Gran Serra Normal Route

Gran Serra Normal Route

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 45.55616°N / 7.28501°E
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Alpine F+
Sign the Climber's Log



Gran Serra (Gran Sertz) Normal Route


Completely located in Aosta Valley, Gran Serra, also called Gran Sertz 3552 m., is a beautiful mountain belonging to the Gran Paradiso Massif, Gran Serra Subgroup, lying on the watersheed between Valsavarenche and Valnontey (Cogne). Gran Serra is mostly covered by glaciers, but the culminating part has a small rock castle formed from some large blocks suspended above the wide glaciers. 

La Gran Serra o Gran Sertz (3552 m)
La Gran Serra o Gran Sertz - Ph. Antonio Giani


While not a flashy summit, it's a majestic mountain and highly coveted by the mountaineers in reason of its great position, its sweeping summit views and the profitability and pleasantness of its Normal Route from the Rifugio Vittorio Sella. 

The pyramidal Herbetet 3778m seen from Gran Serra 3552m summit
The pyramidal Herbetet seen from the summit of Gran Serra
Lauson Glacier
The Lauson Glacier




All these reasons make Gran Serra Normal route, later described, a totally advisable itinerary and often attended, but along which you will never meet the crowd of most famous mountains.





Getting There

The starting resort to climb Gran Serra Normal Route is the little hamlet of Valnontey 1682 m. near the village of Cogne 1544 m., located at the end of the homonym valley.

Road access to Valnontey

From Torino or Milano take the A5 Motorway and exit Aosta Ovest, getting Aymavilles and following the road entering Val di Cogne, about 25 km. long and traveled by Grand Eyvia stream. The valley penetrates into the heart of Gran Paradiso massif, getting to Vieyes, Ponte Laval bridge, Epinel, Cretaz, La Villa 1534 m, the main town of Cogne municipality, and just beyond Valnontey.

Moving sunset from Rifugio Vittorio Sella
Sunset from Rifugio Vittorio Sella

Trail to Refuge Vittorio Sella

From Valnontey 1.666 m. cross the wooden bridge over the stream to get the "Giardino Alpino Paradisia". At first the path runs along the fence of "Paradisia", then enters the forest. The well-marked trail rises with several hairpins reaching a rock wall with a view of a waterfall and an ancient alp. 

Scenery along the path to Rifugio Vittorio Sella
Scenery along the path to Rifugio Vittorio Sella
Lodge of Gran Paradiso National Park near Refuge Vittorio Sellae
Lodge of Gran Paradiso National Park near Refuge Vittorio Sellae



At the end of the forest it takes a long diagonal getting the last slopes defending the access to the basin where it's situated the hut. After a bridge crossing again the stream, the path rises with some hairpins, getting to the lodge of Gran Paradiso National Park and further to the double building of Rifugio Vittorio Sella m. 2588.




Route Description


Normal route to Grand Sertz (Gran Serra) 3552m through Lauson and Gran Vallon glaciers
Normal route to Gran Serra

Gran Serra Normal route from Rifugio Vittorio Sella

Difficulty: Alpine F+
Difference in level: 975 m. from the shelter
Exposure: East
Time required: 4 hours to the summit

A classic and easy alpine route into the heart of Grand Paradiso National Park. The setting is wonderful!







From the refuge head to South, overstep the stream and cross the pastures to the left, following the well-marked trail along the steep moraine debris leading to the Lauson Glacier. Cross the glacier left direction on moderate slopes, getting to the base of two scree-gullies, similar in length, slope and amount of unstable blocks and about 80 meters high. 

On the moraine along the approach to Lauson Glacier
On the moraine along the approach to Lauson Glacier
Gran Serra and Lauson Glacier
Gran Serra and Lauson Glacier









Climb one of the two gullies that allows to overcome the rocky barrier separating the Lauson Glacier from the Grand Val Glacier and leading to a collar above the rocks at about 3200 m. of altitude. From the collar across some granite blocks get to the Grand Val Glacier.

Grand Val glacier, on the way to Gran Serra
Grand Val glacier, on the way to Gran Serra
airy on the summit
The airy summit of Gran Serra










Up the glacier with a wide semicircle, as far as it joins the Southern ridge of Gran Serra. Climb up, overcoming some easy rocks and blocks. The short ending chimney culminates on the tiny summit table, on which it stands a small cross.

Descent: reversing the route

Essential Gear

Rope, ice-ax, crampons, high mountain boots and clothes

Red Tape

A big male of ibex in P.N.G.P.
A big male of ibex on Alpe Lauson
Leontopodium Alpinum in Gran Paradiso National Park
Broad blooming of Leontopodium Alpinum in Gran Paradiso National Park




Gran Serra is situated inside P.N.G.P. Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso, one of the hystorical national parks in Italy, belonging to the provinces of Aosta and Torino. Free camping is not allowed and fires are forbidden. The whole fauna and flora are protected.





- Rifugio Vittorio Sella 2858 m

Situation: Alpe Lauson - Gran Paradiso National Park
Open: from 19/03 to 05/05 and from 28/05 to 25/09
Size: 175
Owner: Club Alpino Italiano Sez. Biella
Hut's phone : 0039-0165-74310 - 0039-0165-551658 - Mobile 0039-3491899168
Getting There: from Valnontey m 1666 (3 hour)

Vittorio Sella shelter
Rifugio Vittorio Sella
Erratic block nearby Vittorio Sella Hut
Erratic block nearby on Alpe Lauson










When to climb

Mountaineering: from June to September 

P.N.G.P. - Gran Paradiso National Park logo
P.N.G.P. - Gran Paradiso National Park logo
Gran Sertz and Herbetet
Gran Sertz and Herbetet

Ski-Mountaineering: from April to May



Guidebooks and maps

Gran Paradiso
Gran Paradiso map 1:50.000
Gran Paradiso map 1.25.000

"Gran Paradiso Parco Nazionale" E. Andreis, R. Chabod, M. C. Santis, Club Alpino Italiano-Touring Club Italiano


Kompass "Gran Paradiso Valle d'Aosta Sentieri e rifugi" 1:50.000. I.G.C. Istituto Geografico Centrale "Gran Paradiso-La Grivola-Cogne" 1:25.000.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.