Gran Zebrù - Ski route from Valfurva

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Sondrio, Italy, Europe
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Gran Zebrù - Ski route from Valfurva
Created On: Apr 19, 2013
Last Edited On: Jul 14, 2013


This outstanding rocky mountain has a snowy side that permits to climb up and down the summit by ski. This slope is placed on the south side and on the boundary between Lombardia  and Alto Adige (sudtyrol) regions. The  slope begins from a pass that connect the two regions. It’s called "Passo della Bottiglia" or "Königsjock" 3293m.

This area has been theatre of the war (WWI) between Italy and Austria 100 years ago. Today the entire  the region is Italian, but most of the places here still called in two lenguages. In some points  of this mountain chains is non rarely possible to find bomb shell and rests of war barracks. Also near the summit many pieces of wood and rests of cableway emerge from the ice.

The ski ascent from the Lombardia side, is more or less the same of the summer normal route, but more demanding and only advisable for skilled skiers. The most difficult part is the couloir that takes to the “Passo della  Bottiglia”, and called “Collo di Bottiglia”; long 150 meters drop and with an average slant of 40°. 

Gran Zebrù
The ski route


Over the “Passo della Bottiglia”, the south slope begin very steep as much as the couloirs; in few points even more (40° to 45°). This steepness doesn’t allow to climb with skis. This is possible only in particular conditions and a lot of wasted effort. Usually 99% of the skiers, start to climb with crampons ad axe from the base of the couloir until the summit, and leave the skis where is more confortable. Somebody takes the skis attached to the backpack till the summit.

The route starts from the "rifugio dei Forni" 2178 (carpark) and goes across the Val Cedec. In the middle of it, the "rifugio Pizzini Frattola" 2700m gives the opportunity to divide the routes in two days. For who wants to climb the mountain in one day, is recommended to start very early in the mornig; the whole route is exposed to south, and the slopes become very dangerous during the hottest hours.

This ski route is considered the most important of the Ortles-Cevedale group (lombardia side) despite not the most difficult, and could be very crowded in spring. All this mountain chain belongs to the valley “Valfurva”.


Gran Zebrù
The ski route


The Route

From the car park of the “refuge dei Forni”, a signal indicates the route to “refuge Pizzini/Frattola". From here a large path usually covered of snow until late spring, leads easily to the hut. (1 to 1.30 hours).  

From the refuge the huge pyramid of Gran Zebrù and the ski route is clearly visible. Then, pass through the smooth slopes behind the refuge pointing to the mountain and the glacier “vedretta dello Zebrù”. The glacier is just a snowfield without crevasses or particular problems, exept for a big rocky islet in the center of it. It can be surpassed on both sides.


Gran Zebrù
The couloir called "Collo di Bottiglia"


Gran Zebrù
The Königjock and the begin of the SE slope


Over the islet, the slope leads to the base ofthe couloir. Climb it in the middle. The couloir takes to “passo della Bottiglia”. From here the valley of Solda appears on the opposite site. Small place for ski depot here. Climb the snow slope keeping the left side near the rocks.

"NEVER" move to right, where the slope ends up in the precipice of the north wall. After 200 meters the slope decrease, and after 200 meters again ends to a rocky peak on which the summit cross is visible.

Gran Zebrù
The last slope near the summit. The cross is visible on the top


Gran Zebrù
The summit of Gran Zebrù


The peak can be achieved in various points. Directly towards the cross is not easy but it avoids the crossing of the edge with ice cornices above the north wall. In the absece of cornices, the ridge result the best way. In this case pay attention because once on the ridge the abyss on opposite side appears suddenly!

Once on the top, stay close to the cross, because the snow surface of the summit hides dangerous cornices on the north side. From the summit is possible to ski down following the same ascent route.

Rifugio Pizzini-Frattola

Il Rifugio Pizzini stands at the head of the valley on a rocky Val Cedèc in a beautiful glacial cirque surrounded to the north by the massive Gran Zebrù, to the east by the Cevedale glacier and west to the elegant pyramid of Pizzo Tresero. The refuge is a starting point and destination of arrival for hiking - climbing with ski touring, snowshoeing, walking, snowshoeing or mountain biking.

Starting from Bormio following the SS.300 Gavia you reach Santa Caterina; from here continue along the Forni valley up to the refuge where you can park.
Take the Val Cedèc through a centuries-old stone pine past the Baite del Forno.
The Pizzini be reached in about an hour and a half walk during which you can meet the animals in the Stelvio National Park.

It is open in spring from mid of march to mid may and in summer from mid june to mid september.

Keeper: Claudio Compagnoni - S. Antonio Valfurva (So). Tel. 0342-94.56.18
Refuge tel: 0342-93.55.13                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Owner: CAI section MIlano tel. 02-86463516 

Gran Zebrù
The refuge Pizzini-Frattola in Valfurva


Video of the route made in april 2013

Gran Zebrù - Ski route from Valfurva

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