. 

II. Cross the bridge to Ormanico, and ascend the hill behind the Tillage ; 
an easy path works up a small ralley, turning oTentually upon the sida 
of the hill that impends oyer the Castello della Pietra. Here is a 
terrace path, at a considerable height, which, with the open alp be- 
yond, commands a striking view of Val di Canale, and of the anaj 
of peaks at its head. 

III. The finest walk from Primiero is certainly past the Castello della 

Pietra up Val di Canale. Arriving at the entrance of Val Pravitale 
the path up the Val di Canale may be pursued a short distance, and 
then turning to the left a path may be taken along the ridge over- 
looking Val Pravitale^ and commanding fine views of it» and of the 
Sas Maor opposite. 

IV. The new road to San Martdno di Castrozia aflbrds the best general 

view of the Brimiero Dolomites, and an agreeable variation is ob- 
tained by ascending the hills on the left towards Mte. Scanaiol, 


and yifliting the Lago Calaita, at foot of Hte. Anon, which onght 
to ofier a good panoiamic view of the district. I have not heard of 
anyone ascending it From the Lago Calaita, a bare scene, the Val 
di Lozen might be descended till it joins the Canale di 8. Boro, not 
&r from the wild Lago NnoTO. But the trareller returning to 
Primiero ought to turn S. before the village of Prade, cross a low 
ridge, and either descend by the regular mule-track through the 
Cismone valley, or follow a charming path which runs along the N. 
slope of the valley high above Imer and Mezzano. 

v. Ascent of Site. Pavione. Very interesting view to South. Ladies can 
ride to foot of final peak« Two routes, one through the Noana 
gorge for some distance. Four hours to summit from Primiero. 
Belluno, Venice, and Aquileia visible in dear weather. Dolomites 
not well shown* 

FcT riders. 

Agordo, Excursion to Valle di San Lucano, Primiero by mule-road. 
Drive to Paneveggio, return by Passo di Valles to Agordo or 

For walkers. 

From Agordo by Passo di Canale to Primiero. To San Martino by 
Val Pravitale and Cima deUa Rosetta. To Paneveggio by Laghi 
di Colbricon ; thence to Qares by Passo di Travignolo, ascending 
Cima di Vezsana on the way. 



See ' Alpine Guide,' p. 524. 

A good new Lin, Hotel Antelao, has lately been opened at San Vito, 
on the Ampezto road. 


Val di Zoldo is enclosed on three sides between the carriage-road of the 
Val d'Agordo and the Ampesso, ' strada regia,* and on the fourth by the 
mule-pass from S. Vito to Caprile. It is only accessible by horse-paths, 
and the best starting-points are Longarone, Tai di Cadore, San Vito, Caprile, 
and Agordo. 



Pdnut, 10,877 it See p* 814 and * Alpine Guide/ p. 625 ; Ist oolomn, 13 
lines from bottom, read, * from the S. and £. sidee of the monntain.' 
The route from Zoppi is the same aa that from Borea followed bj 
Mr. Bali Agoeto di Maroo of BruBadac is a good guide. 

Civetta, 10,440 ft. See < Alpine Ghiide,* p. 626. 

Monte Ido9c<mn^'\ 

Monte Vescova, >£. of Agorda 

Monte Pdf. J 

aaseo diBoeco Nero. | xjnascended. E. of Forno di Zolda 
Monte qfomuA, J 


Foroella del Sasao di Soeoo Nero, 

Forno di 2joldo to Ospitale. Descend the yalley to a point 10 min. 
beyond the octagon oratory of San Giovanni, pass below Fagare, 
and cross (40 min.) to the left bank of Val Bosoo Nero ; ascend 
yalley to pass (1 hr. 60 min.) ; descend into Val di Oampestrin 
and the Caseni di Val Bona, and thence by a path on the 1^ side 
of the torrent into the valley of the Piare (2 hrs.). M. Hokmann. 

Foredla Cibiana, 

Forno di Zoldo to Venas, horse-path. * Alpine Guide,' p. 624. 
Zopp^ to Vodo, horse-path. See ' Alpine Guide,' p. 628. 

Paeao di Butorto, 

Zopp^ or San Nicolo to San Vito, horse-path sldrting the base of 
the Pelmo (about 6 hrs.). 

ForeeUa Btanlanta. 

Pecol to Val Fiorentina, and by Forcella Forada to San Vito. This 
with the Passo di Rutorto completes the circuit of the Pelmo. It 
is easy to cross from the Campo di Pelmo to the Forcella Stan- 
lanza without descending into Val di S^oldo, so that this cirenit 
can well be made in a day by an active walker. 

FauotCAUegke. • 

Pecol to Alleghe or Gaprile, mule-path. * Alpine Guide,' p. 626. 

Paeao di Duram. 

Agordo to San Tiziano. 'Alpine Guide,' p. 624. 

Paeeo Moeeoain, Agordo to Forno di Zoldo. 

This pass is the depression between Monte Piacedel and Monte 
Moscosin. It connects the heads of Val Crasa and Val Pramper 
di Zddo. The Passo Pramper, between Monte Pramper and 


Honte Vescoya, mentioned in the ' Alpine Guide' as leading from 
Forno di Zoldo to Agoido, wonld neoeeeitate crossing three ndges, 
and passing thzoogh Val Framper di Zoldo, Val Pramper di GMsol, 
Val di Bossi, Val Crasa, and the yalley of the Boxdina, and it 
iroTild be shorter to pass from the nppar part of the latter into the 
valley of the Misiaga. M. Holzmann. 

Fa89o di Lavarede, Agordo to Longarone, by Val di Vesoova. 

This is a low pass S. of Monte Vescova, crossing the ridge near the 
chAlets of Layarede. 




AUano Maggian (6 kilometres N. of Beigamo). In the parish chnich, fine 
picture of Lorenso Lotto representing St. Peter Martyr (see Crowe and 
Cayalcaselle, ' History of Painting in North Italy,' yoL ii. p. 646), 
and another worth notice by Appiani. The pnlpit in marble, with 
Caryatids and bass-reliefs by Andrea Fantoni. In the sacristy, a set 
of most beautiful carvings and inlaid works by Fantoni and Caniana, 
of the seventeenth centniy. 

OUra (6 kilometres N. of Alamo). Altarpiece with carvings and stataes 
in wood, and paintings on panel, attributed to Cima di Conegliano 
(to Francesco Santa Croce, C. and C, voL ii. p. 642), a work of great 

ASbino (Valle Seriana). In the parish church pictures of G. B. Moroni and 

Fiorano (Valle Seriana). Veiy beautiM altarpiece by G. B. Moroni. 

OneUk (in Val di Gomo). At the church of the Madonna del Frassino 
on the eastern slopes of Monte Alben. Fine picture in compartments 
of Girolamo Santa Croce. 

Fam (Valle Seriana). Much extolled picture of G. B. Mozoni. 

CliuoM (Valle Seriana). On the outer walls of the Chapel of the Conf^ 
temitA, fresco representing the triumph of Death, recalling tlie 
celebrated Dance by Holbein ; the style is Tnscan (C. and C, voL ii. 
p. 686). 


In the neighbouring BowUa, biithpUce of the earrer and acnlptor 

Fantoni, rich collection of work and models of the fionily Fantoni, who 

were for mon than three ceotnriee diatingQiBhed as wood-carrers aad 

scnlpton in marUe, and whose works are found thronghont the valley. 

Pmo. In a small church, fine picture of G. R Moront 

Gromo (Val Seriana). Picture attributed to Talpino, and remaxkable 
church fiimitnre of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. 

