Alpinistic skill (UIAA II+ grade) and good condition are requested to gain the summit by this route. The long tour described in the following sections, including the approach by a short ferrata and the long descent through the Calderone glacier up to the starting point, is a very exciting experience to be done not in bad weather condition. The pleasent alpinistic sections of the route become really dangerous if snow is still present. A real danger is the very high risk of rocks falling down in summer season; the helmet is obliged. A lot of other and more difficult routes (up to UIAA VI grade) exist on the W-NW side as well as on the S-SE face.
The hystory says that the first ascent was by Acitelli and Gualerzi on 1892 by the NW side here described, but others climbers opened harder routes to the summit in the XX century, and the most difficult were done by the new generation of climbers from the 80’s.
From Rome: The fastest way, by car, is the Highway A24-Roma/L’Aquila. Exit at Assergi (about 120 km) and proceed by the S.S. 17-bis to Campo Imperatore (about 25 km). In summer, when the road up to Campo Imperatore is practicable (no snow), you can reach the starting point by car. Otherwise, generally from November to end April-May, you have to take the cableway, placed few kilometers from the Highway A24 at 1120 meters, connecting directly Campo Imperatore (open from 08:00 to 17:00, +39-0862-606143 cableway station). In summer the cableway can be on maintenance.
The base of the cableway station can be reached even by bus from Rome. The bus transportation service provided by ARPA s.p.a. line, the private company connecting Rome with many destinations in Abruzzo region, starts from the Railway Station “Tiburtina” of Rome. Take the bus directed to L’Aquila (ARPA Terminal Collemaggio): you arrive at destination by 01:40 hours. From L’Aquila take the line “6D” to Fonte Cerreto (about 45 minutes to the destination). The service is always available during the year. 20 runs every day (from Monday to Saturday) from 06:55 to 22:45, and 11 runs on Sunday.
Route DescriptionAscent: 960 m from Campo Imperatore to the summit - Time:4:00-5:00 hours
- 670 m up to the Forchetta del Calderone;
- 290 m up to the summit
Descent: 960 m from the summit to Campo Imperatore - Time:3:00-4:00 hours
- 210 m to the Ghiacciaio del Calderone;
- 750 m to Campo Imperatore
Direttissima route to the Vetta Occidentale; leave it on your left. Put the ferrata-kit on, useful to overcome safely some exposed parts of the following route. The view on the Valle dell’Inferno is beautiful, as well as the E-side of the Corno Grande and the walls where is placed the Bivacco Bafile capture your attention.
The short but amazing ferrata runs along ledges and little walls, with ropes and ladders. The trail now cuts a gravelly slopes coming down from the E-face of the Vetta Occidentale.
At about 2600 m, reached the junction with the trail continuing to the Bivacco Bafile, you have to turn left climbing towards the narrow saddle called “Forchetta del Calderone”. By an easy climb (at most II UIAA grade) arrive at the Forchetta del Calderone (2790 m).
Forchetta del Calderone
Go-back to the Forchetta Gualerzi and rappel to the gravelly terrace. Turn right, walking few meters on the slippery terrace close to the rocky wall, and rappel again (about 60 m) along the chimney connecting with the base of the Ghiacciaio del Caldeone (2680 m).
The route directed to N now crosses the glacier, completely covered in this part by stones. Follow the trail towards the Passo del Cannone, leaving on your right the trail the Corno Piccolo. Look at the number “35” on the rocks that identifies the trail, supported by few metallic ropes, to the Passo del Cannone. By a confortable trail continue up-and-down the descent to the saddle Sella del Brecciaio (2506 m) and then, overcoming a steeper descent, arrive at Campo Pericoli, a wide green plateau surrounded by the Corno Grande and other summits of Gran Sasso such as Pizzo d’Intermesoli and Pizzo Cefalone. Continue the flat path till the junction with the trail coming from the Bivacco Bafile and the Direttisima and go-back to Campo Imperatore by the same route of the morning.