| - Aiguille de la Grande Sassière - 3.751 m - |
Important and imposing mountain, it is the highest summit along the border ridge that goes from the sea to Colle della Seigne. It is easily seen from Valgrisenche, the main center of the namesake valley.
- W-SW Arête: Inhabitants of Tignes valley and soldiers, (1808?).
- W-SW Arête: W. Mathews with M. Croz, (Aug 5th, 1860), first recorded ascent.
- S-E Arête: W. A. B. Coolidge with Christian Almer (father and son), (Aug 06th, 1878).
- S-E Arête: First Italian ascent: Filippo Vallino with guides Antonio Castagneri and G. B. Bich, (Aug 01th, 1885).
- S-E Crest from Colle della Sassière: Giovanni Bobba and Casimiro Therisod, (Aug 17th, 1889) in descent.
- N Arête (from Glacier du Fond): Giovanni Bobba and Casimiro Thérisod, (Aug 17th, 1889).
- S Wall: R. and M. Godefroy, (Sep 06th, 1893).
- S Wall: H. Mettrier (solo), (Aug 22th, 1901).
- S-W Wall and SE Arête: Giuseppe Quaglia and Francesco Sitia, (Aug 1919).
- E-NE Wall: Aldo Bonacossa and L. Hosquet, (Jan 30th, 1917).
- N-E Wall (Route of the Serouac): Cleto Frassy and Danilo Garin, (Jul? 1980).
- N Arête (Integrale from Col Vaudet or Col di Suessa): Osvaldo Cardellina, Camillo Roberto Ferronato and Giuseppe Lamazzi, (Aug 24th, 1980).
- N-NE Wall (Direct route in descent): Osvaldo Cardellina, Camillo Roberto Ferronato and Giuseppe Lamazzi, (Aug 24th, 1980).
BY CAR:BY PLANE:
- From Torino, Milano, etc: Motorway A5. Exit at Aosta Ovest. Drive on S.S. n°26 toward Mont Blanc as far as Leverogne (780m).
- From Switzerland: through the Grand Saint Bernard Tunnel or the namesake Pass. Drive to Aosta, then follow the direction for Courmayeur on S.S. n°26 as previously, reaching Leverogne.
- From France: through Mont Blanc Tunnel or Petit Saint Bernard Pass. It is not necessary to take Motorway A5: you can drive on SS.26, in the direction of Aosta as far as Leverogne.Once close to the Village of Leverogne (780m), turn left if you come from Aosta or turn right coming from Mont Blanc, following along the Regional Route for Valgrisenche. Pass many small Villages, including Rochefort, La Ravoire, Chamencon, La Bethaz, and Valgrisenche (1.664m), the main center of the namesake valley. Turn right for the Village of Bonne (1.810m) located near the western summit edge of the huge dam that forms the Beauregard Reservoir, practically empty for technical reasons. Past the small Village of Menthieu (1.842m), continue for approximately 5 km along the paved road, which follows parallel to the western shore of the lake, running high above it, and then descend leading to the old Pasture of Surier (1.758m), near the Village of Usellières (1.758m) at the southern end of the lake basin. Before the village there is a ample parking space where you can leave the car.
- Aeroporto Internazionale "Corrado Gex" Saint Christophe (Aosta).
Descent: Aiguille de la Grande Sassiere 3.751m
The route described here is the Italian Standard Route along the southeast ridge from Colle Orientale della Sassière (3.274m).
The true standard route is the west ridge, from Glacier de la Sassière (north) and Rèserve Naturelle de la Grande Sassière (south), which is entirely in France.
Starting from the parking near the Village of Usellières (1.758m), continue on foot on the dirt road that leads to Rifugio Mario Bezzi (2.284m; two hours from the parking lot). From Rifugio Mario Bezzi (2.284m) take trail 12c (Alta Via N°4) that gently rises through meadows in the southeast direction. Turn south and traverse a grassy slope below Pian di Vaudet; cross the stream named La Cuire and the next one that flows from Ghiacciaio di Bassac, below Grand Traversière, to reach a bench strewn with large boulders left by a rockfall.
Climb SSE up ridges where grass alternates with scree. Following numerous cairns, surmount a broken rock band along a gully which is below the Glacier of Bassac Déré. The gully leads to a head with rocks and grass. From there, continue on level ground to pass three bends in the glacier with good views of several tarns below.
Once at the northeast boundary of Ghiacciaio di Gliairetta, trail 12c turns east to go round Col Bassac Déré, between Punta Bassac Déré (N) and Becca della Traversière (S). Leave the trail and trace a wide arc aiming south toward Colle Orientale (East) della Sassière with Becca della Traversière (3.337m) to the east. Reach the col after crossing the bergschrund. (Leave another, higher bergschrund to your west.) A short slope with an angle between 30° and 35° takes to the the border (ESE) ridge with an elevation gain of less than 150m. Pass a flat rocky and snowy hump on the Val d’Isère side, and with minimal loss of elevation reach Colle Occidentale (3.240m).
From there, follow the crest of the ridge or stay slightly below on the south side (toward Val d'Isère) on easy rocky ledges. Pass points 3.278 and 3.307 by an easy cliff (still on the south side) and gradually turn northwest, passing point 3.407 along easy slabs with cracks and gullies filled with detritus, and aiming for the summit tower. (In this stretch, it is possible to find small cornices to the north).
The summit tower consists of 70/80 meters of broken rocks that are easily climbed (I or maybe II) along a gully and rocky steps. From the tower continue on easy ground to the summit (3.751m), paying close attention in case of fresh snow.
by the same route.
This route is rated PD+. Pay attention to the many crevasses of Ghiacciaio di Gliairetta and, on the ridge, to the north-facing cornices.
Mountaineering equipment including rope, crampons, and ice axe.
Rifugio Mario Bezzi
Views from Becca della Traversiere
Remember that free camping is forbidden (except for emergency reasons, over 2.500m
, from darkness until dawn).
- 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 MapsBOOKS:
- "Il Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso (Valli Soana-Orco-Rhêmes-Valgrisenche)" di Giulio Berutto, I.G.C. Torino 1979.
- "Guida dei Monti d'Italia – Alpi Graie Centrali" di Alessandro Giorgetta - Club Alpino Italiano/Touring Club Italiano, 1985 (in Italian).
- "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 1:50.000.
- L'Escursionista "Valgrisenche Val di Rhêmes" Carta dei sentieri (n°3) 1:25.000.
- Enrico Editore Ivrea-Aosta "Gruppo del Gran Paradiso" 1:50.000.
- I.G.C. Istituto Geografico Centrale "Valsavarenche-Valle di Rhêmes-Valgrisenche" Carta dei sentieri e dei rifugi (carta n°102) 1:25.000.
- 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.
I am greatly indebted to my friend Osvaldo Cardellina for the detailed description of the route.