There are several ways to tour Monte Corvo on skis. Valle Crivellaro and Fosso del Monte are valleys on the north side of the mountain covered by two classic ski routes of the Gran Sasso group. Another route runs on the imposing north-west side of the mountain, the Campiglione. All the itineraries have steep sections and should be skied only whith stable snow. These are long and rewarding tours, and the northern exposition usually provides sufficient snow cover well into late spring.
To reach Prato Selva:
From SW (Rome) exit at L'Aquila Ovest from highway A24. Take route SS80 direction Teramo to Passo delle Capannelle. Go over the pass and turn right at the sign for Prato Selva.
From NE exit at S.Gabriele Colledara from highway A24. Take road SS491 to Montorio al Vomano. From Montorio take SS80, direction L'Aquila and turn left at the sign for Prato Selva.
Crivellaro - East summit - Fosso del Monte loop (BSA)
Each route, Crivellaro and Fosso del Monte, can be toured independently, but the best choice is to make a loop. The head of both valleys are interrupted by cliffs with only one or two narrow and steep passages through the rock band and, with bad visibility, it can be difficult to find the right spot.
From Prato Selva (1360m) follow the poles of the chair-lift S, at pole n.18 take a road to your right into the wood. Follow the road to a wide clearing 1711m.
View from the ridge
Climb the short slope in front of you to the ridge connecting Colle Abetone (the arrival of the chair-lift) and Colle Andreole. From the ridge you have a good view of the north side of Monte Corvo and the two valleys of Fosso del Monte (left) and Crivellaro (right). Follow the ridge SW among sparse trees and descend to a saddle marked Piana di S. Pietro on the map 1790m. Traverse W toward Valle Crivellaro and with a diagonal enter into the valley. Follow the valley up and, after a steep section, reach the wider upper part. Now you have to gain the ridge to your left (between Crivellaro and Fosso del Monte). This ridge is often ornate by cornices and can be sharp for a short section. Depending on conditions climb the first slope to your left (reaching the ridge between the points marked 2290m and 2285m on the map) or the second slope reaching the ridge well north of p.2285, thus avoiding the cornices and the sharp section. Either way, both slopes are steep and should be tackled only with stable snow. Follow the panoramic ridge S, merging in a slope, toward the main ridge connecting the East and West summits of Monte Corvo. To reach the main summit (East) 2623m, before the slope becomes too steep, start a diagonal left cutting the steep NE side of the main ridge, and follow the wide ridge east (4h30min).
High before the summit ridge
From the East summit follow shortly the summit ridge W and descend into the wide bowl N as soon as possible. Ski down diagonally NW toward the ridge between Crivellaro and Fosso del Monte. When you are quite close to the ridge you will see a channel to your right which is the only sure way to reach the lower valley. The middle section is a steep gully, enter the gully and reach the easier slopes of the lower Fosso del Monte. Now an easy glide down will take you to Rifugio del Monte 1614m (a shelter used by shepherds). From the hut, put on your skins and look for a trail going W into the wood to the left. Climb due W until you exit from the wood at a saddle which is Piana di S. Pietro 1790m. Now turn NE to gain the ridge, among sparse trees and clearings, and return to Prato Selva by the ascent itinerary.
Entering the channel
The steep gully
Rifugio del Monte
The Crivellaro valley can also be skied down by the ascent route, or by a variant. The variant uses a steep passage through the rock band at the left side (W) of the valley head, under the walls of the West summit of Monte Corvo (orange line on the route image). To reach it you have to follow the summit ridge connecting the East and West summit (or traverse high below the ridge) until you see the passage.
West summit - Campiglione (BSA)
This is the north-west side of the west summit of Monte Corvo, a triangular slope carved by several wide channels, quite impressive when seen from afar. To reach the west summit follow the previous itinerary to the entrance of Valle Crivellaro. Traverse the valley westward and go up a short secondary valley to a saddle at 1906m, near Colle delle Monache (green line on this image). From the saddle follow the wide ridge north, usually windswept with scarce snow cover, or climb one of the gullies close to the ridge to reach a wide bowl. From the bowl below the summit traverse right to the west ridge and follow it to the west summit 2533m (4h). An alternative to reach the west summit is to follow the Crivellaro itinerary, gain the summit ridge and follow the ridge west.
From the summit return to the bowl and enter one of the channels, they can all be skied to the base of the face. Return to the saddle at 1906m and descend to Valle Crivellaro. To return to Prato Selva follow Valle Crivellaro down, at about 1650m exit from the valley to the right and reach Fonte Incodara 1584m, a drinking trough in the wood. From there a leveled road leads to the chair-lift and Prato Selva avoiding the uphill of the ascent route.
Books & Maps
"La montagna incantata", Luca Mazzoleni, Porzi Editoriali.
"Traccie di sci in Appennino", Luigi Filocamo and Valentino Di Salvo, in italian and english.
"Gran Sasso d’Italia. La carta dei sentieri", edited by Cai-L’Aquila, 1:25.000