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Love wild camping? Go Italian Alps!

Skewif

Skewif

It’s not what you have, it's where you wake up.
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Hove UK
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T5 SE 180 4Motion
Great pictures, thanks for sharing. That's the way to enrich this nice forum.

You were very lucky with the weather, that can change very quick in these Alpine regions. When these unpaved roads get wet, I can imagine that even a 4x4 WD will be slip sliding away soon.

Which maps do you use? Print or offline digital?
(On Open Street Maps it's hardly possible to see the difference between a driveable piste usable for cars and a walking trail.)

Regards from Amsterdam,

Marc.
Thank you, really appreciate the appreciation. I have been very lucky with the weather for years in September as rarely has it rained. What caught me out this year was a really cold snap in my first week. Had not taken thick enough gloves to use the bike and then got worried when it started to snow heavy one evening 2500m up.... what if I get stranded... for the winter! Thankfully it soon passed and dug the shorts out.

Because almost all the tracks are gravel it makes little difference if wet apart from exiting some of the deep water run off trenches on steep climbs as they are often lined with rock slabs. To me the real danger lies when it gets muddy or you drive over grass. Had one really scary moment when a very steep and challenging track suddenly went muddy. Could not turn round, would have to reverse for a mile on a track that was more than tricky to go forward on and faced with mud on such a camber that if the van slipped it would either end up in a deep ditch damaged or drop hundreds of feet into the valley. Then to top it all, I'd have to do it again on the way down... eeeek! This was one of those moments when you really appreciate how great it is to be in a AWD camper. Made it up with all wheels spinning at times but only by being as close to the edge of the sheer drop as I dare. On refection I took a very big risk, at one point the van was crabbing awards the ditch and had it gone much further would have trashed my treasured Cali, the holiday and my ego. But worse was the thought that I had my outer tyres right on the edge of a sheer drop that could have easily just crumbled away with the weight of the van. I learned my lesson and will (probably) never do something like that ever again. The view while having breakfast at the top was just spectacular, made all the more satisfying by what it took to get there.

I have read reports about some tracks turning into rivers of mud in the winter so yes there is a lot to consider. Being an old sailor I'm always watching the weather but with no signal for reports sometimes you only have a couple on minutes warning of what's coming.

I use a combination of maps. I find tracks I want to explore on Google maps satellite and street view. Maps.me really handy when no signal and my Tom-tom for general getting to places.
 
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Skewif

Skewif

It’s not what you have, it's where you wake up.
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This one seems to end very close to an Agriturismo? Anyway, here is track no.5 as a .gpx file:
Thank you again. Yes there are quite a few dotted around. There is also a carpark at both ends of this track so a great place to go even if just to explore on foot or bike. Nice spot to stop just off the road going out north too...

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Skewif

Skewif

It’s not what you have, it's where you wake up.
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691
Location
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T5 SE 180 4Motion
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/44.5577908,6.5626392/44.4628195,6.7329236/@44.521815,6.6067763,13.66z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e0

Went E to W. Once above the tree line this was mostly first gear all the way up. Quite bumpy and narrow in a few places with exposed rocks poking up out the ground. It started to get more and more challenging higher up when at times it seemed rocks were coming at you from both sides and underneath all at the same time. I did find sections of this track mentally tiring. Even though I was going very slow the level of concentration needed was quite intense. So much scanning of whats coming up from far to near with lots of calculations working out if I can do it and how can I do it. But totally worth it!

On finding a place to pull over I got on the bike to see what lay ahead. Not far up was a tunnel (du Parpaillon) so while there I rode through to see where it goes and is it worth driving up to. The view out the other end was just wow and the track on the other side seemed easy by comparison. So yes it was.

I stayed 2 nights where I'd pulled off the track and loved every moment. It was really warm in the day, did nice walks / climbs with Boz (the dog), amazingly clear star filled night sky, great views and also interesting chatting to many of the 4x4ers and mountain bikers who stopped to take in the view.

Driving through the tunnel was quite a buzz too as have never come across such a long tunnel on a track before. Having cycled through it twice (without lights) a couple of days before I was also surprised to see all the icicles. The track down was relatively easy with some really nice places to camp. Will come again and explore further for sure. Then it was down to Lac de Serre-Poncon for a swim and a cosy warm nights sleep before starting the long but relaxed journey back home.

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IMG_2934.jpg

IMG_2945.jpg

IMG_2953.jpg

IMG_2976.jpg

IMG_3009.jpg
 
bvddobb

bvddobb

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1,063
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Netherlands
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T5 SE 174 4Motion
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/44.5577908,6.5626392/44.4628195,6.7329236/@44.521815,6.6067763,13.66z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e0

Went E to W. Once above the tree line this was mostly first gear all the way up. Quite bumpy and narrow in a few places with exposed rocks poking up out the ground. It started to get more and more challenging higher up when at times it seemed rocks were coming at you from both sides and underneath all at the same time. I did find sections of this track mentally tiring. Even though I was going very slow the level of concentration needed was quite intense. So much scanning of whats coming up from far to near with lots of calculations working out if I can do it and how can I do it. But totally worth it!

On finding a place to pull over I got on the bike to see what lay ahead. Not far up was a tunnel (du Parpaillon) so while there I rode through to see where it goes and is it worth driving up to. The view out the other end was just wow and the track on the other side seemed easy by comparison. So yes it was.

I stayed 2 nights where I'd pulled off the track and loved every moment. It was really warm in the day, did nice walks / climbs with Boz (the dog), amazingly clear star filled night sky, great views and also interesting chatting to many of the 4x4ers and mountain bikers who stopped to take in the view.

