This is a nice challenge for lovers of sporty hiking (which I have dreamed of doing since my visit to Susa during my hike from Guillestre to Mont Blanc): Rochemelon bivouac from Susa, 3000m difference in altitude in one go! Yes, you read correctly 3000m… Rochemelon, a sacred mountain in the region from time immemorial, directly dominates the valley from the top of its 3500m. The effort is well worth it, as the view from the summit is one of the most panoramic the Alps can offer. Mont Rose, Mont Blanc, Gran Paradiso, Vanoise, Écrins, Mont Viso… In addition, the hike does not present any particular technical difficulty apart from its length.
Departure from Susa
Since the Susa station, cross a few streets to the village of Mompantero. You can stock up on water there before beginning the tough climb that awaits you. Just after the village, there is a bivouac station ideal if you arrive late in the day and want to leave early the next day.
You will then pass a whole series of villages, each as charming as the next. It's good to take some rest there while admiring the view that is gradually emerging... My favorite is Chiamberlando, with an absolutely irresistible bench!
Arriving at the charming Alpe Tour, the view of the giant becomes clearer. We can clearly see the summit, we tell ourselves that it is within reach, that in fact these 3000m will be child's play... No, the interesting part begins now!
The final ascent
Continuing, we arrive at the Riposa refuge (2185m). When I went there in September, the refuge was closed but the toilets were open, which allowed me to refill with water one last time before attacking the summit (the fountain outside was not flowing). I still recommend stocking up on water at the Alpe Tour fountain for greater safety.
We then begin a very steep mountain pasture climb to the Ca' d'Asti refuge (2854m). From the refuge, Mont Viso peeks out in the distance. We can take a good, well-deserved rest, because the steepest part remains to be done…
Follow the well-trodden path which climbs some very steep screes. We arrive at the Croix de Fer which marks a final flat area before the last, more rocky part. After all this climb, your breath becomes short at 3300m... This last part is really the most exhausting! The last passages in the rock are equipped, but it remains a hiking level. However, this can undoubtedly prove more difficult if there is snow or ice on the route... At the end of September the path is clear, even if the snow is already holding on the north face.
Le Rochemelon in bivouac
We finally arrive at the summit refuge and its immense Virgin (welcome to Italy), from where the 360-degree view of the Alps is breathtaking. I don't think I know of any other place that's so scenic and accessible by hiking.
For the rest, two solutions are available to you: spend the night at Rochemelon in bivouac in the refuge at the summit, or for the bravest, go directly back down the 3000m to the valley. I chose the first option, it's not every day that you can afford a night at 3500m! This also allows you to admire both the sunrise and the sunset…