OverviewMount Chaberton (3130 m.) is on the Italo-French border, and dominates the hill of Montgenevre.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the Italians built a daring road which, passing an altitude of 1800 meters, allowed the military, with a march of four hours to reach the summit of the Mountain.
Between 1898 and 1914, built a permanent fortification on the summit, the so-called "Fort in the Clouds", armed with eight guns in armored cupola.
The military road, was in fact used to transport the top guns and armor, weighing more than four tons. Hundreds of men and pull composed of more than forty horses, took longer than a week to travel the fourteen miles of road.
Today the road is still there, covered each year by thousands of tourists and a few dozen adventurous Mountain Biker. What impelled by the force of will defy the terrifying mountain road, just to get the coveted summit. Long stretches of the route, gave the bottom very uneven and maintenance-free, must be faced with your mountain bike on the shoulder.
Every year in July, take the final step of the grueling mountain bike race called the "Iron Bike".
Getting there.From Turin:
take the A32 motorway (Turin-Bardonecchia) exit Oulx, 50' by car. Then take the S.S. 24 road to the Hill of Montgenévre; when you arrive at the village of Fenils (20' by car), turn on your right and cross the bridge on the river Dora Riparia.
From High Fenils start the ancient military dirt road to mount Chaberton. By car you can reach the Granges of Prà Claud were you have to leave your car (15').
Parked the car in the village grange Prà Claud, the dirt road with a moderate gradient is developed within a beautiful forest of larch trees, until you reach the site Qualliet Grange (km 7.5).
The road then rapidly gains altitude with twelve tight switchbacks up to reach locations Rock Cut (km 9.4).Evocative passage carved into the rock with mine and work proceeds on the southern slopes of Punta Rochers Charniers descendants.
Overcome this bottleneck will soon reach the Floor of the Dead, so called in memory of a detachment of French soldiers, who died of cold up here during the war (1975/1976), frequent the French Republic and the Kingdom of Sardinia.
On the floor of the dead is the boundary stone, from there to the summit are in France (Paris peace treaty 1947).
From the head of the plateau, the road deteriorates considerably and the climb to Hill Chaberton (Km 12), is to trace.In some places the road is so ruined that various steps are carried out within the gullies created by rain and thaw (watch the pools of deep mud).
In the vicinity of the hill, almost all the bends made in 1905 have collapsed.
Reached the Hill, from west meets the mule track that comes from Claviere and the valley of the Rio Secco.
From the hill to the summit of Chaberton there are still 459 meters in altitude, to be reached via a steep path that in about two and a half kilometers, with an average gradient of 22%, including barbed wire, finally reaches the summit and the coveted glacis of the fort, below which there are eight towers that greeted the guns of the fort in the Clouds.
(1)Until Plan of the Dead, you manage to get in the saddle (the rock cut area is very rocky, cross with extreme difficulty).
(2)From the Plan of the dead to the hill cycling is almost impossible.
(3)From the hill to the summit, the track is pedaled only by extremely trained cyclists.
Time by ascent from two hours to three hours.
Descent in an hour, and that's where an outbreak of lust.
When to BikeIn june you can still encounter big large snowfields, across the road from the hill to the summit of Chaberton.
Late July since September-end of October.
Overnight stay & MeteoHotel Chaberton
If they call the mountain of thunder has a reason, the weather changes at an incredible rate, especially in the afternoon. To avoid surprises, it is best to plan the trip and rely on the weather forecast for MeteoFrance, are the most reliable.
A story of a century agoThe road of Mount Chaberton.
The transport of the Mouths of Fire
Summit on Chaberton
The report of Lieutenant Ernesto Quartaroli.
"I saw no less than 43 animals in tow, without the cannon
advancing a single step!"
For the construction of the battery Chaberton, as well as the cable car was used by the military road that starts Fenils in the lower valley, reached the summit after 14 km and then the yard .
Between 1896 and 1898, on the trail of an ancient mule track that reached the hill of Chaberton, the military genius made a cart track on natural background with a width of 2.5 m. and slopes that in some places reached 22%, that for the soil characteristics: high to overcome differences in height, large stony stretches, stretches of highways carve into the mountain of mine works, accounted for the umpteenth time victory against the incredible difficulty of the high mountains .
In anticipation of the transportation of the guns on top, in the cart drawn up in Grange Qualliet underwent some improvements in some places the width of three meters arrived, they came to the slopes exceed 12% of the yards and were created at the curves . The Grange Qualliet taken from the summit, which was significantly improved by lengthening the path that reached the 14.8 Km, but reducing the gradients in the most challenging from 16.9% to 10%. Besides, anyone who has ever walked or bike a military road, he realized that the route is longer but more gradual and less tiring .
