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Torre del Gran San Pietro

Torre del Gran San Pietro

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Torre del Gran San Pietro

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Aosta Valley, Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.52595°N / 7.35899°E

Object Title: Torre del Gran San Pietro

Activities: Mountaineering

Elevation: 12112 ft / 3692 m


Page By: Antonio Giani, livioz

Created/Edited: Oct 21, 2004 / Sep 5, 2014

Object ID: 153239

Hits: 13986 

Page Score: 97.28%  - 67 Votes 

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What's new

  • With the help of Livioz the panoramic views have been transformed into interactive ones, that is to say the names of summits and glaciers are displaced moving slowly the mouse over them (nov 08th, 2004)
  • Tested the correct behaviour of the interactive panos with the browser: IE6, Netscape7 and Opera 7, notwithstanding some differences. The previous version of Opera 6.4 doesn't seem to work properly.
    Added new images (nov 09th, 2004)
  • added new photos and changed signature pic (nov 10th, 2004)
  • made some changes to the look of the page, attached other thumbnails, improved the interactive images (nov 11th, 2004)
  • finished, at the moment, the posting with the addition of a fourth interactive pano and other minor changes (nov 12th, 2004)
  • updated the page by Livioz using some facilities of SPv2 (May 26th, 2006)


One cannot make out the Torre del Gran San Pietro (Tower of the Great Saint Peter) from Cogne (1534m) or from the floor of Valnontey, even though, at 3692 meters, it is the highest summit of the Apostoli Range (a subgroup of the Gran Paradiso Group). On the other hand, since it is placed approximately at the center of the long ridge between Valnontey and Valeille, just in front of Gran Paradiso, the summit becomes perfectly visible when going up to the Herbetet Huts or to the Sella Refuge (in the Lauson Basin), so that its beauty can be easily admired.
Many glaciers lie at its foot: to the west the vast Money Glacier, divided by the Paganini Ridge (3440m) from the nearby Coupé di Money Glacier; to the south the smaller Teleccio Glacier and to the east the Valeille Glacier. The views from its summit are wonderful.

First Ascents

  • First on the summit: D. W. Freshfield, C. C. Tucker, T. H. Carson, J. H. Backhouse, D. Ballay and M. Payot, (Jul 14th, 1867).
  • In winter: E. Adami, P. and S. Ceresa, (Jan 21th, 1935).
  • S-W Arête: P. E. Lord, G. Yeld, F. and S. Pession, (Aug 19th, 1894).
  • N-W Wall: W. M. and R. Pendlebury with G. and J. Spechtenhauser, (Jul 19th, 1876).
  • N-W Wall: Aldo Bignamini, Gino Costa, Bruno Martinazzi and Leopoldo Saletti, (Jun 28th, 1941).
  • W Slope and N Arête: E. Carr and A. F. Mummery, (Aug 12th, 1891).
  • E Wall: W. M. and R. Pendlebury with G. and J. Spechtenhauser, (Jul 19th, 1876), in descent.
  • E-SE Arête: C. Alberico, E. Adami, L. Borgna and P. Ceresa, (Jul 19th, 1933).
  • S Wall: L. Vaccarone and J. J. Maquignaz, (Aug 22th, 1875).

Apostoli range
From left: col Coupè di Money (3393m), Dito degli Apostoli (3439m), Torre di S. Orso (3618m), Torre di S. Andrea (3651/3644m), Cresta Paganini (3440m), Torre del Gran S. Pietro (3692m) and the Glaciers of Money and Coupè di Money

Getting There

    Approach from North
  • From Torino, Milano, etc: Motorway A5. Exit in Aosta Ovest. Drive to the near Aymavilles. Follow in the direction of Valle di Cogne.
  • From Switzerland: through the Grand St. Bernard Tunnel or the homonym Pass. Drive to Aosta, then follow Courmayeur direction on SS.26. Just after Sarre, turn to the left, in the direction of Valle di Cogne.
  • From France: through Mont Blanc Tunnel or Petit St. Bernard Pass. It isn't necessary to enter in Motorway A5, you can drive through SS.26 Aosta direction. Before arriving at the Village of Sarre, follow the sign and turn right towards Valle di Cogne.
  • After Aymavilles, the Regional Road n° 47 crosses the Villages of Vieyes, Epinel and Cretaz and after about 25 Km. arrives at Cogne (1534m). From Cogne, by bus or by car, till the Village of Valnontey (1666m).

    Approach to southern valleys of the Gran Paradiso Group (Piantonetto and Noaschetta)
  • Coming from Torino: autoroute to Aosta - till to S. Giorgio Canavese or take the Road SS n°460 to Ceresole Reale. When you arrive at Rosone Village (16 km to Pont Canavese) take a little road on the right, see the sign "Piantonetto Valley". Go till to Teleccio Lake (1870m), where the carriage road ends, and park your car.

