South face - via degli Alpini

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Italy, Europe
Route Type:
Trad Climbing
Time Required:
Most of a day

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South face - via degli Alpini
Created On: Mar 14, 2012
Last Edited On: Jun 1, 2012


First ascent: Lt. Renato Willien and Cesare Ollietti with the alpine soldiers Augusto Philippot and Mario Lale Muris, 26th August, 1940.

It’s the easiest of three new routes opened on the Monte Rosa Valsesian side by the alpine soldiers of Aosta Military School (a.k.a. Scuola Militare Centrale di Alpinismo) and the 4th Regiment during two drilling camps between July and mid September 1940.

As reported by Lt. Willien in the technical description of the route published on the “Rivista Mensile del Club Alpino Italiano 1946": ”I have to declare beforehand that the wall I’m describing it’s not one of the “classical” in the Alps, both because its difficulties aren’t so hard, and the length is not excessive. But with a judgement less absolutist I think that this route may be considered one of “the lovely”in the Western Alps”

“Premetto che la parete di cui tratterò non può certamente essere annoverata tra le “classiche” delle Alpi, sia perché le difficoltà che in essa si trovano non sono di un “grado” impossibile, sia perché la sua lunghezza non è eccessiva. Però giudicandola da un punto di vista meno assolutista, credo possa essere classificata tra le “buone” delle Alpi Occidentali.”

Obviously the aim of this climb is drilling so: “….. (the Alpine soldiers)… will follow us with all the gear and the personal weapons. We desire that this ascent will keep the military peculiarity because it’s the only way to get used the alpine soldiers to keep in touch with the mountain with “the obstruction” of materials assigned to them”.

“….(gli Alpini n.d.r) ci seguiranno con tutto l’equipaggiamento individuale e l’armamento personale. E’ nostro desiderio che l’ascensione abbia soprattutto un aspetto militare, oltre a quello agonistico-borghese, perché soltanto in questo modo si possono abituare i soldati ad essere in contatto della montagna con tutto “l’ingombro” dei materiali ad essi affidati”.

The route follows the right side of the triangular face under the summit along a system of very compact slabs; only in the first part there’s a sequence that needs attention cause crumbling rock. Nowadays, nevertheless its interesting environment, is quite unrepeated (the second ascent has performed only in September 1978 by the Valsesian climbers Luigi Barberis and Gian Franco Cenerini). It could deserve more consideration also for the limited technical difficulties (only a short pitch of IV-V).
The difference in level is about 450 meters.

Getting There

You can reach the village of Alagna Valsesia from the highway A26 “dei Trafori”; get out at Romagnano Sesia-Ghemme toll gate, then follow the National route SP299 through Romagnano Sesia, Borgosesia, Varallo Sesia for about 65 Km. In the center of Alagna (Piazza degli Alberghi) turn right and follow a little route for about 1 Km to the Wold parking. Here the traffic is stopped: during the summer it’s possible to find a bus shuttle that brings you to Acqua Bianca waterfalls (m 1500; double way ticket 2 Euro); otherwise you can continue on foot for about 3 Km to the same waterfalls.
If you want to reach directly Acqua Bianca with your private car (may be useful in spring or late summer) you have to contact previously (about a week before) the town council of Alagna Valsesia for a special permission. Be careful: near the waterfall the parking is very little and some places are reserved for the mountain rescue service.

Huts & Approach

A) Rifugio (Hut) Barba Ferrero all’Alpe Vigne Superiore (m 2240), 20 beds
WARNING: the hut is still closed for renovation; the reopening is predicted for June 2012
2,30-3 hours from Acqua Bianca waterfalls by track way marked (n°7)

From this hut starts the quickest approach to the route (unless you decided for a bivy near the Alpe Testanera - like the first ascensionists - or directly at the end of the Flua Glacier moraine).

Cross the torrent and go up a series of grassy rises to reach the moraine and the rests of Flua Glacier (snow-fields and rubble). Turn right for about 200 meters up to the center of a big rock forepart with a ledge on his top (this ledge is used for approaching the classic climb of Cresta Flua - Flua ridge): find a runnel enclosed by vertical rocks, beginning of the route (1,30-2 hours).

B) Rifugio (Hut) Francesco Pastore all’Alpe Pile (m 1575), 60 beds
15-20 minutes from Acqua Bianca waterfalls by track way marked (n°7)
ALTERNATIVE: 1 hour from the Wold parking: route for about 1 Km up to S. Antonio little chapel, then track way marked (n°6) left side of river Sesia

This hut is very comfortable and it’s also possible to sleep with your tent in a dedicated place nearby. If you decide to approach the route from here consider the important difference in level (about 1500 meters).

Cross the bridge on river Sesia and follow the track way marked (n°7a) for the Turlo Pass up to Alpe Mittlentheil di qua (m 1943); near the buildings find another track way (marked n°7d) that climbs the upper rise and arrives to the pasture of Alpe Testanera (m 2260). Continue orizzontally for about ½ hour then turn right towards the south face of Punta Grober on scree slopes, reaching the approach A) just near the rock forepart (3,30-4 hours).

Route Description

Climb the runnel (sequencies on little slabs, few meters on crumbling rock, 100 m, III) up to the ledge; cross it and continue straight for big slabs quite vertical of fine rock to reach a belay point about at mid height of the wall. Move slightly left towards some spikes overhanging from the top for about one pitch (easy): you arrive under a smooth section (crux). With direct climb (80 m, IV with a sequence of V; here the FA used 3 pegs) reach a little notch by Cresta Flua; continue up to the summit for 2-3 pitches on easy mixed rock (3,30-4 hours).

Descent: for the normal route - North West ridge - on easy mixed terrain up to Colle delle Locce.

Punta Grober - Via degli Alpini

IMPORTANT: the climate changes during the last years have modified in a significant way the texture of glaciers and mixed terrains followed on the approach and the descent (particularly the last pitches near Colle delle Locce). So you’d better to evaluate carefully the conditions before any repetition of the route!

Essential Gear

Standard mountaineering gear: 1 rope x 60 m, helmet, 3-4 rock pegs, a complete set of nuts; ice-axe and crampons recommended for the descent.

External Links

Comune di Alagna Valsesia
Sito promozionale
Rifugio Francesco Pastore
Bollettino nivo-meteorologico Regione Piemonte


You can find a story of other "vie degli Alpini" on Punta Giordani's and Parrotspitze's Summitpost Pages!


South face - via degli Alpini

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