OverviewIn the western part of the Alps, the Pre-Alps are usually higher (1600-2700m) than in the rest of the chain, where the hills replace the foggy plans of Pianura Padana and then become progressively more and more higher mountains.
In the West Alps, instead, the distance between the plan and the first mountains is often short.
Punta Verzel is the highest summit of the Western Pre-Alps, its southern side falls down directly to the plan of Canavese, and for this reason it is visible from almost all the Turin Province.
From its summit the 360° view has a contrasting effect: looking towards north, the view space on the typical alpine landscape of Graian and Pennine Alps and the not so far Gran Paradiso capture the eye; the landscape towards south is completely different, with the often foggy plans of the wide Po Valley (Pianura Padana) and the far profiles of Cotian-Maritime Alps and Ligurian-Tuscanian Apennines.
It belongs to a chain of summits usually called “Bella dormiente” (in english should be "Beauty dormant"), because its skyline looks like to the profile of a lied down woman and Verzel represents the feet.
It can be climbed without difficulties from each side; most of people climb the SSE side, thanks to the shortest and easiest route. Following the same itinerary, it can be reached by ski in winter, paying a lot of attention to the steepness of the slopes.
Getting ThereBy car
From Torino to Castelnuovo Nigra: Road “S.S.460” towards Cuorgnè and Ceresole Reale as far as Cuorgnè, turn right and drive along Valle Sacra following the signs to Castelnuovo Nigra.
From Milano to Castelnuovo Nigra : Highway A5 direction Aosta, take exit “Ivrea”, Road “S.S.460” drive towards Cuorgnè and Ceresole Reale then exit “Castellamonte”, then get Castellamonte and follow the the signs to Castelnuovo Nigra.
GTT Company has a bus service from Castellamonte to Castelnuovo Nigra.
When To ClimbHiking: Usually from April to November, depends from the presence of snow; usually autumn is more dry so it’s recommended.
Ski-mountaineering: from December from March, depends from the snow conditions.
More information could be found @ Gulliver.
Where to stayVarious accommodations in Valle Sacra; Call >Tourist Office.
HutsRifugio Fornetto (2130m)
Stark but confortable hut along the normal route to Verzel.
Routes overviewNormal route on SE side
Height difference: 1682m (or …m); 5-6 (or 3) hours
Difficulty: easy hiking
Approach: From Castelnuovo Nigra follow the signs to “Sale, Cappella visitazione”, driving on a steep and tight paved road. The paved road ends in correspondence of a church called “Cappella Visitazione” but you can pursue on a dirt track for few kilometres and park the car when its conditions are too bad; usually it happens in correspondence of Alpe Frera 1452m. but, using an off-road veichle, you can reach the altitude of 1850m of an abandoned quartz pit.
Hiking itinerary: Follow the dirt track up to the quartz pit; from here starts a footpath marked with red and white paint signs. In about 1 hour it reaches a bivouac called “Rifugio Fornetto” (2130m) and continues, well traced, on steep slopes up to the summit cross.
Books and MapsBooks:
Valchiusella a piedi - Matteo Antonicelli
IGC 1/50000 Ivrea Biella Bassa Valle d’Aosta
Mountain conditionsWeather forecasts:
Piemonte and Valle d’Aosta Weather
Piemonte Weather and Snow conditions