East Face (Normal Route)

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Italy/Switzerland, Europe
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Spring, Summer, Fall
Time Required:
Most of a day

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East Face (Normal Route)
Created On: Dec 20, 2015
Last Edited On: Dec 20, 2015


Ascending the Lys Glacier with Lykamm behind
Ascending the Lys Glacier with Il Naso behind

Ascending Il Naso; Lys glacier
Ascending Il Naso; Lys glacier

Il Naso del Lyskamm (or Schneedomspitze) has 2 main routes up to its summit. The route along the East Face is considered the normal route on this mountain. This is probably because it is slightly easier compared to the other main route: The West Face. The East Face route is graded PD and involves mainly snow and ice. The route starts from ether the Mantova or Gnifetti Mountain Hut and crosses the immense Lys Glacier before reaching the base of Il Naso's East Face. The normal route along the East Face knows 2 variations: The direct route up is along a steep, 40 degrees, snow/ice face directly up the East Face of Il Naso. When this face is in good condition, this is the route taken up to Il Naso, but when this face is out of condition (icy and without snow) it is usually avoided.

If this is the case, the alternative route is taken, which follows a rock band located to the south of the East Face. This rock section involves some light climbing in the UIAA grade I and is never difficult. The only catch is the looseness of the stones and debris on this face, so watch out... An English climber above us slipped and slided down almost taking our party with him. Fortunately he was OK and we could all continue our climb. After taking one of the 2 variations up, it is only a matter of time before standing on the summit. The slope decreases in angle and without any difficulties you will reach the summit of Il Naso.

The Approach Route with Pyramide Vincent (4215m)
The Approach Route with Pyramide Vincent (4215m)

On the Lys glacier
On the Lys glacier

The normal route along the East Face is climbed often. It is used as a way up as much as it is used as a way down since Il Naso is mostly traversed. Il Naso is part of the so called Spaghetti Tour where multiple Monte Rosa 4000 meter peaks are collected and therefore a popular objective. There is much debate about Il Naso being a real 4000 meter peak or not. For more information about this matter, see the main mountain page of Il Naso. The route along the East Face is a great outing, especally when combined with the West Face Route making it a traverse route. In my opinion this traverse is one of the more interesting easier routes on a 4000meter peak in the Monte Rosa Group. Last but not least Il Naso offers great views in all directions. For exemple: Almost all Monte Rosa 4000m peaks can be seen from the summit, as well as Castor, Mont Blanc, Gran Paradiso and even La Grande Casse and Monviso when the weather is good enough.

Difficulty: PD
Rock: UIAA grade I
Time: A full day
The ridge connecting Il Naso with Lyskamm
The ridge connecting Il Naso with Lyskamm

On the summit ridge
On the summit ridge

Route Description: From Hut to Base

Coming from the Mantova Hut cross the Garstelet Glacier and climb up until you reach the Gnifetti hut. Directly behind the Capanna Gnifetti you will arrive at the immense Lys Glacier. Head towards the north on the glacier. Most times a path is visible along the glacier; this is a result of the popularity of the route. All routes towards the Monte Rosa 4000m peaks go up here. Do watch out for crevasses, the Lys glacier is completely filled with them. Eventually you will pass Pyramide Vincent (visible to the right of you) and reach a junction of trails at about 4000m of altitude. If you take a right you go up Pyramide Vincent, if you go straight ahead, you are heading towards Signalkuppe, Zumsteinspitze and co. For Il Naso you have to go left here (towards the west).

The path crosses the Lys glacier in a western direction and goes in the direction of Il Naso, which is visible at any point. Once arrived at the base of Il Naso's East Face the real climb starts See the section below for the description of this part of the Route. 

Route Description: East Face

Eventually you will reach the base of Il Naso. From this point there are two options: Go up the east face directly (Orange) in the direction of the Passo del Naso (4150m). This involves a short section (40/45°) which is mostly frozen. If conditions are not optimal it is possible to avoid this section and to climb up the rock face to the south of it. This rocky section (Red) involves some light climbing in the first grade(UIAA I) . You do have to watch out for all the loose debris though, it is very easy to slip. After the rock face you will reach the Passo del Naso at 4150m.From here, the route (Purple) goes to the left along a short slope to reach the snowy ridge, and subsequently climbs up to the right on an easy mixed ridge to reach the summit at 4,272 meters. It is also possible to go up in a more or less straight line from the ending of the rock section (Red). In this way you are able to traverse the summit ridge and descent towards Passo del Naso.

Descent is the same way back. A more popular option is to cross Il Naso and go down the West face in the direction of the Quintino Sella Hut. See the description of the route above (‘’West Face from Quintino Sella’’) for more details about this route.

Approach Route

Rifugio Gnifetti and Rifugio Mantova:

The route to the refuge is via a glacier trail of about 1 hour walking that starts from the new station of the funifor Passo Salati-Indren at 3275m above see level, with a difference in height of 372 m. Indren can be reached with the Monterosaski lift system from Alagna or Gressoney. For more information about the Capanna Gnifetti and how to get to Alagna see the main page of Il Naso.

Also see the SP pages of both huts: Capanna Gnifetti & Rifugio Mantova

Route MAP

Climbing Equipment

Full glacial equipment is needed: A rope, crampons and ice axe.
Furthermore wear warm (breathable) clothing since you are at high altitude.
If you are traversing Il Naso an ice screw is needed as well for climbing down the West Face



Monte Rosa IGC Map 1:25.000

Monte Rosa-Alagna-Valsesia-Macugnagna-Gressoney
No. 109
Instituto Geografico Centrale (IGC)

One of the few 1:25.000 maps that covers the whole Monte Rosa Massif.

External Links

Il Naso on CamptoCamp: Click Here

East Face (Normal Route)

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