Presanella Group

Presanella Group

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 46.21170°N / 10.65540°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Ice Climbing, Mixed, Scrambling, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer
Additional Information Elevation: 11667 ft / 3556 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Hikers and Climbers are really "strange people" ... in fine weather weekends and during the summer vacations you can see some sites full of people, the meadows host families with playing childern, on certain paths you can see the classic "Indian file", on certain rocky structures, edges, walls, chimney ecc. you can see coloured spots indicating that many climbers are disputing the grips
... no, this is a really too pessimistic vision but ... in the Alps there are some ranges, little known, that offer a great variety of amusing "adventures" both for hikers and climbers
one of them is the PRESANELLA GROUP.

Presanella group features

When you hear "Presanella" you normally (of course if you have a minimum knowledge of the Alps) think to a fine mountain, not too high and not too low, with a well visible (from the road) Northern iced wall, very elegant.
The ones that have a better knowledge know also the name of the summit W of Presanella, the Cima di Vermiglio whose rocky triangular N wall closes to the W the big wall.
It's really rare finding someone who knows also the names "Cercen" and "Busazza" that are the 2 more main summits belonging to the main watershed between the Tonale valley and the Val Genova.

I think that some small further info could be useful to discover some ranges that are very little known, almost wild, for hikers and some very very fine edges and walls made in a fantastic kind of granite (Tonalite) that looks created just to be climbed ... difficulties range is the widest, you can find there, in some subvalleys, even structrures that have nothing to envy to the ones belonging to the more famous Masino, Gotthard and Val dell'Orco.

As for the "use" of the group we can distinguish 3 parts very different from each other :
  • the SW section, rising from Val Genova up to the main ridge Presena-Presanella
    This range is rather wild, few and very steep paths, few or no (some small valleys) shelters, big differences in elevation : some very fine rock bulwarks, spurs, edges are the rewards for the ones that dare to enter here: feeling like explorers and "old time climbers"
  • the NW section, rising from the Tonale road (Val di Sole) up to the same ridge
    The range from Tonale Pass toward East, till the big Costone dei Pozzi is very rarely frequented, looking like the opposite (S) side, but with much less difference in elevation - I've never met someone that had climbed one of the tens routes on the N side of Busazza ...
    On the contrary the big valley of Stavel (Vermiglio), whose S border is the "wall" of Presanella (Presanella-Cima di Vermiglio) has well marked paths and a really comfortable refuge (Stavel-Denza) ... and this is the range that all have seen and put in their cameras and the most frequented for the ski-mountaneering route and the absolutely classic routes in ice and mixed.
  • the E section, where the main ridges split into many sub-ridges and sub-sub-ridges, has at the same time the most frequented and the most deserted valleys.
    This is the kingdom of hiking but absolutely not to be underestimated - out of the few well marked paths the range can offer tricky and somewhere dangerous passages.

    It's really difficult to find, in the whole Alps a group similar to this one.

    Getting there

    Two main accesses to the group :
  • the N side can be accessed from the road of Passo Tonale : the road joining the Val Camonica with the Val d'Adige
  • the S side can be accessed along the road of Val Rendena (same as for Brenta Group till Pinzolo)


    W - Passo Presena - to the N the Presena valley - to the S the Mandron valley (rifugio Mandron) and the Marocche
    N - the Val di Sole - from Passo del Tonale to Dimaro
    E - the Val Meledrio and the Val di Campiglio - from Dimaro to Carisolo
    S - the Val Genova - from Carisolo up the to rifugio Bedole

    the main ridge is the watershed between the Sarca valley (S) and the Noce valley (N)

    Main Ridge - W to E summits

  • Cima Presena - 3069m - hub - toward S the Ronchina spur
  • Croz dei Segni - 3128m
  • Torre Compton - 3148m
  • Torre Cremona - 3224m
  • Cima Busazza - five topographic points : 3284-3326-3302-3252-3223m (hubs)
  • Monte Cercen - 3280m - hub - toward N the Costone dei Pozzi

    passo Cercen - 3022m the only easy door S-N

  • Monte Gabbiolo - 3458m - hub - toward WSW the Gabbiolo ridge - toward SSE the Nardis ridge
  • Cima Vermiglio - 3459m
  • Cima Presanella - 3556m - hub - toward ESE the Monte Nero ridge
  • Cima d'Amola - 3205m
  • Cima Vedretta Nera - 3185m - hub - toward ESE the Cornisello ridge
  • Cima Denza - 3162
  • Cima Scarpaco - 3252m - hub - toward N the ridge of Ricolonda
  • Cima Bon - 2901
  • Cima Giner - 2957m

    East of the Cima Giner the ridge breaks in some small subridges bordering small valleys that end with the grassy meadows of the ski area of Madonna di Campiglio, Marilleva and Folgarida

    Accesses - from South

    from Val Genova - rifugio Bedole :
    Conca del Mandrone

    Marocche ridge
    Val Ronchina

    for a
     sperone della Ronchina - from Cima Presena to S :
  • Cima Zigolon - 3048m
  • Crozzi di Ronchina - 2775m
  • Cima Migotti - 2402m

