An amusing couloir between the south ridge (Cresta Cermenati) and the west ridge (Cresta Segantini) of the Grigna Meridionale is the Canalino del Caminetto Pagani.
It is an easy mixed climb (mostly on snow) and can be done only in winter or spring when the snow conditions are good. The route difficulty can be rated PD- as there are some short rocky sections (II UIAA) and the steepest parts are around 50°. Depending to the quantity and type of snow the exit on the ridge can be quite steep.
Starting point Pian dei Resinelli.
From Milano SS 36 till Lecco then follow the indications for Valsassina. After some long tunnels you arrive in a roundabout in Ballabio where you can find the indication for Piani dei Resinelli.
Once arrived to Pian dei Resinelli you can park the car in the big parking area or continue for a couple of kilometers on the road on the right of the small Church. Where the road ends there is place to park 4 or 5 cars only.
Follow the Direttissima Route (mark 8) that starts on the left of the Canalone Caimi. At the beginning the route is easy but, over 1650m.of altitude there are a couple of passages that in late winter or spring can be tricky. The trail is covered in snow (often icy) and crosses slopes pretty steep. A slip here can be very dangerous.
At around 1700 m. you can see the ladders of the Caminetto Pagani. A fixed rope and some metallic steps help to cross a rocky traverse that leads under the ladders.
This is where the route starts.
It is up to you to decide to use the rope or not. The use of a second ice axe can be helpful in the steepest part if the snow is extremely hard. Being the channel very narrow, in winter the sun cannot melt the snow and it is really difficult to find a lot of ice.
The first meters are easy and not too steep (max 30°) then you reach a big rock stuck in the middle of the channel that you have to cross on the right side.
The passage is only very few meters long and can be rated II UIAA
Then another snow section followed by a rock band. Also this part is very short, let’s say 5 / 10m. depending on the quantity of snow, and rated II.
The second rock band
From this point on there is snow only.
The route gently turns left while the channel narrows and gets steeper and steeper.
The mid part of the Canalino The steepest part of the Canalino
The steepest section can be around 50° and corresponds to the narrowest part of the couloir.
At the exit of the couloir you are on a wide slope and you can see the cornice high on the right. Try to find the best place to exit on the ridge.
At about 2000m. you join the Cresta Cermenati where you can continue for about 20 minutes and reach the summit of Grignetta.
The cornice The exit on the Cermenati Ridge
Coming down can be made by the Canalone Caimi or by the and rocky Cresta Cermenati.
Mountaineering boots, crampons, helmet, ice axe. A second tool can be helpful but it is not necessary. Use the rope if the leader is followed by not expert partners. In this case 30m. are more than enough.
Remember to ask to refuges people informations about the snow conditions and wear the helmet!
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