Grawand (or Croda delle Cornacchie, as it is known in Italian) is located in the southern part of the Ötztal Alps between Similaun and Weisskugel. Strangely enough the Austrian - Italian border at this place leaves the ridge (which makes a bend to the south) and heads straight across Hochjochferner. This makes Grawand one of the few solely Italian summits on the ridge.
Halfway between Grawand and Similaun to the east is the place were "Ötzi", the 5300 year old "Man from Hauslabjoch" have been found. I include a couple of links on the respective section below for those of you who are interested in archaeology. Another information which might be interesting is that at the beginning of Schnalstal / Val Senales (at the end of whicht the ascent routes start) to the west is Castle Juval - belonging to Reinhold Messner.
But back to the mountain: Grawand offers some very beautiful views of the whole Ortles-Cevedale group - look at the panorama section to see what I mean - as well as closeup views of Grawand to the east and Weisskugel to the northwest, the highest summits in the area. Unfortunately the area around Hochjochferner is a summer skiing region and a cablecar runs up almost to the summit. This ensures that the summit is always crowded with people who would otherwise never climbe a 3000+m mountain. The upside of this is that you can use the cablecar for the descent - no bad idea, after having climbed some 1400m.
The ascent itself is a rather lonesome hike -either to Hochjoch in the northwest or Finailjoch to the east. From both passes you need to cross an exposed ridge with climbing sections (II+) which are secured by cable.
The Summit Panorama
You have great views from Grawand. Just look at the panorama below. The photos have been scanned from paper and stichted later so please excuse their quality (especially around the stitches.
The best trailhead for this mountain is at Kurzras / Maso Corto at the end of Schnalstal / Val Senales. It is here were the cablecar to Grawand starts so that a lot of parking space is available. Both ascent routes start from here. To reach Kurzras / Maso Corto the following directions apply:
Take the Brenner motorway (A22) which you leave at Bozen / Bolzano south. Take S38 (Vinschgauer Staatsstrasse) northwards towards Meran /Merano). The road follows the Etsch / Adige Valley into Vinschgau / Val Venosta. Follow the road westwardsuntil you reach Naturns / Naturno. Shortly afterwards the road to Schnalstal / Val Senales turns off to the right (north) leading through a narrow gorge. Go to the end of the valley to Kurzras / Maso Corto.
Take Inntalautobahn (Motorway A12) westward from Innsbruck to Landeck. At Landeck turn onto road 180 which winds its way upwards the upper Inn valley towards Nauders. Between Nauders and Reschen /Résia you cross the border and are directly on the shore of Reschensee / Lago di Résia. Follow the main road down torards Tschars / Ciares. Again shortly afterwards the road to Schnalstal / Val Senales turns off north (this time it's to the left). Follow it to its end.
Take motorway A3 from Zürich or E43 from Bregenz southwards in the direction of Chur. Shortly after the motorways meet turn off onto road 28, direction Davos. Behind Davos at Susch the road splits (27 / 28). You can take either roads - the southern one (28) leads you over Ofenpass (Passo dal Fuorn) into Vinschgau (there take the main road downwards (east)), the northern one (27) goes to the swiss-austrian border near Pfunds where you turn southwards again on 180 and head for Nauders, Reschen and on through the whole Vinschgau valley until you reach Tschars / Ciares.
No red tape applies here. The National Park Texel Group ( Parco Naturale Gruppo di Tessa) starts at Pfossental, 7km to the east.
When To Climb
Grawand / Croda delle Cornacchie can be climbed all year round. As stated in the overview section this is a summer ski region so the cable car runs all year. In winter the southern ascents will be "closed" meaning they are to steep to to ski ascents but then a whole new field of opportunity is given by the large glaciers to the north. Go to the end of Rofental to Hochjochhospiz on the Austrian side and chose your ascent route.
Ötzi, the Iceman from Hauslabjoch
As stated in the overview section, Ötzi the 5300 year old iceman has been found right near Grawand (to the east) at Hauslabjoch. For those of you interested in archaeology here are a couple of useful links:
List of publications
AccommodationFor accommodation you can contact the Schnalstal- or Vinschgau- Tourism offices at
Associazone Turistica Val Senales
39020 Val Senales Certosa 42
Tel. +39 0473 679148
Fax +39 0473 679177
Web page: www.oetzisworld.it
Tourism association Vinschgau
I - 39028 Schlanders
South Tyrol - Italy
Tel. +39 0473 62 04 80
Fax +39 0473 62 04 81
E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Web page: www.vinschgau.org
Another worthwhile web page (for those who speak German is www.suedtirolerland.it.
Mountain ConditionsFor weather conditions in South Tyrol look at the page of Meteo Alpin. For the english text you have to scroll down the right frame.
Other sites with weather and webcam-links are
Maps 'n' BooksAgain I can only comment on the books that I have used while climbing the area, they are, however, all in German. Any other language publication are welcome. Simply post an addition to this section.
Ötztaler Alpen / Alpenvereinsführer
ISBN: 3 7633 1123 8
Kompass Book 950
ISBN: 3 8705 1414 3
Vinschgau / Val Venosta
Kompass Map WK52
ISBN 3 8459 1058 4