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Roccia Viva

Roccia Viva

Roccia Viva

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Aosta Valley, Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.51904°N / 7.33016°E

Object Title: Roccia Viva

Activities: Mountaineering

Elevation: 11975 ft / 3650 m


Page By: Antonio Giani

Created/Edited: May 6, 2004 / Nov 17, 2014

Object ID: 152589

Hits: 11685 

Page Score: 92.32%  - 38 Votes 

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- Roccia Viva - 3.650 m -

Roccia Viva 3650m, gorgeous and mighty mountain in the Gran Paradiso Massif, is probably the only mountain that have a small lake on its summit, inside the edge of its snowy cap! The W-NW wall of the Roccia Viva is easily distinguishable from Valnontey by its frozen and dizzy northern wall with a huge hanging serac. On the other hand, it is not equally recognizable looking at it upwards, since its big ridges mingle in a shapeless heap of rocks and ice; only if one looks from a point just in front of it, its triangular form stands out, being included between the NW edge and the WNW big ridge. In the middle of the wall, on the left of a little but marked snowy conoid, a third large ridge, twin of the WNW large ridge, rises parallel, bending towards left on high. Another less important ridge descends towards South on the Roccia Viva Glacier in the Piantonetto Valley, accessible from Noaschetta Valley through the Colle della Losa; both Piantonetto and Noaschetta Valleys can be reached from Piemonte (Piedmont). Roccia Viva is part of a big ridge: it is strictly joined with Becco della Pazienza and is delimited by Colle Baretti (west) and Colle della Pazienza (east). Between Roccia Viva and Becco della Pazienza there are the two summits named Gemelli della Roccia Viva (Roccia Viva Twins): Gemello Occidentale (3.618m) and the Gemello Orientale (3.610m).

First Ascents

  • First on the summit: A. E. Martelli, J. J. Maquignaz and S. Meynet, (Jul 05th, 1874).
  • In winter: Don P. Solero L. Saletti and P. Piccio, (Feb 09th, 1939).
  • S Wall: J. P. Baker, U. Almer and J. Jossi, (Aug 10th, 1881).
  • W-NW Arête: Miss H. Kunze, Mr. Barthelett and P. Dayné, (Jul 1905).
  • N-NW Edge: S. L. Courtauld, E. G. Oliver, Adolf and Alfred Aufdenblatten, (Sep 01th, 1921).
  • N-W Wall: E. Danesi and E. K. Esslinger, (Aug 03th, 1926).
  • W-NW Couloir: L. Ambrogi, F. Canzanella, P. Monaco and A. Spera, (Aug 02th, 1954).
  • W-NW Eperon: O. Cardellina, S. Spinaci and G. Trevisan, (Jul 21th, 1968).
  • N Wall (super direct): Carlo Pedenovi and Vincenzo Perruchon, (Jul 26th, 1971).
  • N Wall (direct): Giuseppe Delmastro and Carlo Pol, (Aug 23th, 1940).

Getting There

  • Coming from France through the Mont Blanc tunnel or the Col du Petit St. Bernard-use the autoroute till Aosta Ovest or the road SS n° 26 till the junction near Sarre.
  • Coming from Italy - use the autoroute till Aosta Ovest. Then, after Aymavilles enter in the valley southward and after Vieyes, Epinel and Cretaz Villages in 25 km you get Cogne (1.534m).
  • From Cogne, by bus or by car, till to Valnontey (1.666m)
  • Aeroporto Internazionale "Corrado Gex" Saint Christophe (Aosta).
Approach to southern valleys (Piantonetto and Noaschetta)
  • coming from Torino - autoroute to Aosta - till to S. Giorgio Canavese or take the road SS n°460 to Ceresole Reale.
    When you arrive at Rosone Village (16 km to Pont Canavese) take a little road on the right, see the sign "Piantonetto Valley". Go as far as the end of the carriage road at Teleccio Lake (1.870m), and park your car.

Roccia Viva <i>(3650m)</i> and Becca di Gay <i>(3621m)</i>
Roccia Viva 3.650m, Becca di Gay 3621m and Testa di Gran Croux 3.437m


From Valnontey (1.666m) follow the path till to the fork at (2.040m) (1h'15/2h'00): give up the right branch leading to all the other bivouacs of the area, turn left instead and follow the signs till to the Bivouac A. Martinotti (2.588m), not visible during the ascent (2h'30/3h'00). From the bivouac descend briefly and climb again along the moraine and the northern limit of the Roccia Viva Hanging Glacier, then turn South gradually to pass on a rocky islet and a serac near an evident snowy conoid at the foot of a wide gorge (1h'15/2h'00).

