Pian Gias Glacier.
The path starts just behind the Refuge d’Averole, from the ruins of the old hut. The steep and winding path climbs a grassy slope in N-E direction, overcoming a small cliff and approaching the right bank of the “Ruisseau du Veillet” creek. Follow the bank up to an altitude of 2600 m to a clearly visible end moraine, where the path turns right and crosses the creek. Follow the E-NE direction, up along the moraine up to a small cliff shaped as rocky large steps (2850 m). Here the path turns North and crosses again the creek to the right bank. Take a special care in crossing the creek which at times (rain or thaw periods) may be quite large and rushing. The path track again goes NE and climbs the steep moraine up to a basin overlooked by what remains of the previously “Grande Pareis” Glacier. At this poit the track fades away towards the Clapier Blanc (3030 m).
Looking Northwards you’ll notice a saddle behind which the very top of Mount Albaron peeps over. The saddle is your target, to reach it climb slightly still heading N-NE up to 3100 m. , then go sligtly down in a basin, towards a bank of schistose cliffs, then turn towards the N-NO direction, heading to the saddle. In this part of the trek you’ll have to choose your way, according to the snow level on the ground. Anyway, always keep an eye on the trail markers: to be sure they stay over the snow level, often they are painted high on the path rocks.
Once you get to the schistose cliffs, the path track becomes visible again, climbing the slope on the left of a snow triangle which will be crossed over when on its top.
The trail markers will lead you to the schistose ridge running along mount Audras. Follow the ridge for about 150 m., then descend slightly, always stayin on the French side, towards the Collerin Pass, which is very clearly marked with wood poles and signs. From the Collerin Pass start descending on the Italian side, walking a very steep slope on shaky debris. This part maybe difficult if you happen to find frozen snow
The steep descent from the Collerin Pass
(crampons and ice-axe could be useful in this case).
The steep descent will go 200 m down to the Pian Gias glacier (3000 m). The glacier is not steep, and it’s shattered with debris so it can be walked without crampons (with some care). Anyway always keep a dilligent eye to the trail markers painted on the boulders, expecially useful in foggy conditions. Out of the glacier, the descent track keeps on the right bank of the glacial stream coming out of the ice. When the track stumbles upon the boulders coming down of the “Rocce delle Russe” ridge (at 2800 m level), it crosses the stream and follows the left bank down the moraine. After a while the path merge with another track coming down from mount Ciamarella, and again crosses the stream to the right bank. The path is by now well marked. At a signpole turn right and follow the up-and-down track heading in 30 min. to the Rifugio Gastaldi.