Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 46.48610°N / 9.34940°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 10758 ft / 3279 m
Sign the Climber's Log


This is not a mountain, it' s the valley that divides Lepontine alps from Retiche alps, so, as for actual geographic division of Alps, the border between Western and Eastern Alps.

Its correct name is Val San Giacomo but all call it "Vallespluga".

You can amuse in all seasons : all mountains here are normally quite easy to be climbed (normally F or PD) but belong to a wonderful environment and can teach something about mountaneering.

I think it is one of the best areas for making first mountain experiences.

In this page there are the links to the mountains that require some skill and attention to be climbed, for most of the other ones (that do not have own page) the only requirement is a good training and fit. Exceptions are indicated where necessary

The Italian valley is oriented N-S and has 2 main chains :
  • Pizzo Tambò - Pizzo Quadro on the West side
  • Pizzo Suretta - Pizzo Stella on the East side

    the Swiss valley (valley of Rhein) is oriented W-E

  • Western side - Lepontine Alps ridge

    Tambò subgroup

    The main range of the valley, between the Val Curciusa to the West, the Rhein valley to the North, the Passo Spluga (2113m) to the East and Passo del Baldiscio (2301m) to the South.
    Starting from N we can point out these summits and passes :
  • Guggernüll (2886m)
  • Pizzo Tambò ( 3279m)
  • Pizzo Zoccone (3029m)
    passo Zoccone (2922m)
  • Cime di Val Loga (3004m)
  • Pizzo Ferrè (3103m)
  • Pizzi dei Piani (3151m)
    after this twin summit the ridge goes down to the Passo Baldiscio (2301m)

    Quadro subgroup

    This is the longest range of this area, starting from Psso del Baldiscio ((N) and ending with the Passo di Lendine (2326m) to the South
    Starting from N we can point out these summits:
  • Monte Baldiscio (2851m)
  • Cima di Barna (2862m)
  • Monte Bardan (2812m)
  • Pizzo della Sancia (2718m)
  • Dosso Mottascio (2858m)
  • Pizzo Quadro (3013m)
  • Pizzo Sevino (3026m)
  • Pizzo Forato (2957m)
  • Pizzo del Torto (2723m)

    from the East ridge of Pizzo Quadro a long ridge (Servizio) with the Pizzo Truzzo (2723m) and the Corna della Camoscera.

    Eastern side - Rhaetian Alps ridge

    Suretta subgroup

    Short but important range between the Passo Spluga (E) the Rhein valley (M) the Val di Niemet (W) and the basin of Montespluga (S)
    Main points of this range are :
  • Mittaghorn (2562m)
  • Schwarzorner (2890M)
  • Pizzo Suretta ( 3027m)
  • Piz Por (3026m) - requires some skill
  • Piz Muttala (2960m)
    passo Suretta (2580m)
  • Pizzo Spadolazzo (2720m)

    the range ends with the Passo d'Emet (2320m)

    Emet subgroup

    starting from Passo d'Emet to the East this group gets its higher summit
  • Pizzo d'Emet (3211m)
    wherefrom 2 long ridges toward East and South divide the Val Niemet (N) from Val di Lei (SE) and Val Scalcoggia (Madesimo valley) (S)
    On the East ridge :
  • Guglie d'Altare (3178 m) - requires some skill
  • Pizzo della Palù (3172 m)
    On the South ridge :
  • Pizzo di Sterla (2948 m)
  • Monte Mater (3023 m)
  • Pizzo Groppera (2996m) (fantastic ski area)
    the South ridge ends with the Passo d'Angeloga (2350m)

    Stella subgroup

    This is (can be considered) the smallest subgroup of the area delimited by 3 valleys :
    Val Rabbiosa and Val d'Avero (West side) and Val di Lei (East and SE side)
    From the Passo di Angeloga a short ridge with only one real summit
  • Pizzo Peloso (2789m) ends with the
  • Pizzo Stella (3163m)
    and goes on toward South till the
  • Pizzo Sommavalle

    Getting There & Accomodations

    starting from Milan (Italy) by car :
    - route 36 to Colico, then Chiavenna, Campodolcino, Madesimo or Montespluga
    - autoroute Milano-Como-Lugano-Bellinzona-S.Bernardino (tunnel)-Splügen

    starting from Chur (CH)
    - autoroute of S.Bernardino till Splügen then, on the left to Spluga pass

  • Campodolcino - hotels and a good campingplace - you could need a car to save time
  • Madesimo - hotels - you could need a car to save time
  • Stuetta - 1 refuge-hotel - you don't need a car, can move on feet in the high part of the valley
  • Montespluga - hotels - - you don't need a car, can move on feet in the high part of the valley
  • Splugen - hotels and a good camping place, you could need a car to save time