The road along its entire length is surrounded by a very picturesque landscape, which makes up nicely full of stops to admire it and especially to draw breath! .
Try to imagine what he meant to convey the guns for more than four tons of that road, using only the human and animal traction, probably our backpack, as it may be voluminous and full of equipment, will reach the specific gravity of a sandwich ham.
To make the best sense of the superhuman effort that was necessary, the author reports the full report of Lieutenant Ernesto Quartaroli of 1 Regiment Army Corps of Engineers, dated 26.12.1906.
And 'one of the most complete and interesting documents that we received. Lieutenant Quartaroli not only draw up a complete inventory of equipment and quadrupeds used indicating the names of the poor beasts used: Negus, He favored, Pasture, Menelick, Charles, but traces the history of transportation every day of the first gun; listing numerous obstacles in the path .
Inserts multiple times curious anecdotes and tragicomic events, as when during a sudden and violent storm all you gave to a stampede, or when the convoy passed the third that of the second cannon, much to the chagrin of the losers, even if it were a race!.
Reading the report of Lieutenant Quartaroli, one almost has the feeling of reliving those events.
R E L A T I O N S H I P
About the service of transport of armor and guns, from the summit of Monte Cesana Torinese Chaberton (m.3135) performed by the Rota et Baccon, represented by Mr. Cesana Carlo Rota and the Assistant Mr. Novarese.
The undersigned Quartaroli Ernesto, a lieutenant in the 1st Engineer Regiment stationed in Pavia, and from 29 June to 27 October of this year, posted in the Piazza di Cesana, as used in construction and armament of the Battery Mount Chaberton, is known to Who is responsible for the following:
He was instructed by Mr Major Cav. maglietta, Technical Director of the work, the direction of transport and towing, and in that capacity he assisted and personally directed, valiantly assisted by Mr. Carlino and Mr. Rota Novarese, and the sergeant Cordara, all transport of armor, Flat-forms, cradles, trucks and guns, that throughout the working season was possible to carry.
He pressed a word of praise unconditional Undertaking itself, and especially to Rota and Novarese sullodati gentlemen, for the diligence, sacrifice, good will and intelligence worked to keep everything should proceed as expeditiously and expeditious, in accordance with orders received, and in spite of difficulties not simple, or indifferent, you had to iron out and overcome.
The first cannon (No. 26952) weighing 4150 pounds with no shutter, was loaded on a wagon-wheel who previously served in the transportation of armor, and spot-forms, on the afternoon of August 22, by two goats of Artillery fortress resting on two supports (and check valves at the same time) with larch, cut throat, and driven into the wagon with wedges, wraps strips of iron, and Gattelli.
Everything then securely tied and slung with wire rope with a thickness of 5 mm.
23.Agosto.1906 at 6 Am
The first cannon
part of the yard for Fenils Cesana.
The departure from the yard of the Army Corps of Engineers, was effected on the day on August 23 morning at 6 o'clock, with No. 8 beasts flush, owing to the national road trip up the hill and take the road of Fenils, on which is kept down only two mules towing, and N. 20 No more bourgeois 10 soldiers held by a rope tied to the double shell of the rear room of the carriage.
Made the descent, and crossed the bridge over the Dora from the same company that had previously been reinforced with frames of larch beams, we reorganized the column, attacking N. 34 animals to the gun, plus 5 to the two carts, one for the transportation of the feed, and the other for the transportation of tools of emergency such as: No 2 martinelli (in a rack and pump-1) N. 2 sizes with three swivels, for the formation of a hoist rope 60 m long. diameter of 25 mm. for the hoist, N. 4 ropes with a diameter of 30 mm. and the length from 20 to 30 m. necessary to secure the hoist in case of operation, and the other, to put arms in aid of the beasts, when they were gradually reduced due to the shortening of the rampant rise. Also: tables, boards and joists, piccozzino, saws, buckets, cranks, scale parts, wire rope and steel reserves, shovels, ravines, etc. hammers. etc..
24.Agosto 1906Departure of the convoy Fenils
Quadrupeds 36 18 15 Bourgeois and Military
"A terrible storm "
On 24th August we had a little boost the number of animals in tow, and so were brought to the number of 36, without prejudice to the other five for ancillary services, more N. 18 and 15 middle-class military.
A grange Hut, however, began to be felt the first effects of the difficulties. The right wheels of the wagon sank up to the hub, and it took a good hour to revive them and let rest on planks.
