Overview“Attenti alle Clessidre” in italian means “Whatch out to to the tunnels”, with reference to the several tunnels and hourglass shapes in the rock, that you can see and use for protection climbing this beautiful route.
“Attenti alle Clessidre” climbs up Prima Spalla (2580m), the highest of the three shoulders of Corno Piccolo west ridge, on wonderful smooth slabs of excellent limestone rock.
It was first climbed by Fabrizio Antonioli, Francesca Colasanti and Dario Mantoan in 1982, and in few years it has become a classical route: the reason of this success lies in its relative ease, in a not so long approach, and in the beauty of the climb in a so scenic location.
Difficulty: III-IV with some passages of IV+ UIAA
Lenght: 250m (200m of elevation gain)
Rock quality: the best rock you can find (limestone); some gravels on the terraces
Best season to climb: since early june to late september
When the chairlift is closed, from Prati di Tivo main square you can drive until Sella di Cima Alta, following a route on the left (3,5Km from the square): from there (1650m), walk the trail rising up the wide and scenic Arapietra ridge, until you reach the chairlift arrival (about 1h)
“Attenti alle Clessidre” climbs a face of smooth slabs, without cracks, chimneys, dyhedral or other elements which can help you to find the exact route: in fact, being the difficulties of this part of the north-east face always between III and V UIAA, are possible several variations. So, it’s very hard to follow a precise route and every climber, usually, climbs on a own line, also thanks to the many opportunities of make a belay using the several tunnels that you meet along the route...
Anyhow, I relate the report of the first climbers.
Belays are all equipped with cords passed in one or more tunnels, in one case also with a piton. Consider the possible need of integrate the belay with further gears.
Pitch 1: enter in the couloir and climb it until you meet a ledge wich leads on the right, to a belay on two tunnels, under the big slabs (50m, I/II)
Pitch 2: climb up the slab, a little on the right (tunnel for protection), until you reach the belay (45m, III+)
Pitch 3: continue climbing 10m until you reach a ledge with a tunnel; from the ledge, continue up, then bear slightly on the right, later on the left, pointing to the center of the slab, until you reach a belay with a tunnel (30m, IV)
Pitch 4: from there, move 2m on your left, then climb up the slabs until a ledge (40m, IV)
Pitch 5:x rise up the slab on the left of the belay, then bearing a little on the right (IV+, tunnels); proceed directly above until the rock become less steep (40m, IV, belay on tunnel)
Pitch 6: from there, rising up easy slabs, you reach the ridge of Prima Spalla (50m, I/II)
There are many possibility to descend from Prima Spalla:
- by Corno Piccolo normal route from south: it’s a trail for expert hikers, with some short passages of I/II UIAA; it’s the easiest route to descend from Prima Spalla. It starts at few minutes of walk from the exit of “Via delle Clessidre” and leads to Vallone dei Ginepri, on Corno Piccolo south side (about 40min). From there, in about 1h 30 min you can reach Sella dei Due Corni, Franchetti Hut and the chairlift station (about 2h 15min from Prima Spalla summit)
- by Via Ferrata Danesi, reaching the near Corno Piccolo summit: it’s a medium difficult Via Ferrata, with some stretches not equipped and passages of climbing of I-II UIAA. The Via Ferrata leads, in about 40min, to Vallone dei Ginepri, few meters above the exit of normal route from south. From there, to reach the chairlift arrival are needed about 1h 30min (from the summit of Prima Spalla about 2h 30min).
- abseiling on the north east face: from the summit ridge of Prima Spalla, walk towards the Corno Piccolo summit, until you find on the left side (north) of the ridge the anchor (bolts with chains) of the first abseil. The rappels are 5: 3 on anchors made with bolts and chain, the last 2 with cords passed through big tunnels. For the rappels are needed two ropes of 60m. The anchors aren’t perfectly lined up but slightly right-trending (looking the face). At the end of the abseil (the last can be avoid walking down) you are at the base of Sivitilli couloir, near the starting point of “Attenti alle Clessidre”: from there to the chairlift station are needed about 1h 15min
- by Corno Piccolo north side normal route: this route follows an easy couloir (I/II UIAA) placed immediately on east of Canalone Sivitilli; it leads to Sentiero Ventricini, on the approach trail to “Attenti alle Clessidre”. It’s not so easy to find the start of the couloir from the top...
- Some narrow slings (dyneema is better) and cords for the several tunnels;
- some friends medium-small size;
- some pitons;
- nuts are not much useful;
- two 60m ropes are advised
Guide, maps, external linksBest guides:
L. Grazzini, P. Abbate, “Gran Sasso d’Italia”, Cai-Tci, 1992
S. Ardito, “A piedi sul Gran Sasso”, Iter, 1992
S. Ardito, “A Piedi in Abruzzo” vol. 1, Iter, 1996
A. Alesi, M. Calibani, A. Palermi, “Gran Sasso – Le più belle escursioni”, SER, 1996
“Gran Sasso d’Italia. La carta dei sentieri”, edited by Cai-L’Aquila (scale 1:25.000)
Meteo bulletin Meteomont: Abruzian Apennines
Corno Piccolo north side from Prati di Tivo (on the right, Prima Spalla NE face)