  • Val Zigola ending to the Passo dei Segni 2875m on the main ridge between the Presena and the W summit of Busazza
    Circo del Dosso

    Monte Cercen
     here 2 minor spurs, coming down to S from the main ridge, host some small towars (Punta Silvia and Torre Oggioni)
    sperone di Cercen - from E summit of Busazza to S
  • 3 Towers of Dosson ~ 3180m - maybe there are still some virgin walls and edges
  • Cima Dosson - 3152m
  • Cima Collini - 2923m
  • Denti di Cercen
  • Torre Castagna

  • Val Cercen - starting point from Val Genova is the Rifugio Stella Alpina
    divided, in the high part, into two subvalleys :
  • the left one (W) is named Vallone della Busazza and ends under the walls of the ridge between the Busazza and the Cercen
  • the right one (E) leads to the Passo Cercen (unique easy communication betwen N and S side of Presanella group.

  • Monte Gabbiolo
     the E border of Val Cercen is the Gabbiolo ridge hosting some very fine rocky summits :
  • Tridente del Gabbiolo - 3299m
  • Campanile Puchoz (from the name of an Italian climber dead on K2 in 1954)
  • Campanile Ferrario
  • Campanile Zapparoli

  • Val Gabbiolo - starting point from Val Genova is the Rifugio Stella Alpina
    very wild ...

    Cimon della Rocchette
     between the Gabbiolo Ridge and the Nardis ridge that is the most important one in the S side of the group hosting on its S side even some minor valleys
  • Torre Bogani - 3240m
  • Punta Graffer
  • Torre Bignami - 3285m
  • Monte Botteri - 3272m
  • Ago di Nardis - 3289m
  • Cimon delle Rocchette - 3289m
    from this summit the ridge splits in two parts,
    - the left one (W) hosts some minor rocky summits and ends with the Cima Brescia and Torrione delle Rocchette
    - the right one (SE) goes down with a long very wild rocky ridge with unnamed summits (maybe some never climbed)

  • Val di Nardis - maybe someone doesn't know the famous Nardis waterfalls ? - I still can remember a winter Sunday afternoon when on TV I saw "live" my old friend Cesare Maestri climbing for the first time an iced waterfall ...
    This valley, the biggest of the "Sarca side" has 2 "commodities" : the Bivacco Presanella (~2200m) and the Bivacco Orobica (~3400m) - that's why to get the Presanella summit along this valley the difference in elevation is about 2600m.
    This wide valley is bordered, to the N (NE) side by the

    Monte Nero and Presanella...
     ridge of Monte Nero.
    This ridge, descending from the summit of Presanella is the longest of the group and hosts a lot of structures (summits, pinnacles, walls) made of the finest "tonalite" of the range but this side is not the best one, the amusement zone for rock climbers is the other side of the ridge, the one that borders the Val d'Amola.

    Val d'Amola - very well known - a road allows to arrive by car up to more than 2000m (Vallina d'Amola) and, in about 1 hour walk, to arrive to the Rifugio Segantini - the starting point of the normal route to the main summit.

    Presanella and Val Cornisello...
     Its N border is a long ridge coming down from Cima dell Vedretta Nera till the famous and well frequented lakes of Cornisello
    On this ridge only three summits are worth to be mentioned :
  • Torre Grazia
  • Cima Cornisello - 3160m
  • Cima Laghetto - 2960m

  • North of this ridge the Val Cornisello with its lakes and wild "forgotten" summits on the

    for a
     main ridge :
  • Cima Denza - 3162m
  • Cima Scarpacò - 3252m
  • Cima di Bon - 2901m

    from these summits many subridges go down in any direction bordering wild valleys seldom runned by hunters or "explorers" ... almost an "hic sunt leones" ... (as for my knowledge)
  • Accesses - from North

    From N side the Presanella group is really more simple, only 2 main valleys enter the group :
    the Western one : Val Presena
    from the road of Passo del Tonale an untarred road allows to arrive up to ~2200m giving access to the whole western group summits : it's a long way ... that's why many summits are really very seldom climbed : the Busazza has more than 20 different routes from this side, but I could bet that some of them have never been climbed the second time.

    Tonale pass
     A big ridge, named Cresta di san Giacomo (St.James ridge) descending from Monte Cercen ends with the big important summit of Cima dei Pozzi (2890m) on whose walls I heard of many difficult rock routes.

    East of this ridge the only well known valley of the group : the Val di Stavel - very fine, starting point is Vermiglio and gives access to the fine Rifugio Stavel Denza - starting point for the routes on the N wall of Presanella and Vermiglio and for the fantastic ski-mountaneering trip to Cima Presanella, passing through the Sella di Freshfield.

    Stavel ridge
     the Val d Stavel, in its E side is bordered by an high ridge containing the last high mountains of the group :
  • Cima Denza - 3162m
  • Cima Scarpacò - 3252m
    and the minor ones, but important "croz" of Scarpaco, Ricolonda and Monredont

  • East of this ridge the small Val di Ricolonda, looking fine for wild hiking adventures ...

  • Children


    Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.