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.
7th STAGE: Crest - Grand Tournalin mountain Refuge (11 km)
Technical description: From the Vieux Crest refuge you travel along a first trail section, then you follow the dirt road leading to the rural agglomeration of Soussun and then, on a flat path, up to Charcherioz (Alpe Ciarcerio). From here, you continue on a dirt road and then along the path that climbs up to Ferraro and Guide di Frachey refuges (2,080 m.). You descend downstream, through the pasture of Raccard, reaching the village of Saint-Jacques.
You cross the road bridge over the river Evançon and you take, on the right, the path that leads through meadows and woods just above the Croues mountain pasture. Here you meet the dirt road leading up to the Nana inferior pasture and then to the upper one (2,193 m.). Finally the route follows entirely the dirt road that climbs to the Grand Tournalin mountain Refuge (2,535 m.).
Quaint little mountain village (1,689 meters) which 'closes' the Val d'Ayas as it is the last settlement. Important starting point and destination for numerous hiking trails, its territory has been affected for centuries by the Walser culture, of which there are some clear evidences, as the "Rascard", ancient wooden houses with stone and wood pillars. Of particular interest is the ancient Church of St. James. Founded as a simple chapel in the middle of 200s, it was enlarged and decorated with frescoes by Pope Alexander VI in the 500s and lifted from the ground to prevent it to get ruined by the continuous flooding of the river Evançon. In the same square where today stands the church, there is a cave, inside which there is a statue of the Madonna.
Located at 2600 meters in the grassy plain of the upper Tournalin Alp, the Grand Tournalin Refuge is a three floors copper and stone building, built in 1994 by the Becquet family. It is located in the Valley of Nanas amphitheater and it is an important starting point for many excursions at 3000 meters height.
City of departure: Ayas
City of arrival: Ayas
Arrival: Rifugio Grand Tournalin
Length (Km): 11
Type of Itinerary: Short routes - Half day
Difference in height (m): 1050
Difference in downhill (m): 440
Highest point (m): 2541
Lowest point (m): 1697
Duration (h.): 5