Trip Reports: Canyons in the Italian Alps, Lavarie 4 C II, Alba 3 B/C III
The canyons listed below all have detailed route descriptions (with the exception of Alba) in the Simone Flower’s guide book Canyoning in the Alps: Northern Italy and Ticino. This guide book is an exceptional resource the trip descriptions below are to enhance and tie up loose ends that we ran into during our expedition. Flower’s guide book does a great job of pointing out entrances and exits of all the canyons we did. We recommend you look to this book as your main source of information for canyoneering in this region. Our expedition team was large (11 members) so most descents took us longer than the times provided in the book. It is my thought however that the times listed in the guide book are accurate for experienced canyoneering teams, for those that are less experienced expect the canyons to take a little longer than the times described in Flower’s book.
All of our Canyon descents were done in the month of August 2018 with water levels in the low to lower moderate range.
Lavarie 4 C II
This canyon is waterpark like in nature, splashy and fun, at times a quite narrow canyon with some beautiful potholes. This canyon would be extremely challenging at high water, but at low to moderate flow is relatively straight forward until you reach the final rappel which is the crux of the canyon. The final rappel can be done as one 80m rappel with bolts on canyon left. After descending about 40 meters you will find additional bolts on canyon right (above a giant pot hole) before the final descent of 4o meter down a waterfall and out of the canyon. We decided to do the final descent as a single pitch of 80 meters due to the size of the group as expected this caused issues with the final pull but after working the angle of pull a bit we were able to retrieve the rope. A smaller group may be better off splitting the final descent into two rappels of about 40 m. This will make the pull easier. The bolts at both of the pitches of the final rappel and throughout the canyon are of high quality and in good shape.
Alba 3 B/C III
After taking the approach trail described in Flower’s book you will reach the dam at Alba. There is a trail that descends along the right side of the canyon and leads into the canyon bed. This is a fun canyon not quite as narrow as many of the other canyons we did, but full of great jumps, quite a few rappels (between 6-10), swimming holes and beautiful waterfalls. About 2/3 of the way through the descent you will get to the canyon crux which requires a belay assist to access a beautiful rappel of about 85-100 ft. After getting to the confluence with the Tralba the canyon opens up. It is a river bed hike out to the bridge from here.
Pura Vida Adventures was the first company to run commercial canyoneering courses in the eastern US, in addition canyoneering courses and trips are run by Joe Moerschbaecher who is certified through the American Canyon Guides Assocition. Pura Vida Adventures is the oncly American Canyoneering Academy accredited guide service in the eastern US. www.pvadventures.com