IVeseorr0 (14 kilometres £. of Bergamo; sulphurous baths) Capella de* 
Suardi, entirelj oorered with frescoes \rj Lorenao Lotto, a most 
important work in his best manner, damaged in parts (G. and C, 
▼ol. iL pp. 616-4^17). 

S^dobbio (near Trescorre). Beautiful confessional and wood earrings by 

Gartago (in the parish church), three pictures by Moroni, the best is ' The 
Adoration of the Magi;' also his last work representing *The Lost 
Judgment' (much damaged). 

West of Bergamo, near Almenno, on the right bank of the Brembo, 
is a circular church of the sixth or serenth century, one of the most 
remarkable aschitectunil remains of its epoch in North Italy. 

Sefina m Val d*AmMa (side yalley of Val Brembana). In the parish 
church eeferal pictures (damaged) by Palma il Veochio, who was bom 
here. In the Chiesa dei Frati, a Crucifixion by Palma il GioTane, decay- 
ing (C. and G., toI. L p. 281, toL ii. pp. 467-8 and 548). 

In another small church a yezy fine picture of the Venetian School 
in the manner of Titian. . 

ConuUo (Val Brembana abore 8. Pellegrino). Remains of the old house 
of the ancestors of Taseo. 

Fondra (Val Brembana). Paintings by Benrenuto da Garofalo. 

Averara (Val Brembana above Olmo). In the parish church a fine picture 
of Guerinoni (Beigamasque School, about a.d. 1676). 

M9£toldo (Val Brembana). Valuable Ancona in the choir by Lattanxio 
da Rimini, a.d. 1506. 

DoBuna (Val Brembana). Important picture by Palma il Vecchio, a good 
deal injured. Most beautiful Paul Veronese, another also noteworthy 
picture of the Venetian School, perhaps by Bonifazio Bembo. 

Tachudi's * Schweizerfuhrer' speaks also of Tintorettos at Gasnigo and 
Vertova in Val Seriana, and mentions seyeral other village churches as con- 
taining pictures of the Brescian School. Tassi^s ' Lives of the Befgamaaqne 
Painters,' Bergamo, 1707, may also be studiedby thoee who wish for further 
information. There is a copy in the British Museum. 




Thb following notes of two routes from Suita Catarina to Val di Sole 
may be useful to good walkers who wish to aroid the long circuit bj 
the Gavia and Tonale or the duU Pksso dei Tre Signori. 

I. Santa Catarina to JP^'o, by the Pieso deUa Mare (Punta di San Matteo 
of Payer). The ascent of this peak from the Gavia Glacier is an 
easy but interesting walk, and the view on a clear day unsurpassed 
in extent in the Alps, reaching from Monte Viso to the Ankogel above 
Gastein. The summit is at times a great wave of snow overhanging 
the Fomo Glaciw ; care should be taken therefore in approaching the 
edge. From the peak a perfectly easy route, first found by Lieutenant 
Payer, leads down into Val della Mare by the Q\ d^gli Orsi. 
This glacier lies considerably to the £. of the peak, and on the 
southern side of the pass (Passo degli Orsi) at the extreme head of 
the Fomo Glacier. Its icefall is turned by the rocky slopes on the 
left; below this it is best to descend at once into the valley rather than 
to follow a tempting path leading along the hillside to the left, which 
comes to a sudden end in a wood. This route occupies nine hours, or 
only one more than the Passo dei Tre Signori. 

II. Santa Catarina to Babbi by Monte Cetfedale and the PLpzo della Venetia. 
From Santa Catarina, Monte Cevedale may be ascended through 
Val Cedeh, in about six hours. To reach Babbi, the following direc- 
tions must be followed : Having returned to the gap between the two 
summits (Mr. Tuckett'sFiirkele Joch), traverse the crevassed southern 
face of the eastern peak to the ridge descending to the Hohenfemer 
Joch. Follow this ridge, cross the gap, and keep along the rocky 
crest dividing the Val della Mare from the Martell Thai. After an 
easy ascent^ a small glacier will be crossed, and the crest again struck 
to the east of the stonemen, marking the second pass mentioned by 
Mr. Ball (* Alpine Guide,' vol. ii. p. 488).* Then climb the shoulder 
of the Pizzo della Venecia to a point scarcely 160 feet below that 
rather insignificant summit. Few passes in the Alps command views 
equal to those of the central mass of the Orteler obtained between the 

* In the *KarlB der Cmlmim OrOergruppe^ pnbllahed under the author!^ of the 
Oennan Alpine dnb and to be seen at Santa Catazlna, the route can be followed with 
soffldent aocnuaoj'. BaD'B Hohenfemer Joch it there Fttrkel Scharte, and his aeoond 
more easterly paas, the Hohenfemer Joch. The Yedretta deDa Veneiia becomes the 
Vedretta Oareser. The small glacier faOing towards Val di BabU is well shown, bat the 
groond bek>w it is left vagne. In this map the whole southwest limb of the Orteler 
group is most inaocoxately rcpiaion ted, and might better have been left a blank. 

B B 


Hobenferner Joeh and this point, including on the one hand the bold 
peaks of the Konigwpttxe, Zebra, and Orteler itself ; on the other, the 
Tast anowj masMea which sarroand the Fomo Glacier, aending down 
on thb side also laige glaciers into Val della Mare. The (Etsthaler 
Femer are well seen, and, in the opposite direction, the whole height 
of the Presanella, a splendid object rising behind the meadows of 
Val di Pejo. A descent of five minutes leads to the level snow-fields 
of the Vedretta della Veneciay which are crossed to a broad gap. 
forming the highest pass between the Val della Mare and the Rabbi 
rallej. Its height (aboat 1U,300 feet) is sufficient to overlook the 
opposite pastern ranges, and to command a wide prospect over the 
fertile bills of the Nonsberg and the rich Trentino, fenced in like a 
garden by the distant spikes of the Botzen and Primiero Dolomites. 

In descending, keep at first on the left side of the small glacier ; 
from the platform below its foot, bear to the right, to the higheat 
pasturage, then to the left over a grass-slope, leading to a stream 
which must \y% crossed. The precipices which now stop the way have 
to be turned by keeping well to the left, and scrambling down a steep 
but easy gully which leads to a track near the foot of one of the grsat 
steps in the valley. The path follows the right bank down three 
steep and stony descents separated by small plains. Below the laet, 
and near some cottages, it crosses the stream, and after a time begina 
to mount along the hillside towards the village of Piazzola. For the 
Baths it is best to follow a water course, and then ran down into the 
level meadows which extend for a mile above the mineral source. 

This route is very direct, free from difficulty, and, though long, not 
too laborious, involving only one re-ascent of about 1,000 ft. The 
latter part of it is of course equally available for mountaineers cross- 
ing from the Saldenthal to Rabbi, as Monte Cevedale can be ascended 
fVom 8t. Oertrud in about the same time as from Santa Catarina. 
Our times were : ascent of Monte Cevedale, 6 hrs. ; to shoulder of 
Pino Venezia, 3 hrs. ; to pass overlooking Val di Rabbi, 50 min. ; 
descent to Baths, 3 hrs. Total, 12 hrs. 60 min., without halts. 



By the kindness of Signori Marchetti and Menegnoi, the President and 
Seeretary of the Trentine Alpine Society, I am able to furnish the following 
copy of the inscription in San SteCuio. They warn me that the tnnscriptioD 


is probably not altogether accurate. Having receiyed it only at the last 
moment before publication, I haye been unable to consider it as carefully as 
I should have wished : — 

* HtBc est copia privUegi Sancii Stephani de Randma. Carulus Magnus 
de Francia* constituit conscilium suum consulem causa yeniendi in montes 
Blaye^ et ducebat secum 4000 lanceas et yeniebat ad civitatem Bergami de 
qua erat dominus unus qui nominabatur dux Lupus qui erat paganus. Et 
prsedictus Carulus certabat secum causa conyertendi ipsum. 

