The Gran Paradiso Group, largely known in reason of its Northern high mountains covered by glaciers, kingdom of classic old fashion mixed mountaineering routes, shows in its Southern side another wonderful kingdom, made of steep granite walls and beautiful hard rock climbs, both classic and modern. The complex and very interesting rocky summit of Courmaon lies inside this chain, Punta Fourà Sub-Group, in the middle of the beautiful basin overlooking the village of Ceresole Reale and its homonymous great artificial lake. The mountain ridges create three main sides: a rocky and superb North-East face, overlooking the Vallone del Roc, well visible also from Orco Valley, another rocky and steep wall facing South, rising from the Boiret basin, and a scree-sloping West side. Courmaon shows a triangular rocky structure build by several shape spurs, separated by some scree-gullies. Courmaon has an important mountaineering tradition; while the main walls of this sector of Gran Paradiso Group, as the ones lying in Piantonetto Valley and Orco Valley, had been explored later, since the early Forties a fine classic route had been realized on Courmaon: it’s the beautiful and classic East Ridge, climbed in the year 1942 by Giusto Gervasutti “il Fortissimo” and his pal Ettore Giraudo.
First summiter: the topographer Guarducci 1880, August 18th
After the South Spur ascent by the Giraudo brothers in the year 1940, it was the beautiful East ridge climbed by Giusto Gervasutti “il Fortissimo” and Ettore Giraudo in the year 1942 to draw the attention of the climbers on Courmaon. This route remained through several years the most famous route round about. Since the middle of the Sixties different protagonists of the Piedmont mountaineering, as Giancarlo Grassi, Ugo Manera and Gian Piero Motti started to explore the peak climbing new routes on the North-East spurs. The interest of the mountaineers started to take aim on the South wall in the year 1985, when Claudio Santunione climbed a new route on this face, followed by some other routes by the same Santunione with Manera the next year.
The starting point to climb Courmaon is Ceresole Reale m. 1613, a nice village lying near the great artificial Lake of Ceresole. Dam. Road access
- From Turin (Caselle international airport) reach Courgnè and Pont Canavese mt. 461; from here follow the road entering Valle dell’Orco, reaching Locana, Rosone, Noasca and Ceresole Reale m. 1613. (Km. 35 from Pont Canavese).
- From Aosta take the Aosta-Torino motorway, exit Ivrea. From Ivrea follow the road towards Ciriè, reaching Pont Canavese. From here same access as the previous one.
Walking approach to Courmaon
- Approach to South face – From Borgata Capoluogo in Ceresole follow the signpost “Sentiero Natura” toward the Grand Paradiso National Park “Casotto delle Cialme” (Cialme Shelter), getting to the shelter m. 2299 (1 and a half hour) and to the little Col of Boiret m. 2498, in view of Courmaon South face. Traverse towards left on a slope, getting the moraine which leads below S face left triangle.
-Approach to North-East face – From Borgata Broc in Ceresole follow the path towards Bivacco Giraudo, getting Colle Sià m. 2274. From Colle Sià reach the Alpe Loserai di sopra, carry on a bit, then leave the main path, rising on the scree-slopes to the basal pedestal (3,30 hours from Ceresole).
Via Gervasutti-Giraudo report
Summit altitude: 3162 m
Difficulty: 6a (V+ and A0)
Equipment: some pegs in place, some belays to be equipped, friends and nuts are useful
Climbing length: 300 m
First ascent: G. Gervasutti and E. Giraudo, 14-7-1942
Starting point: Ceresole Reale, Borgata Broc
Classic and advised route following a beautiful line. The rock is the tipical good gneiss of the Southern side of Gran Paradiso. The first part of the route is athletic and runs through the fine right edge of the triangle that characterizes Courmaon. The second one runs along the east ridge.
From the road rising to Ceresole Reale from the hamlet of Prese, just beyond the second hairpin, find to the right the road leading to the start of the GTA trail (signpost to Bivacco Giraudo). Follow the trail that reaches the grassy plateau of Cà Bianca (1942 m, hut). Continue, leaving the GTA trail, getting Colle Sià m. 2274. After crossing the col, in the valley of the Roc, locate and reach to the east the Alpe Loserai di Sopra 2312 m (2 hours from Ceresole). From the huts, find an ancient artifact for catching water, and follow it almost flat to get into the upper part of the Vallone del Roc, then head to the lowest point of the East crest, which is reached by climbing a steep scree (1.30 from Loserai di Sopra). Once reached the crest, bypass the first keeping the Vallone del Roc side the first prominences, then follow a ledge to the base of the obvious rocky triangle that characterizes the East side. Find a cairn at the base of the first corner.
L1 - From the ledge climb a dihedral-crack, then traverse right to the obvious cairn, climb up the corner and belay above on a terrace. IV+ and then V, 2 pegs, 40 m.
L2 - Climb a few meters directly, then traverse right to get a second corner leading to a large terrace on the edge, IV+ then V, 2 pegs, 25 m.
L3 - Continue on fine cracks heading to a characteristic yellow pillar, overcome the overhang and exit to the stance, V, V+ and 6a, 5 pegs, 35 m.
L4 - Take the crack to the right of the stance, continue to the right towards a large overhanging block, climb it and where the wall starts overhanging pass to the right to take the corner leading again to the edge, 6a then V+ and V, 3 pegs, 45 m.