This past Spring has been one of the red letter seasons, that you hear about from of the old guard, going on about big snow pack years, where the Piemonte paddling season lasted into June and even beyond. In recent years there has been good to excellent snow conditions, yet all to often the whole lot comes down the river in mid April with some freak Easter hot weekend, or near monsoon rain for 10 days. However the Spring of 2009 was very different, the snow melted in a timely fashion, means that every day was world class, nearly every popular run was in high water conditions and even more special were all the lesser known, yet highly prized more remote runs were prime and good to go for all of May, and what a feast of sunshine steep creekin’ it was.
Here is the Cervo, a small run from low altitude that faces mainly south dropping into Biellia close to Valsesia. The putin is a sun spot, check out all those sun lizards, plus see the red kayak in the river left eddy, well that was Dr Stefan from Vienna giving an example of the near prefect roll to the bikini clan ladies, I think he liked their smiles…..
In late May the boys from Palm came over for a little photoshot and some fine paddling. Plus I have been filming a little project on this area of the world for some time, the current project is titled “My Ticino”, and captures several great adventures of surprising runs in this granite area. One such run is the Alpe Basso, and side creek of the Loana, a river that is rarely run and is a whole bunch of work to get too and to paddle, but those slides, nice…….
During our week with the Palm boys we got to through in Tim Trew so we could get a shot of the rescue tape in action, needless to say, we were sure to get a few takes to be certain.
Within Valsesia, there are several classic runs, yet just beyond the popular Sorba slides is the upper reaches that flow drop from the Alpine restaurant of Heidi, the famed Heidi section of the Sorba, is a chunky section of steeper combo drops, and need low water. We fired it up, well the start that is, a long portage and hungry belly’s meant we went for lunch instead, as this run needs a bigger breakfast than simple muesli!!!
My old charging partner, Mr Dave Carroll made a late appearance this season, with EMT exam’s to complete. On his arrival, we had a short flat water paddle, 3 strokes to the lip of the Landwasser Waterfall. Wakey Wakey, welcome to the fun park.
Like all good things, time had slid by at hyper speed, and the 6 weeks of Spring in Italy and Switzerland were all but over, yet on our last day we gave homage to the fabled runs of the Sermenzina and Egua, conditions were prefecto, and the crew of Ali Donald, Matt Tidy and Yanni were up for the action. Solid water on the Cave drop and Cylinder meant we were able to find a few new lines for that super cool dry hair descent, an amazing sprinkle of perfection on top of that Italian gelato we found in Bar Cervo on the banks of the Sesia.
May had turned to June, and the French Alps were calling, time to head over the Col de Montgenèvre for some kayak courses, alpine fun and mountain biking….