* Qui dux cepic Sandrum et multos alios, qui fecit eos decapitare et 
quum decapitaverunt Sandrum VI cerei ardentes nullo eos tenente appa- 
ruerunt ey duci et gentibus circumstantibus et campane per Dey gratiam et 
sine aliquo auxilio mundano pulsayerat. Et hoc fuit per signum sanctitatis 
prsedicti Sandri et yiso isto miraculo prsedictus dux Lupus cum tota sua 
gente conversus est ad 

* catolicam fidem. Qiu pnedictus dux Lupus post modum yenit cum 
praedicto Carulo Magno ad unum castelum quod yocatur Sanctus Johannes 
de Calla ' in quo castelo morabatur unus qui nominabatur Alonis. Qui 
Alorus cum vidit tantam gentem circumstantem suo castelo conyersus est 
(ad) Christi fidem. Qui prsedictus Alorus misit unam sacerdotem ad unum 
castelum quod dicitur castelum Amoni ctgus 

* casteli erat dominus unus qui nominabatur Lamideus judeus. £t 
prsedicta sacerdos tractavit prodictionem yalis Oriole * quee fidelis erat. Et 
prtedictus Carulus yenit in yalem Oriolam et iyit ad unum castelum quod 
yocabatur Jesen * cujus casteli erat dominus unus judeus qui nominabatur 
Hercules quem Carulus interfecit quia noluit conyerti se. £t ibi fecit 
hedificare unam ecclesiam ad honorem sancte Trinitatis cui eccleeie VII 

* episcopi concederunt XL dies indulgentise pro singulo singula die et 
dominus Pontifex concessit 1500 annos indulgentiae. £t predictus Carulus 
recessit etiyit ad portam Blasie' et ibi erat unus castelanusqui nominabatur 
Judeus qui nolebat credere catolioe fidey. Et Carulus certayit et destnudt 
eum et ibi fecit edificare unam ecclesiam ad honorem Sancti Stefani et pne- 
dicti YII episcopi concederunt XL dies 

* indulgentie pro singulo singula die. Et predictus Pontifex Urbanus 
concedit singulo die dominico X4XX dies indulgentie. Et a4)iuc Carulus 
ivit super unum monticulum et episcopus Tripinus ferebat visilum' (?) super 
ilium monticulum. £t ibi CJarulus fecit edificare unam ecclesiam ad honorem 
sancti Petri Cuchi. Et post modum venit ad unum castelum quod yoca- 
batur Braitinus ' in quo moiabatur unus qui nominabatur 

' rex CorneruB et eiat judeus qui nolebat se conyerti ad fidem catolicam. 

* This word woa]d» perhaps, point to a late date for the inscription, hot an error of 
one letter would make it read * de Francis.' 

> and * BriziflB (7), if so Breuia. " Calepio (?). 

« This name of the valley mrvives in the OgUo (OUtu) its river. The modem name 
Val fVmft"<"t is generally derived from the Oamnni, the tribe who formerly inhabited it. 

* Bslne, ^visolnssavine. ■ Braone. 

B b2 


£t Gamins certaTit •eenm et enin destrnxit. Et ibi fecit edificare anflm 
•eclesiam ad honorem sancti Joannis. Et |»redleti VU epiacopi concedanuit 
XL dies indulgeDtie pro singolo. Et prodictns Pontifez Urbanns conoedit 
qaingentos annos omni fasto pnncipali. £t poat modnm renit ad nnnm 
^nm mondeiilain et ibi fecit edificare unam eedesiam 

' ad honorem sancti dementis. Et VII episeopi eoncedemnt XL dies 
indolgentie pro singalo singula die. Et predictus Pontifex Urbanns oon- 
cedit 600 annos indulgence omni die dominico. Qui pnedictns Gamins 
ivit super nnum montem et ibi crtstiani <mm judeis et cum paganis 
fecemnt magnum belum. Et quia perierunt multi fideles et plures infideles 
Garulus posuit sibi unum nomen (?) quod didtur HortaiolusJ Et adhnc 
ivit ad 

* unam contratam quae didtnr Amon.' Et ibi fedt edificare unam ec* 
•clesiam ad honorem sancti Bridi et praedieti VU episeopi eoncedemnt XL 
dies indulgentie pro singulo singula di««. Et prsedictus Pontifex Urbanns 
ooncedit 900 annoe indulgentie omni die veneris et omni festo sancte Marie 
•t in festo sancti Bricii. Qui dietus Gamins ivit ad unam tenam qun 
vocatur Adarena.' Et 

*ibi fecit edificare unam eoclesiam ad honorem sancti Hichaellis et 
sancti GeorgiL Et post modum fecit edificare unam ecclesiam ad honorem 
sancti Sandri. Et pnedicti YII episeopi eoncedemnt XL dies indulgentie 
pro singulo singula die. Et predictus Pontifex Urbanns concedit 400 annos 
indulgentie in die sancti Sandri. Et adhuc in capite illius rallis 

'fecit edificare unam ecclesiam ad honorem sancte Trinitatis. Per 
sanctum lohannem de Galla * et per castelum Amoni * rallis Oriola perdidit 
suum nomen. Et adhuc pnedictus Garulus pertransiTit montem Toni* et 
yenit ad unam terram quie yocatur Plezau.* Et ibi interfedt magnam 
quantitatem paganoram et judeorum. Et ibi pnedictus episcopus Tripinua 
posuit yisilum et quum episeopi yenerunt . 

'extra ecclesiam invenemnt astam yisili qu» flomerat. Et pnedicti 
VII episeopi eoncedemnt XL dies indulgentie pro singulo et dominus 
Pontifex extraxit suam drotecam et fecit implm arena et concedit omni 
die sancte Marie tot annos indulgentie qnot grana arene insteterunt cimteee. 
Qui predictus Garulus pertransivit quamdam yallem quae yocatur Valiana.* 
Et yenit 

*ad unum montem qui yocatur Mosehera* et yenit in yalem Ban- 

* The name is preMrved in tlie Val Mortirolo abore Sdolo. Olose by is the Motto 

' Monno. ' Darena. *• Bee ante, * See last page. 

* The Tonale. * PeUizano. ■ Yal di Bole. 

* If oechent ia said to be the name giyen in some old chronioles to Oampig]io» iHdch 
gained Ita present name from Charles' encampment on the broad meadowa of theGinerrie 
Alp. The 'Trento' of Marian! in qaoted as an anihorlty for these sfcatementa. It Is 
worth noting that we find elsewhere the names * Campo * and ' Bpinale ' in oloae oon|nno> 
tion in Charles' history. Einhardi AnnaUt tdidU Perix^ p. 52 : 'in Yosego silTA ad patrem 


dene * et misit dieere majori judeo quod ant debet in christianam fidem credere 
aut redere castelum. £t cum sensit noynm recessit et ivit ultra mare. £t 
facto mane Carulns dejecit castelnm. Et ivit ad unum caatelum quod 
Yoeatur Pelncne.' Gigns casteli erat dominns unus qui nominabatur 
Catanius jndens qui conrersus fait ad Christi fidem. Et Carolus dejecit 
castelum. Et fecit edificare unam eoclesiam ad honorem sancti Zenonis. 
Et prodicti VII episcopi eoncederant XL dies indolgentie pro singulo 
singula die. Sit venenmt ad eceUsiam Sancti Strfani et baptisaverunt 
maximam getUem, Et predkti VII epUeopi eaneederwU XL dies indulgentie 
pro singulo singula die, 

'AntoniuB de Solerio habuit gratiam de 1600 annis indnlgentie pro 
ecdesia sancti Stefani de Randena omni die dominico pzimo mensis et omni 
festo principali quia stetit septem annis (1) secum pro suo damicello. 
Pnedictus Carolus expleyit convertire omnes paganos et judeos ad ec- 
desiam sancti Ste&ni. Et ibi dimisit anum libmm in quo continebat 
omnia que 

' fecerat per nniyersum. Et post modum recessit cum sua gente et ivit 
in Blaviam.' Carulus Imperator et Ponitfex Urbanus et pranominati 
septem Episcopi eoneederunt suprasoriptam indulgentiam pranominaiis 
ecdesis sub annis domini nostri Jesu Christi currentihus quatuorcentesimo 
ingesimo nono,* 

An inscription almost similar, but wanting the passages printed in 
italics, and with a few verbal alterations, exists also at Pelizzano. 

