“Presolana”, despite high only 2521 meters, it's the most famous and highest mountain of the “prealpi bergamasche”, that include summits as “Pizzo Arera” or “Cimon della Bagozza”.
It’s situated totally in the province of Bergamo, between the “Val Seriana” (villages of Castione, Rovetta, Oltressenda) and the “Valle di Scalve” (villages of Colere and Vilminore di Scalve).
The succes of this mountain is due to its closeness to the cities, the very good limestone rock that permit numerous climb routes, and its typical shape that remind the eastern Dolomites mountains.
The massif is composed by a chain of six summits from west to east. "Presolana di Castione"(2474 m), "Presolana del Prato"(2447 m), "Presolana Occidentale"(2521m west and the highest), "Presolana Centrale" (central 2517 m), "Presolana Orientale"(east 2490 m) and the "Monte Visolo"(2369m).
The rock is limestone with large, steep slabs dotted by pockets and hourglasses of all sizes. It is generally solid on the south face. On the north side the quality varies considerably from route to route. To compensate for that, this wall has a grandeur not comparable from its south side.
The six summits are connected by an east-west ridge that is climbed in both directions. It is not technically demanding, but it's not a hike either.
Other minor summits of the group are: "Corna delle quattro Matte" 2122m, "Pizzo di Corzene" 2012m, "Pizzo Olone" 1983m, "Cima di Bares" 1974m, "Monte Campo" 1951m, "Monte Cornetto" 1786m and "Pizzo Plagna" 1637m.
It was climbed for the first time in the 3th October 1870 by A.Curo', F.Frizzoni, C.Medici that reached the highest of its summits, the west Presolana, climbing its south wall and following a line that is today the normal route to this peak, easy to climb with a minimal rock experience.
The origin of the name “Presolana” is uncertain. There are few legends about the origin, but the most real says that it cames from the local dialet “Praizzöla”, which means ”mountain above grass meadows”.
The beauty of the north wall - photo from Gabriele
The Presolana massif is situated between the Val Borlezza (belong to the Val Seriana) and the Valle di Scalve. Both start from the city of Bergamo and separated by the Passo della Presolana 1297m.
The city of Bergamo is connected from the cities Milano and Brescia by the motorway A4, or from the airport of Orioalserio.
From the village of Bergamo take the road SS271 that leads to the village of Clusone and the Valle Borlezza.
Second chance is came from the Val Camonica - Passo del Vivione - Schilpario - Colere. Not recommended because long and tortuous.
For the paths that take to the south side of the mountain, the usual starting points are the village of Castione della Presolana 1006m or much easily from the Passo della Presolana.
On the north side same chairlifts from the village of Colere 1013m, takes to the base of the north wall and the refuge Albani.
Presolana south side from "Malga Cassinelli" - Photo from Luciano
Paths and hikes
There are many paths that run through the Presolana massif. One of the most important is the circumnavigation of the moutain, completed few years ago from the Clusone section of the Italian Alpin Club.
This is a trail quite challenging, but also very attractive, because it allows the vision of breathtaking views of the adjacent valleys. It combines the refuge ”Olmo” (located on the south side of the mountain), with the refuge “Albani” on the north side.
Starting from the ref. Olmo, the path descends into the Valle di Scalve through the "Passo di Scagnello" (2076m).
From the pass, the route that leads to the ref.Albani is rather short and slightly downhill. Definitely the most challenging stretch of the route between the two refuges, is the “Sentiero della Porta” which is a "ferrata" that pass through the “Passo della Porta” (2215m), and desceds on the south side towards the ref. Olmo.
The Presolana is also crossed by the “Sentiero delle Orobie” which is a long path (about 85 km) divided into 7 sections, and as many refuges. The “Passo della Porta” is at the end of it and the last difficulty. For more information about the "Sentiero delle Orobie", check on this page.
All the rock climb routes
Anyone that knows features of new climb routes, is invited to tell me on this page. The routes will be graded by: */**/***
The north wall seen from Monte Ferrantino - photo from Luciano
Refuges and Bivouacs
Refuge "Rino Olmo" 1819m
Placed near the "Passo di Olone" between "Val Verzurio" and "Valle dei Mulini"
Open in August and weekends from june to september - tel.0039.34661380 - 30 places
Owner: CAI section "Rino Olmo" (largo A.Nani 24023 Clusone tel 0039.034625452)
From Castione della Presolana fraz. Rusio 921m - 2,30 hours - diff. E
Refuge "Luigi Albani" 1939m
Placed at the foot of the north wall.
Open fro mid. june to mid. september - tel 0039.034651105 - places 60+8
Owner: CAI section of Bergamo (via Ghislanzoni 15 24122 Bergamo tel 0039.035244273)
Keeper: Ayala Pablo tel 0039.3204890296
From Colere 1039m - 2.30 hours - diff. E
Bivouac "Città di Clusone" 2085m
Placed on the meadows on the south side of the massif
Open permanently - places 9
Owner: CAI section of Clusone (via Bonomo de Bernardi 11. 24023 Clusone BG tel.0039.034625452)
From Passo della Presolana 1297m - 2 hours - diff. E
1. "Il massiccio della Presolana" - Walter Tomasi, edizioni C.A.I. Bergamo - The book wherefrom I got the informations of the routes
2. "Orobie: 88 immagini per arrampicare" - N.Calegari, S.Calegari, and F.Radici, Edizioni Bolis, Bergamo, 1985.