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Monte Sernio and Creta Grauzaria. He and she. A beautiful pair of characters in the Central Carnic Alps. He is dominating this small group, monitoring over the broad territory around, she is a hard reachable beauty, all in fine towers and sharp ridges. Both mountains are leading a squadron of lower peaks, stretching like a tail towards the south. And a long and lonesome valley lies between the two.
The narrow group of Creta Grauzaria consists of many wild summits and towers. North of the main summit stands the famous Cima della Sfinge, 1847m. Its 650m high northern wall is one of the most picturesque features of the whole group. The summit is of Cima della Sfinge is connected with the main summit with a fine, sharp ridge. West of the big gorge, leading from the north to Portonat notch, the relatively independent Cima dai Gjai, 1916m, stands. Finally, south of the main ridge the 1930m high Cima Senza Nome stands. Actually on both sides of the steep valley, falling down towards the south from Portonat notch, a series of minor peaks stands.
Ascents on Creta Grauzaria are not easy from any side. The normal summit ascent are 200 meters of an UIAA II rock climb over the W face above Portonat notch. This nice cut in Grauzaria group can be reached either from the South or, more often, from the north. Around the narrow Grauzaria group also a round marked path Arturo Ferrucci goes, on the southern part going by Cengle dal Bec (ledge). Even if it is marked and on some places protected it is more a climbing route than a path.
Seen from the north there should be very nice opportunities for hard climbing in Creta Grauzaria walls and towers. But I have no information about the importance of the mountain in this respect. Please add information if you have it!
In the southern part of Creta Grauzaria group there's a remote area of rugged hills and deep, nice creeks cutting their way through them. There are a few villages which still until today have not the road connection to the rest of the world. Hiking through them is a nice experience.
Summit PanoramaThe panorama from Creta Grauzaria is great. But as the similar panorama was described on the page of the nearby standing Monte Sernio, I don't want to repeat the description here. Just the last sentence: "All in all, hundreds of peaks you have climbed are greeting you and hundreds of those you haven't climbed yet, are inviting you to visit them".
Getting ThereCarnic Alps page and the Southern Carnic Alps GROUP page!
As Monte Sernio, also Creta Grauzaria is a bit remote to the touristically developed world. Or may be also not so, because not so far away on the eastern side the Udine - Tarvisio highway runs. Even if also the western approaches from Incarojo valley, at the end of which Paularo lies, are not very long, the majority of visitors ascend on Creta Grauzaria from Val Aupa, lying on the eastern side of Grauzaria group. Trailheads are listed in the Routes Overview chapter.
From the south you enter Val Aupa at Moggio Udinese, lying close to the highway Udine - Tarvisio. From the north you reach Val Aupa from Pontebba (again by the highway Udine - Tarvisio), from where you drive towards south over the Sella di Cereschiatis (saddle), 1066m.
Only one not hard climbing route is ascending the summit, the easy rock climb from Portonat notch, 1860m, over the western summit rocks. UIAA II, marked, but not protected, 200m, 30min. In comparaison with Monte Sernio's normal (East) ascent, Creta Grauzaria's normal (West) ascent is about one UIAA step harder.
Portonat can be reached in 1h 30min from the north, from the Grauzaria hut by a marked path (No. 444), ascending through a steep gorge. From the parking place above Val Aupa valley you will need 2h 45min to Portonat notch.
From the south Portonat notch can be reached either from Grauzaria village, 516m, via La Forcje and the steep south valley to the notch (path No. 444), or from the remote villages Borgo di Mezzo, 832m, and Morolz, 855m, via Casera Cimadors, 1359m (path No. 418a) and further to the notch by path No. O444. In all cases you will need some 3h 30min to 4h to the notch.
The second marked path in the narrow Grauzaria group is the No. 446, which encircles the group, crossing its northern, eastern and southern slopes and then connects to the No. 444 path over Portonat notch. In the middle of this round path the Feruglio bivouac stands on 1700m. It's a long partly secured path, with some easy alpinistic passages.
Harder Climbs(Thanks to ganesh70, who added the following information)
The Grauzaria group is very popular among climbers, because there are beautiful routes that can be climbed in almost anytime of the year. Here's a list of the most famous:
> Via "Direttissima" - from the south crest of the east summit., diff. III/IV, 350 m.
> From the south-west gorge, 350 m, diff. II.
Cima Senza Nome
> From the south-west gorge of Creta Grauzaria, 200 m, diff. II.
> From north, 90 m, diff. II.
Cima della Sfinge
> Via Gilberti-Soravito, 550 m, diff. IV.
> Via Bizzarro-Simonetti, 700 m, diff. VI.
> Via "Diretta Integrale" ( Via Bulfoni + spigolo De Infanti ), 700 m, diff. VII.
On Cima della Sfinge there are also harder climbs (VII/VIII), opened by the famous climber from Tolmezzo Roberto Mazzilis.
From Portonat notch towards the North also the ski descent is described. It is steep, but not exposed. If snow is very hard much care is needed, in soft snow conditions the tour is safe from sliding down, but there are higher risks of avalanche and falling rocks.
Red TapeNo limitations.
When To Climb
Creta Grauzaria can be climbed any time of the year, but as normal ascents require rock climbing, dry seasons are most recommended. In winter and early spring also the normal ascent would require a complete winter equipment - ice pick and crampons. But on the other hand the gorge, leading from the north to Portonat notch, can be easier to ascend in spring and early summer, when filled with snow.
Mountain Huts and Camping
Rif. Grauzaria, 1250m. Stands in the valley of Rio Fontanaz, north of Creta Grauzaria. CAI sez. di Moggio Udiense, P.le G. Nais, 33015 Moggio Udinese, tel. 0433-51649. 20 beds. Tel.: 0433-51361. Access: From above Val Aupa (parking place on 727m) by path No. 437 (1h 15min).
Casera del Mestri, 1512m (in 2004 completely renewed). Stands in the valley north of Monte Sernio. Access from Paularo.
Bivacco Ferruglio, 1712m. CAI di Udine, Soc. Alpina Friulana, via B. Odorico 3, 33100 Udine, tel. 0432-504290. 9 beds, permanently opened. Access: From Rif. Grauzaria by a secured marked path "Arturo Ferrucci", No. 446 (2h).