PIZZO D’UCCELLO mt. 1781
Heidi Superstar - South Face
Mainly due to their steep shapes and their impressive faces, together with their geological origins, the Apuanian Alps, notwithstanding their not very important height – the range’s highest peak is taller than 2000 meters – are comparable to the Alps rather than the neighbouring Northern Apennines. Pizzo d’Uccello is a mighty limestone’s peak situated in the range’s Northern part and of course the most famous mountain in the whole area, so that local climbers simply call it “the Pizzo”. This fact has far-off origins from the reputation of its North face with its 700 mt. heigh trad routes and recently also from the glamour of its Southern routes’ magnificent limestone. Moreover, having a very interesting Normal route class 3 and a “via ferrata”, the peak is also very popular amongst the scramblers: a complete and interesting mountain, offering different climbing’s experiences, both to trad climbers and modern ones and even to advanced hiker. Situated along Apuanian Alps’ main divide, Pizzo d’Uccello shows the shape of a three-faced pyramid with as many ridges: NE ridge, named Capradossa Ridge, SSE Ridge, along which the Normal route rises to the summit, and the longest ONO Ridge – about 2,5 kms.- named Nattapiana Ridge.
COMMON ROAD ACCESS TO ALL CLIMBING AREAS
Follow the A15 Motorway (Parma – La Spezia), exit Aulla. From here follow the SS 63 towards Cerreto Pass, then after Rometta turn to right, following SS 445 towards Gassano, Monzone and Equi Terme. Once taken SS 445, there are three diffirents road to various climbing areas:
- ROAD ACCESS TO NORTH FACE AND VIA FERRATA TORDINI-GALLIGANI
From the SS 445 you must reach the small village of Ugliancaldo mt. 743. From the main road there are different ways to get to Ugliancaldo; the quickly road starts from Monzone Stazione. From Ugliancaldo follow a quarry’s road rising along upper Solco di Equi and leading towards the face.
- ROAD ACCESS TO SOUTH FACE
From the SS 445, at Gragnola, take on the right-hand side the road to Monzone, Equi Terme and Vinca. Just before getting to Equi Terme, take on the right-hand side the road to Vinca Valley (brown road-signes), reaching Monzone and the picturesque village of Vinca mt. 808, situated below Pizzo d’Uccello SW side (30 minutes from the motorway exit).
- ROAD ACCESS TO ORTO DI DONNA AND NORMAL ROUTE
From SS 445 at Gragnola follow the main road towards Casola in Lunigiana and Minucciano mt. 697; from here the road enters a tunnel. From the tunnel’s exit followat once an ancient quarry’s road on the right-hand side, entering Orto di Donna and leading to Guido Donegani Hut mt. 1150.
While the authors of Pizzo d’Uccello absolute first ascent are uncertain, the North Face was already well-known in 1883 to the British explorer Francis Fox Tuckett, but it expected the first climbing’s attempt until 1922. The first route realized on the N face was “Genovesi Route” by a Genoese team in 1927. A most direct route on the face central part was realized in 1940 by N. Oppio and S. Colnaghi from Milan, covering a route previously but only partially climbed from Ceragioli brothers: “Oppio Route” is today the classic and finest one of the face.
Two faces, two different climbing’s ways…
Pizzo d’Uccello North face, the major one of Apuanian Alps, is a very steep and impressive 700 mts. high and 2000 mts. large face, with several trad climbing routes “Dolomites’ style” . Situated in a shady and secluded milieu, some of these routes can give to climbers a challenging experience, also due to the rock’s quality, not at all perfect. On the contrary South Face, even if less impressive and steep, shows an excellent and compact limestone: in the latest years we have seen to multiply several climbing routes rising along magnificent slabs – water’s drops style – and beautiful cracks.
NORTH FACE ROUTES
North Face can enumerate at least 13 trad climbing routes, most of which have only an historic interest. The classic and normally frequented routes are:
- Oppio-Colnaghi Route UIAA V-, 600 mt., dev. 850 mt.
- Biagi-Nerli-Zucconi or Pisani Direct Route UIAA V+, 600 mt.
For "Oppio-Colnaghi" report:
For "Biagi-Nerli" report:
SOUTH FACE ROUTES
- Profumo di antico **** F6b (F5a obbl.), 250 mt.
- Bau Bau Boby ** F5c (F5a obbl.), 130 mt.
- Dove osano i peteri *** F5c (F5b obbl.), 210 mt.
- Francesca**** F6b+ (F6a obbl.), 110 mt.
- Accademiche idiozie**** F6b (F5c obbl.), 200 mt.
- Gonne con le donne*** F5c (F5a obbl.), 200 mt. A classic route between the modern ones
- Heidy**** F6b (F5c obbl.), 350 mt. South Face’s great classic route
- Quando calienta il sol là nela placa**** F6c/A0 (F6a obbl.), 200 mt.
- Dinko*** F5c (F5b obbl.), 550 mt.
- Il bacio della donna ragno F6a, 70 mt.
- Heidy Superstar**** F6b (F6a obbl.), 550 mt. A beautiful long route
- Diedro Sud** F5a, 200 mt. An old classic and pleasant route
- Tiziana** F5a, 150 mt.
- Mistral**** F6b (F6a obbl.), 150 mt.
Pizzo d’Uccello SSE Ridge Normal Route, an easy and pleasant scramble
Once at Guido Donegani Hut take the path to Foce di Giovo (Giovo Saddle) mt. 1500. From here take on the right-hand side a path going up and down and crossing some little beechs’ woods and leading to a little saddle named Giovetto mt. 1497, situated below the peak’s upper pyramid. Rise along a slope, then leave on your right-hand side the trail to Capradossa Terrace and finally follow some pleasant and easy rocks leading to the S summit and to the main summit (1,15 hours from Giovo Saddle).
Descent: along the same route.
Via Ferrata Tordini – Galligani to Foce Siggioli
From upper Solco d’Equi a trail leads to a 400 mts. high “via ferrata”, equipped in 1975 with iron’s ropes and cutted steps, rising along Capradossa buttress with exciting views on Pizzo d’Uccello North face and leading nearby Foce Siggioli mt. 1390, a saddle along Capradossa Ridge. From here a good trail leads to Giovetto Saddle, from where it’s possible to get on Pizzo d’Uccello summit along Normal Route.
HutsGuido Donegani Hut at Orto di Donna mt.1150
No particular restrictions in climbing and hiking, even if all Apuanian Alps range is situated inside a natural park – "Alpi Apuane Natural Park" – established in 1985 to protected the milieu and mostly to try restricting the age-old activity of marble’s quarrying, which has irreparably marked this magnificent but frail environment.
When to climbNorth Face: from May to October
South face: Spring and Fall; very hot in summer
External LinksARRAMPICARE IN TOSCANA
“Toscana e Isola d’Elba – Arrampicate moderne e sportive” by Mauro Franceschini e Fabrizio Recchia – Edizioni Versante Sud