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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

Created/Edited: Nov 16, 2003 / Aug 16, 2015

Object ID: 152071

Hits: 18787 

Page Score: 90.8%  - 33 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.

Data from few years ago were showing, that Adamello and Cima Presanella were both of the same heigth, 3558m. The 1997 edition of Berge magazin says this number for Presanella, but only 3539m for Adamello. Whatever the truth is, Cima Presanella is the highest mountain in this beautiful group - the southernmost group of Eastern Alps, which is still covered with substantial glaciers.

Also its appearance is fascinating. The 650 meters high north face is all in ice and snow, it has also a hangglacier. Even the easyest ice route over it is 55 degrees steep. Eastern face is rocky, looking wild and also high about 500 meters. No easy route goes over it. Towards south more gentle slopes are covered with snow and in the valley also the Nambrone glacier lies. Towards west a crest goes to Cima di Vermiglio and further to the Adamello group.

By normal, south route, Presanella is easily ascended. But the heigth difference is enormous - more than 2600 meters. There are two other routes which can be considered also as normal: From north there is a glacier crossing (crevasses) and by the south-east ridge there is a notch, which requires some easy rock climbing.

Over south slopes and the north approach also ski tours are done.

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

The whole group, together with the across Sarca valley lying Brenta group was end of sixties declared as the natural parc.

When To Climb

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


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, 2298m. From Val di Sole (1234 m), 3 km from Pizzano, you reach the hut in 2.5 to 3 hours. The hut lies on a beautiful place under the north wall of Presanella. It is opened from mid June to mid September and has 54 beds and opened winter room. Tel.: 0463/758187. There is also a road that brings you to Fortino of Pozzi Alti (1880m) but it isn't a good road for big cars.

Eastern side.

Rif Segantini, 2371m. From Malga Vallina d'Amola accessible in 1h, and from Rif. Cornisello (Val Nambrone road end point) over Bocchetta dell Uomo (pass) in 1h 30min. A wonderful position NE of Presanella, with excellent view on Brenta group, lying across the Sarca valley. It is opened from mid June to mid September and has 54 beds and opened winter room with 8 places. Tel.: 0465/507357.

Rif Cornisello, 2120m. 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. It is opened from mid June to mid September and has 16 beds. Tel.: 0465/57150.

Southern side.

Biv. Roberti alla Presanella, 2204m. From Val Genova (around 900m), trailhead is a few hundred meters east of Nardis waterfalls. A very useful bivouac south of Presanella in Val di Nardis. It has 11 places.

Just below the summit of Presanella.

Biv. Orobica, 3520m. A small stone shelter for emergency cases, 6 places. Claude Mauguier gives this information about the bivouac:
Just a short history notice. This little hut (room for 4) was a former austrian artillery observatory built during WW1, 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.

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