From Cogne-Cretaz to the summit

From Cogne-Cretaz to the summit

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 45.59370°N / 7.28010°E
Additional Information Route Type: Hiking
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Time Required: One to two days
Additional Information Difficulty: Trail
Sign the Climber's Log


Wonderful and exciting route through a solitary landscape with woods, meadows, rocks, in front of the majesty of the Grivola and the Trajo glacier. Suggested also for children well trained (so many steinbocks!).
Steinbock in the Gran Paradiso ParkFat male or female waiting for a baby?
A real alpinistic experience up to 3630 meters without stressing difficulties.

Getting There

This ascent is suggested as a two-days tour: the first day to reach the Bivacco Gratton (at 3204 m); the second day to climb the summit and to go down to the starting point. The route, alternative to that coming from Valnontey and Rifugio Vittorio Sella (see the description Valnontey-Punta Rossa), starts from the village of Cogne (1534 meters). Some guide-books report the village of Cretaz, a lower village located 2 km far from Cogne, as starting point.
Drive from Aosta (Highway exit: Aosta Ovest) to Aymaville and continue to Cogne (about 21 km). A public transportation service is available from Aosta to Cogne.

Route Description

Ascent: 2100 m
- 1st day: 1660 m – 4:30-5:00 hours
- 2nd day: 450 m – 1:30 hours
Descent: 2000 m – 3:30-4:00 hours

A very wide and characteristic meadow of Cogne (the so-called Prati di Sant’Orso) with a fantastic view of the Northern sector of the Gran Paradiso Group is your starting point. Crossed the stream coming down from Valnontey the trail starts immediately after the bridge, close to a bar and a tennis camp. Ascending steeply it overcomes a pasture (Robat, 1705 meters) and it continues through a wood up to the Les Ors huts (1944 m). The trail starting from Cretaz, slightly steeper than the one from Cogne, joins it near the hamlet of Les Ors. Going straight from the junction till to the hamlet of Vermiana inferiore, probably you can meet chamoises, alone or in herd. From here you can easily return to the trail leading both to Vermiana and Pousset valleys.
Pousset Hut of the Gran Paradiso Park RangersThe hut of PNGP

Following clear indication (trail n° 26 is your number) the route becomes steeper and it reaches the hut of PNGP (Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso) at 2286 meters. The hut, reserved only to the park’s ranger, is placed on a rock between the Vallone di Vermiana and the Vallone del Pousset. Descending few meters and passing a stream (bridge) the trail enters in the Vallone del Pousset and through a wonderful landscape it arrives, without any significant effort, at the Casolari del Pousset Superiore (Higher Pousset’s huts) at 2529 meters. The comfortable trail is now steeper and turning around a rocky spur it ascends quickly under the South-side of the Punta Pousset (3046 m).
Gran Paradiso GROUP: at the foot of Punta Pousset <i>3046m</i>Punta Pousset
It is a characteristic summit recalling a finger, as it appears from the Cogne Valley. Continue up to the cross with the trail to the Punta Pousset (at about 2850 m) and following always the n° 26 arrive at a rocky terrace.
The rocky terraceWalking on the flat terrace
From here you have a wonderful view of the “Apostoli” (Torre di Sant’Orso, Torre di Sant’Andrea, Torre del Gran San Pietro) and related glaciers: a rest is perfect at this moment, before the last step to the bivouac.
Resting in front of ApostoliThe rocky terrace 200 meters below the saddle of Colle del Pousset
The trail now is characterised by big stones and the route is easily recognizable also looking at yellow indications (arrows and lines). After 4:30-5:00 from the starting point you arrive at the saddle of the Colle del Pousset (3198 m) where is also placed the Bivacco Gratton (3204 meters).
The bivacco GrattonThe Bivacco Gratton (3204 meters)

The first time, but maybe not only, the scene is really incredible. You was walking tired after more than 1600 meters, looking at the trail and your feet; the slope decreases and suddenly you are in front of the Grivola and the Trajoz Glacier. Any effort is disappeared, so great is the gift of this view, and new energy accompanies your last steps.
The bivouac is very comfortable (nine beds) but the water can be a problem; sometime you have to take snow and ice from the Trajo glacier (CAUTION!) descending a rocky wall (about 40 meters) assisted by ropes, not always in good condition. In August 2006 a written-message left by a climber in the bivouac highlighted the risks.
The second day is dedicated to the summit. Start at early morning. The ascent follows the NE-ridge never exposed and very easy to climb. Remember that this summit can be reached in summer without any specific equipment or gear; good shoes are more than enough. The first step, up to 3337 meters, has not any indication and the route is intuitive; you have only to overcome rocky blocks and big stones (sometimes not stable).
The NE-ridge and the summitThe first step of the ridge
After this first effort (about 20 minutes), the ascent is pure pleasure. The ridge now is wider and you can walk even looking at the mountains all around you. From about 3420 meters the ridge becomes steeper and progressively narrower. On your right side the are a lot of crevasses of Trajo glacier, in background the ridge of the Grivola and the ascent is very interesting; only wonderful view without any real climbing difficulty.
The ridge of Punta RossaThe ridge to the Punta Rossa summit from about 3350 meters

Trajoz Glacier and GrivolaGrivola and Trajoz glacier

Finally you are on the summit at 3630 meters with a 360° view to all the Gran Paradiso Group and the mountains of the boundary, from Monte Bianco to Monte Rosa Group.
Punta Rossa, summit viewSummit view

The descent follows the same route of the ascent till 3400 m. From here, if you wouldn’t descent by the same route of the day before, you have to turn on your right and go down in the direction of the Colle della Rossa (3195 m) walking on a trail (not signed on the maps but easily to find) on the East side of the Punta Rossa.
The Colle della RossaColle della Rossa (3195 m)
Just few meters under the Colle della RossaFew minutes before the the saddle of Colle della Rossa

Arrived at the Colle della Rossa continue the descent, at first steep, into the Vallone del Lauson, the steinbocks’ kingdom, reach the Rifugio Vittorio Sella (2584 m) and then Valnontey, the base of the trip (1650 m). From here to Cogne-Cretaz there is a good service of public transportation.

Essential Gear

I acended it only in summer, so that a pair of good shoes was enough. The tour requires good health condition, especially for the first day (1700 meters are always a remarkable effort!). Crampons and ice-axes could be useful in spring season to approach the final part of the ridge, just under the summit.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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livioz - Sep 4, 2006 10:37 am - Voted 10/10

Trail from Cretaz

The trail starting from Cretaz, slightly steeper than the one from Cogne, joins it near the hamlet of Les Ors. A hint: going straight from the junction till to the hamlet of Vermiana inferiore, probably you can meet chamoises, alone or in herd. From here you can easily return to the trail leading both to Vermiana and Pousset valleys.


Lupino - Sep 4, 2006 10:40 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Trail from Cretaz

Thanks Livio. I'll add the info into the description. Paolo

Viewing: 1-2 of 2