A high-altitude ridge walk: this is a dream of a mountain walk, with blue-and-white markings (but should only be attempted by expert alpine walkers).
This path hugs the ridge between the valleys of the Verzasca, the Leventina and the Riviera. It follows a wild, audacious route passing five refuges and offering splendid views over Ticino's most beautiful peaks.
Stage 1 (Grading: "T6" = very difficult)
The "Via Alta" starts at the Borgna refuge (1912 metres above sea level) and sets off towards the Fümegna refuge (1810 metres above sea level), passing the Bocchetta Cazzane (2104 metres above sea level), the Bocchetta di Leis (2215 metres above sea level), the Poncione di Piotta (2439 metres above sea level), the Poncione dei Laghetti (2445 metres above sea level) and the Poncione del Venn (2477 metres above sea level) and going over the Cornavosa (1991 metres above sea level). It is a route with exceptional scenery, climbing much of the time along paths and ridges, walking over rocks and at times assisted by foot and hand holds.
This first stage involves the longest climb of the whole "Via Alta".
Stage 2 (Grading: "T5" = difficult)
From Cornavosa or Fümegna (depending on where you have spent the night), continue in the direction of the Efra refuge (2039 metres above sea level). You will be rewarded with a new dream panorama of the ridges leading up to the Rierna peak towards the Ambra Valley and the Gagnone summit, from where you can admire the steep, rugged mountains at the northern end of the Verzasca Valley, with a view of Lake Maggiore in the south.
Stage 3 (Grading: "T5/6" = difficult/very difficult)
This stage takes you from the Efra refuge to Cognóra (1938 metres above sea level) guiding you over the Pizzo Cramosino (2717 metres above sea level), down to the Passo del Gatto (2612 metres above sea level) and up again to Madom Gröss (2741 metres above sea level), climbing two tower-like rock faces, and walking along the ridge as far as Bocchetta di Cremisino (2549 metres above sea level). You finally arrive at Cognora below the Pizzo di Mezzodì.
Stage 4 (Grading: "T4" or "T6" = moderately difficult or very difficult)
From Cognora, take the path with red-and-white markings for the Passo Piatto (2105 metres above sea level) and then the crossing over to the Barone refuge (2172 metres above sea level), up and down through the peaks. Alternatively, you can take the "T6" (i.e. very difficult) variant. This starts at the Pizzo dei Laghetti, goes along the ridge past the Pizzo Campale and the Pizzo della Bedea, and continues to the summit of the Uomo di Campionino, a monolith 20 metres high.