  • Aeroporto Internazionale "Corrado Gex" Saint Christophe (Aosta).

Labelling of glaciers and summits belonging to the ridge Valnontey-Valeille

Route to the Money Bivouac (2872m)

Track of the route to Money bivouac <i>2872m</i> along the moraine crest
Track of the route along the moraine crest to Money Bivouac 2872m
(indicated by the red circle).

From the Village of Valnontey (1666m) follow the easy trail going up along the valley. After the pleasant Hamlet of Valmiana (1728m) continue, always gently uphill, till a fork (0h'45). Turn left, following the trail to the Money Huts, which begins to rise steeply. After 1h'00/1h'15 a long traverse brings one in view of the Money Huts (ruins) at 2325 meters. Shortly before reaching them, turn left and go towards the ridge of the side moraine of the Coupé di Money Glacier. Follow the panoramic ridge of the moraine to its end, cross towards left a field of talus and broken rocks; with the help of a fixed rope climb a short gully, then a somewhat exposed path leads quickly to the bivouac, easily distinguishable since it is (or, better, it was) painted yellow. The bivouac, placed at 2872meters (3h'45/4h'00) from Valnontey), is in a very panoramic position with respect to the Gran Paradiso central chain. Drinkable water may be found at a short distance above the bivouac, coming from Patrì Glacier.

Route to the Torre del Gran San Pietro Summit (3692 m)

Since my own climb of the Torre del Gran San Pietro, which dates back to the early 70's, the conditions of the glaciers have substantially changed.
Therefore, I prefer not to post a separate technical route description, but rather give a general overview here.

Schematic track of the route...
Schematic track of the route to the summit of the Torre del Gran San Pietro:
blue dots indicates the route on the East side, not visible

Starting from the Money Bivouac, head toward the orographic right side of the Coupé di Money Glacier; cross it diagonally, aiming for the foot of the Paganini Ridge. Go around the ridge, and proceed along the Money Glacier towards the ice chute of the west face. (Pay attention to the many crevasses that sometimes force one to make tiresome detours.)
With caution, get over the terminal crevasse and begin to climb the slopes (about 300 meters) with an angle around 45 degrees. (Be careful: the final cornice could be very thin; therefore, remain some meters below it.) At this point go right for a few meters to reach the north face of the mountain: now, if you have not already done so, put on your helmet. With caution, head for the center of the east face (which descends rather steep for 600 meters towards the Valeille Glacier, with loose rock), climb the final dihedral, 50 meters long, paying attention to verglas. (Besides, if they haven't been removed, don't use absolutely the old pegs or slings because they are not safe).
At last, one arrives on the thin summit at 3692 meters, where a metal cross has been placed (4h'00/4h'30 from the bivouac).
Descend along the same route.

The route, classified AD, is to be undertaken by expert climbers in good physical conditions.


High mountain equipment, rope, axe, crampons, helmet, a few rock and ice pegs (even if not used).

When To Climb

From july to september, usually.

Red Tape

Inside the borders of the P.N.G.P. (Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso), at the moment (summer 2004) dogs generally are not allowed, except a pair of paths, and free camping is forbidden (except for climbers from sunset till dawn). No fees are due.


  • Wild camping in the Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso is strictly forbidden!
    There are three camping sites very near to Valnontey Village.
    The most appropriate support point is the Money Bivouac.

Interactive panoramic views

Move your mouse pointer SLOWLY above the photos to discover the names of both summits and glaciers

Punte Patri(3561 m/3581 m).Cresta Paganini(3440 m)Torre di Sant'Orso(3618 m)Torre di Sant'Andrea(3644m/3651 m)Torre del Gran San Pietro(3692 m)Patri GlacierMoney GlacierCoupè di Money GlacierMoney GlacierMoney Glaciercoupè di Money Glacier Patri Glacier

Aug 28, 2004: view from Lauson Basin, at the foot of Colle della Rossa (3192m)
(Click here if you wish to vote or post a comment to this photo)

Becca di Gay(3621 m).Roccia Viva (3650 m)Gemelli (3618 m/3610 m)Becco della Pazienza (3606 m)Testa di Money (3572 m)Cresta Paganini (3440 m)Torre di Sant'Orso(3618 m)Torre di Sant'Andrea(3644 m/3651 m)Torre del Gran San Pietro(3692 m)Money GlacierCoupè di Money GlacierMoney GlacierGran Crou GlacierMoney Glaciercoupè di Money Glacier
Punta Elter 3586 m

