trip report by site editor Rick McCharles
Refugio San Martin (Jakob) to Refugio Segre (Italia)
This is the BIG, BAD section.
… harder and more hazardous …
… should not be attempted unless the weather is very good …
… crampons and an ice axe may be needed …
About an hour in I found myself crouched on the vertical wall here.
Lots of exposure. No clear markings for the easiest route up.
Should I quit and go back?
Happily a group of about 15 hikers arrived at just the right time. Their two guides knew the line.
Aside from the risk of falling, it wasn’t that bad. We made it easily. Weather was perfect.
The guides suggested I follow them along the ridge.
I did. Until we got to the summit of a peak called Navidad 2060m. (Christmas)
After getting some directions on the descent, I went ahead. They were taking a long lunch.
Next came the impossibly long, slippery, scary, knee straining descent.
The only easy part was glissading on a couple of snow fields.
What a relief to finally reach the valley.
Unfortunately the valley section was endless too.
Some sections required bushwhacking and route finding.
At other times I had to boulder hop back and forth across the creek.
I finally saw some young people splashing in a river pool. They were departing Segre (Italia) and heading out down the valley.
They pointed me to one of the two steep paths upwards.
I was thrilled to finally reach the 300m spiralling switch back climb up to the Italia (Segre) hut. It seemed easy compared with the descent.
By the time they get there, most hikers have already decided NOT to take the high route on day 4 instead opting for the easier valley descent to the town of Colonia Suiza next morning.
The hut warden was a super guy. Very happy I had made the day safely.
Refugio Segre smelled great.
I went immediately for siesta.
Three hours later, at dusk, the group finally arrived. No injuries. But some of their people were very tired.