Notes on Italy's Piedmont Creeks

by Dr Robin

(Taken from http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2630highlight=piedmont)

Info IS tricky to find, someone really needs to write a decent guidebook to the area. Apparently, the neighbouring valleys also have good creeks, such as the Chiusella, and the runs near Laggio Maggiore. As I say, I spent one week in Val Sesia, so I'm NOT an authority on the area. But I'll tell about the runs I did, which will hopefully give you an impression of the place.

We stayed in the campsite at Campertogno, which is surrounded by beautiful scenery. The place is well set up for boating, with plenty of maps available, and even signposts and little changing rooms at the more popular get-ons. The runs we did were:

River: Sesia from Mollia to Scopello
Grade: 3/4/4+(5)(6)
Description: Medium volume run, varied in difficulty, with some ugly holes and 2 ugly falls.
Advice: Watch out for the pushy section below Piode!

River: Gronda. Drive to Rassa and then walk up as far as you like from there.
Grade: 4/5
Description: Ridiculously steep low volume creek, with some classic slides and drops.
Advice: Allow a plenty of time to do this run, as it requires a lot of inspection. (Continue into the Sorba if you like, but don't go into the gorge of doom.)

River: Egua. Section from road bridge to Molino.
Grade: 5
Description: Insanely steep low volume creek with mind-blowing slabs and drops. A gem.
Advice: A lot of inspection required. Also, it's quite cold this high up the valley.

River: Lower Mastallone, 6 km section from Bocciolaro to Varallo.
Grade: 4(5+)
Description: Reasonably straightforward creek (apart from the 5+) with a beautiful sheer-sided gorge section.
Advice: Inspect the gorge before getting on! (Upper sections of Mastallone looked a bit bony when we were there.)

River: Sesia gorge
Grade: 4/4+(5)(6)
Description: Short run, varied in difficulty, with a awkward portage.
Advice: Pushy in high water.

River: Lower Sermenza, from a km above Boccioleto to Balmuccia.
Grade: 4/5(6)
Description: The km or so above Boccioleto is tough, and requires much inspection, and probably at least 2 portages. Below Boccioleto the run eases into a section of 4/4+(5). As you enter the gorge in Balmuccia the difficulty increases again with some pushy 4+.
Advice: If you haven't much time or energy, get in at Boccioleto.

River: Upper Sermenza, from San Giuseppe to Rimasco.
Grade: 4/5(6)
Description: Very tight steep creek, with some lovely drops and slides.
Advice: Most of the hardest rapids are hiden from the road! Also, put in just below San Giuseppe to avoid portaging a horrible 6.

River: Sesia from Boccorio to Mollia
Grade: 4/4+(5)(6)
Description: Pushy medium volume creek which requires concentration.
Advice: Check out the rapids at Mollia as you drive up!

With thanks to Dr Robin.

Community Forum Comments on this Article
No subject -- Simon Westgarth
2004 Sep 19 09:42:38 PM
"kevinf" wrote:
Ah the famous Drunk Indian of Rogers creek. Apparently he has a habit of burning kayakers cars. We were put off by other paddlers. It is a shame as those waterfalls are to great fun.



I though the hydro scheme on Rutherfud was wrecked after the massive floods that washed away the road bridge. What about Callahan, Soo and cheakamus?


The Indian was trying to tow my rental car after we inspected the water level at the triple falls, so we went back to the Hot Springs instead. These drops look great though, its a shame, especially as th elocal indian nation have a land claim on th earea and do not want any paddlers up there!!



The Rutherford plant has been rebuilt and was online!! The WW course had not yet been completed. The Cleak had changed alot at the putin, instead of going around a swiping wide LH bend it now cuts those the old island with 5m ugly drop, trees and all!!



The Soo had also changed and was crazy high, 43'C meant that the Glaciers were getting smaller quickly!!
No subject -- kevinf
2004 Sep 19 09:16:03 PM
Ah the famous Drunk Indian of Rogers creek. Apparently he has a habit of burning kayakers cars. We were put off by other paddlers. It is a shame as those waterfalls look great fun.



I though the hydro scheme on Rutherfud was wrecked after the massive floods that washed away the road bridge. What about Callahan, Soo and cheakamus?
BC -- Simon Westgarth
2004 Sep 19 07:33:05 PM
"guidebook" wrote:
Herr Westgarth, I'll look forward to your italy beta.



How was British Columbia this summer? Did you get the Ashlu River done? I ask because we ran away crying after 300 metres on it.


My BC Summer was full of low water in the west kookanies, high water in the east kookanies, forest fires on the Stien and unfriendly indians on Rogers Creek, still it was a good trip, and unfortunately we did not do the Ashlu, the lower canyon was too high. The Runderford is now unrunable as the hydro project is online.
No subject -- Mark R
2004 Sep 19 06:58:30 PM
Herr Westgarth, I'll look forward to your italy beta.



How was British Columbia this summer? Did you get the Ashlu River done? I ask because we ran away crying after 300 metres on it.
Re: val sesia -- Simon Westgarth
2004 Sep 19 06:42:56 PM
guidebook wrote:Great stuff, really helpful.



I once asked a well-known proboater type who runs trips out there for info, his helpful suggestion was 'buy one of my trips'.





Mark Rainsley







Indeed Mark that was my answer, still if you or anyone turn up with a Piemonte Map down the Dart this winter I will highlight the highlights, over a beer or two, your shout of cause.







The area is extentive, much more so than the Briancon area, yet the location is for Advanced & Expert paddlers. The Sesia Gorge & lower sesia are NOT typical of the area. Both West of and north of the Valsesia area there are numerous runs, all on Steep Whitewater.







I reamin relucant to depart too info, as I may wish to construct a Guide book and have an obvious interest in developing the area as a Gene17kayaking destination. Also the location would get a repulation like Norway for being hard and beating people and put people off coming. The Piemonte is Steep, Norway is Steep & powerful.







Extensive footage of the Piemonte will be in Genes Sdvanced White Water Technique, plus prebably a rough guide to the area in soe paddling mag in the new year.







There are guides tot he area, both in Germen written by Gert Spikler.







Note that May is best, April is often too Cold as the watershed is up near 3-4000m, and if the snow lasts!! the season can go on until June. This year it lasted until June 10th, and last year May 20th!! Also Easter would normally be a shot time to go, especially next year as Easter is in Late March, good for Skiing in Valsesia then!!!!







Sion Westgarth



Gene17kayaking.com
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