The High Way n.1, called THE GIANTS HIGH WAY, is a hiking trail with an incomparable scenery: it develops at the foot of the highest massifs of Europe, such as Monte Rosa, Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. This itinerary offers, alongside the superb examples of natural architecture in the Alps, incomparable examples of rural architecture, closely linked to the pastures life.
It goes along the left bank of the Dora Baltea river, The High Way n.1 is viable by anyone since it follows well-marked and fully signaled footpaths. It develops in 17 daily stages, from Donnas to Courmayeur (requiring on average of 3/5 hour walk each) providing hikers resting stops and dining options for every need.
The high natural value of these environments and the high and famous mountains, full of history and companies, which act as a superb setting, offer a picture of the past that the hiker will simply have to admire and appreciate.
11th STAGE: Cuney Refuge - Oyace (14 km)
From Cuney Refuge (2,652 m.) you descend briefly through some bumps, on the right and along a rocky belt that leads to a plateau: going up on the right you reach Col Chaleby. From here the trail descends the steep grassy slope to a plain, where there are the remains of a hut, then you climb steeply and reach Rosaire Clermont bivouac and then Col Vessona (2,793 m.).
From here a long downhill stretch starts. The first part is steep and leads, keeping to the right under a modest rocky buttress, the mountain pastures of Arp Damon. You go further to the right in a rocky valley, at the end of which you run through a coniferous forest until you reach the grassy plain of the Arp Vieille mountain pasture. From the pasture, the trail crosses the plain, goes back in the woods and descends down to a clearing. Passed the Betenda bridge over the Buthier creek, the trail climbs through the woods and reaches Alpe Betendaz, continuing to the junction for the Tour of Oyace (Tornalla), then descends near the town of Oyace, where, since summer 2015, you can stay overnight in a dortoir.
Scenic mountain pass at 2,793 meters, with beautiful views over the Valpelline, the Grand Combin and Velan, the nearby Mount Faroma and on the Rosa mountain group too. Just below the hill there is the Rosaire-Clement bivouac, a stone hut built in 1989 that is the arriving stage of several hiking trails in the area and great resting spot.
In an isolated position, dominating the valley, the Tour d'Oyace (or Tornalla) is an ancient castle tower dating back to the twelfth century. With an octagonal plan (unique in Valle d'Aosta), with almost two meters thick walls, the tower is in fact the remains of the medieval castle belonged to the Lords of Oyace, which Amadeus IV of Savoia, between 1233 and 1253, decided to dismantle. A popular legend has it that the tower would have been built by a group of Saracens hiding in Valpelline around 1000 A.D.
Deep gorge carved over the centuries by Buthier creek, collecting the water coming from the Grandes Murailles glacier. Its among the most deep and characteristics of the territory, an important place for hiking. The ravine is crossed by the Betenda Bridge: a first wooden bridge was built in 1352, while the current one is made of stone and dates back to 1688.
City of departure: Nus
Departure: Rifugio Cuney
City of arrival: Oyace
Length (Km): 14
Type of Itinerary: Half Day
Difference in height (m): 498
Difference in downhill (m): 1697
Highest point (m): 2793
Lowest point (m): 1354
Duration (h.): 5