Pizzo Centrale from Gotthard pass

Page Type
Switzerland, Europe
Route Type:
Summer, Fall
Time Required:
Half a day
Medium hard hike up (T3)

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Pizzo Centrale from Gotthard pass
Created On: Aug 23, 2013
Last Edited On: Apr 20, 2018


Pizzo Centrale from the SW
Pizzo Centrale from the SW
This is a nice, but quite short tour from a frequented road pass on a major, panoramic summit. By the Swiss Hiking Scale its difficulty is rated T3, the ascent will take you some 3 hours (910 m of elevation gain), while for the descent take yourself some 2 hours. The upper 100 meters are not very exposed, but still enough to require an absolutely safe step and vertigo free head. In summer condition for the ascent only good shoes and eventually poles are needed.

Points on the trail:
  • 2091 m - St. Gotthard road pass,
  • 2260 m - Lago della Sella,
  • 2468 m - trail branching,
  • 2540 m - Sasso di Paisgion,
  • 2780 m - Gamsspitz south ridge,
  • 2888 m - Guspissattel,
  • 2999 m - Pizzo Centrale summit.

Getting There

See the parent page of Pizzo Centrale how to reach St. Gotthard pass. The road from there to Lago della Sella is closed for public traffic, but you can consider doing 3.5 km (and 175 altitude meters) by a bike.

Route Description

See Pizzo Centrale on a bigger map.

From Gotthard Hospiz, 2091 m, you go by a narrow mountain road towards the east to the big dam of Lago della Sella, 2256 m. There you continue by the dirt road along the NW shore of the lake. You do approximately half the shore of the lake, till the point where a side path clearly deters. It looks like a rough cart road (going up to Capanna della Prosa, 2403 m), but it's too rough even for a mountain bike. On a rock you will hardly distinguish the inscription "CENTRALE", written with a pale blue colour. You do then only two curves of the wide path, then a clear path (another inscription there)deters right - up the steep, grassy slopes. Now the orientation dilemmas are over (if there were any at all). You ascend in many curves the grassy slopes above the lake, in summer there is abundance of flowers. The direction is towards the NE. After crossing a more flat part you already reach the place where the path branches again. That is on 2468 m. The left path goes towards the north, on a clearly seen notch by the picturesque towers, named Gloggentuermli (and then further to the cable car station on Gemsstock). We must go by the right path - towards the E.

In front of us a rocky barrier rises, but the path goes smartly over it. It is narrow, on a few places a bit exposed, a clear T3 difficulty section. After gaining another 80-90 meters we already reach the very panoramic balcony (big cairn there), where a great view over the Sella lake opens.

Lago della Sella from Sasso di PaisgionSasso di Paisgion
On the S ridge of GamsspitzOn the S ridge of Gamsspitz
From there, the path continues towards the NE, crossing the slanted slabs of Sasso di Paisgion plateau. Be careful of marks and many cairns, because on those rocks no good path can be beaten. Above us we see a sharp summit. It is not Pizzo Centrale yet, but Gamsspitz, 2925 m. We must first reach its south ridge. The path ascends quite comfortably to the altitude 2795 m, where it crosses the ridge (big cairn there).

Now we must cross the eastern slopes of Gamsspitz, entering the southern slopes of Pizzo Centrale. Across one or two snowfields and by the following few turns we first reach Guspissattel, 2888 m. The main summit of Pizzo Centrale is just above us, while more towards the right we see the srap, rock eastern foresummit. The last 100 meters of ascent are very steep, on some places we already need hands to climb up. The exposure is not very big, but a safe step, and care on steep, crumbly terrain are needed all the time. So, the last section is again a clear T3 difficulty, with perhaps a detail or two of T4.

We return on St. Gotthard pass by the same route.

Pizzo Centrale from Gotthard pass

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