Pizzo Bianco

Pizzo Bianco

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 45.94447°N / 7.90329°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 10548 ft / 3215 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Pizzo Bianco is a rocky mountain right in front of the big East face of Monte Rosa.
This peak has two summits: the North one and the (higher) south one that overtops an huge rock wall facing the wild valley of Rio Quarazzola (Quarazza valley).
Another massive rock wall, the West one, closes at East the upper cirque of Belvedere ice field, the glacier that picks up the impressive ice drips falling from the flanks of Monte Rosa and Punta Grober.
The first ascent to the summit is dated back to 1789, Horace Benedict De Saussure, the famous promoter of the first ascent of Monte bianco, climbed the north summit with his son and the pathfinder Jacchini to look for possibile route to climb Monte Rosa from the valley of Macugnaga.
Still today Pizzo Bianco is often climbed for the fantastic view that offers toward the enormous iced flank of Monte Rosa.
The South face and the West face of this mountain offer serious rock climbing routes on good rock, while the normal routes are good for pleasant scrambling or ski-mountaineering in a spectacular environment.

Pizzo Bianco south wall.Pizzo Bianco south face from "Little Altar" pass

Pizzo Bianco 3215mPizzo Bianco West face

Getting There

Macugnaga is the nearest village and its made up of three smaller centers: Borca, Staffa and Pecetto.
To get there the quickest route follows the SS33, the Milano-Sempione highway till the exit of Pidimulera, then continues along the main road of Anzasca Valley till Macugnaga.
To approach the south face you must start from Borca, where you find the trailhead for the paths of Quarazza Valley.
From Pecetto there is a chair-lift that leads directly to the cirque of Belvedere glacier, at 1900 meters, reducing the elevation to gain along the other routes for the summit at 1200 meters.

The only hut in the area of Pizzo Bianco is “Zamboni Zappa”, near the Belvedere glacier, useful for the normal routes or for climbing the West face.


Chiovenda Couloir, F (somw steps of I, UIAA scale).
This route is the most frequented both in summer and in winter.
From Zamboni hut, where you can get from Pecetto by the Belvedere chair-lift, follow the path to Locce Lake under the slopes of Punta Grober. Before reaching the lake, near the small building where the hydric capture of Zamboni hut is located , take the signed trail that enters the large couloir (Chiovenda couloir) on the left(N) of the West face of Pizzo Bianco.
Follow this couloir entirely (some unstable rock and steep passage) reaching at last the pass at 2880 meters('Colletto del Pizzo Bianco') on the North Ridge.
From the pass cross to the east flank of the mountain and hike toward south, passing under the North summit you finally reach the top without difficulties.
The elevation gain from the last arrival of the Belvedere chair lift is 1200 meters, in the colouir you can find some passage of I(UIAA scale).
This route is used also for ski-mountaineering (OSA, very hard), it's risky after heavy snow falls.

North face and NE ridge, for experienced hikers.
This route is easier than the one of Chiovenda couloir but is longer and more boring.
From Zamboni hut follow the trail toward East that turns around the north ridge of the mountain reaching Rosereccio plane, where the ruin of an old cable-lift station is still present.
Another trail to Rosereccio starts from the intermediate arrival of the chiair-lift, but from here you have more elevation to gain (300 meters).
From Rosereccio hike along the north face without difficulties in the direction of the pass at the beginning of the NE ridge('Pizzo Nero' pass), near a small pinnacle ('Pizzo Nero', 2738m).
From this pass follow entirely the NE ridge that ends at 'Colletto del Pizzo Bianco' where it joins the route of Chiovenda Couloir.
Also this route can be used for ski-mountaineering, with lower risks and difficulties, be sure anyhow of finding firm snow on the slopes.

West face. From D+ to TD+.
This face rises up from the plane of Belvedere ice field for more than 800 meters and offers some hard routes on solid rock.
The most interesting section is the one under the North summit, where the height of the wall is major.

South face, TD and TD+.
The S face rises from Quarazza Valley with a prominence of 650 meters.
It's an huge shield of very compact Gneiss located in a very remote place.
The access is long, you start from the village of Borca and you have to cover a long distance gaining more than 1400 meters.
Here there are Hard climbing routes always on good rocks in a savage and isolated environment.

Pizzo Bianco, NW view, routes map.


One camping is located at the beginning of Quarazza valley, along the shore of the lake called "delle fate", of the fairies.
Various accomodations are present in Macugnaga and along Anzasca valley.

External Links

Detailed descriptions of the normal routes with photos.

The home page of Macugnaga, informations about the huts, the lifts and where to sleep.

The site of Ossola Valley with sueful informations about huts, paths and sleeping possibilities.

Red Tape