Several difficulties in this curious inscription will at once strike the 
reader. For a moment he may be disposed to fancy that it records a joint 
expedition of Pope and Emperor, and, boldly reading Adrianus for Urbanus, 
to believe that the events recorded all took place during Charles* Lom- 
bard campaign, circa ▲.». 780. But» so far as I know, there is no record of 
Adrian having ever been with Charles in North Italy ; and the gift of in- 
dulgences had not become common at this period. 

It is most probable that events separated by several centuries, the found- 
ation of the churches and the privileges subsequently granted them, 
are here lumped together. The Urban of the inscription may veiy likely 
be Urban II., who^ wanting money for the first crusade, was very ready to 
grant indulgences. The date of the inscription is unintelligible as it 
stands, but it is almost certain that the * thousand ' has dropped out, and 
that we should read 1429. 

Mr. Ball speaks of the inscription recording a privilege granted by 
Charles and ' the reigning Pope Eugenius.' He does not remember whence 

venit in looo qnl dteitnr Gamp.* * To which the editor adds, ' Champ in LotharingiA viUa 
parra prope Bruyere ad rivum Velogne a septentiione Bomarid montis et ab orlente 
SputalH (Spinal).' 

* Yal Bendena. * Pehigo. ' Bliziam (?). 


he got the Pope's name. It may be from the fresco (see text) near the in- 
scription. Engenius IV. was on the Papal throne in a.d. 1431. 

The picturesque force and detail with which the stoiy of Charles* cam" 
paig:n is told, as well as the language, leads me to imagine tJiat some 
earlier record must have been in part copied. The existence of ' pagans ' 
in these valleys up to a late period is a well authenticated fact. I am 
glad to be able to quote an interesting passage bearing on this subject from 
an article on Bagolino, by Cav*. Q. Rosa, in the BoUettino of the Brescian 
Branch of the Italian Alpine Club. 

' Quest! monti sono appendici delle alpi Rezie, e fiirono rifugio al fiore 
delle colonic umbre ed etrusche in seguito alle invasioni, prima gallica indi 
cenomana. Kelle alpi si posero a la to le genti silvestri primitive e vi eser- 
citarono le arti metalluigiche ed ediflcative. Ai romani opposero tale re- 
iistenza ehe 45 anni a. C, Bruto, scrivendone a Cicerone, U disse i pi{i bel- 
lioosidegli uomini {bellicosimmi homimum), nondimeno furono definitivamente 
sottomessi 15 anni a. C. e resi tributari a Brescia. Nei trofei romani sono 
nominati i Camuni, indi i Triumplini, poi i Vennoni, fra i soggiogati, e 
ramo di questi Vennoni doyette essere nell' attuale valle di Sabbio ove sta 
Bagolino. Giacch^ ivi suonano ancora i nomi di Avenii, Layenii, Savenii. 
Vie traverse legavano allora assai pi ji che adesso i popoli di queste valli 
confederate contro i dominatori del piano. I romani, dopo il conquisto, 
tennero in capo alle valli stazioni militari con torri di rifugio, come ora i 
russi nel Caucaso, per vegliare gli schiavi alle miniere, e sicurare le vie, ma 
lasciarono liberi i reggimenti comunali. Quando poi Costantino prefer! 
Valleanza dei cristiani e rese obbligatorio il cristianesimo, le valli piii elevate 
resistettero a questa nuova forma di romanismo, e sino al predominio de* 
Franchi, in qualche luogo serbarono i riti antichi di Satumo^ di Tunal, di 
ToTf di Bergimot riti che V ignoranza poscia confiise coUe diavolerie strego- 
niche. I luoghi elevati e romiti dove rifuggirono le reliquie di que* riti ve- 
tusti, si ricordano ancora col nome di Paga. Alle fonti pi^ meridiane della 
Grigna trovansi I'orto dei Pagani ed il dosso dei Pagani^ dove sono ossa 
ed embrici romani, e tronchi fracidi di larici in un laghetto. A Bagolino 
^ la via paganOf rocca pagana ; a Storo rimpetto ergesi acuta la coma 

* I gruppi federativi dei popoli alpini ebbero sempre costituzioni libere. 
Le loro abitazioni di legno e coperte di paglia o di scandolef ed i frequenti 
fuochi per la siderurgia vi produssero fieri incendi, i quali e le inondazioni 
distrussero la massima parte dei loro documenti antichi. Nondimeno rimase 
tanto da ai^mentare sicuramente della loro vita libera perpetua a forma 
repubblicana. II documento di Valle Seriana che dice del palazzo fabbricato 
a Clusone nel 1008 pel Consiglio federale o delle Vicinie, queUo del 1086 
che accenna il luogo del Consiglio ed i Consoli di Lodrone, le quattro carte 
neir archivio di Bovegno del 1196 che nominano Sindaci e Consoli di 
Vicinie, bastano ad assicurare che anche Bagolino, piii grosso che quel can- 


tri, Kvrk avuto sino d' allora rappresentanze elettive. £ la via del paUuzo 
▼i accenna ad antica magioDe pubblioa.' 

In Misa Busk's * Valleys of Tirol/ p. 365, will be found mention of 
executions for witchcraft, near the Tonale Pass, in the 17th and 18th cen- 
turies, in which some of the last of the pagans may be supposed to have 
perished. Miss Busk derived her information from another pamphlet of 
Cav* Rosa, which I have not seen. 

The same gentlemen have also sent me a description of the * Dance of 
Death ' of San Vigilio. Beginning on the left, the subjects arrange them- 
selves in the following order : — 

1. Three skeletons : one seated on a rude throne formed of two lofty 
steps and blowing the utricom ; the other two with musical instruments at 
their mouths. Beneath is written — 

lo aont* la morte che porto corona 

Sonta slgnora de ognla penona 

£t ooni son flei» e dun 

Che trapaaao le porte et ultra le xnara 

Et Bon qnola che fa tremar el mondo 

Beroliendo mia false atondo atondo. 

Oy'Io tocoo col xnio strale 

SaptenxA bdesa f ortexa nlente vale. 

Non d algnor madona nd yassallo 

Biaogna che lor entrl in questo baUo. 

Mia flgura o peocator contemplaroi 

Simile a ml ta dlverrai. 

Non oflendera a Dlo per tal aorte 

Che al transire* non teml la morte ; 

Che pliX oltre non me impaxo in be* n6 in male 

Che Tanima laaao al giudioe etemale. 

E come ta avral lavorato 

Coml hano* sarai pagato. 