    ... I used to start on foot all my climbings from Alpe Motta ... but some routes were very long ...
    7-8 hours for Pizzo Quadro and Pizzi dei Piani,
    5 hours for Tambò, Ferrè and Suretta ecc.
    ... but I was very young and fit :)

    When To Climb

    all year long !!!!

    fine ski-mountaineering in winter
    wonderful ski-mountaneering in spring
    amusing excursions (easy climbs) in summer
    moody ambient in fall

    almost all climbs or ski-tours can be done in one day from Milan

    Hiking section

    Few marked paths, hikers can amuse finding here many fine ways to spend time with the only use of a map.
    I can suggest some of them

    from Starleggia - 1565 m (road from Campodolcino)
  • Alpe del Servizio - Passo del Servizio (2585m)
  • Pizzo della Sancia (Piz. Montagna CNS) (2718m) - fine also as ski-mountaneering
  • Pian dei Cavalli - lago Bianco (2322m)
  • from Isola - 1283 m (Spluga road)
  • val Febbraro - Mot del Lago - Passo Baldiscio (2350m)
  • Moncucco (2390m)
  • Val d'Oro - Soste - Stuetta (1865m) along the "sentiero del Cardinello"
  • from Stuetta - 1865 m (Spluga road)
  • val Schisarolo - bivacco Cecchini (2750m)
  • Madesimo - (1538m) along the "muretto degli Andossi"
  • from Montespluga - 1940 m (Spluga road)
  • val Loga - bivacco Cecchini (2750m)
  • laghi Azzurri - Pizzo della Casa (~2500m) - Passo Spluga
  • passo Suretta (2580m) - Rifugio Bertacchi (2196m) : the finest
  • lago Nero (2310m)
  • lago d'Emet - Rifugio Bertacchi (2196m)
  • from Madesimo 1536 m (road from Campodolcino-Pianazzo)
  • lago d'Emet - Rifugio Bertacchi (2196m) through val Scalcoggia
  • Pizzo Spadolazzo (2720m) - also as mountaneering
  • Alpe Motta - Lago Azzurro (1853m)
  • from Alpe Motta Bassa 1745 m (road from Madesimo)
  • Pizzo Groppera (2948m)
  • lago di Angeloga - Rifugio Chiavenna - lago Nero (2351m)
  • from Campodolcino 1066 m
  • lago di Angeloga - Rifugio Chiavenna - lago Nero (2351m) through Val Rabbiosa

  • Camping

    Italy - Campodolcino

    Switzerland -Splügen

    Ski mountaneering section

    Many possibilities on secundary summits but the ones worth to be done are :

    Cima di Barna - 2862 m

    fine ski mountaneering for beginners
    starting point : Isola
    drop : 1609 m
    Difficulty : MS
    time : 5-6 h
    when : January - March
    orientation : E

    Pizzo Ferrè - 3103 m

    complete ski mountaneering, with a fine final easy rock climbing : the best in this area
    starting point : Montespluga
    drop : 1202 m
    Difficulty : BSA - rope + iceaxe
    time : 4-5 h
    when : April - May
    orientation : NE

    Pizzo Tambò - 3279 m

    complete ski mountaneering
    starting point : Montespluga or Splugen (skilift to Danazhohe)
    drop : 1378 m
    Difficulty : BSA - iceaxe
    time : 4-5 h
    when : February - May
    orientation : E

    Pizzo Suretta - 3027 m

    complete ski mountaneering
    starting point : Montespluga
    drop : 1196 m
    Difficulty : BS - rope + iceaxe
    time : 4-5 h
    when : April - May
    orientation : E

    Pizzo Stella - 3163 m

    complete ski mountaneering - a little tiring, after the descent you must gain the Passo Groppera to come down to Madesimo
    starting point : Madesimo - telpher to Pizzo Groppera (2948 m)
    drop : 772 m
    Difficulty : BSA - rope + iceaxe
    time : 4 h
    when : October-November or April-May
    orientation : N


    near Cimaganda (on the road that brings from Chiavenna to Campodolcino) a lot of boulders in perfect gneiss allows to amuse.
    Drops up to 15 m

    Maps and Books

    Carta Nazionale della Svizzera 1:50.000, foglio 267 - S.Bernardino
    KOMPASS Carta Turistica 1:50.000, foglio 92 - CHIAVENNA VAL BREGAGLIA

    a complete guide to the zone (only in Italian language)
    Monti dell'Alto Làrio

    Alessandro Gogna, Alessandro Recalcati
    Collana Guida ai Monti d'Italia
    Club Alpino Italiano - Touring Club Italiano

    Red Tape

    Switzerland is out of Schengen, you need identity document

    External Links