Driving through the tunnel was quite a buzz too as have never come across such a long tunnel on a track before. Having cycled through it twice (without lights) a couple of days before I was also surprised to see all the icicles. The track down was relatively easy with some really nice places to camp. Will come again and explore further for sure. Then it was down to Lac de Serre-Poncon for a swim and a cosy warm nights sleep before starting the long but relaxed journey back home.
And another .gpx-file:
 

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marchugo

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As a 2 wheel driver I restrict myself to an impression of the Tunnel de Parpaillon on YT:


At the end of the clip it looks like falling off the earth.

Regards from Amsterdam,

Marc
 
WillSS

WillSS

2 seater beach
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112
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T6 Beach 150
Absolutely awesome Steve, incredible routes and photos!
Without doubt the best post I've seen on this forum, sums up exactly what the Cali is all about.
No wonder you want to beef your suspension a tadge!
 
Skewif

Skewif

It’s not what you have, it's where you wake up.
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As a 2 wheel driver I restrict myself to an impression of the Tunnel de Parpaillon on YT:

At the end of the clip it looks like falling off the earth.

Regards from Amsterdam,

Marc
Hey Marc, great find! Thank you for posting.
 
Wesel

Wesel

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169
Location
Belgium
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T6 Coast 150 4Motion
As a 2 wheel driver I restrict myself to an impression of the Tunnel de Parpaillon on YT:


At the end of the clip it looks like falling off the earth.

Regards from Amsterdam,

Marc
I know this part of the mountain very well, and have crossed the Parpaillon tunnel on foot and by bike, but not yet in California.
What seems to me the most critical for California is not the crossing of the tunnel, but the climb to the Parpaillon coming from the South. Many very bad pebbles that have to be tiresome for the tires?
 
Skewif

Skewif

It’s not what you have, it's where you wake up.
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691
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Hove UK
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T5 SE 180 4Motion
I know this part of the mountain very well, and have crossed the Parpaillon tunnel on foot and by bike, but not yet in California.
What seems to me the most critical for California is not the crossing of the tunnel, but the climb to the Parpaillon coming from the South. Many very bad pebbles that have to be tiresome for the tires?
Hello Wesel, it was indeed challenging coming up from the South. A lots of loose rocks to avoid. Even got out a couple of times to move some out of the way. Did check my tyres before heading back on the fast roads and found a few small cuts to the tread but they were all all on the same tyre. It was also the tyre that has been wearing the quickest according to my last service at VW. Perhaps that one tyre comes from a different batch that was just a little on the soft side. Plan on fitting a harder compound next time to see if it helps.

Did get some surprise from the serious 4x4's who had treked all the way up the mountain only to find a Cali parked up the top with a BBQ on the go and me sipping wine with my feet up on a foot stool. Give it a go... just take it very slow. It'll be a memory never to be forgotten.
 
Skewif

Skewif

It’s not what you have, it's where you wake up.
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Messages
691
Location
Hove UK
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T5 SE 180 4Motion
Absolutely awesome Steve, incredible routes and photos!
Without doubt the best post I've seen on this forum, sums up exactly what the Cali is all about.
No wonder you want to beef your suspension a tadge!
Thank you Will, So glad you enjoyed. Nice to know someone on here understands my needs ;).
 
kurienp

kurienp

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Newbury, Berkshire, UK
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T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
...

Did get some surprise from the serious 4x4's who had treked all the way up the mountain only to find a Cali parked up the top with a BBQ on the go and me sipping wine with my feet up on a foot stool. Give it a go... just take it very slow. It'll be a memory never to be forgotten.
LOL, that is so cool. I can visualise the looks on their faces. :D



Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
 
Actionwave

Actionwave

Novice California Owner
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153
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bexley, kent
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T5 SE 180 4Motion
What a great place, where abouts can I find out the location of these types of roads / Tracks
 
Anthony1

Anthony1

Too young to be old
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Goring by Sea, West Sussex
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T5 SE 180 4Motion
As requested some pics from 5 weeks touring down through the western Italian (Piedmont) Alps. If your joy is stunning panoramic views, no people, no noise, no signal then this is very much for you. Most of this trip was off road following old world war tracks very high up through the mountains. No camp sites, Stop where you want. In fact so many perfect stops it's hard to choose! Took over a thousand pictures. Here is a few...

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It might seem strange but also fulfilled the dream of eating a made from scratch pizza at the tho top of a mountain.

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You're the man!
 
Skewif

Skewif

It’s not what you have, it's where you wake up.
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Thanks neighbor :thumb
 
piddi

piddi

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74
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Norway
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T5 SE 130
So wild camping in Italy is cool? I know Switzerland and Slovenia is a total no go, cause I've been thrown away both places in the last couple of weeks In Slovenia the local police (or forest guard thing) was there no more than 10 minutes after I parked.
 
Skewif

Skewif

It’s not what you have, it's where you wake up.
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So wild camping in Italy is cool? I know Switzerland and Slovenia is a total no go, cause I've been thrown away both places in the last couple of weeks In Slovenia the local police (or forest guard thing) was there no more than 10 minutes after I parked.
Have had problems wild camping in Switzerland also and Germany but never had any issue in France or Italy. I like remote places as far from others I can get and if not that remote I like to be well of the beaten track and out of sight. Feel it's all down to the kind of places you want to stay at. If trying to wild camp by a popular lake with camp sites dotted around during peak season one expects attention. I spend most of my time high up in the mountains exploring old military tracks. If that's your kind of thing I'm more than happy to share what I know.
 
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