Geographical Classification : Eastern Alps > Dolomites > Cima Bocche Group > Gronton
Gronton lies in the shadow of its higher neighbour Cima Bocche, located between the Marmolada
and Pale di San Martino Groups
. Yet the little group around Cima Bocche does not really belong to the Dolomites as it is composed of large red porphyry rocks. It rather resembles the Lagorai Chain
to the south but in most publications is treated as its own (little) group.
In that group Gronton has a central but rather unimportant position and few people would think of climbing the mountain if it weren't for the beautiful ferrata, the "Sentiero Attrezzato del Gronton" which traverses the whole western ridge. Ferrata might be said too much of this trail - there is rarely any climbing involved - but it is beautifully equipped (=attrezzato) with firm cables which secure the many (often very) exposed parts.
The origin of the sentiero attrezzato lies in the history of the area. In World War I the Cima Bocche Group was held by the Italian Alpini because the mountains command both the San Pellegrino and Valles Passes. On the northern side of Passo San Pellegrino the Austrian Kaiserjäger had their position along the Monzoni and Costabella Ridges and up to today you can see the old war positions on both sides. The Gronton Ridge, which dominates the San Pellegrino Pass Road was infested with artillery positions and the connecting trail is what today consttutes the Sentiero Attrezzato del Gronton.
The Gronton Summit itself is a shallow bump on the intersection of the long western and northern ridges. From there it drops steeply to Forca di Bocche, from where the massive Cima Bocche (2743m) summit block starts. Both mountains - or rather all mountains of the group - have an easy tilting slope on their southern sides while to the north vertical drops of up to 400m dominate. The Sentiero attrezzato runs through this north face of Gronton, staying close to the ridge but often traversing the vertical faces.
Due to its moderate elevation Gronton only offers views of the immediately surrounding mountains, Cima Bocche and Cima Lusia to its sides and the Monzoni Ridge in the Marmolada Group to the north. To the south the multi-pinnacled north ridge of the Pale di San Martino can be seen.
Something personal: the Cima Bocche Group is "served" by cable-cars and ski lifts on both its western and eastern sides. The devastation that skiing has brought upon the slopes of Col Margherita to the east is a shame and a pity to behold. Still the central part of the group miraculously remains almost untouched by this devastation. The reason, of course, is the natural park Paneveggio - Pale di San Martino to which the centre of the group belongs. Still it is something of a culture shock to come from ski runs where nothing grows anymore to this tranquil place with lots of beautiful flora.
Well, it wasn't a perfect day for views since it was a little hazy but I was able to obtain a number or decent shots of Lagorai, Rosengarten, Marmolada, Latemar and Pale di San Martino. The shots were taken either from the summit or from the ferrata.
Though I tend to curse the ski runs and cable-cars the best access to the group can be had by them. Starting points are Moena in Val di Fassa or Passo San Pellegrino. From the Passo you actually can hike to Cima Bocche and Gronton though most people take the Col Margherita cable car. The starting points can be reached as follows:
From the North (Brenner / Brennero)
Follow motorway A22 down to Cornedo (north of Bozen / Bolzano). There turn east on SS241 (Dolomite Highway) across Karerpass / Passo Carezza to Vigo di Fassa. At Vigo turn southward on SS48 which leads you to Moena. In the centre of the town SP346 turns off eastward in direction of Passo San Pellegrino. The Lusia cable car is located 5km outside of Moena, the Col Margherita cable car can be found 1km east of Passo San Pellegrino. From both cable car stations you can also hike to your destination (Passo San Pellegrino is the better trailhead though).
Take A22 north until the exit Ora / Auer. There turn east on SS48 direction Val die Fiemme which in the end will take you to Moena. Turn onto SP346 east in the centre of the town. For the remainder follow the instructions above.
Gronton and the centre of the Cima Bocche Group are located within the park boundaries of the Parco Naturale Paneveggio - Pale di San Martino.
The Natural Park consists of the area of the Pale di San Martino Group as well as the forest of Paneveggio and the porphyritic chain of Lagorai. It contains an area of 125 sqare km which in 1987 has been divided in three different levels of protection:
33% of the area have been declared complete protected areas,
60% are restriced areas while
7% are controlled area.
For more information you can look at the Park's official website
There are no fees or limitations for hiking and climbing, however you might have to be prepared for small parking fees within Moena. The cable car parking lots and the big lot at Passo San Pellegrino are free.
When To Climb
The mountain can be climbed all year long. The best time in summer is June through October. In winter you can think of ski tours but the usual destinations are Cima Bocche and Cima Iuribrutto, the highest summits of the group. Col Margherita is the top of a ski run anyway
The best information on boarding houses and hotels can be found on www.dolomiti.it
. The site is not complete – you might find more information on local tourist web sites, but it already offers an impressive list. The following listing gives you an overview for the surrounding villages and towns:
Val di Fassa
Weather and avalanche conditions in Trentino (west of Passo San Pellegrino): www.meteotrentino.it
Weather conditions in Belluno (east of Passo San Pellegrino): www.meteoalpin.com
. For the english text you have to scroll down the right frame.
Weather conditions Dolomites:www.dolomitimeteo.com
Maps 'n' Books
The Cima Bocche Group is located at the intersection of just about all sets of maps I know. The mapping companies rather concentrate on the surrounding Dolomites than on the small Bocche Group. Therefore I have to offer you a huge amount of maps.
- Pale di San Martino
Kompass Map WK76
The best overview as it contains the whole group.
- Pale di San Martino
Tabacco Map 022
Contains the western part of the Bocche Group starting from Passo Lusia.
- Tabacco Maps 006, 014, 029 also contain parts of the Bocche Group
In contrast to the maps there are several books which deal with the Bocche Group:
- Dolomiten 4 (Fassatal, Marmolada, Rosengarten)
- Hülslers Klettersteigführer Dolomiten
E. E. Hülsler