Pizzo d'Intermesoli is the second highest summit of the Gran Sasso
group that can be toured on skis. It has two classic ski-mountaineering descents, one each on the west and east sides. Approaches and returns are long, but you will be rewarded by the beautiful slopes, the wilderness, and the isolation you will find in this part of the group.
Getting ThereTo reach Fonte Cerreto (south side) exit at Assergi from highway A24 and take SS17bis. The road from Fonte Cerreto to Campo Imperatore is always closed in the skiing season.
The cableway from Fonte Cerreto to Campo Imperatore runs regularly during in the skiing season, the first run in the morning is at 8:30 Mon-Fri, or 8:00 Sat-Sun. For information check www.ilgransasso.it.
To reach Prati di Tivo (north side) exit at S.Gabriele Colledara from highway A24. Take road SS491 to Montorio al Vomano. From Montorio take SS80, direction L'Aquila. After 10Km turn left to Pietracamela and Prati di Tivo.
A shuttle service connecting Prati di Tivo with Fonte Cerreto is usually available in the week-ends, throughout the skiing season. It is very useful if you want to make the traverse, from the south to the north side, as there is no public transportation for the return. The shuttle must be booked in advance. For information and booking call Luca Mazzoleni, the manager of Rifugio Franchetti: +39-3332324474 , +39-0861959634.
Ascent RoutesThe South summit of Pizzo d'Intermesoli (2635m) is usually climbed from Sella dei Grilli (2220m) and the south side of the moutain. Sella dei Grilli is the lower point on the ridge connecting Pizzo d'Intermesoli and Pizzo Cefalone and can be reached from Prati di Tivo (north) or from Campo Imperatore (south).
From the north side, via Val Maone, 1250m:
From Prati di Tivo take the dirt road at the west end of the parking area. Follow this road west into the beech wood and, after a clearing, reach a saddle overlooking Val Maone. Descend into Val Maone traversing steep slopes at the base of Corno Piccolo. This section or the road is exposed to avalanches, and is usually covered with their debris. In general the whole of Val Maone is under avalanches threat from slopes invisible from the valley floor, do not use this route before the slopes have released their load. Once at the bottom of Val Maone follow the road (S) until it ends at about 1600m (Sorgenti di Rio Arno). Ascend the valley until it widens at about 1900m, the gentle slopes of Campo Pericoli open to your left, and a small secondary valley to your right leads to Sella dei Grilli. Turn right (W) and zig-zag your way up to reach the saddle (3h30min). The slope leading to Sella dei Grilli should be travelled only with safe and stable snow conditions. From the saddle climb the south side of Pizzo d'Intermesoli directly, skinning up with tight turns until it is practical, then on foot. Pass a band of rocks by a narrow and steep gully and reach the summit 2635m by a final easy slope (1h from Sella dei Grilli). 4h30min from Prati di Tivo.
Avalanche in Val Maone
Climbing the south side
From the south side, via Campo Pericoli, 1000m:
From Fonte Cerreto take the cableway to Campo Imperatore 2130m (the road to Campo Imperatore is always closed in the skiing season). Climb the slope behind the arrival station (NW) to Rifugio Duca degli Abruzzi 2388m. From the hut there are several options to descend into Campo Pericoli:
by a steep couloir just north of the hut (35o),
follow the ridge west and descend by easier slopes (N) before reaching the summit of Monte Portella,
follow the ridge east to Sella di Monte Aquila 2335m and ski down the easy slopes west of the saddle.
Descend the slopes of Campo Pericoli toward Val Maone (W). At about 1900m you reach a flat area and the small valley leading to Sella dei Grilli should be just in front of you. Zig-zag your way up to reach the saddle (2h30min-3h). The slope leading to Sella dei Grilli should be travelled only with safe and stable snow conditions. From the saddle climb the south side of Pizzo d'Intermesoli directly, skinning up with tight turns until it is practical, then on foot. Pass a band of rocks by a narrow and steep gully and reach the summit 2635m by a final easy slope (1h from Sella dei Grilli). 4h from Campo Imperatore.
View from Sella dei Grilli
Sella dei Grilli
Descent RoutesFrom the summit there are two possible descents, one on the west side and one on the east side.
West side (BSA):
This face is often scoured by slab avalanches funneled by the final couloir, descend it only with stable snow. Due to its long and sustained slope this descent can be dangerous if iced.
