An imposing rocky complex formed by the projection of the Merola rises on the right side (left orographic) of the upper Valle dell'Orco (aka Val Locana), just upstream of the valley bottom road near the inhabited center of Ceresole Reale: it is the Parete di Balma Fiorant. This gorgeous valley, one of the finest of the Piedmont, gives access to the whole Gran Paradiso Group Southern sector, which compared to the Northern sector is characterized by the extraordinary quality of the rock and the milder and wetter climate in reason of its proximity to the plain. The vast rocky complex of Balma Fiorant, made up of excellent quality gneiss, consists of three main structures: Caporal, the most famous, Sergent, the closest one to Ceresole, and Parete delle Aquile (Wall of the Eagles). The high quality of the gneiss that characterizes walls and crags in the Orco valley, a true stone-world, have made this place one of the highlights of the granite climbing in Italy.
The Sergent is a large shield of slabs dominating the first part of the Ceresole Reale plain. Less flashy than the nearby Caporal and apparently little extended, the Sergent is in fact a complex and large structure. Both the crags were purposely so called from the first climbers because seen as minor brothers of the most famous Capitan in Yosemite Valley. Sergent is a middle-mountain crag with an excellent gneiss and a fast access; the favorable exposure make it suitable for climbing even at the beginning of the season. This peculiarity helped to realize numerous high-class routes starting from the Seventies.
The South West facing wall is characterized on the left by extented slabs, while on the right it acquires more verticality with cracks, dihedrals and deep chimneys; the rock is an excellent and subtile grained gneiss of light green color.
The starting point to climb on Sergent is Ceresole Reale m. 1613, a nice village lying near the great artificial Lake of Ceresole. Dam.
- From Torino (Caselle international airport) reach Courgnè and Pont Canavese m. 461; from here follow the road entering Valle dell’Orco, reaching Locana, Rosone, Noasca and Ceresole Reale m. 1613 (Km. 35 from Pont Canavese).
- From Aosta take the Aosta-Torino motorway, exit Ivrea. From Ivrea follow the road towards Ciriè, reaching Pont Canavese. From here same access as the previous one.
Approach to Sergent
From the exit of the tunnel that opens onto the Ceresole Reale plain, go back along the old road and park the car in a parking lot. From here find a path (cairns) that runs along the rocks to the right and reaches on meadows a large boulder from which to the base of the central sector. For the right sector turn right on steep meadows. For the slabs sector on the left, head soon to left at the start.
Sergent climbing sectors from left to right
The left end of the wall is characterized by a slabs sector with few routes, then it follows a great collapse that interrupts the slabs, where it's located the route "Crollo dell'Impero Nero". Proceeding to the right we find a wide area of slabs, then the Central Sector, where the wall begins to become more vertical, cut on the left by some incredible cracks, such as the famous "Fessura della Disperazione".
The right end of the Central Sector is characterized by a huge granite obelisk, called Lost Arrow, located at the base of the wall, with which forms a narrow notch. This sector, partially hidden by the obelisk, is the most vertical of the whole cliff, where we find the great artificial routes. Further to the right there is the Right Sector, where we find Nautilus and Locatelli, two of the most classic routes of the Sergent.
- Gocce Pesanti
- Ricordando Bangalore 6a+ (5c obbl.), 170 m - Gian Carlo Grassi, E. Bonfanti, E. Morittu 1990
- Nicchia delle Torture
- Incastro Amaro
- Cannabis 7b or 5b/A2, 180 m - D. Galante, G.C. Grassi 1973
- Incastromania 6a, 25 m. A classic fine crack situated between Cannabis and Fessura della Disperazione, single pitch
- Fessura della Disperazione
- Fragilità Cerebrale
- Trasparenza Eolica 5c/6a and A2 - G.C. Grassi, G. Marino 1977 - The route runs on the upper part of the wall starting on a ledge which is reached following the first 3 pitches of the next route. Necessary pegs, friends and nut of various size.
- Locatelli 6a (4c, A1), 170 m. - V. Duregon, F. Locatelli 4/6/1974 - Equipped belays, friends needed to integrate along the pitches
- Nautilus TD-, 6a, 270 m - A. Giorda, R. Perucca, M. Ogliengo 1982 - Equipped belays, friends needed to integrate along the pitches
No permits, no fees and no particulary restrictions in climbing.
The best periods are Spring and Fall, also Summer when it's not too hot.
Different possibilities of accomodation in Comune di Ceresole Reale:
"Valle dell'Orco" by Maurizio Oviglia - Collana Luoghi Verticali, Ed. Versante Sud 2010
“Rock Paradise – Arrampicate classiche, moderne e sportive nelle valli del Gran Paradiso” by Maurizio Oviglia – Collana Luoghi Verticali, Ed. Versante Sud