2. Jesus crucified. 

O peooator irfA non peocar non pid 
Che '1 tempo fnge et ta non te n'avedi. 
De la toa morte ohe oerte»b ai ta ? 
Ta sei f oxsl alo stremo et non lo credi. 
Deh rieorri col core al bon Jeati 
Bt del tno fallo perdonanxa chiedl 
Yedi che in orooe la saa testa inchina 
Per abrasar Tanima tua meschina. 
O peccatoie pema de coetei 
La me 4 morto ml che son aignor di ley. 

3. Death and the Pope. 

O same pontifloe de la oristiana fede 
Chrlato b morto oome ae vede. 
A ben che ta abla de San Plero el manto 
Aiooeptar biaogna de la morte U gnanto. 

' Bono* * Hortre. * Anche. 


4. Death and a Cardinal. 

In qoeato l»Do tl oone ' intrare 
LI anteoeaor ngnlie et U ■aooeMor Immts, 
PM ohe '1 noftro prim paivnte AiUm h morto 
Bl <dM a te tmrilnMlft no te fuo totto, 

5. Beatli and a Bishop. 

Iforte oost fa ordiiiata 

In ogni peraoDA far ]» entmte. 

Bt oihe epiaoopo mfto Jooondo 

£ giunto il tempo da artmndonar d mondo. 

6. Death and a Frieit 

O MOflvdote mio rlToendo 
Dannr teoo lo me intendo 
▲ ben ohe dl Ohristo id ricarlo 
Mai la moite fa disvarlo. 

7. Death and a Honk. 

Bnon partito pUgiaafei o patze spliitaala 
A fnier dd mondo d periooloio itoale. 
Per Tanlma toa pud ener alia deora 
Maoontra dl me non arral Boriptua. 

8. Death, canying a tablet with the motto *Penaa la fine,' eeiaee the 


Ooemrio Imperator vedl ehe U altrl Jaoe 
Che a oreatiira omana la morte non k pace. 

9. Death, with a banner *■ Mom eet nltima fini%' aeiiee a SSng. 

To id dgnor de gente e de paed o oerona regde 
Ne altro teoo portl ehe 11 bene e fl male. 

10. Death, with a banner ' Memorare noyissima tua et in «temiim 
non peccabia,' leads off aa to a danoe a Qneen. 

In pace portaral gentU raglna 

Che ho per eomandamento dl non oMnbiar fttrina. 

11. Death leads off a Dnke. 

O dnca dgnor gentile 

Qionta a te son ool bref * sottfle. 

12. Death and a Doctor. 

Non tl Tale adentU ne dotrina 
Contra de la morte non Tal meillrtna. 

18. Death and a Soldier. 

O in homo gagUaido e forte 

Nlente Tale l*anne toe oontra la morte. 

* BIngna. * Utteza. 



14. Death and the Miser. 

O to rlooo nel nmnero deli avsrl 

Che in tno camblo la morte non tooI dftaari. 

15. Death and a young Chdlant. 

De le Toetro Borentd fidar no te yole 
Fer6 la morte ohi lei Tole tole. 

16. Death, carrying a flag with the quotation — 

Tistti tomiamo aUa nostra madre auHea 
CSle appata a noitro name H rUrova — 

slightly altered from Petrarch, leads off a Beggar. 

Non dfmiindftr miaerioordia o porereito Boppo 
▲ la morte, ohe plet4 non 11 da intopo. 

17. Death and an Abbees. 

Per fozer li piaier mondani monioa facta eel, 
ICa da la sionra morte aoapar no poi * da lal. 

18. Death and a Lady. Verses illegible. 

10. Death, with the motto * Omnia fert setas, perficit omnia tempos,' 
drags along a struggling old woman. Verses illegible. 

20. A little Death dancing with a child. In the centre a staff with 
two scrolls : on one, ' Dum tempus habemus, operamur bonum ;' on the 
other, * A far bene non dimora, Mentre hai tempo e Thora.' 

21. A winged Death, galloping on a white horse, with bow stretched 
in act to shoot at the groups previously described. Inscriptions illegible. 

22. A square red shield with the lines — 

Axoangek) ICichel de Tanlme difensore. 
Intercede pro nobis al Creatore. 

The archangel St. Michael with a bloody sword, and above him an angel 

who holds in his hands on a doth a beaming and beautiful souL Beneath 

is written — 

Morte stnuer non pol chi eempre ylTe. 

23. A winged demon ; above him the inscription ' lo seguito la morte e 
queato mio goardeano, d*onde e scripto, li mail oprator chi meno al inferno.' 
He carries on his back a large open volume, in which are written the seven 
deadly sins. Beneath the * Dance of Death' are allegorical representations 
of the seven deadly sins and the date 1580. 

' Kon pnoL 




Thbbe has been much confiision of late yean as to the names to be 
given to the two highest summits of this range, which stand respectivelj 
N. and S. W. of the Bocca di Brenta. 

The old and veiy incorrect Government Map of Tyrol gives the name of 
Cima Tosa to the N. peak, and none to the 8. and highest. Mr. Ball, the 
first mountaineer who explored this country, adhered, on his first visit, to 
the name given by the Survey to the N. peak, and to the 8. gave the name 
of Cima di Brenta or Brenta Alta. Lieutenant Payer followed Mr. Ball's 
example in his article on the Bocca di Brenta in the fifth volume Of the 
Austrian Alpine Club's Publication. 

When, however, in 1865, Mr. Ball made from Molveno the first ascent 
of the S. peak, he found that his guide, a native of that village, knew it as 
* La Tosa.* Mr. Ball therefore seemed in his last edition disposed to give 
the collective name of Brenta to the chain, and to call the S. peak the 
Cima Tosa ; but he ignored the difficulty that the almost equally impor> 
tant N. summit, hitherto known to cbartographers and English climbers as 
the Cima Tosa, was left nameless. 

In this state of things the attention of the newly formed Trentine 
Alpine Society was called to the subject, and they promptly appointed s 
committee to inquire into and consider the local usage. The results of 
this inquiry are now shortly stated. 

The Val di Brenta gives its name to the group. The point S. of the 
Bocca di Brenta is known as La Tosa throughout the country. The peak 
N. of the Bocca (the Cima Tosa of the map) is called in Val Brenta the 
Cima di Brenta. The following names are wrongly given in the Austrian 
map : — Val Asinella for Yallesineila, Val Agnola for Val Agola, Val Dalcon 
for Val d'Algone. The names Bocca di Vallazza, Bocca deUa Vallesinella, 
Bocca dei Camozzi, and Passo d'Ambies, suggested for the passes dis- 
covered of late years by English climbers, are, as 1 understand, accepted. 
The Bocca della Vallesinella is the pass first called Bocca di Tosa by Mr. 

Some curious etymological details are added to the report. Tosa, sup- 
posed by Mr. Ball to be equivalent to ' virgin,' is stated to be a contraction 
of tosata B shaven, a title derived from the bald, rounded aspect of the peak 
when seen firom the east. ' Brenta ' is a local word in the Saica valley for 
a shallow vessel used for soup in cottages : thence it is applied to the stag- 
nant pools or tarns common in the dolomite glens. In this way the word 
gets attached to the glen itself, and finally to the peak above it. Cima 


di Brenta is, it would seem, therefore, the Italian eqiiiTalent for Kessel- 

There was one other quarter to which it was natural to look for informa- 
tion — the officers at the head of the Viennese Ordnance Surrey Department, 
who have recently re-surveyed the Trentino. But every application for infor- 
mation — ^although made to the Head of the Department through influential 
Austrian friends, and in the name of the £nglish Alpine Club— was met by 
a refusal, or a promise broken as soon as made. I finally sent an extract 
from the old Government Map, with a request that the names adopted in 
the new survey for the two chief peaks of the Brenta group might be written 
across it. Even this the office declined to do. Such a refusal was the more 
unexpected as the French and Swiss Engineers have always been ready to 
give every information, even where there was real prospect of rivalry be- 
tween the private work in hand and the Government survey. 

