Attenti alle Clessidre

Attenti alle Clessidre

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 42.47938°N / 13.56065°E
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: III/IV, passages IV+ UIAA
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 6
Sign the Climber's Log


“Attenti alle Clessidre” in italian means “Whatch out to to the tunnels”, with reference to the several tunnels and hourglass shapes in the rock, that you can see and use for protection climbing this beautiful route.

“Attenti alle Clessidre” climbs up Prima Spalla (2580m), the highest of the three shoulders of Corno Piccolo west ridge, on wonderful smooth slabs of excellent limestone rock.

It was first climbed by Fabrizio Antonioli, Francesca Colasanti and Dario Mantoan in 1982, and in few years it has become a classical route: the reason of this success lies in its relative ease, in a not so long approach, and in the beauty of the climb in a so scenic location.

Difficulty: III-IV with some passages of IV+ UIAA
Lenght: 250m (200m of elevation gain)
Altitude: 2350m-2550m
Rock quality: the best rock you can find (limestone); some gravels on the terraces
Best season to climb: since early june to late september

 Attenti alle Clessidre  routeClick to enlarge


Corno Piccolo mapClick to enlarge
Approach to  Attenti alle Clessidre  routeApproaching the route
From La Madonnina, nearby the arrival of the Prati di Tivo chairlift (2012m), climb up the trail nr. 3 towards Passo delle Scalette and Franchetti Hut. When you meet a junction (about 2070m), take the trail on the right (Sentiero Ventricini) and follow it, passing under the base of north-east ridge of Corno Piccolo. The path traverses the meadows under Corno Piccolo north face, then arrives to the mouth of Canale Sivitilli, a wide couloir separating north face from Prima Spalla (about 45min from the chairlift arrival). From there, leave the trail and rise on the steep meadows and broken rocks, in direction of the rock face on the right of the couloir (about 2350m, 45min from the Sentiero Ventricini trail, 1h 30min from the chairlift arrival).

When the chairlift is closed, from Prati di Tivo main square you can drive until Sella di Cima Alta, following a route on the left (3,5Km from the square): from there (1650m), walk the trail rising up the wide and scenic Arapietra ridge, until you reach the chairlift arrival (about 1h)

Prima Spalla north-east face

A party in the middle of the route

Leo on the first part of the climb

Route Description

Climbing  Attenti alle Clessidre route Climbing on the excellent rock of "Attenti alle Clessidre"

“Attenti alle Clessidre” climbs a face of smooth slabs, without cracks, chimneys, dyhedral or other elements which can help you to find the exact route: in fact, being the difficulties of this part of the north-east face always between III and V UIAA, are possible several variations. So, it’s very hard to follow a precise route and every climber, usually, climbs on a own line, also thanks to the many opportunities of make a belay using the several tunnels that you meet along the route...
Anyhow, I relate the report of the first climbers.

Belays are all equipped with cords passed in one or more tunnels, in one case also with a piton. Consider the possible need of integrate the belay with further gears.

Pitch 1: enter in the couloir and climb it until you meet a ledge wich leads on the right, to a belay on two tunnels, under the big slabs (50m, I/II)

Pitch 2: climb up the slab, a little on the right (tunnel for protection), until you reach the belay (45m, III+)

Pitch 3: continue climbing 10m until you reach a ledge with a tunnel; from the ledge, continue up, then bear slightly on the right, later on the left, pointing to the center of the slab, until you reach a belay with a tunnel (30m, IV)

Pitch 4: from there, move 2m on your left, then climb up the slabs until a ledge (40m, IV)

Pitch 5:x rise up the slab on the left of the belay, then bearing a little on the right (IV+, tunnels); proceed directly above until the rock become less steep (40m, IV, belay on tunnel)

Pitch 6: from there, rising up easy slabs, you reach the ridge of Prima Spalla (50m, I/II)

 Attenti alle Clessidre  routeAmusing climb

There are many possibility to descend from Prima Spalla:

- by Corno Piccolo normal route from south: it’s a trail for expert hikers, with some short passages of I/II UIAA; it’s the easiest route to descend from Prima Spalla. It starts at few minutes of walk from the exit of “Via delle Clessidre” and leads to Vallone dei Ginepri, on Corno Piccolo south side (about 40min). From there, in about 1h 30 min you can reach Sella dei Due Corni, Franchetti Hut and the chairlift station (about 2h 15min from Prima Spalla summit)

- by Via Ferrata Danesi, reaching the near Corno Piccolo summit: it’s a medium difficult Via Ferrata, with some stretches not equipped and passages of climbing of I-II UIAA. The Via Ferrata leads, in about 40min, to Vallone dei Ginepri, few meters above the exit of normal route from south. From there, to reach the chairlift arrival are needed about 1h 30min (from the summit of Prima Spalla about 2h 30min).

- abseiling on the north east face: from the summit ridge of Prima Spalla, walk towards the Corno Piccolo summit, until you find on the left side (north) of the ridge the anchor (bolts with chains) of the first abseil. The rappels are 5: 3 on anchors made with bolts and chain, the last 2 with cords passed through big tunnels. For the rappels are needed two ropes of 60m. The anchors aren’t perfectly lined up but slightly right-trending (looking the face). At the end of the abseil (the last can be avoid walking down) you are at the base of Sivitilli couloir, near the starting point of “Attenti alle Clessidre”: from there to the chairlift station are needed about 1h 15min

- by Corno Piccolo north side normal route: this route follows an easy couloir (I/II UIAA) placed immediately on east of Canalone Sivitilli; it leads to Sentiero Ventricini, on the approach trail to “Attenti alle Clessidre”. It’s not so easy to find the start of the couloir from the top...

Descending from Prima SpallaFrom the summit of Prima Spalla, walking toward Corno Piccolo summit and normal route

Essential Gear

Climbing  Attenti alle Clessidre route

- Some narrow slings (dyneema is better) and cords for the several tunnels;
- some friends medium-small size;
- some pitons;
- nuts are not much useful;
- two 60m ropes are advised

Guide, maps, external links

Best guides:
L. Grazzini, P. Abbate, “Gran Sasso d’Italia”, Cai-Tci, 1992
S. Ardito, “A piedi sul Gran Sasso”, Iter, 1992
S. Ardito, “A Piedi in Abruzzo” vol. 1, Iter, 1996
A. Alesi, M. Calibani, A. Palermi, “Gran Sasso – Le più belle escursioni”, SER, 1996

Best map:
“Gran Sasso d’Italia. La carta dei sentieri”, edited by Cai-L’Aquila (scale 1:25.000)

Weather conditions:
Meteo bulletin Meteomont: Abruzian Apennines

Corno Piccolo north side from Prati di Tivo (on the right, Prima Spalla NE face)



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