This couloir was first climbed in 1995 by Mario Cotichelli, Giancarlo Guglielmi and Sauro Scuppa. It’s placed between Bissolati Couloir on the left (west) and Direttissima Couloir on the right (east). It is not climbed as often as these two classical routes, and it is harder as well: in the Tempio Couloir the slope is steeper than on Direttissima (40°-55°), the grade is continuos and in the steeper spots you can easily find ice.
Best season to climb: late winter and early spring (february to may), depending on snow conditions.
Corno Grande: the route is marked in red
The start is from the arrival of Campo Imperatore Cableway (2.150 m). From there, you can:
1) follow the path that reaches the pass of Sella di Monte Aquila (2.335 m), crossing at half coast the slopes of Monte Portella.
2) If there's no track, or if the avalanche danger is considerable, it’s better to climb to Duca degli Abruzzi Hut and then, along the edge, reach Sella di Monte Aquila.
From there, follow the path towards Sella dei Due Corni, then, before you reach it, turn left towards Sella del Brecciaio until you get to mountain's slope
Map of the route and approach-path
: the start of Tempio’s Couloir is about 50 m before Bissolati’s Couloir (2.450 m; 1:45-3:00 hours depending on snow conditions).
The couloir starts quite large and with moderate slope (40° continous), but there are several narrowings where it steepens (45°).
On the bottom part of couloir
Approaching the first narrow
Before the half of the route, with few snow, you could meet a little but vertical cliff (2/3 meters): you can climb it directly with a mixed passage (easy, I grade UIAA) or you can avoid it on ice on the right. Here you can see a photo of this passage made by a guy the 26th of january 2008.
Over the rocky step
In the higher part, the couloir seems closed by a rock-wall: here you have the chance to avoid the harder part of the route, traversing on the right (east) and entering in the contiguous and easier Direttissima couloir.
If you want to keep climbing Tempio couloir, you have to pass by a short but narrow step, usually icy. This is the steeper stretch of the route and with few snow, this pitch can be quite demanding, requiring to climb on a steep slope (about 50°) of hard and iced snow. A narrow between two rocky spurs could be a short but real ice goulotte up to 55° steep. Here you can see a picture of this passage: it could be more iced than that (I found no snow but pure ice the 2nd of march 2008...)
You can make a belay on emerging rocks in the bottom part of the narrow (60m rope adviced).
Here the slope reach 50°/55° and often you can find ice
Just passed the crux
After this, the route becomes easier: you have to climb a last snow slope (45°) and you can come out on the simple west ridge: the summit (2.912 m) is 30 meters on your right (2:00-4:00 hours from the start of couloir).
Click to enlarge and see the southside couloir of Corno Grande
Ice-axe, crampons, helmet; rope depending on conditions (ice), but could be useful anyway on the steeper step
A short videoclip
Here you can see a short videoclp filmed the 2nd of march 2008
Literature, maps, external links
L. Grazzini, P. Abbate, “Gran Sasso d’Italia”, Cai-Tci, 1992
S. Ardito, “A piedi sul Gran Sasso”, Iter, 1992
A. Alesi, M. Calibani, A. Palermi, “Gran Sasso – Le più belle escursioni”, SER, 1996
Note: the Cai-Tci Guide "Gran Sasso d'Italia", L. Grazzini, P. Abbate it's useful for the approach and the descent but it doesn't contain Tempio Couloir report: you can buy a copy of the update at the Cai of Rome.
Best map is “Gran Sasso d’Italia. La carta dei sentieri”, edited by Cai-L’Aquila.