West side route From the summit, with a descending diagonal, follow the north ridge, always on its left side (W), until you see a small bowl to your left. You should drop only about 50m from the summit, you should NOT reach the col between the south and the north summits. Turn left and enter the small bowl leading shortly to the wide and steeper slope of the west face. Descend in the middle of the face avoiding some outcrops (30o max). The lower section of the face ends over a rock band but, if you follow the impluvium, you will end up over the couloir that is the only way out through the rocky band. Follow this couloir to the bottom of Valle Venaquaro. From the base of the west face go up Valle Venaquaro (S), contour the SW slopes of the mountain and make an ascending diagonal (E) to reach Sella dei Grilli. Descend the nice slopes (E) to the flat area at the head of Val Maone (1900m). To return to Prati di Tivo ski down to Val Maone and retrack the ascent route. To return to Campo Imperatore go up the easy slopes of Campo Pericoli (E), usually passing by Rifugio Garibaldi, to Sella di Monte Aquila and retrack your route to Campo Imperatore.
West side High
West side Middle
West side lower couloir
East side, Conca del Sambuco (BSA):
East side route This itinerary is on the east side of the mountain and is warmed by the sun from early morning, it requires an early departure. From the summit, with a descending diagonal, follow the north ridge, always on its left side (W), until you see a small bowl to your left. Descend into the bowl but, with another diagonal, exit promptly to your right. Descend further to reach the well defined col between the south and the north summits, 2438m. From the col you should move to the East side of the mountain. There can be cornices here and the initial part of the slope is steep (35o-40o). Find the best spot and start your descent into the beautiful Conca del Sambuco. Descend without reaching the bottom of the bowl, keep to the left side and aim for the saddle at the left of Picco dei Caprai. Follow the bowl north of Picco dei Caprai until, near the base of a spur on the left, you reach the wood at about 1650m. From here you have two options:
Go down toward Val Maone (E) following the clearing, then enter the wood, tangled with shrubs and unplesant at first. Reach the bottom of Val Maone at about 1260m. On the other side of the stream there is a good trail. Climbs the valley (S) until you find, on the right side, the dirt road leading to Prati di Tivo (NW).
Enter the wood (N) pass a large clearing at about 1500m, follow traces of trail in the wood, keep going north until, at about 1350m, you find a good trail going down to the bottom of Val Maone. Cross the stream and follow the dirt road to Pietracamela 1036m (where you should have left a car to return to Prati di Tivo).
North summit Traverse
The North summit
of Pizzo d'Intermesoli has two fine couloirs on its north side that can be skied (OSA)
The north side couloirs
The couloir to the right side of the face is harder to reach from the summit, while the entry of left couloir is easier to find. Both couloirs lead to Valle Venaquaro and its beautiful forest. The ski descent requires stable snow and no ice to be safe. The route described is a traverse starting from Pietracamela and ending in the village of Intermesoli (7h30min round trip).
From Pietracamela find your way to the top of the village. Follow the dirt road leading into Val Maone, take the first branch right, cross the stream and follow a marked trail toward Prati Cantiere, a wide clearing between Val Maone and Valle Venaquaro. Now go S and stay close to the small hill to your left (Colle dell`Asino) until your reach a small clearing at about 1450m. Stay to the left side of this clearing (toward the wide ridge-line) and exit the wood at about 1550m. Climb the small valley W of Picco dei Caprai and, when the slope eases, turn W toward the NE ridge of Pizzo d'Intermesoli. Gain the ridge by the easiest slope and follow the ridge to the North summit. Before the summit you reach a saddle, overlooking (right) the couloir to follow for the descent.
From the North summit return shortly following the NE ridge and descend into the couloir as soon as you see a skiable slope to your left (steep), or follow the ridge to the saddle and enter the couloir from here (easier). Follow the wide couloir (about 30o
) ending on wide open slopes (Brecciarone). In late spring the snow usually ends before you reach the forest. Enter the forest and reach the dirt road leading to Intermesoli. The road is in bad condition and can be driven only on four-wheel drive, furthermore a permission from the Park is required
. To avoid a long walk it is a good idea to arrange a pick-up. Shuttle service is provided by Ristoro Venaquaro +39-0861-95518
, offering also rooms and restaurant in Intermesoli.
View from north summit
Books & Maps"La montagna incantata", Luca Mazzoleni, Porzi Editoriali.
"Traccie di sci in Appennino", Luigi Filocamo and Valentino Di Salvo, in italian and english.
"Gran Sasso d’Italia. La carta dei sentieri", edited by Cai-L’Aquila, 1:25.000
"Gran Sasso d’Italia" Carta Escursionistica (with ski-routes) Edizioni Il Lupo, 1:25.000
Essential GearSki-mountaneering gear, ice axe and crampons.
External LinksSnow and Avalanche bulletin
Meteo Campo Imperatore