But that day had told him not to end well, because at approximately 18 broke a double time, ie, one proceeding from Mount Fraiteve, and the other from the Hill Chaberton that collided just above the column with rain, thunder, lightning dirottissima that put the mess of everything and everyone, so that rather than cut loose, traces, all alike, men, horses, and mules, took a desperate flight.
8.10 hours a.m.
Check-in Grange Qualliet
The need for shelters for the night
25 The morning could not move before 8.10 since agreed to repair what had marred the first day, 18 hours and we arrived in Grange Quaillet. From my notes I find; beasts to tow n. 36, n ° to the carts. 5, 14 men and 15 soldiers.
And it is in Grange Quaillet you start manifesting one of the most urgent needs, that is, to stay, even as it may, the quadrupeds, are forced to return to Cesana, with immense loss of time the next day for lack of a covered.
Meanwhile it was agreed with the company that would (as he did) removed the curtains from the alpine section of engineering, and transport independent of those provided to the cannon to send it to Quaillet grange, where the squad of soldiers, the sergeant Cordara , stayed for about 3 days to prepare a wide, sheltered and quite comfortable building, inside which, for care of the Company itself, was made of straw carrying as many as necessary for about 42 quadrupeds and 20 men, plus about 100 woolen blankets.
Other housing similar, but with places in Grange both for men and quadrupeds, were prepared by the Enterprise, in Grange Praclaud .
9.00 am a.m.
A horse falls off a wall
The problem of Water
On August 26 morning, just re-ordered the towing (at 9), the bay mare of Raymond, fell from a wall of abutment of the road, makes a progression a large wound to the forearm of the right front leg . It was necessary to detach it and send her to the Vet Cesana, so that the animals remained in the towing N. of 35, plus ancillary services, as you said above. But the difficulty of the housing was not the only nor the most important that you begin to manifest. More preoccupativa it was that of lack of water, to water at least three times a day, all those animals. And from this, another huge waste of time. She pulled away by the hour 11 1 \ 2, and could not resume the towing by the hour 16 1 \ 2, for 19.5 hours to remove 'the great round of Roccatagliata .
Meanwhile the company, also urged by the undersigned of provident cupboards that were placed throughout the threads of water gushed out, to collect enough in order to proceed, then a more rapid watering chin.
8.30 hours' a.m.
we arrive finally at the Pian of the Dead
Visit the convoy of Major Cav.Maglietta
On 27 August we could start pulling in 8.30 ', but with painful results that the beasts would not quite pull. Already beginning to feel the fatigue produced by the efforts of the previous days, not to mention that as we ascended, the road had become tougher and more tiring, and the slopes of the rampant increased.
Finally at 10.10 'are arrived at Pian dei Morti, where no small tribulation, for watering the animals.
Then another hour loss of abundant, to resume the shooting, in which time you change your place of quadrupeds in the hope of better aim, but all to no avail,except to huge loss of time. In 16 hours it takes the shot, but to turn round the collapsed shelter, he sinks the left front wheel.
Is operated by Krik to put in a plank, and finally, Mr. Major, who also wanted to personally realize the difficulties which constantly opposed to the good will, but it goes on, quite badly and slowly.
At 19:19 hours' stop at the foot of the Hill . Beasts 35, more than incidental services, 14 men, 15 soldiers.
8.30 hours' a.m.
It starts in attack instead of two to three
At 8 1 \ 2 day of August 28th we start in attack for 3, instead of two, but at 9.5 hours' s'affondano wheels right into the gutter. We must operate with Krik and 9.30 hours' roll is checked again. At hour 11 1 \ 4 breaks the hook of the series of "Mario". Bus stop to make a loop of wire. A 11 1 \ 2 is ready, and at 12 1 \ 4 comes off for a snack and rest, around the water, under the hill.
A 15 1 \ 2 takes the shot and you proceeds without incident until 18 hours, you have to adjust the collar to the "favors".
At 19 comes off the turn around the long, below that of Torotti.
7.55 hours' a.m.
You mount the hoist and pull force of arms
THE GUN COMES FIRST ... ON TOP!
On August 29 morning you can leave at 7.55 hours', except that you must stop the 8th to adjust the hook of the series of "Negus", immediately after spreading. At 9.15 am 'we are at around the ring, where it is necessary to remove all the beasts, and arm of the hoist to pull the load with the hoist, maneuver as fraught with difficulties, it is excellently performed by middle-class reinforcement, in a military escort. Tidied towing continue, and at 11.25 ', in the second round over the tunnel
where the slope of the road is very strong, the "Mario" breaks the scale, the tie rods, and sticks of the collar. Fall off the horses, and while we shall repair it as best you can, the men pull up all that rampant road, up over, around, with the hoist.
