This winter route follows, basically, the trail of the summer route (that I never climbed). It is considered not a difficult ascent, expecially if you get the easier alternative for climbing the last 100 meters under the summit.
The starting point of this winter route is from Campo Imperatore, at the upper cablecar station, placed at 2120 meters. In winter the road connecting the Highway exit with Campo Imperatore is closed, so that you can only reach the starting point by a cable car (operative from 08:00 till 17:00). For more detail see the "Getting there" section of the main page.
Route Description - 1st part
Campo Imperatore plateau
From Campo Imperatore go taking on your right the astronomic observatory close to the station and ascenting directly without any difficulty the SE-side of the ridge in fron of you arrive up to the Refuge Duca degli Abruzzi (2368 meters) (00:40 h). From this point you have a great view of the wonderful W-side of the Corno Grande, shared by the Campo dei Pericoli, with its "dolomitic" spurs and walls and the exciting couloirs. Campo dei Pericoli is valley encircled by other summits, such as Pizzo d’Intermesoli and Pizzo Cefalone.
Now, turning left, you have to proceed up-and-down following the upper line of the E-ridge. Overcome a minor elevation (Monte Portella, 2385 m), descent to Passo Portella (Portella Pass) at 2260 meters and continue ascenting again to 2325 meters.
Along the E-ridge
In advanced spring, the amount of snow and its quality (too heavy and wet) can slow down your steps and this stage of the ascent to Pizzo Cefalone can be tiring. Fortunately, the gratifying view to the Campo Imperatore plateau and to the farest summit of the Appennino Centrale (Monte Velino, Monte Sirente) gives you the reason to stop for a while.
Route deascription - 2nd part
At the end of the E-ridge, you arrive at the base of a couloir from which starts the alpinistic section of the climbing. (2:15-2:30 h).
Take your ropes, ice-axe and crampons and by three pitches you arrive to the summit. The first pitch is the the steepest (about 30 meters with at most 5 meters max 55°), the second runs along a snowy slope up to a rocks where you can belay (about 35 meters). From here to the summit climb turning slightly to your left and then going directly to the top (about 50 meters) (01:00 h).
As alternative, you can avoid the couloir. Before arriving to its base, you have to proceed on your left by a short traverse, turn around a rocky spur and climb directly to the summit by an easier ascent. This route is used for the descent. For the descent take in account at most 30 minutes less than the ascent: remember that the last run of the cable car is at 17:00 !!.
Crampons, ice-axe, ropes and equipment for belaying (for increasing the safety). If you are experienced and there isn't ice you can climb without belaying