Prima Spalla-Jannetta route

Page Type
Italy, Europe
Route Type:
Trad Climbing
Time Required:
Most of a day
Up to IV- UIAA
Number of Pitches:

Route Quality: 2 Votes

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Prima Spalla-Jannetta route
Created On: Aug 3, 2008
Last Edited On: Jun 6, 2009


Jannetta-Bonacossa route is one of the more classic routes of Corno Piccolo: it was first climbed on the 2nd of november 1923 by Enrico Jannetta and Aldo Bonacossa, during the first climb of Prima Spalla. The same day, they climbed first Seconda Spalla by Bonacossa couloir, making the first enchainment of Prima and Seconda Spalla.

The route climbs the south face on excellent rock, exploiting the less hard lines of this beautiful rocky wall

Difficulty: III with some passages of IV- UIAA
Lenght: 180m, 7 pitches
Altitude: 2350m-2500m
Rock quality: Excellent

Best season to climb: since early july to early october

Topo of the routeTopo of the route: click to enlarge

Approach, Route Description and Descent

The start of the routeP.1: start of the route

Pitch 3: the chimneyP.3: the chimney (IV-)

Pitch 5P.5


From Madonnina, nearby the arrival of the Prati di Tivo chairlift (2012m), climb up the trail nr. 3 towards Passo delle Scalette and Franchetti Hut. When you meet a junction (about 2070m), take the trail on the right (Sentiero Ventricini) and follow it, passing under the base of north-east ridge of Corno Piccolo.
The path traverses the meadows under Corno Piccolo north face, then arrives to the mouth of Canale Sivitilli, a wide couloir separating north face from Prima Spalla.
Continue walking, round on a little grassy ridge and you can see Bonacossa couloir, between Prima and Seconda Spalla: reach the base of the couloir (about 1h from the chairlift arrival).
Climb up the couloir to Forcella Bonacossa (about 45min, PD-, pass. III- UIAA), then, passed by the notch, traverse on the ledge under the Prima Spalla south face, until you see a ramp with a juniper bush, leading to an easy couloir: is the start of the route (about 2350m, 50min from the Sentiero Ventricini trail, 1h 50min from the chairlift arrival).

When the chairlift is closed (or if you want to start before it starts its runs), from Prati di Tivo main square you can drive until Sella di Cima Alta, following a route on the left (3,5Km from the square): from there (1650m), walk the trail rising up the wide and scenic Arapietra ridge, until you reach the chairlift arrival (about 1h)

Route description

Jannetta-Bonacossa route is easy and amusing: the main stretch of the route runs along a not so hard chimney, sometimes inside sometimes on its left border.

Along the route you can find only 1 or 2 old pegs to protect.

Belays are usually equipped with pegs and/or tunnels: sometimes you have to make it using tunnels or emerging roks. Consider the possible need of integrate the belay with further gears (the pegs are often old).

Pitch 1: climb up the ramp (II) entering in the easy couloir. At the end of the couloir, you can make belay passing a cord around a rock (15m, II)

Pitch 2: Climb toward the chimney, traversing diagonally to a belay near the base of the chimney (20m, II pass. III)

Pitch 3: Start climbing the chimney to the next belay (30m, III/IV-)

Pitch 4: Continue climbing up, sometimes inside the chimney, sometimes on the slabs on its left boarder. When the chimeny is clogged by a big stone, enter in the chimney for some meters, then exit on the left traversing to a ledge over the block (30m, IV-)

Pitch 5: Continue climbing the chimney, here few steep (30m II/III)

From the belay of Pitch 5 traverse on your left, walking down in a short couloir descending on the Canale Bonacossa side: in the bottom of this short couloir, make belay using tunnels and rocks (15m, walk and I)

Pitch 6: Climb up a beautiful and exposed ramp on the left to a belay with pegs (30m, II/III)

Pitch 7: From the belay, round on the ridge on your left and immediately climb up a nice rock wall (III+, 10m)

From there, you can climb unroped (passages of II+) along the ridge to the summit of Prima Spalla.

From pitch 5 to pitch 6From p.5 to p.6


There are many possibility to descend from Prima Spalla:

- by Corno Piccolo normal route from south: it’s a trail for expert hikers, with some short passages of I/II UIAA; it’s the easiest route to descend from Prima Spalla. It starts at few minutes of walk from the exit of “Via delle Clessidre” and leads to Vallone dei Ginepri, on Corno Piccolo south side (about 40min). From there, in about 1h 30min you can reach Sella dei Due Corni, Franchetti Hut and the chairlift station (about 2h 15min from Prima Spalla summit)

- by Via Ferrata Danesi, reaching the near Corno Piccolo summit: it’s a medium difficult Via Ferrata, with some stretches not equipped and passages of climbing of I-II UIAA. The Via Ferrata leads, in about 40min, to Vallone dei Ginepri, few meters above the exit of normal route from south. From there, to reach the chairlift arrival are needed about 1h 30min (from the summit of Prima Spalla about 2h 30min).

- abseiling on the north east face: from the summit ridge of Prima Spalla, walk towards the Corno Piccolo summit, until you find on the left side (north) of the ridge the anchor (bolts with chains) of the first abseil. The rappels are 5: 3 on anchors made with bolts and chain, the last 2 with cords passed through big tunnels. For the rappels are needed two ropes of 60m. The anchors aren’t perfectly lined up but slightly right-trending (looking the face). At the end of the abseil (the last can be avoid walking down) you are at the base of Sivitilli couloir, near the starting point of “Attenti alle Clessidre”: from there to the chairlift station are needed about 1h 15min.

- by Corno Piccolo normal route from north: this route follows an easy couloir (I/II UIAA) placed immediately on east of Canalone Sivitilli; it leads to Sentiero Ventricini. It’s not so easy to find the start of the couloir from the top...

Pitch 6: the rampThe beautiful and easy ramp of p.6

Essential Gear

Pitch 6: the rampThe beautiful ramp of Pitch 6

  • Helmet

  • Some narrow slings (dyneema) and cords

  • Some friends medium size

  • Some pitons and nuts

  • Two 60m ropes are advised

Guides, Maps, External Links

Best guides:
L. Grazzini, P. Abbate, “Gran Sasso d’Italia”, Cai-Tci, 1992
S. Ardito, “A piedi sul Gran Sasso”, Iter, 1992
S. Ardito, “A Piedi in Abruzzo” vol. 1, Iter, 1996
A. Alesi, M. Calibani, A. Palermi, “Gran Sasso – Le più belle escursioni”, SER, 1996

Best map:
“Gran Sasso d’Italia. La carta dei sentieri”, edited by Cai-L’Aquila (scale 1:25.000)

Weather conditions:
Meteo bulletin Meteomont: Abruzian Apennines

Corno Piccolo north side from Prati di Tivo (on the right, Prima Spalla NE face)

Prima Spalla-Jannetta route

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