From photographs I have seen of some portions of the new map, I feel 
sore that although much too large for general use it will be valuable to ex- 
plorers, and I recommend every mountaineer intending to visit the Trentino 
or the Italian Tyrol to inquire through Messrs. Stanford if it is yet out, 
and if possible to purchase the sheets he will require. 

Time has not verified the official statement made in March last that the 
sheets containing the Brenta group ' would be published in a few days,' but 
they may probably be looked for within the next year or two. If, when 
they appear, the nomenclature adopted proves different in any way horn 
that here given, General Dobner, the head of the Department, will be alone 
to blame for any confusion to which the discrepancy maj give rise. I should 
have been glad to follow the authority of his map ; but the nomenclature I 
have used, coming as it does from the very best local authorities, can scarcely, 
if the engineers have gone for information to the same source^ differ widely 
from theirs. 

I have taken the heights in my map from the reductions from the 
Kataster of Mr. Ball and from a table contained in the * Annuario' for 1874 
of the Trentine Alpine Society. The peaks are mostly derived firom the 
latter, the villages from the former authority. 

I may mention here that I have been unable to adopt the heights given 
for the Primiero peaks in the same * Annuario.' The Cimon della Pala is 
there set down as 3,550 metres » 11,647 feet, and the Palle di San Marti no 
as 2,953 metres » 9,688 feet. The first of these figures is as much over as 
the other is under the mark. In the same list the height of the Sass 
Maor is probably pretty correctly given as 10,656 feet, and that of the C. 
della Kosetta as 10,266 feet. 

380 TYROL v. TIROL. 



I OUGHT perhaps briefly to notice this lately laifled question of ortho- 
graphy, and to explain the grounds on which I decline to follow the 
example set by two authoresses, who seem anxious to introduce into our 
literature the confusion which already prevails in Ghermany as to the 
correct spelling of the name of this province. If it could be proved 
that ' Tirol ' was the invariable local and German spelling, as Miss Busk 
seems to fancy it is, there would at least be a good argument for changing 
our present practice. But I am informed by a gentleman living near 
Innsbruck that in the old histories he has consulted the form used is 
'Tyrol.* I have myself noted, during the last few weeks, the spelling 
adopted in the German books I have had occasion to refer to ; and, so &r from 
* Tirol ' being universal or ' l^rol ' obsolete, I find the latter form preferred 
by Herr von Sonklar, Herr Liebeskind, Herr Studer, Herr Siber Gysi, the 
late Professor Theobald, and the ' Alpenpost;' in a set of views published 
at Leipzig is one of ' Schloss Tyrol,' and in another set published at Parteib- 
kirchen (Bavaria) the ' y ' is also throughout adopted. In maps the ba- 
lance of authority is for * l^roL' I may cite Anich and Huberts, 1774 ; 
Pfaundler's, 1783 ; Schwatz*s, 1795 ; Unterberger's Innsbruck, 1826 ; ArU- 
ria's, 1889 ; and the 24-sheet Government map of the whole country. They 
can all be found in one box (No. 21) in the Geographical Society's Map-room. 
I do not of course question the fact that the spelling * Tirol * is now very 
frequently preferred abroad both in maps and books ; but the assertion 
that it is the more ancient form, and the one exclusively sanctioned by local 
use, seems to be wholly unsupported by evidence. 


ADAHELLO, 189, 212-218 
Adamello Pass, 218 
Adige, 173 
Agordo, 288 
Alle Sarche, 180 
Albigna Glacier, 47 
Albino, 367 
Alpe di Caf, 166 

— di Ferro, 65 

Alpine beauty, variety of, 339 

— Club, Italian, 144 

— geography, 136-137 

— views, 214-217 
Alps, in poetry, 332 
Alps, the, 91-93 
Alzano Haggiore, 367 
Aprica Pass, 156 
Arco, 173 

Art and the Alps, 336-838 
Art, modem, 834-335 
Averara, 368 
Avers Thai, the, 44 

BAD weather on the mountains, 21 
Bagni del Masino, 57-60 
Bagolino, 374 
Saldino, 254 
Barbellino Alp, 149 
Basodine, the, 15-17 
Bears, 113, 197 
Bedole Alp, 210 
Belvedere, the, 156 
Beigamasque ranges, 130 
Bergamasque valleys, pictures in, 

141, 367 
Bignasco, 6-10, 26; Inn at, 10 
B<Mizze, 168 
Bocca dei GamoEsi, 252 
~ di Brenta, 274 

Bocca di Yallazza, 274 

Bocchetta di Val Maggia, 18 

Bondasca Glacier, 52, 76 

Bondione, 148 

Borzago Glacier, 224 

Brenta Group, 236-239, 248; no- 
menclature of, 378 

Brianza, 126 

Brione, 31 

Broglio, 12 

Brusadaz, 314 

Busk, Miss's, Valleys of Tirol, 375, 

nAINALLO Pass, 124 

\J Campiglio, 239-247 

Canobbio, 37 

Cari Alto, 166, 174, 224-226, 264 

Garesolo, 176 

Casana, 109 

Caspoggio, 11 

Gassiglio, 131 

Gavergno, 20 

— Glacier, the, 16 
Cedegolo, 159-161 
Cencenighe, 297 
Cenedago, 272 
Cevio, 4-5 

Chamois, 112, 227, 251 
Charlemagne, 282, 371 
Chiareggio, 68 
Chiese, 168 

Cima del Largo, 77-79 

— della Bosetta, 295 

— di Brenta, 267-269 

— di Pape, 296 

— di Piazza, 108, 117 

— di Bosso, 67 

— di Tschingel, 81 

* Appendix A is not indexed here. 



Cima di Vezsana, 304 

— Pro dei Camozzi, 261 

— ToBa, 260, 276 
Cimon della Pala, 304 
Civetta, 310 
Clusone, 867 

Coi, 324 

Comano, Baths of, 265 

Cornelle Pass, 306 

Cornello, 368 

Corni del Confine, 227 

Corno Alto, 234 

— dei Tre Confini, 160 

— di Lago Spalmo, 119 
Goryat's Grudities, 133-140 
Cofltonzella Paas, 284 
CroElina Alp, 21 

DALPE, 20 
Dimaro, 261 
Bisgrazia, 43, 69 
Dobner, General, 379 
Dolomites, Swiss, 237 
Dosd^ Alp, 118 
Dos di Sabione, 231 
Dossena, 368 

EASTERN ALPS, Hospices in, 240 
Edolo, 167-168 
Esino, 124 

FAIDO, 20 
Finero, 39 
Fino, 368 
Fiorono, 367 
Flarona Alp, 269 
Fluri, 78, 104 
Fondra, 368 
Forcella di Gediino, 130 
Forcella Gesurette, 289 
Forest Laws, want of, 231, 282 
Fomo dei Ganali, 297 
Forno Glacier, 66 
Fosine, 260 
Fre^ine, 161 
Fulmini di Brenta, 260 
Fasio, 14 

GARES, 296 
Gavia Pass, the, 189-190 

German smokers, 244 
Ginerrie Pass, 263 
Giudicaria, 169-170 
Giustino, 177 
Gorlago, 368 

Grigna Panorama, 126-127 
Grigna, the, 126, 128 
Gromo, 147, 868 
GroBBotto, 120 
Gutmann, 208-210 

PPIZ, 287 
Introbbio, 128-130 
Isohi, 161 


, 113 

Kingsle/s Prose Idylls, 329 
Klostera, 96 
Krimml, Falls of, 16 
Kung, J., 113 

LAGHI di Colbricon, 284 
Lago d'Amo, 163-164 

— d'Avio, 228 

— di Oaf, 166 

— di Ledro, 171 

— di Tovello, 270 

— Maggiore, 36 

— Toblino, 180 
La Lobbia, 212 
lAndqnart, 94 
La Rasica, 62, 72 
Lavertezzo, 33 
Lavin, 100 

Lavinuoz, 100 % 

Livigno District, the, 108 
Lobbia Glacier, 226 
Locarno, 36 

Lombard Alps, 186-187 
Lombardy, Plain of, 126 
Lopp^, M., 342-846 

MADRISER Pass, the, 46 
— Thai, 44 
Maggia, the, 3 
Malero, 89 



Malova Inn, 66 

Mandron Glacier, 212, 227 

Map, the Swiss, 24. Ziegler*B, 110. 

