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Cima Presanella

Cima Presanella

Cima Presanella

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Adamello-Presanella group, Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 46.21950°N / 10.66420°E

Object Title: Cima Presanella

Activities: Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Ice Climbing, Skiing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Elevation: 11673 ft / 3558 m


Page By: Vid Pogachnik, alpinbeta

Created/Edited: Nov 16, 2003 / Jan 16, 2016

Object ID: 152071

Hits: 20208 

Page Score: 91.44%  - 35 Votes 

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What's New On This Page?

December 8th, 2004 - Info about Biv. Orobica incorporated (given by Claude M.).
December 7th, 2004 - A section for old black-white pictures created.


Cima Presanella group from the north.

Cima Presanella 3558 m. is the highest peak in Trentino and also within the mountain group to which it belongs, the Adamello-Presanella, the southernmost group of Eastern Alps, which some regard as a single massif in reason of the common geological history. Actually we speak about two clearly distinct mountain ranges from the orographic point of view and also morphologically: the Adamello massif presents a more gentle relief with wide glaciers, that make it particularly suitable for the practice of ski-mountaineering, while the Presanella is more rough and rocky, with smaller glaciers and towering cliffs.
Also its appearance is fascinating. The peak is a pyramid showing three sides, amongst which the icy Northern side is facing the Val Stavel. It is of singular majesty, creating a spectacular 550 meters high North wall all in ice and snow, with also a hangglacier. On this beautiful wall it takes place the finest classic route of medium engagement of the entire mountain, about 55 degrees steep, just in the middle of the Northern triangular slope (Route Grandi-Crugnola). The triangular rocky wall facing East towards Val d'Amola is majestic as well, looking wild and also high about 500 meters. There are no easy routes running on this wall. The third side of the pyramid is facing South and shows more gentle slopes partially covered with glaciers slanting down to the Val di Genova, Val di Nardis and Val Nambrone. From the summit a crest facing West heads to Cima di Vermiglio and further to the Adamello group.
There are three Normal routes to climb the summit of Cima Presanella: one is starting from the side facing Val di Sole, the other two ones from the sides overlooking Val Nambrone and Val Genova. The Val di Genova route is very long, with a great difference in level (more than 2600 meters). Obviously this itinerary is low frequented and the most popular routes are the East-South-East route (from Val Nambrone) and the West slope (from Val di Sole), who have both the advantage of being supported by two shelters, respectively Refuge Segantini and Refuge Denza. All the routes are addressed to experienced mountaineers and need high mountain equipment, while the Val di Sole route involves also a full glacier-gear. The Normal routes are suitable also for ski-mountaineering tours.
Except for the Normal routes and the classic North route, that are really very popular, Presanella is a mountain little frequented, still preserving very wild spots.

The first recorded ascent was done on August 25th, 1864 by Douglas W. Freshfield with guides. Three weeks later, on September 17th, Julius Payer, the famous Austrian explorer of Adamello-Presanella group and Ortler group reached the summit.

Views From Distance

Cima Presanella massif from the East. Photo credit to Andrea Toffaletti.

Summit Views

Click to run this one online

A Short Alpine History

Presanella 3558 m
dabri - In the north wall

1864. First recorded ascent: D. W. Freshfield with H. A. Beachcroft, H. Walker and two guides.
1864. Second ascent: Julius Payer.
1906. First ascent over the north face: P. Arici, U. Croux and E. Brocherel.
1908. North wall pillar: G. Jahn and V. Sohm.
1937: North wall (55 degrees): R. Maculotti and G. Faustinelli.
1949: East wall first ascent (UIAA V.): B. Detassis, C. Detassis, G. Alimonta, S. Serafini and N. Vidi.
1972: North wall ski descent: H. Holzer.

Getting There

Northern approach starts in Val di Sole, on the road, which over Passo Tonale (1883m) connects the Adige valley and the Oglio valley. From there, you ascend Rif. Stavel under the north face of Presanella, go over the glacier moraine to Vedretta Presanella (glacier) and up to Sella Freshfield (Pass). Gabriele: "Due to glaciers melting, at Sella di Freshfield abseil is needed - loosy channel!" After a short descent to the upper Nardis glacier, cross to SW ridge of Presanella and climb over easy rocks to the summit. Time: 4–5h from the hut. Below the Freshfield saddle danger of crevasses. In August 2015 Ciamorcez is adding the information that since 2009 the passage on Sella Freshfield is secured by a fixed rope. So, climbing is not needed any more.

Southern and eastern approach both start in Pinzolo, which is in the Sarca valley and can be reached either from Trento or from Val di Sole over the Campo Carlo Magno pass (1682m).

Cima Presanella group from the east

East approach. It starts at Rif. Segantini, 2371m. Drive a few kilometers from Pinzolo north (towards Madonna di Campiglio) and turn left (westwards), taking a narrow road towards Laghi di Cornisello. If you drive till its end (to the hut), you gain more altitude, but the approach path is longer, if you leave car in the valley below the hut, you have only a short ascent. From the Segantini hut the ascent goes on Presanella SE ridge and by it to the summit, 4-5h. The other, longer possibility is from the hut to Passo Quatro Cantoni, over it to Val Nardis and from here to the SE ridge and the summit (5h).

South approach. In Pinzolo turn westwards, in Val Genova, and drive to Nardis waterfalls. From here through Nardis valley to the bivouac, then to Nardis glacier moraine and over south slopes to the summit. Time is hard to say, but the heigth difference - more than 2600 meters tells everything.


Parco Naturale Adamello-Brenta Nr.1 1:35000.
Tabacco 1:50000 Nr.10 Brenta-Adamello-Presanella.

Red Tape

Logo of Parco Naturale Adamello - Brenta

The whole group is situated within Adamello-Brenta Natural Park, the largest protected area in Trentino, established in the year 1967. It's located in Western Trentino and with its 620.51 square kilometers includes the mountain groups of Adamello-Presanella and Brenta Dolomites, separated by Val Rendena. The valleys of the park are fourteen, each offering a unique landscape: Val di Fumo, Val Breguzzo, Valbona, Val San Valentino, Valle di Borzago, Val di Genova, Val Nambrone, Val Meledrio, Val d'Agola, Val Brenta, Val d'Algone, Val d'Ambiez, Val delle Seghe, Val Tovel. Moreover on 26 June 2008 Adamello Brenta Natural Park was recognized as Adamello Brenta Geopark, becoming part of the European Network and Global Geoparks.
The Adamello Brenta Geopark covers the entire surface of the Adamello-Brenta and the municipalities pertaining to it, going to cover an area of 1146kmq.

When To Climb

The best time is June to September, for skiing March to May (and for skiing in Val Genova even much before).

Camping, huts and bivouacs

Pinzolo, Madonna di Campiglio and resorts in Val di Sole are turistically very developed. But for direct ascent on Presanella they are too remote. Around the mountain there are several huts and bivouacs, which enable a comfort ascent throughout the whole year:

Northern side

- Rif. Stavel Denza 2298 m.

Refuge Denza
Rifugio Stavel-Denza 2298 m

Situation: North Presanella
Open: 20 of June - 20 of September
Size: 78 pers.
Winter shelter: yes
Owner: S.A.T. (Società Alpinisti Tridentini)
Guardian: Mirco Dezulian
Hut's phone : 0039-0463-758187
Hut's reservation phone : 0039-0463-758585 Mobile 3396233902
Getting There: from Val di Sole and Forte dei Pozzi Alti (1,30 hours from Forte dei Pozzi Alti)

From Val di Sole 3 km from Pizzano, you reach the hut in 2.5 to 3 hours. The hut lies on a beautiful place under the majestic North wall of Presanella. There is a road that brings you to the former Forte dei Pozzi Alti (1880m), from which the approach is about 1,30 h., but it isn't a good road for big cars.

- Bivacco Jack Canali 2480 m.

Situation: North Presanella, Val di Bon
Open: always
Size: 9 pers.
Owner: C.A.I. Sez. Canzo
Getting There: from Ossana (Val di Sole) by car to Val Piana m. 1200. By walking to Lago Venezia and then to the bivouac (4 hours, difference in level 1280 m)

Southern side

- Rif Segantini 2371 m.

Rifugio Segantini
Rifugio Segantini 2371 m

Situation: Val d'Amola
Open: 20 of June - 20 of September
Size: 54 pers.
Winter shelter: yes
Owner: S.A.T. (Società Alpinisti Tridentini)
Guardian: G.A. Egidio Bonapace
Hut's phone : 0039-0465-507357
Hut's reservation phone : 0039-465-440539 Mobile +39 336 683500
Getting There: from Val Nambrone and Malga Vallina d'Amola m. 2020 (1 hour)

From Malga Vallina d'Amola it's accessible in about 1h, and from Rif. Cornisello (Val Nambrone road end point) across Bocchetta dell'Uomo (pass) in 1h 30min. A wonderful position with excellent view on Brenta group, lying across the Sarca valley.

