The Four Sisters Peak (2698 m).
A perfect point of observation on the Bardonecchia Valley.
Placed on the slopes of Mount Gaspar (2811m.), it was used from the nineteenth century to control the Hills between Italy and France. On the bowels of the mountains were built by the italians(thirties years), imposing fortifications in the rock. In the past, a few men have to live on the Four Sister Peak to guard the observatory; with at the disposal a shaky wooden recovery, hanging on the Selletta and a very cold bunker for observation.
Today the peak is one of the most beautiful and scenic place of the entire Valley of Bardonecchia.
It is a path mountain bike of nine-kilometer, that climbs more than nine hundred meters, to which we must add another two miles and four hundred meters in altitude to walk, if you want to reach the top of the peak "Four Sisters."
I have pointed out: "Hard" for the route, only for the type of surface of the dirt road.
It is in fact an old military road (built in the late nineteenth century) that it has the characteristic of being "paved" (with the stones of the place).
Over the decades, the total lack of maintenance, has meant that this area became very irregular and discontinuous.
All this complicates immensely the climb and even Greater...the descent!
It still remains one of most beautiful and challenging trails for bikers in the Susa Valley.
In addition, carrying a minimum of equipment (two torches, warm clothing and waterproof), you can enter into the bowels of the mountain, visiting the huge bunker dating back to World War II.
In my humble opinion this is really satisfying!
Take the A32 motorway, exit Bardonecchia. Take the direction of "Borgo Vecchio". Cross the bridge over the river Rhò, on your left, well indicated start the old military road, direction Three Crosses-Four Sisters.
It is a long dirt track, 7252 meters long with a slope of 13%.
The TrailInitially, the route runs through beautiful pine forests that dominate Bardonecchia, the landscape gradually becomes more and more barren; past the Three Crosses the road is literally hanging on the mountain with a cliff on your left overlooking the village of Les Arnauds (fraction Bardonecchia).
Take the dirt road that climbs from the very beginning with the decision.
At 5.7 km you will come across the only fountain.
You will then arrive at the Three Crosses where we can grant a well deserved break.
From here on, the road tends to get worse. They graze the remains of the shelter Rossero then coming to the base of a debris basin, after a stretch where the road is practically become a heap of stones.
Near the entrance of a powder magazine, the road begins to lose altitude. They touch the remains of the cable car connecting with Melezet, adjacent to what is one of the entrances of underground battery B3.
In the area if it meets a similar one (B4), climbing towards Punta Four Sisters.
you can continue on the path before leaving a trace on the left leads to the remains of the shelter Turiccia.
Then meets the boundary stone inscribed with the year 1947, recalling that before that date the area in which we are entering belonged to Italy
Once you arrive to the plateau of Four Sister Peak, you have to take a barely visible path on your right. Proceeding up, the trail gradually disappears, turning the walk into a real rock climbing.
Beyond the first rocky ridge, becomes immediately visible in the distance, the Selletta. Below you will open the Vallée Etroite. Going up the hillside and reach the saddle pass. At this point is clearly visible the remains of an ancient shelter, it was used by military personnel, involved to the observatory of the Four Sisters.
There remains the final steep climb to reach the summit.
You will immediately see yourself on a wonderful panoramic point. From there you can see all the hills of Bardonecchia at the border with France :" Col de l'Echelle, Col des Acles, Rhò Hill, Hill of Frejus and Hill of Someiller.
On the summit they are a cross and the remains of an military artillery observatory. On beautiful days, you will really struggle to come away!
The trail to the summit takes about an hour.
Inside the Mountain
Between 1937 and 1939, the military engineers built into the rock of the Four Sisters, Two enormous fortifications, both armed with six guns 75/27 on the candlestick gun carriage; including them in the project of the ALpine Wall.
These bunkers at the time they cost more than twelve million lire, were used 85,000 hours of work, carried out excavations for 32,000 cubic meters of rock and thrown 16,000 cubic meters of concrete.
Their task was to block access with their fire from the hills: "Col de l'Echelle, the Hill of Rhò, Colle del Frejus" (Italian-French border).
The numerous artillery garrison, were topped by a military cableway from the valley of Bardonecchia (Melezet-Three Crosses).
Today the fortress of the Four Sisters is located in French territory, and is one of the few that has not suffered the devastation imposed by the peace treaty of Paris of 1947.
For centuries, The Four Sisters (Italy) and the Fort de l'Olive (French) were joined by an imaginary straight line. They were the guardians of the three Hills (Thura, Col de l'Echelle, Col des Acles).
Today the old forts are abandoned and in ruins, and they represent for us wonderful viewpoints. We do not just have to imagine the enormous effort made to build them and the sacrifices faced by man, to preside over these far-flung outposts of the Alps.
And perhaps,to be a little bit envious of those men, who lived a whole year so close to theese beautiful mountains !
Byking inside a Bunker (Video approx 14')
Until a few years ago it was passable with off-road vehicles, today (fortunately) it is strictly prohibited, only hikers and bikers.
Just remember that when you arrive at the Plateau you enter in France.
After the peace treaty of Paris (1947), all the area became French.
The entire trip takes a day, but if you want to visit the ruins of the fortifications, you should set up a base camp on the Plateau of the four sisters. It is a place well-protected but completely devoid of water, so take a good supply. To visit the bunkers are necessary waterproof clothing, helmet and at least two torches.
In ShortLength: 11 km (uphill)
altitude departure: 1312 m.
Three Crosses altitude: 2117 m.
Bunker altitude: 2294 m.
Peak 4 Sisters altitude: 2698 m.
overall height difference: 1386 m.
trail type: mule, stony
exposure is mainly North
cellular network coverage 100% coverage
Cartography: CENTRAL INSTITUTE OF GEOGRAPHICAL 1:25.000 n. 104 Bardonecchia-Mount Tabor- Sauze d'Oulx - 1:50.000 n. 1 Susa,Chisone,Germanasca.
A view from the French side!
The Three Hills (French-Italian border)
A useful Guide.
A complete guide to the trails and historical sites of the western mountain range.
The footpaths, bridleways, military roads built over the centuries, still passable as before.
An entire section of the book is dedicated to the path to the Four Sisters.
Author Diego Vaschetto.only in italian.