A 13.20 'resumes with towing hoist, and tow it about 2 more rampant street and, finally, to the hut of the blacksmith can harness the horses by the hour and 15 1 \ 2 are at the top with the first cannon, welcomed by the enthusiastic cheers of the workers and soldiers who work in the Battery.
Overall, therefore, for the first cannon, were used 7 good days work, with an average of horses and mules from 35 to 40, including ancillary services, as well as 15 soldiers and 14 to 16 civilians. Soldiers and civilians just enough to tend to multiple tasks, it is better not forget that all the turns of the road, had to be done by force of arms, as force of arms had to be towed the cannon, when the shortening of the rampant horses to pull it had reduced to 4, and also to 2.
At the same time, needed constant maintenance of the road, especially from Grange Quaillet the summit, Mr. Major were obtained from 6 other soldiers and a corporal, who were exclusively engaged in the service road worker, on tree trunks where the road was divided, and ie: from Grange Quaillet Pian of the Dead, from there to the hill, and from the Hill to the summit.
It sets up a second team
Part the second Cannon
But far more serious difficulties had to bump the towing of the second gun that was more especially the care of Sergeant Cordara, and assistant Novarese.
This, also in charge of wagon wheels to 4, with a special bracket of iron allacciante Scanello the rear end, with the front pin, had left the yard in Cesana, while the first cannon was still en route, and the number of animals needed trainarlo to, the Company had to raffazzonarle for all the different factions of the Valley, since Cesana certainly does not offer such an abundance of quadrupeds than it needed for two tows of that kind, marching together.
One might object that the company Rota and Baccon, certainly not unaware of the difficulties of putting together another team as numerous as the first, even stronger because of this consists of beasts less exercise, poorer and weaker, as were the best already been snapped up for the first team, it was limited only to tow with a team (the first) all four guns, but it is good to know that the peremptory order, to provide a second team, was given by Mr. Major and Director of Works, and that this was clear and obey to comply.
Personally I saw no less than 43 animals in tow, without the cannon advancing a single step!
Not to mention also, that in Grange Praclaud, broke up the pin and the balance of the wagon, and the need was so.
As well as the number of middle-class escort, owing second cannon, was greatly increased, because they were granted new soldiers, indeed, reached the summit with the first cannon, order by Mr. Major were also removed 15 that were d ' help the first cannon.
So it was that, owing second gun well it took 9 days, before you even touch the top of seeing, not with joy, ahead of the third cannon, started from the construction site a few days after the second.
Overall then, the animals in tow, for the second cannon, were 36 to 40, in addition to those services, and the burghers raised to 30 from 15.
The coupling of the third and fourth canon, that is, the last two, was effected in the best contingencies.
First of all packages were given to the driver Fernandino Carmine, the owner of more than 30 quadrupeds, in addition to having performed all transport of armor, they also drove the first cannon, all animals were epperò allenatissime. Also: he found the road, barracks for snottare, troughs and other, already implanted for previous experience, but not enough that he was the owner of the beasts, and whose direct and dependencies involved were the 11 drivers, continued the work until 16 and even 18 hours a day, taking care not to any kind of trouble, for both men, who for the animals so much that he burst the mule "Pasture" the sick
"Mario", wear out the "Negus" and "Charles" and almost burst "Menelick", also by having, previously, all insured.
In this we must add the most beautiful sun of the world, with extraordinarily beautiful days, and: contract work and the use of a cart with two wheels attached to the cannon instead of hovering above in the cart, and you will easily understand how he could save a few days on the time taken for the first and the second cannon.
At this coupling, however, the company was not strange, because: set the fee (which I believe was fixed at L. 3000 per gun, with a total, therefore, for these last two, lire 6000, it had not nothing more to see, because, who directed substantially towing, also in this case, it was signed .
Mortise (Padova) December 26, 1906
The Lieutenant of Engineers
Ernesto Q U A R T A R O L I
Copyright. This Relation and the images come from the private archive of Roberto Guasco, each use is prohibited without written permission of Roberto Guasco.
The Road in the 1899.
Want to know more?If you like , you can read two articles (published on SummiPost), concerning the history of the Fortress of the Clouds.
Destroy the Chaberton
The end of a Legend
Or this article :" Inside the Mountain". Visit the ruins of the ancient fortress.
Visit the Chaberton Fortress
Images of the Chaberton today