Fiume Melezza (Middle)
|Stretch:||Re to the Lake|
|Difficulty:||Class IV to IV+|
|Gradient:||185 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Downstream of the town of Re, Italy… the river cross a bridge. Just before it quickly crosses another there is a parking lot.|
|Take-out:||At the bridge over the top of Lago di Palagnedra|
|Shuttle:||4 miles (10 minutes). Bring your passports as you cross the border from Switzerland to Italy during shuttle.|
|Season:||Spring from rain/snowmelt|
|Featured in Video A Wet State #91|
Piemonte / Ticino 2014: Day 11
How often do you get to start your day in one country… boat a third of the run along the border, and then paddle out in a different country? Well, of course here in the US I think the answer is “not possible.” Between states sure, but not class IV+ white water between countries. Of course, this point also reminds me… take your passports down the river with you. As when you run shuttle you will need them… unless by some off luck the guard shack is empty on both borders as it was for us… as only Diane and I had our passports. However 10 minutes later when we crossed again to get back to the bottom to pick up the team, it was guarded and we were checked. Phew!
The run should feel a little low at the start. If the run feels high in the first few drops, the crux in the walled out gorge will become difficult. It is portable but not super easy. There would be one hairy ferry to escape the bottom of the gorged in section. At our flow the river felt good in the two put in drops, but then quickly felt too low. Then when we got to the main gorge, felt perhaps just a smidge low… but certainly in the “ok” range. The scenery in that gorge is super cool, a shorter and tougher version of the Cannobino. But both usually need peak snow melt or some recent rain to run.
If Melezza is also in you can also drive up to the Loana which is only 20 minutes up river. Also, if by chance the dam at take out is spilling, the Lower Melezza look amazing from the videos I have found online. Also, another interesting thing to do is go up to the town of Re (you can put in up here too if you want) where there is a very large bastilica which has a Catholic certified miracle that occurred there where their stature of the Madonna bled from her head for 20 days after a angry parishioner who had lost at a card game had struck it with a shoe. Interesting if you are into that sort of thing.
Also, although this run is in Italy… it is for all intents and purposes part of the Ticino whitewater region. So plan accordingly.
Note 2016: Please see the comment at the bottom. Apparently in 2015 a sieve opened up in "Put-in Drop #2" and it has now seen a fatality. Recommend putting in below the rapid and double bridges. Article about the accident (German)
- Put-in Drop #1 (IV). Two ledges, run center and then left. Easy to scout from the road before putting on.
Put-in Drop #2 (IV+). Multi tiered, we boofed the top into a small eddy on the left to scout from. The next was boofing down the middle and then down the left. Sticky holes for such a low volume! Boggie then got to be class II and really shallow. Warning See the comment at the bottom about the sieve that appeared in 2015.
- Welcome to Switzerland (IV). The border (the next mile follows the border, scout left you are in Italy, right is Switzerland… kinda cool) and start of the gorge is marked by a junky rapid that leads into a walled out area. The rapid was cleanest at the low flow going right then hard back middle. You were going to hit rocks no matter what.
Portage (?). The entry of the crux section looked bad and not clean… we walked on the left. Perhaps if you hit the curl just right you would stay on the slide and not slip off into the crap to either side.
Crux 1 (V). A 8 foot boof that we ran in the right channel either boofing the left side or off the right wall. I have also seen in video people boof the left smaller channel just straight down. This then pinches for the exit and drops through a few holes.
Crux 2 (IV+). Run one hole and eddy out left, you can then ferry across to scout from an eddy on the right (and set safety). The line was to slide down a rock right of center. It was a bit of a hole and a bit of a pocket so safety isn’t a bad idea.
Exit (III). The exit of the walled out section was a mellow low angle slide we ran down the left.
Slide (IV to IV+). Just a hundred yards or so downriver though is a slide that fades back to the right into a good size hole. Stay left. One in our group got throttled pretty hard fading right and hitting it sideways.
Poop Break (IV). One last fun rapid, run far left and far left over two tiers of bedrock.
- A small weir that was runnable in the middle between two bad looking fans of water. This also marks the true entry into Switzerland. Below you quickly hit the lake and a short paddle out.
Directions: Use the GPS locations to get yourself to put-in and take-out… below is just the extra little info you may need
Take-out is at the top of Lago di Palagnedra. As you enter Borgnone look for the road that drops down to the tram station, continue on it to drop down to the bridge over the lake.
Put-in is further up the main road, cross the border into Italy (need your passport) and park just after you cross the river. There is a big parking lot on the right. Warning: this put in is above the double bridges, per the comment in the comment section, recommend putting in below the double bridges at this point in time.
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