Cima della Miniera, located within the main ridge of Ortler Alps, is a sort of sidekick of Monte Zebru and Königspitze / Gran Zebru, sitting on a southwest running minor ridge branching off the Zebru main ridge near Suldenjoch. There is Vedretta della Miniera to the southeast and Vedretta dello Zebru to the northwest.
Cima della Miniera stands high, nearly 1000 m of altitude difference, above Valle Zebru and is part of the limestone summits of Ortler Alps. The south and east faces of the summit, however, are built up by metamorphic rocks (“Veltliner Basiskristallin”) with many intrusive quartz and other dikes thus giving an interesting geological aspect to the mountain.
Well, we are mountain lovers and not all of us are geologists. Why should such a summit have any interest for us?
It is because of the route from Rifugio V Alpini to Rifugio Pizzini-Frattola or Rifugio Casati (or the other way round). Cima della Miniera and the adjacent glaciers offer an interesting traverse from one of these huts to the other. Cima dell Miniera is the highest point of this route. And the route itself is a not too long but spectacular outing with great views, some rock scrambling and some glacier walks and dramatic changing landscapes.
Trailheads for Cima della Miniera are:
The valley trailhead for Rifugio V Alpini is Niblogo parking area at the village of San Nicolo / Valfurva.
Leave Bormio in the direction to Gavia pass / Santa Catarina di Valfurva. At San Nicolo follow the signposts for “Rifugio V Alpini”.
Follow the Valle Zebru forest road starting at the parking area, passing by Rifugio Campo until you arrive at Baita del Pastore. Follow then the left hand supply road up the south slopes until you arrive at Rifugio V Alpini (about 4 hours).
The valley trailhead for Rifugio Pizzini-Frattola is Forni parking area above Santa Catarina di Valfurva.
Take the Forni road (signposts) at Santa Catarina up to the parking area.
Follow then the left hand supply road up to Rifugio Pizzini-Frattola.
The valley trailhead for Rifugio Casati is Sulden/Solda or Forni parking area.
Sulden: Park at Sulden Cableway valley station. Follow the supply road to Schaubachhütte and the trail / snow/glacier track up to Eisseepaß. South of this col enter the Langerferner / Vedretta Lunga and ascend to the already visible Casati hut.
Forni: Take the Forni road (signposts) at Santa Catarina up to the parking area.
Follow then the left hand supply road up to Rifugio Pizzini-Frattola. From there follow the supply road to the Rifugio Casati supply cablecar. Take the trail starting at the cablecar which zigzags up the steep west slope to Casati hut.
Yor reach Sulden or Bormio / Santa Catarina di Valfurva as described on the Ortler Hauptkamm SP page.
Ascent from Rifugio V Alpini
Take the trail north of the hut and ascend to a kind of col roughly 100 m above the hut. There is a trail junction with marks on a rock: take the right hand trail which follows east a sort of rock ridge between the Vedretta dello Zebru to the north and the huge cirque with the hut to the south.
The ridge ends at a level part where you easily can enter the glacier. The former Zebru glacier with its two feeding basins north of Monte Zebru and west of Cima della Miniera is now separated in two different glaciers: one coming down from Monte Zebru and the other west of Cima della Miniera.
Asend this glacier part and navigate around some crevasse zones by traversing the glacier first in north-northeastern direction (direction to Monte Zebru south face) and then above the crevasse zones in southern direction to a broad col west of Cima della Miniera and east of a secondary unnamed peak (3274 m) within the west ridge of Cima della Miniera.
Turn left there and follow the steep foot tracks up the west ridge, navigating around a first gendarme on the ridge on its left side. The track ends at the summit block. There are fixed ropes helping you up the steep, exposed but firm and good rocks (UIAA grade I / II-, about 30 m of altitude difference) to the summit plateau. A foot track brings you up to the summit.
Ascent from Rifugion Pizzini-Frattola or from Rifugio Casati
North of Rifugio Pizzini-Frattola a small marked and cairned trail starts ascending the slopes up to Ghiacciaio dello Gran Zebru. Stay left of the huge rock outcrop, which divides the glacier into two parts.
The marks and cairns disappear within the moraine zone but you will find some foot tracks bringing you up to the glacier, left of the rock outcrop. Ascend the glacier on its right side (due to crevasses) until you are level with the rock outcrop. Turn left there and ascend steadily to the visible broad glacier col of Col Pale Rosse.
On these upper glacier slopes the Pizzini route unites with the route coming from Casati hut.
Leave Casati hut to the south until you hit the marked trail coming up from Pizzini hut. Descend (!) this trail in zigzags down to about 3100 m. There is a trail junction with a mark for “Gran Zebru”. Take this unmarked, scarcely cairned narrow trail in northern and then northwestern and western direction traversing the south and southwest slopes of Suldenspitze, Schrötterhorn and Kreilspitze until you reach the eastern part of Ghiacciaio del Gran Zebru. Ascend the glacier to a col above the glacier dividing rock outcrop and traverse to the Col Pale Rosse.
Both routes reach Col Pale Rosse where Vedretta del Gran Zebru meets Vedretta della Miniera. Descend the western slope of Col Pale Rosse and traverse Vedretta della Miniera to its western rim and to the southeast slope of Cima della Miniera.
There are two cols between Cima della Miniera and Königsspitze / Gran Zebru, separated by a rock outcrop. Below the southern col is located an uninviting looking rockface. Left (south) of this rockface there is a steep rock and scree slope. This is the ascent route from the glacier to Cima della Miniera.
Aim to the right hand lower end of this slope, you soon will recognize some foot tracks and cairns. Ascend the slope and traverse it low to the south until you reach fixed ropes (attention! extreme danger of rockfall in this section!). Follow the fixed ropes first up in southern direction, then directly up over some rock steps, then steeply up in northern direction. The ropes end, the trails winds itself up until it reaches the southern of the two cols. The now broad foot track follow the northeast ridge up to Cima della Miniera.
Red Tape & Accommodation
The mountain is part of the Italian National Park “Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio”.
There is no entrance fee but the park as a whole with its fauna, flora, rocks and waters is strictly protected.
Overnight stays are only allowed in huts, bivvy shelters or in tents in the immediate vicinity of the huts / shelters.
Please respect any rules indicated on information panels at the boundaries or inside the park. There are many rare plants and animals within its boundaries.
Accommodation / Mountain Huts
Gear & Mountain Condition
Cima della Miniera is a summer summit; there is no ski route up this mountain.
You normally climb this summit during the traverse from Rifugio V Alpini to the Casati or Pizzini-Frattola huts (or vice versa).
This traverse is a mixed glacier and rock outing which requires rope, harness, crampons, ice-axe and – for the rock parts – a helmet. The glaciers are not difficult but crevassed. The difficult rock sections are secured with fixed ropes which were – in august 2015 – in a good condition.
The rock part Cima della Miniera to Ghiacciaio della Miniera is exposed to rockfall!
The traverse is not recommended with fog, wet or icy weather.
MapThe best map of the region and for the traverse is:
Tabacco map, number 08 Ortlergebiet
Bormio - Stilfser Joch - Trafoi - Gomagoi -Sulden - Martelltal - Peio - Gaviapass - S.Caterina Valfurva – Martelltal, with UTM-grid, trails, ski routes and MTB-routes
scale 1 : 25.000, edition 2014
The german guide book of the Ortler Alps, Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, is out of stock and due to the snow and glacier retreat in some parts incorrect for the route.