Rocca Castello is a mighty rocky peak, rising between Greguri Pass mt. 2319, a wide grassy saddle in Northern side, and Forcella Castello mt. 2420.
It's the northernmost summit of Castello-Provenzale Group and the highest one, overcoming the nearby Torre Castello for a few meters; Rocca Castello shows an high-quality orange and grey quartzite with several cracks suited for use natural protections.
Current routes are mostly trad climbing, like Via Balzola and Spigolo Maria Grazia, but you can find also some moderne climbs.
From Chiappera mt. 1614 follow the road to Soutan Bridge; at a cross-road turn to right following the road towards Maurin Valley. After the second hairpin you’re reaching a pull-out with a little source on the right-hand side of the road. Parking. From the parking follow the trail towards Gregouri Pass (GTA and T12 path), going inside Gregury Valley and leading first towards Rocca Provenzale, then to Punta Figari, Torre Castello and finally Rocca Castello East sides. Rocca Castello is the last peak in the upper part of Greguri Valley (1 hour from the parking).
***Balzola Route report (UIAA SCALE)
Summit altitude: mt. 2452
Difficulty: D sup., UIAA V
Equipment: trad equipment (pegs)- friends eventually useful
Climbing length: 230 mt.
First ascent: Luigi Balzola and Giuseppe Marchese 29-5-1955
Starting point: Chiappera mt. 1614 (upper Maira Valley)
An evergreen classic route on high-quality quartzite, running in the middle of East Face; the climb is elegant and pleasant.The starting point is situated in the lowest point of East Face; looking at East Face one can see a great chimney – Palestro Chimney – leading to Forcella Castello and dividing Rocca Castello on the right-hand side from Torre Castello on the left-hand side. A sharp ridge, on which Maria Grazia Route runs, bounds Palestro Chimney on the right-hand side. Balzola starting point is situated 15 mt. right from this ridge, in the lowest point of East Face, below a crack slanting right and leading to a huge niche covered by a roof.
L1 – With athletic climb rise up the steep crack leading to a reddish overhang; traverse right below the overhang, then climb again the crack reaching some steps under an overhang in the shape of a U upside down. Belay on the left. V, IV, 50 mt.
L2 – Frome the belay straightly up to an overhang; climb the overhang slants on its right edge along a flake, then climb some little wall leading to a whitish shallow corner. Climb the corner becoming wider with some ending flakes and cracks, leading to a sloping stance. V-, then IV, 35 mt.
L3 – Climb a steep crack, then traverse towards right; climb another wide crack , then slantways towards left along a ledge reach a good stance. V-, IV+, IV -, 40 mt.
L4 – Straight up for a few meters, then traverse slantways towards left, cross and edge and climb up to a large grassy ledge at the foot of “the great corner”. III+, III, 50 mt.L5 – Climb all the great corner, at first on the right face, then on the left. IV. 40 mt.
L6 - Carry on along the corner, then climb a little overhang, leading over the upper ledge. IV, V-, 40 mt.
L7 – Climbing the last pitch of Diagonale East Route get to the top (cross and summit-book).
Descent - There are 3 possibilities:
A- from the top with one abseil - along last pitch - reach the upper ledge; walk along the ledge towards left, facing out, reaching its Northern edge. A short abseil leads to a rocky gully. From here a sequence of abseils leads to the bottom of the gully. Traverse towards left (North) – iron fixed rope. Last 50 mt. abseil leads to the base of the tower close to Greguri Pass.
B- from the top it’s possible reach the upper ledge with one abseil to Forcella Castello (25 mt.). From this rocky saddle climb up to reach the ledge.
C- abseling along the same ascent route
Rope 2 X 50, ten expresses, helmet, friends and excentrics, ribbons.
No particular restriction in climbing and hiking
Best season goes from May to middle of October.
RIFUGIO CAMPO BASE
“Monte Viso – Alpi Cozie Meridionali” by Michelangelo Bruno – Guide dei Monti d’Italia CAI-TCI
“Il Gruppo Castello-Provenzale”