Pizzo Uccello, peak of the bird, is a notable mountain at East of San Bernardino pass, one of the most important route that crosses the Alps from South to North.
San Bernardino pass was already used at the time of the Ancient Romans that use to call the pass as “mons avium”, that has the same meaning of the actual name of this peak.
Pizzo uccello is the Southern end of peak Cavriola range and its elegant skyline dominates the view from San Bernardino village, while the West face arises as an impressive cliff from the meadows at East of the pass with a prominence of 700 meters.
Pizzo Uccello has two twin summits, the North one, 2724m, and the South one , 2713m.
The south summit is surely the most climbed, It's in fact easy and pleasant to reach from San Bernardino village and offers a wider view in respect to the North summit.
The West face offers a tough climbing route that is dangerous for the bad quality of the rocks.
It's possible to reach both the summits of the mountain in winter and spring with skis, but the final part of the routes require some skill in climbing easy rocks when covered by ice, crampons and ice-axe can be usefull.
From the trail to the southern summit
Getting ThereSan Bernardino pass
and tunnel are some of the most important route that crosses the Alps.
It’s easy to get there by the highway that connects Bellinzona to Chur.
The village of San Bernardino is located some kilometres at south of the pass, at 1600 meters.
The access to this mountain is always free.
In San Bernardino you find a camping and some Hotels.
Normal route to the South Summit
, F UIAA scale.
From the parking near the building of the thermal waters in San Bernardino, follow the trail that enters Vignum valley and reaches the homonymous hut.
From the hut a path marked with blue signs leads to the SE face of Pizzo Uccello beyond the big rocky spur that characterize the south flank of the mountain.
Follow this path that climb all the SE face without difficulties and finally gets on the N ridge.
This last ridge is exposed and has a couple of passages where you have to use your hands (I, UIAA scale), some chain is fixed to the rocks to make the trail more secure.
This route is used also for ski-mountaineering during winter and spring, the last part of the route, on the SE face is very steep and the final ridge may require ice axe and crampons.
Normal route to the North Summit
, PD- UIAA scale.
As for the south summit follow the trail that climbs the SE face, when you are 100/150m below the north ridge cross the flank of the mountain to reach the gully that climbs to the summit ridge on the right(North) of the highest point.
Follow the channel and then climb the short ridge till the top, there are some easy passages on unstable rocks.
The trail is not marked when you leave the one of the S summit.
West face of the North summit
, TD UIAA scale.
This is an hard route on unstable rocks, the first climbers, Alessandro Gogna and Carlo Galeotti called it “Only one will survive”.
The difficulties reaches the sixth degree of UIAA scale.
North summit, the west face from San Bernardino pass