- Rif Cornisello 2120 m.

Situation: upper Val Nambrone
Open: 20 of June - 20 of September
Size: 10 pers.
Guardian: Donatella Salvaterra - Ferruccio Bonapace
Hut's phone : 0039-0465-507150
Hut's reservation phone : 0039-0465-502048 Mobile 00393335961912
Getting There: from Val Nambrone by car

Can be reached by car by Val Nambrone road. A wonderful position near several small lakes, east of Presanella, with excellent view on Brenta group, lying across the Sarca valley.

- Bivacco Presanella - Vittorio Roberti 2205 m.

bivouac V.Roberti.
Bivacco Roberti 2205 m

Situation: South Presanella, Val Nardis
Open: always
Size: 12 pers.
Owner: S.A.T. (Società Alpinisti Tridentini)
Getting There: from Val di Genova m. 919 (parking lot before Nardis waterfall) path n. 210 (3,45 hours)

Biv. Roberti alla Presanella, 2204m. From Val Genova the trailhead is a few hundred meters East of Nardis waterfalls. A very useful bivouac on the South side of Presanella in Val di Nardis.

- Bivacco Brigata Orobica 3382 m.

morning at Bivacco Orobica
Bivacco Orobica 3520 m

Situation: Presanella Bassa, along Presanella Normal route from Segantini
Open: always, emergency shelter
Size: 6 pers.
Owner: S.A.T. (Società Alpinisti Tridentini) sez. Pinzolo
Getting There: from Rif. Segantini along Presanella Normal route (4 hours)

Just below the summit of Presanella on Presanella Bassa is located Bivacco Orobica 3382 m., a small stone emergency shelter. Claude Mauguier gives this information about the bivouac:
Just a short history notice. This little hut was a former Austrian artillery observatory built during WWI, which was able to give information to second line gun positions spread along the southern buttresses forming the right bank of Nardis glacier. One could find again in 1979 such settlements, with unexploded shells still on the spot, while the guns were destroyed just before nov. 1918 retreat. By the way, here is a red tape : never try to touch or remove ammunitions of any kind, for they are still active 90 years after. In 1989, I saw a 149 mm unexploded shell gently "traveling" upon the surface of Lares glacier (Pozzoni area) : it had been probably fired by the Cresta Croce italian heavy artillery position, where the gun may still be seen.


Presanella - Dante Ongari coll.Guide dei Monti d'Italia

Map: KOMPASS n. 639 "Presanella" 1:25.000

Meteo Forecast


External Links

  • Ice Climbing in Val di Sole
    Pages with beatiful Pictures and 10 ice-climbs up to Presanella
  • Three routes to the top of Cima Presanella (italian)
    Description of three ascent routes to Cima Presanella. The Page is in italian but contains pictures of the routes as well as further beautiful pictures

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-4 of 4    
Gabriele RothIce melting problem

Gabriele Roth

Voted 10/10

Normal route

at the Sella di Freshfield : abseil needed - loosy channel !
Posted Aug 7, 2008 10:29 am
Vid PogachnikRe: Ice melting problem

Vid Pogachnik

Hasn't voted

Thanks gab, I added your warning on the main page.

Posted Aug 7, 2008 4:36 pm
CiamorcezSella Freshfield

Hasn't voted

Since 2009 there is a fix rope on Sella Freshfield so you don't need to abseil. You don't have to climb
Posted Aug 7, 2015 2:47 pm
Vid PogachnikRe: Sella Freshfield

Vid Pogachnik

Hasn't voted

Hi Ciamorcez!

First, welcome to SummitPost!

Thanks for your valuable information! I added it on the main page.

It would be great if you simply contributed a route description.


Posted Aug 9, 2015 2:14 pm

Viewing: 1-4 of 4    


Presanella 3558 mfrom left: cima Presanella,...Adamello Group SunriseDescent from Cima PresanellaVal di Nardis from Laghi di...Cima Presanella seen from...Cima Presanella Northface
Cima Presanella (3558m), Cima...Sunset From Cima PresanellaPresanella - from rifugio...Cima PresanellaStarting the Presanella tour...Presanella summit ridgemorning at Bivacco Orobica
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