C. Delmastro and C. Pol, 23 august 1940
400 m (for the face itself, from one of the bivouacs up to 1000 m)
From Valnontey (1668 m) to Bivacco Martinotti (2855 m) or Bivacco Stefano Borghi (2686 m)
With it's 3650 m Roccia Viva is one of the higher mountains in the Gran Paradiso National Park. It's a wild mountain and has a shining north face. If you look at it, you'll want to climb it.
But do not underestimate this mountain. The fact that the face is only 400 m high, doesn't mean that it's a short route. In fact, from the Bivacco Borghi it is a 1000 m climb and descent. And I thought the climb was much easier than the way down (and it went a lot faster too).
On the summit, you will find a small lake! In our case it was frozen. If only we had brought our ice-scates...
From Valnontey follow the trail towards the end of the valley. Cross the bridge near the big boulder and keep following the signs for Bivacco Borghi. At the back of the valley the track goes up a moraine, follow this and you will find the bivacco to your right on a small rock-island. Cross the snowfields to get there.
From the Bivacco Borghi descent the rock-island onto the glacier. Traverse the glacier to the left and climb up a ramp to reach the higher snowfield. This snowfield is underneath the west face. Traverse this snowfield to the left, go underneath the rock-island and from there go up to the first couloir. Climb this couloir and reach the ridge.
From the ridge go a little up and cross the bergschrund. Then traverse as much to the left as nessecary. From there go straight up (50 degrees) to the summit. The last part becomes more or less a couloir and is slightly steeper (55-60 degrees). Don't forget to look over your shoulder every now and then, the views down the face are spectacular!
The descent is a little more complicated. What we did is we went down the SW-ridge and when it was possible we went straight down the west face. There are severall big runnels, filled with ice and snow. You will have to figure out (preferebly the day before) wich one is in the best condition and descent it. Be carefull when crossing the bergschrund, it can be "heikel".
From there the easiest thing to do is to descend the big couloir to your left.
Two axes, screws, slings, threader, some nuts and ropes.
This is a national park. Take care of it. Don't leave your trash for others to clean up. Take care of the bivacco's, they are so important.