The easiest route to Monte del Forno summit is the south ridge, a ridge, which connects Monte del Forno in the north with Monte Rosso in the south via Sella del Forno, a high notch between Val Forno in Switzerland and Val Malenco in Italy. The swiss - italian border runs over this ridge.
The route is freshly marked and secured by fixed chains and ropes.
I recommend this route for end of june and through july. There will be enough snow to cover the scree and talus fields, facilitating the ascent / descent.
The route starts at the Capanna del Forno, a mountain hut of the Rorschach section of the swiss alpine club.
Capanna del Forno can be reached from:
At the Capanna del Forno follow the white - red - white marked trail to the east. The trail ascends up to the cirque below Sella del Forno. After about five minutes another trail branches off to the left; there is a sign "Maloja".
This marked route traverses the western slopes of Monte del Forno and Pizzi dei Rossi and descends at the end of the Pizzi dei Rossi ridge steeply down to Val Muretto. This trail can be used as a descend route to Maloja.
The Monte del Forno south route continues up the slopes to the soon visible Sella del Forno (2768 m). This is a snow or scree / talus ascent.
At the Sella the south ridge to Monte del Forno starts. There is a sign "Muretto" to the left. Follow this sign and the marks up a steep rock part. This easy rock scramble leads up to the scree / talus or snow slopes below the summit block of Monte del Forno. Keep closely to the ridge crest if there is no snow left. If there are good snow conditions follow the snow fields up to a high ridge shoulder above point 2944 m of the swiss topo map "Sciora".
At this shoulder there is a trail junction. "Muretto" again means the route to Passo del Muretto (see recommendation section below); "Forno" means the continuing route.
Depending again on the amount of snow left follow the ridge crest or the snow slope up to the summit block.
There is a rock chimney left of the now steep south arete. Pass below this chimney to the left and go straight up to the beginning of a small white ledge, which traverses the lower and steep rock parts of the summit block from left to right.
This ledge is called "quartz ledge" in the guide books. Geologically correct it is not a quartz ledge but an aplitic dike which means a dike, filled with a rock rich with white minerals (fieldspars). Those white dikes are very common in the dark brown rocks of Monte del Forno summit block. We are in the upper parts of the Bergell granite intrusion and, climbing Monte del Forno via south route, you can study the contact between granite and the old bedrocks of Monte del Forno summit block, in which the granite intruded, thus creating the aplitic dikes, too.
This "quartz ledge" is UIAA grade II to II+ and can be nasty when there is ice. There is now a newly installed chain to secure this part of the ascent. The rope you can see on the photo was replaced by the chain after our descent.
After the traverse on the ledge the route follows a crack system above the before mentioned rock chimney directly up to the summit slope. This is easy rock climbing (UIAA grade I) and was in july 2009 secured by fixed ropes. Maybe they are removed now because the alpine club section Rohrschach wanted to replace only the white ledge part with chains.
The rock scramble ends at the upper summit slope with scree and talus. A steep ,path leads up and back onto the south ridge and soon enough you are at the top of this mountain with its wellknown summit view.
Descent as ascent or via north arete (see the general description of the north arete on Jurgen Mesmans Monte del Forno SP page).
Monte del Forno Summit PanoramaMonte del Forno is well known for the summit panorama. The Bergamasker Alps in the south, Bergell and Wallis / Valais in the west, Albula and northern swiss mountain groups in the north and Bernina mountains in the east, you see them all.
Full mountaineering gear and good shoes are required.
Depending on the snow and weather conditions, you should bring crampons and an ice axe.
You normally don´t need a rope. The most difficult part of the rock climb is secured by a fixed chain.
The upper rock parts were secured by a fixed rope.
For the Monte del Forno ascent and for the whole Forno region you need two Swiss topo maps:
You can combine the following routes with your Monte del Forno south route ascent: