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Ratings(1-5, 1=easy, 5=extreme):

Difficulty: 2 (4-5*)
Danger: 2 (4-5*)
Views: 4
Interest 3-4
Is it worth doing? Yes. Do it before it's too late
Time for the trip: Count not less than 5 hours for a roundtrip
Suitable for: Any Landrover, any driver except the optional section mentioned later
(the section marked * is only for experienced drivers with very reliable cars, a 4low position on the transfer box is mandatory= no Freelanders on that stretch, sorry)

*= optional shortcut as specified in the text

The Assietta track lies in the italian Alps near the french border. The track starts in Sestriere, an winter sports town located some 32 km from Briançon (France).

Next fuel, shopping etc right in Sestriere or in Briançon. I do not recommend looking for a campground at this altitude. Better choose one at Briançon. Possibilities for camping near the track: None- not appreciated by the landowners. Also very cold due to altitude. Large parts lie near an preservation area too. But some remote restaurants offer accomodation.

Time required: About 2-3 hours. Quite smooth dirt track with some stretches of rocks.

Directions for the "Testa dell' Assietta" and "Colle Finestre"

Click here for a larger map

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Driving through Sestriere direction Torino (north). Just after the last houses a road splits off the main road to the left, just after a left curve. (point 1)  
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After only a few hundred metres an gravel path splits off to the right, signposted "Colle Basset" on a wooden roadsign to the right. (point 2)
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On the left after an small canyon is a good place to have a rest. Later up it will be cold and windy.
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The highest point is reached here on a mountain saddle. In front is the summit station of an skilift. To the left you see an very promising track but it will be too narrow for cars after half an kilometre. Only bikes and maybe quads can continue up to the radio tower.

So you take the track to the right. (point4)

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You arrive at a signpost of Colle Basset (point 5). Signs point to the left at Marmotta (Bar & Restaurant), La Capannina (accomodation, 4-wheelers welcome), Sportinia and Sauze d'Oulx

You turn right on the main track.

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Here (#18) you can head up the mountain to the left to an spectacular view in both valleys.

You will then return here and continue straight on the main track.

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Here those 2 pictures were taken.(#17) Frive back down to #18.
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Colle Bourget, nice view down the valley.

After some kilometres...



Stay on the main track all the time to the next situation or if you are adventurous: I don't want to be more precise to protect the innocent.

If you are clever stay on the main track and drive until you reach number 22 below.

If not: Before a right curve you will notice an track splitting off steeply to the right. It can be seen climbing strongly on loose shale (eeeks!) while turning (even more eeeks!)

The track is mostly used by motorcycles and only rarely by cars. On the first hundred metres it has already the left side much lower than the right, forcing you to drive off-camber and giving you an excellent view sideways down the mountain - all the way down to the valley ground 800 metres below.

Than you have the last serious chance to turn around. An footpath comes up from the left here. Driving down this will however put your Landrover on a VERY odd angle. I don't recommend it.

Now the ascent is in front of you. To the left you can see another wider rocky trail going up but you will have trouble reaching it. The main track now climbs up in an long off-camber left turn. Once you are engaged here you will have to go up as driving down backwards is not an viable option.

You have to drive up but you will encounter some larger places. At least large enough to turn around in 5 or 6 backups. But then again you must go down this incline again...

In several places you will not see the track over your bonnet. Have your passenger go out and give you directions on where to drive. On many places the track is not larger than an Defender, making it hard for anyone to get out. Oh, yes, to the left and to the right are steep downhill slopes, in some places all the way down - about 1000 metres.

If you drive this track it must be absolutely dry. The slightest drizzle will make the stones even more slippery and, in my opinion, too dangerous to drive. The track CAN be driven the other way but it requires an very experienced driver - and maybe an spare pair of unmentionables. Remember that the error margin in some places is zero. Either you stay on the track or you tumble down the mountain.

The tracks ends or better splits after an last sharp uphill at the top station of an skilift. Turn around the giant hanging counterweight and than keep left to the most visible downhill track. Go down all the way until you come to the clearly identifiable main track.

NOT the actual track. I was too busy driving to photograph that one
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If you stayed on the main track you will now meet a track coming down the hill from the right. If you took the other route you will meet the main track coming from the left. In either case go straight on. (#22)  
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Colle Cotte Plane, Gran Bosco di Salbertand (#23). You arrive at the southern edge of an preservation area. You can turn to the left and down the valley or keep on the main track which turns right. Here you find an map with all sort of interdictions. Respect them as the local authorities seem to be quite alert.
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Monte Genevris. You can find some monuments for the soldiers who died here in the last wars.  
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Col Blegier  
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Col Lausen (#26 on the map below)  
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Casa Cantonieri dell Assietta, a small house lying near an lake to your left (#27 on the map below)  
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Testa Assietta, with an war monument near the track (#28 on the map below)
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Colle dell Assietta (#29 on the map below)
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Margheria dell Assietta, a sign points to the right where a local farmer sells cheese (point 30 on the map below). Some narrow stretches where landslides took of parts of the road.
  Now you drive down the mountain...
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...until you come to this sign. Go direction Colle delle Finestre.( point 31)
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Some kilometres on you come to this nice little roadsign on your left. Turn uphill (left) onto the road to the Colle delle Finestre or right if you want to rejoin the main road SS23 from Sestriere to Torino. (Point 32)
A bit up the way to Colle Finestre you have this nice sight back from where you came (picture right, about half way from 32 to 33 on the map)
N45.07210 E7.05321 This is the summit of the Colle Finestre and from here the road winds it's way down , number 33 on the map (picture right shortly after the summit).
N45.08011 E7.05801 Here is a nice picnic spot complete with tables etc. Much better than to do this at the windswept pass. Number 34 on the map.  
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Number 35. Here tarmac starts again but this does absolutely not mean that it's easier now. The very narrow stretch of tarmac goes down in an endless number of hairpins in dense forst. Take great care and use your horn frequently. I almost shot off an police Fiat which came around a bend at neckbreaking speed.You will arrive at Meana di Sousa.

Turn right and go down under the railway bridge. Soon after this you will arrive at the main road, the SS 25. Right is Torino and left to France and back to Sestriere.

Please tell me of any changes as the Colle Finestre is supposed to be closed soon.