Of Orteler, 369. Of Tyrol, 379- 

Menaggio, 121 
Mezzoldo, 368 
Missionaiy Societies, 24.1^ 
Molyeno, Inn at, 273 
Montague Aiguebelette, 136 
Monte Agnaro, 288 
•— Aralalta, 131 

— Ayiolo, 167 

— Castellazzo, 283 

— Castello, 166 

— Cevedale, 369 

— della Disgrazia, 84-88 

— FoUetto, 226 

— Frerone, 166 

— Gleno, 160-162 

— Kedorta, 147 

— Rosa, Tiew from, 186 

— Spinale, 264 

— Sissone, 64-66 

— 2^mbra8ca, 117 
Moroni, Pictures of, 367 
Morstadt, Dr. Julius, 173 
MortAfio, 176 

Mountain beauty, 327-346 
Mountaineering without guides, 300 
Mountaineers, English and German, 

Mountain haters, 329 
Muretto Pass, 67 

NARBIS Glacier, 202 
Nomenclature, Alpine, 188 

OLERA, 367 
Olmo, 140 
Oneta, 367 
Orasso, 38 

FCEX, Mr., 322 
Pademione, 180 
Palle dj San Lucano, 288 
Paneyeggio, Forest, 282. Hospice 

of, 283 
Parre, 367 
Passo d'AlIeghe, 312 

— d'Ambies, 268 

Passo degli Orsi, 369 

— delDiavel, 113 

— della Preda Rossa, 88 

— delle Cornelle, 294 

— delle Malghette, 269 

— del Mandron, 227 

— di Bondo, 64, 73-76 

— di Cavento, 226 

— di Cercen, 203 

— diDoed^, 119 

— di Ferro, 49-66 

— di Foscagno, 109 

— di Gornigo, 146-146 

— di Grosti, 269 

— di Mello, 68-72 

— di Monte Campo, 166 

— di Monte Sissone, 63-67 

— di Redorta, 29-30 

— di San Marco, 138 

— di Travignolo, 297-306 

— di Verva, 117 
Pasturo, 128 
Patocchi, Signor, 10 
Payer, Lieutenant, 183, 203 
Peccia, 13 

Pejo, 260 

Pelmo, 311. Ascent of, 314-321. 

A lady*s ascent of, 322-324 
Photographs, Mountain, 336 
Piancaning, 67 
Piazza, 140 

Pico della Speranza, 64, 84 
Pictures in Bergamasque Valleys, 

Pieve di Buono, 169 

— di Ledro, 171 

Pinzolo, 177, 229-236. Inn at, 

Pisgana Pass, 190 
Piz Cacciabella, 60 

— Campo Tencca, 21-27 

— Linard, 100 

— Lischanna, 103 

— Pisoc, 103 

— Quatenrals, 112 
Pizzano, 193 

Pizzo della Mar«i, 214, 268, 369 

— della Venezia, 369 

— di Cocca, 160 

— Porcellizzo, 81 

Plecken. Auf der, Hospice at, 246 
Pontagna, 228 
Ponte di L^gno, 190 



Pontresina guides, 86 
PorcellisBi Alp, 7S 
Pra Fiori, 178 
Pratigan, tlie, 96-97 
PresaneUa, 178, 189, 200-203 
Presolana, 151 
Primiero, 293 

— District, 280 

— Group, 290 

— Peaks, heights of, 379 
Primiero, Roads to, 286 
Promontogno, 48 

Punta Trubinesca, 42, 60, 81-83. 
View from, 82 

RABBI, 260 
Riva, 172 
Roche Melon, 136 
Rovetta, 368 

SAK Carlo, 18, 26 
— Oiuliano, 234 

— Lorenzo, 266 

— Martino, 66 

— Martino di Gastrozza, 282, 286 

— Michele, 271 

— Nicol6, 312 

— Oroobuono, 142 
.-— Pellegrino, 142 

— Stefano, 282, 370 

— Vigilio, 282, 376 

Sarca, 172-173. Gorges of the, 174 

Sardasca Alp, 96 

Sass Maor, 286 

Sasso Bisolo Glacier, 87 

— di Bosoo Nero, 326 

— diOampo, 289 
^ di Remeno, 80 

— Rosso, 262 
Scari Thai, 106 
Schuls. 102 
Schweizerfiihrer, Herr Tschudi's, 

104, 141 
Serina in Val d'Ambria, 368 
Serio, Falls of the, 148 
Semeus, 96 
Sils Maria, 67 
Silvaplana, 79 
Silrretta Femer, 96 

— Pass, 98 

Snow region, the, 28, 34 

Societa Alpina of Trent, 186 

Soglio, 46 

Sondrio, 90 

Sonogno, 31 

Spaniards on Lago di Gomo, 137 

Spor. 272 

Stenioo, 174, 180 

Taine, M., on the Pyrenees, 380 
Tarasp, 100-102. Castle o^ 102 
Tarodo, 266 
Theobald, Heir, 46 
Tione, 176 
Titian, 3 

Tonale Hospice, 192 
Tonale Pass, the, 191-193 
Torre, 88 
Tosa Falls, 16 
Trabuchetto, 143 
Trent, 181 
Trentino, 306 
Trescorre, 368 
Tuckett, Mr., 62-43 
Tyrol V. Tirol, 380 

VAL Ampola, 171 
— Bavona, 19-20 

— Belriso, 162 

— Bondasca, 49 

— Bregaglia, 46 

— Brembkna, 141-143 

— Gamonica, 166, 169 

— Canobbina, 38-39 

— Centoralb*, 37 

— Cluoza, 109 

— Corteno^ 167 

— d'Adame, 161 

— d'Agola, 263 

— d'A^ne, 179 

— d'Ambies, 266-267 

— d'Angoraz, 289 

— Daone, 168 

— d'Avio, 228 

— dei Bagni, 66 

— delDiavel, 112 

— del Lago, 173 

— del Leno, 166 

— delle Seghe, 274 

— del Sasso, 112 

— d'Esino, 123-124 




Val di Borzago, 176,222 

— di Brenta, 236, 249-250 

— di Canale, 292 

— di Fum, 167-168, 226 

— di Geneva, 204-207 

— di Malga, 159, 220 

— di Mello, 72, 84 

— di Non, 259 

— di Prato, 25-26 

— di SalamOf 161 

— di San Valentino, 176 

- di Scalve, 148, 151 

- di Sole, 269 

— di Spor, 272 

— di Zoldo, 300 ; people of, 325 

— d'Oflola, 82 

— Grosina, 120 

— Imagna, 142 

— LaTizzara, 12-14 
Vallft di San Lncano. 288 
Vallesinella, 236, 265 
Valles Pass, 297 