Roccia Viva
Route followed by O. Cardellina, S. Spinaci and G. Trevisan (21-07-1968)


Get over the crevasse on the left (upward) against the rocks and, after have climbed 100 meters along the split between the rocks and the ice, turn resolutely on the large ridge rising in the centre of the wall; in the beginning the form of the ridge is stocky, then becomes progressively thinner. Climb for other 300 meters along stepped grey rocks.
Afterwards, when the ridge become bent to left with the further insertion of two lateral secondary ridges, the rock changes its form and colour, becoming remarkably better. Through red slabs (II sup., III inf.) overcome keeps and vertical walls along approx. 100 meters till to reach the SW crest, through a detritic ground, just at the summit where, in a small basin, there was a characteristic small lake (5h'00/7h'00 from the beginning).
Descend: along the WNW large ridge, going down more southerly.


The route is classified AD.


Mountaineering equipment, including rope, ice axe, and crampons.


From Cogne:

  • Bivacco Alessandro Martinotti (2.588m).
  • Bivacco Stefano Borghi (2.686m).


  • Wild camping in the Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso is strictly forbidden!!!
    There are three camping sites very near to Valnontey village.
    The most appropriate support point is the Martinotti and Borghi bivouac.

Mountain Condition

  • Meteo: you can find all the needed informations at the official site of the Valle d'Aosta Region:
    Valle d'Aosta Meteo


  • WEBCAM on Aosta Valley:

Books and Maps

  • "Guida delle Alpi Occidentali" di Giovanni Bobba e Luigi Vaccarone C.A.I. Sezione di Torino Volume II (parte II), 25 Maggio 1896.
  • "Guida dei Monti d'Italia-Gran Paradiso Parco Nazionale" E. Andreis, R. Chabod, M. C. Santis, Club Alpino Italiano/Touring Club Italiano, prima Ed. 1939; seconda Ed. 1963; terza Ed.
  • G. Berutto "Il Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso" III°, volume 2° Ed. I.G.C. Torino 1981, 2000.
  • "Diari Alpinistici" di Osvaldo Cardellina e Indice Generale accompagnato da Schedario Relazioni Ascensioni 1964-2014 (inediti).
  • "80 itinerari di Escursionismo Alpinismo e Sci Alpinismo in Valle d'Aosta", di Osvaldo Cardellina, Ed. Musumeci, Giugno 1977 (in Italian); seconda Ed. Luglio 1981; terza Ed. Luglio 1984; (in French), prima Ed. Febbraio 1978; seconda Ed. Marzo 1980.
  • A. Gegenfurtner, G. Klotz, F. Müller "Gran Paradiso", Ed. Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, Monaco 1980 (in tedesco).
  • G. Klotz "Gran Paradiso" Ed. Bergverlag GmbH Rother, Monaco 2005 (in tedesco).
  • Kompass "Gran Paradiso Valle d'Aosta" Sentieri e Rifugi Carta turistica 1:50.000.
  • I.G.C. Istituto Geografico Centrale "Gran Paradiso La Grivola" Carta 1:25.000.
  • L'Escursionista "Valle di Cogne Carta dei Sentieri" (n°10) 1:25.000.
  • L'Escursionista "Tour de la Vallée de Cogne Grand Paradis" Carta dei sentieri 1:25.000.
  • I.G.C. Istituto Geografico Centrale "Il Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso" 1:50.000.
  • I.G.M. Istituto Geografico Militare Foglio 41 I SO Gran Paradiso - I NE Cogne 1:25.000.
  • A.I.A.T. Cogne Gran Paradiso "Gran Paradiso Cogne Aymavilles" Walking map 1:25.000.
  • Enrico Editore Ivrea "Gruppo del Gran Paradiso" 1:50.000.
  • Studio F.M.B. Bologna "Gran Paradiso" 1:50.000.

Red Tape

Inside the borders of the P.N.G.P. (Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso), at the moment (summer 2004) dogs generally are not allowed, except a pair of paths, and free camping is forbidden (except for climbers from sunset till dawn). No fees are due.

Important Information

Useful numbers

  • Soccorso Alpino Cogne (SAR) Tel. 3482685406.
  • Protezione Civile Valdostana località Aeroporto 7/A Saint Christophe (Ao) Tel. 0165-238222.
  • Bollettino Meteo (weather info) Tel. 0165-44113.
  • Unità Operativa di Soccorso Sanitario Tel. 118.


I want to thanks the friends who helped me to prepare the page.