Becco di Valsoera m. 3369
The Piantonetto Valley, a tributary of Orco Valley, is one of the best known sites in the Southern side of Gran Paradiso Group, a group indeed mainly famous for its Northern high mountains covered by glaciers, kingdom of classic old fashion mixed mountaineering. In its Southern side the massif hides another wonderful kingdom, made of steep granite walls and beautiful hard rock climbs, both classic and modern. In the middle of the rocky heart of Gran Paradiso, the Piantonetto Valley, we can find a veritable pearl, the magnificent rocky tower of Becco di Valsoera. Until the early Fifties this range, now well kown as the "Italian Yosemite" was low frequented, then a climbing movement named "Nuovi mattini" (New Mornings) started to explore and climb both the bottom Orco Valley structures - like Caporal and Sergent - and the higher peaks lying in the Piantonetto Valley. Becco di Valsoera is a high mountain peak, one of the most famous in Piedmont, because of its beautiful shape and its climbing history. The impressive and majestic North-West and West faces, more than 600 meters high, are a perfect granite wall, divided in different sectors. On this face the mighty West ridge catchs the eye. The Eastern side falls down on the Vallone di Valsoera.
Other important summits in this range are:
- From France and Switzerland reach Aosta, then follow the Monte Bianco motorway towards South, exit Ivrea. From Ivrea follow the road to Ciriè and Pont Canavese.
- From Turin reach Courgnè and Pont Canavese mt. 461; from here follow Orco Valley as far as Rosone mt. 715 (Km. 16,5 from Pont Canavese). A few hundred meters after Rosone leave the main road and follow on the right-hand side (road marks Piantonetto-Rifugio Pontese) the narrow and winding road rising along Piantonetto Valley and reaching the Teleccio artificial Lake mt.1917. Dam. Parking.
Walking approach to Rifugio Pontese
From Teleccio Lake m. 1870 (Dam, artificial lake) follow the road running along the right shore of the lake, then a steep path rising quickly to Pontese Hut m. 2200 (45 minutes from the parking), guarded in summer.
Walking approach to West face
From Pontese Hut cross Pian delle Muande along its left orographic side getting to a scree-gully descending from Bocchetta di Ciardonei. Up strenuosly the scree rising to the starting point of W Ridge; to get the other routes skirt on the right the buttress lying before the W ridge, scramble on easy slabs to the various starting (2 hours from the hut).
The first route realized on Becco di Valsoera had been the middle-class "Leonessa-Tron" in the year 1955.On the stunning W face of this majestic peak had been written some of the best pages of mountaineering and climbing, since 1960, the year of the first ascent of the first high class route, the Perego-Mellano-Cavalieri. Valsoera routes can be compared with the most famous routes of Mont Blanc Group: the Perego-Mellano-Cavalieri (Romano Perego, teamleader, was the first Italian on the N wall of Eiger and the first climber of Denali along the Cassin route) was considered similar to Petit Dru hard routes. On the West wall the most important pages of climbing evolution in Gran Paradiso Group has been written. Afterwards, high level climbers alternated each others, realizing many other very hard modern routes with difficulties up to 8a (5.13) near (to the right and to the left) of the Perego-Mellano-Cavalieri route; very important legs of climbing evolution in the Gran Paradiso Group.
Becco di Valsoera NW and W faces routes from left to right (French scale):
- NW ridge: C. Biletta, G. Tondella 29/6/1968 - D+, 5a and A1 - 400 m. - Loredana: C. Bernardi, M. Carcereri, G. Ribotto 20/7/1985 - TD, 6a, 5c obbl., 400 m., re-equipped in 2010 - Abseils anchors on the route - Filo da torcere: D. Caneparo, L. Casetta 11/7/1984 - TD+, 5c/A3, 400 m. - Not equipped - Diedro Giallo: S. Bottaro, G. Gallina, A. Nebiolo 14-15/9/1974 - TD+, 6a - 400 m. - Stairway to Heaven: A. Giorda, A. Trombetta 8/8/2006 ED+, 7b+, 6b obbl. - 500 m. - Cavalieri-Mellano-Perego: R. Perego, A. Mellano, E. Cavalieri 6-7/8/1960 - TD, 6b/A0 (2 aid points) or 5b/A1 - 600 m. The most famous superb classic route on the W edge - Agrippine: C. and Y. Remy 1992 - ED+, 7a, 6b obbl. - 400 m. - A route too much forced, crossing unlikely pre-existing classic routes - Fessura Tondella: C. Biletta, G. Tondella, N. Valerio 1968 - TD+, 5c/A1 - 300 m. - Nel Corso del Tempo: Adalgisa Ariu, M. Motto, G. Predan, R. Sartore summer 1992 - ED+, 7a+, 6b obbl.- 350 m. - Sturm und Drang : A. Giorda, A. Zuccon 1983-1984 ED, 7a or 5c/A3 -300 m. - Furore: F. Arneodo, P. Rossetti, G. Tesio 1989 - ED+, 7b or 6b/c, 250 m. - Diretta alla Torre Staccata: U. Manera, V. Boreatti, I. Meneghin, C. Sant'Unione 1980 - ED, 6b+ or 5c/A2 - 250 m. - Via di Guglielmo: G. Grassi,G. Motti,M. Ghirardi, G. Rubinetto 1968 - TD-, 5c/A1 - 550 m. - Leonessa - Tron: L. Leonessa, G. Tron 1955 - D, 4b - 800 m. The middle class route on the central spur of the W face, the easiest one - The Southern Spur or Via Migliasso: Cristiano-Danusso-Fornelli-Franco - TD-, 5a/A1
The normal route, nowaday used only to come down, follows (from the real summit) the Eastern side (Valsoera) and, staying close (50 m) to the SE ridge get a ledge that, after some vertical slabs, gives access to a narrow channel that leads to a notch. Down along the channel bordering the SW wall, keeping the right side, to get the wide grassy channel ending to the Pian delle Muande.
The rock of the Becco di Valsoera is a granite of excellent quality worked with clear-cut holds in the most vertical sections, with regular dihedral and fissures especially on the W edge. For the altitude and exposure of the wall, which is West, where the sun arrives later, the temperatures are sometimes quite low in the first pitches of the routes, even during the summer.
There are no fees or permits needed to climb Becco di Valsoera. The mountain is located inside Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso, established in 1922, one of most important National Parks in Italy. You should take care of nature as usual within the boundaries of all the natural parks. Free camping is not allowed and fires are strictly forbidden. The whole fauna and flora are protected. Don’t disturb fauna and other mountaineers’ peacefulness with every kind of noise.
Pontese Hut on Pian delle Muande m. 2200 (guarded by “Gran Paradiso Friends” Association) open in summer (40 minutes from Teleccio Lake).
"Rock Paradise – Classic, modern and sportive climbing in Gran Paradiso valleys” by Maurizio Oviglia Ed. Versante Sud 2000 "Gran Paradiso” by E. Andreis, R. Chabod and M.C. Santi Guide dei Monti d’Italia TCI-CAI Maps: “Gran Paradiso - La Grivola - Cogne” – IGC 101 1:25.000 "Il Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso" - IGC 3 1:50.000