Val Livigno, 115-116 

— Maggia, 1-27 ; mountains of, 30 

— Maggians, 17 

— Malenco, 68, 88-89 

— Masino, 80 ; boulder in, 52 ; 
mountains of, 40-43 

- JVIiller, 219 

— Nambino, 236, 264 

— Nambione, 236 

— Onsernone, 87 

— Paisco, 159 

— Presanella, 196-198 

— Presena, 193 

— Rendena, 175-177 ; churches of, 

Val Saviore, 161-162 

— Selva, 262 

— Seriana, 147-148 ; glacier of, 150 

— Tellina, 89 

— Teresenga, 270 

— Torreggio, 88 

— Torta, 131-132 
Valtorta, 131 

Val Trupchum, 112 

— Liyigno, 107 

— Vermolera, 120 

— Verzasca, 28-35 ; road in, 31 

— Viera, 114 

— Vigezzo, 40 

— Viola PoschiaTina, 117 

— Zuort, 105 
Varenna, 128 
Venetian Tyrol, 308 
Vereina Thai, 96 
Vermiglio, 193 
Verstankla Glacier, 98 
Vezzano, 180 
Vogomo, 34 

Von RuthncT, Dr., 195 
Vulpeia, 102 

T17EILENMANN, Herr, 99 

Zernetz, 106 
Zocca Pass, the, 47 
Zogno, 142 
Zuort Glacier, 105 
Zutz, 79 





By the same Author (1869). 

Uniform with *Itftlian Alps,' with Three Maps, Two Panoramas of 
SommitSy Four foll-page Engravings on Wood, and Sixteen Wood- 
cuts in the Text, in One Volume, price 18«. 

including Viaita to Ararat and Tabreee, and Ascents of 
Kazbek and Elbruz. 

Although the ethnology and history of the Caucasus have been 
treated of by varioas authors, information concerning its natural 
features had been up to the appearance of this rolume scanty and 
difiBcult of success ; and until the Summer of 1868 no Englishman had 
visited the most interesting of the chain, and its two most famous 
summits, Easbek and Elbruz, were still unaticended. The chief aim 
of the journey described in the present volume was to explore the 
interior of the chain and to effect the ascents of Kazbek and Elbruz. 
The Writer and his friends hoped by penetrating on foot the recesses of 
the mountains to learn the form of the peaks, t£e extent of the snow- 
fields and glaciers, and the character of the forest and flora, so as to be 
able to draw a general comparison between the Caucasus and the Alps. 

Before, however, carrying out this part of their design the travellers 
made a rapid joume]^ through Syria, m the course of whish they visited 
the Hauran and Lejah districts, recently brought into notice by the 
supposed identification of the ruined towns stiU existing in them with 
the cities of the gigantic Bephaim laid waste by the Israelites. The 
Author records his conviction that this theozy is unfounded, and that 
the ruins of the so-called * Giant Cities' are in fact composed of Roman 
edifices mixed with many buildings of more recent date. 

On landing in the Caucasus (which they reached by Russian steamer 
from Constantinople) the travellers proceeded to Tifilis, whence they 
made an expedition along the Persian high-road to Tabreez. On their 
return they partially ascended Ararat, paid a visit to the Armenian 
Patriarch at EtchmiaiMn, and traversed a little-known portion of the 
Geoigian and Arminian highlands. 

Starting £rom Tiflis at the end of June, the travellers spent the next 
two months in mountain exploration. Daring this time they made the 
first successful ascents of Kazbek and Elbruz, traversed eleven passes, 
varying from 8,000 to 12.000 feet in height, and examined the sources 
of eight rivers and both fianks of the main chain for a distance of 120 
miles. The greater portion of the volume is occupied by the narrative 
of their adventures in the mountains, and the difficulties arising both 
from the roughness of the country and of its inhabitants. The Author 
describes the Ossetes, a tribe known abb ' the gentlemen of the Caucasus,' 
and contrasts the slothful and churlish Mingrelian races on the south 
side of the chain with the industrious and hospitable Tartars on the north. 

Having crossed the main range by the Mamison Pass to the Rion 
sources, 8ie party made an expedition to the Uruch Valley and back 
across the previously untrodden snow-fields of the central chain. The 
travellers' route then led them through the pathless swamps and 
ferests of the Zenes-Sqmali into Suanetia, a mountain basin renowned 
for the barbarism of its inhabitants, the extraordinary richness of its 
vegetation, and the staitling grandeur of the great peaks that overlook 

Travels in Central Caucasus and Bashan, 

it. After more than one narrow escape from robbery, if not ftom actual 
violence, the Author and his companions passed along the ralley to 
Pbri, a Huesian post ; whence they again crossed the chain to the foot 
of Mbruz. Having ascended this mountain (18,620 feet), they pro- 
ceeded to FUtigorsk, the centre of the Russian watering-placee in Cis- 
caucasia and remarkable for the volume and variety of its mineral 

Before returning to Tiflis bv Vladikafkaz and the Dariel Pass, the 
party explored the upper valleys of the Tcherek and .XJruch, the 
entrances of which are guarded by stupendous defiles far exceeding in 
grandeur any Alpine gorges. The Tcherek has its source in the vast 
glaciers flowing from the flanks of Koschtantau and Dychtau, twopf 
the most magniflcent mountains of the range, which have hitherto 
remained in undeserved obscuri^. 

The concluding pages are devoted to a comparison between the 
Alps and the Caucasus, to a short account of a visit to the Crimea, and 
the Authoi^s homeward journey across Russia. It is hoped that thia 
record of travel and adventure amongst the mountain fastnesses of the 
Caucasus may prove of sufllcient interest to draw the attention of 
Englishmen to a range surpassing the Alps by two thousand feet in the 
average height of its peaks, abounding in noble scenery and picturesque 
inhabitants, and even now within the reach of many * long-vacation 

The Maps comprise a Route Map of the Hauran, the Caucasian 
Provinces, and the Central Caucasus. The Map of the- Central Cau- 
casus is reduced from the Five-Yerst Map, executed by the Russian 
Topographical Department at Tiflis, with many corrections suggested 
by the experience of the writer and his fellow-travellers. 

The fuU-pege iLLUsrsATioifs are four views of Elbruz from the 
North, Ararat, and Kazbek from the South, and as seen firom the Post 

The Panobaxas show the Caucasus firom Piitigorsk, and the 

Koschtantau Group. 

List qf the Woodcuts in the Text : — 

A Native of Jibianl 

Taa TlHdnal from above Latal 


A GeorglAn Chturch 

The Georgian Cattle, Tiflia 

Mountaineeni in Armour 

An Onete Village 


Peaks of Adai Kholch 

Source of the Eastern Zenes-SqnaU 

Our Camp-flre in the Forest 

Woman of Umsplefa 

Peak In the Tcherek Valley 

The Fortress of Dariel 

The Qrand Ducal Villa, Borjom 

A Mingrelian Winejar 

* We are delighted with Mr. Frbsh- 
PTELD'8 book. The lovers of mountain 
scenery neill read hla descriptions of 
peaks and paoMs with unflagging 
interest, and their hearts will beat 
quickly as they read of the adventures 
conducted with so much energy, per- 
sevenuioe, and intelligence.' 

Land and Watkb. 

* The book is written in a simple and 
manly style, and gives an agreeable 
impression of the spirit in which the 
travellers carried out their desig n... . 
We may congratulate Mr. Fbbsbfirld 
on having achieved a much rarer feat 
than the aaoent of mountains, that of 
recording hisperf ormancesin atiunough- 
ly satlsfaotory manner.' 

Pall Mall Oazktte. 

London, LONGMANS & CO.