Oct 05, 2004: autumn view from the facing Piani di Ressello, along the exposed traverse from Lauson lake to Herbetet Huts
(Click here if you wish to vote or post a comment to this photo)

Punte Patri(3561 m/3581 m).Roccia Viva (3650 m)Patri GlacierMoney GlacierCoupè di Money GlacierMoney GlacierGran Crou GlacierGemelli (3618 m/3610 m)Becco della Pazienza (3606 m)Testa di Money (3572 m)Cresta Paganini (3440 m)Torre di Sant'Orso(3618 m)Torre di Sant'Andrea(3644 m/3651 m)Torre del Gran San Pietro(3692 m) Patri Glacier Money GlacierPunta Elter (3586 m)coupè di Money Glacier

Aug 13, 2004: view from the facing Leonessa Bivouac (2910m)
(Click here if you wish to vote or post a comment to this photo)

Punte Patri(3561 m/3581 m)Roccia Viva (3630 m)Money bivouacBecca di GayPunta ElterGran Crou GlacierGemelli (3618 m/3610 m)Becco della Pazienza (3606 m)Testa di Money (3572 m)Cresta Paganini (3440 m)Torre di Sant'Orso(3618 m)Torre del Gran San Pietro(3692 m)Patri GlacierMoney Glaciercoupè di Money GlacierTorri di Sant'Andrea

Nov 05, 2004: snowy view from Herbetet huts (2435m)
(Click here if you wish to vote or post a comment to this photo)

Mountain Condition

  • Meteo: you can find all the needed informations at the official site of the Valle d'Aosta Region:
    Valle d'Aosta Meteo


  • WEBCAM on Aosta Valley:

Books and Maps

  • "Guida delle Alpi Occidentali" di Giovanni Bobba e Luigi Vaccarone C.A.I. Sezione di Torino Volume II° (parte II) 25-05-1896.
  • "Guida dei Monti d'Italia-Gran Paradiso Parco Nazionale" E. Andreis, R. Chabod, M. C. Santis, Club Alpino Italiano/Touring Club Italiano, prima Ed. 1939; seconda Ed. 1963; terza Ed. 1980.
  • "Guida della Regione Autonoma Valle d'Aosta" di Mario Aldrovandi, Ed. S.P.E. di Carlo Fanton Torino 1964.
  • "Rifugi e bivacchi in Valle d'Aosta" di Cosimo Zappelli aggiornata da Pietro Giglio. Musumeci Editore, Luglio 2002.
  • "Il Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso (Valli di Champorcher-Clavalitè-Saint Marcel-Laures-Cogne-Valsavarenche-Conca di Pila" di Giulio Berutto 3/volume 2°, IGC, Torino 1981, 2a Ed. 2000.
  • A. Gegenfurtner, G. Klotz, F. Müller "Gran Paradiso", Ed. Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, Monaco 1980 (in tedesco).
  • G. Klotz "Gran Paradiso" Ed. Bergverlag GmbH Rother, Monaco 2005 (in tedesco).
  • "Gran Paradiso" di Pierandrea Mantovani e Renato Misischi, Ed. Rassegna Alpina 1974.
  • "Gran Paradiso - Itinerari Alpinistici e sci Alpinistici" di Franco Brevini Ed. Musumeci, Giugno 1982.
  • "Diari Alpinistici" di Osvaldo Cardellina e Indice Generale accompagnato da Schedario Relazioni Ascensioni 1964-2014 (inediti).
  • Kompass - "Gran Paradiso Valle d'Aosta Sentieri e Rifugi" Carta Turistica 1:50000.
  • Enrico Editore Ivrea-Aosta – "Gruppo del Gran Paradiso" 1:50000.
  • I.G.C. Istituto Geografico Centrale Torino "Gran Paradiso-La Grivola-Cogne" 1:25.000.
  • A.I.A.T. "Cogne Gran Paradiso Aymavilles - Walking Map" 1:25.000.
  • I.G.C. Istituto Geografico Centrale Torino "Il Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso" (3) 1:50.000.
  • L'Escursionista "Valle di Cogne Carta dei Sentieri" (n°10) 1:25.000.
  • L'Escursionista "Tour de la Vallée de Cogne Grand Paradis" Carta dei sentieri 1:25.000.

Important Information

Useful numbers

  • Soccorso Alpino Cogne (SAR) Tel. 3482685406.
  • Protezione Civile Valdostana località Aeroporto 7/A Saint Christophe (Ao) Tel. 0165-238222.
  • Bollettino Meteo (weather info) Tel. 0165-44113.
  • Unità Operativa di Soccorso Sanitario Tel. 118.


Many thanks are due to the friends of the Italian Team who gave me the essential help for the translation from Italian into English.