Not to be confused with the homonymous snowy hill nearby Breithorn Col, Testa Grigia 3314 m, also known by the toponym Groab Hont, is a massive mountain belonging to the Monte Rosa group, the highest summit located on the buttress that divides Val d'Ayas and Valle di Gressoney, South from Monte Rosa. Testa Grigia represents one of the classic ascents on the "Three thousand" of the Aosta Valley and It is probably the best balcony for dawn/sunset show on Monte Rosa and Cervino. A confortable bivouac (Ulrich Lateltin, 3.153m), located on Monte Pinter summit, at about 45 min/1 hour from Testa Grigia top, helps the alpinist in this goal. Another facilitation is the existence of a cable car starting from Champoluc which reduces the difference in level to be faced. Due to its height and its isolated and predominant position Testa Grigia offers an exceptional panorama both on the nearby peaks of Monte Rosa group and other Aostan mountains and generally on the Alpine chain.
On the mountain there are few climbing routes, but they are rarely attended due to the friability of the rock. In practice the summit is nowadays only climbed along the Via Normale, which, however, can be reached from three different starting points converging in the upper part. One from Gressoney La Trinitè, the second from Gressoney St. Jean and the third one, assisted from a cableway in Champoluc - Val d'Ayas. The last two trails join them at Colle Pinter. The only difficulties consist in some sections of easy climbing just before the summit, however facilitated by the presence of fixed ropes.
Testa Grigia Normal route from Champoluc
Summit altitude: 3314 m
Difference in level: 907 m from Ostafa, 1745 from Champoluc
A good and panoramic route to summit one of the classic 3000 m peak of Valle d'Aosta
From Champoluc you can reach the Ostafa cable car station with the path n. 13 or using the cable car. Go down briefly to take the path n. 12. Follow the path winding along the slope with moderate ascent and finally reach the Alta Via n 1 just before the detour to the right to the Pinter lakes. Ignore the detour to the lakes (that can be reached in a few minutes) and climb up the easy gully leading to Colle Pinter 2777 m.
From the col turn to left taking the path 12 along the steep ridge that descends from Monte Pinter. With a series of hairpins quickly gain altitude. The path slowly head to West, overlooking the Val Ayas and entering the severe world of the high mountains. Proceed on crumbly ground and go up a short gully, just below Monte Pinter, to exit on the semi-flat ridge of the Testa Grigia. The slanting path head to the North-East to reach the wide ridge and the detour to the Ulrich Lateltin bivouac 3115 m. Now proceed towards the summit, climb up a first buttress and then go up again in the direction of a second one to be circumvented on the side of Gressoney. After passing a slight collar on rocky slabs, proceed around a particular rocky conformation eroded by the wind to the west and finally reach the most difficult passage of the ascent: a rocky step that can be overcome with the aid of a chain. Follow now a ledge on the Gressoney side until you meet some metal ropes that facilitate the ascent of a short stretch of rocks, after which you finally reach the summit of Testa Grigia. On the top there is a Madonna and a bell.
Descent: reversing the same itinerary. Do not miss the Pinter Lakes which can be reached with a very short digression!
Testa Grigia from Chemonal
Summit altitude: 3314 m
Difference in level: 1900 m from Chemonal
A long interesting itinerary joining the previous route on Colle Pinter
Drive up the Gressoney valley, pass Gressoney Saint Jean and after about 2 km reach the Chemonal locality. After Chemonal reach the parking lot of the Alpenzù Refuge. From here take the path n. 6 which climbs up with several hairpin bends and exits the wood to reach the Alpenzù Grande village where the Rifugio Alpenzù 1779 m is located. Pass through the houses and exit to the left reaching Alpe Meher 1856 m, from where with a long traverse to the right you reach the Pinter valley which starts from Alpe Montil Inferiore. After crossing the Alpe Loasche 2355 m. go up the detrital slope that leads to Colle Pinter 2777 m, where the itinerary coming from Val d’Ayas also arrives. Continue as described in the previous itinerary.