Via Grassi-Re (Becco Meridionale della Tribolazione)
While Gran Paradiso Group Northern sector is mostly known in reason of its ice and mixed ascents on high summits, the Southern one hides a real kingdom for rock climbing, with countless peaks and walls made of an excellent quality granite. The Piantonetto Valley, a tributary of Orco Valley, is one of the best known sites in the Southern side of Gran Paradiso Group. A wonderful kingdom, less known, made of steep granite walls and beautiful hard rock climbs, both classic and modern. In the middle of the rocky heart of Gran Paradiso, the Piantonetto Valley, we can find a veritable pearl, the magnificent tower of Becco Meridionale della Tribolazione. It's the Southernmost peak belonging to a group of three ones, Becco Settentrionale, Becco Centrale and Becco Meridionale della Tribolazione; it's the finest mountain amongst these ones and probably the most beautiful rocky summit of Gran Paradiso group, together with Becco di Valsoera.
This peak has an unmistakable trapezium shape and it's quite famous in reason of its stunning South-East face, dropping up to 500 m. The steepest section is a 250 m. high wall, showing wonderful corners and cracks, rising on a 250 m. high sloping pedestal. The rock is a gneiss of excellent quality, greenish coloured in the lower section, reddish in the steep upper wall. This peculiarity emphasizes the sudden change of inclination of the face.
The starting point to climb is the Teleccio Lake, at the end of Valle del Piantonetto, a tributary of Valle dell'Orco. Road access
- From Turin reach Courgnè and Pont Canavese m. 461; from here follow Orco Valley as far as Rosone m. 715 (Km. 16,5 from Pont Canavese). A few hundred meters after Rosone leave the main road and follow on the right-hand side (road marks Piantonetto-Rifugio Pontese) the narrow and winding road rising along the Piantonetto Valley and reaching the Teleccio artificial Lake m.1917. Dam. Parking.
- From France and Switzerland reach Aosta, then follow the Monte Bianco motorway towards South, exit Ivrea. From Ivrea follow the road to Ciriè and Pont Canavese.
Walking approach to Rifugio Pontese
From Teleccio Lake m. 1870 (Dam, artificial lake) follow the trail to Rif. Pontese (signposts) running at first along the right shore of the lake, then becoming a steep and winding path rising quickly to the beginning of Pian delle Muande, where it's located the Rifugio Pontese m. 2200 (45 minutes from the parking), guarded in summer.
This route is only a little example of the impressive number of ascents - both on rock and ice - realized by Giancarlo Grassi.
More info here on SP: Giancarlo Grassi, the man of the crystal garden
Via Grassi-Re route report - UIAA SCALE
Summit altitude: 3360 m.
Difficulty: TD, UIAA VI
Climbing length: 250 m
Equipment: the pegs on belays are on site, as well as some pegs along the pitches, needed quick protections to integrate
First ascent: Gian Carlo Grassi - Alberto Re 1968, October, 6th
Starting point: Lago Teleccio
Hut: Rifugio Pontese
A superb climb up perfect red granite on blades, cracks and corners. One of the best classic routes in Gran Paradiso Group, .
Approach - From Rifugio Pontese follow for a few minutes the trail on Pian delle Muande as far as a fork where you take the left branch to cross the river on a bridge. After crossing the stream continue to follow the path to Colle dei Becchi, getting the beginning of the stone-scree and further the base of Becco Meridionale della Tribolazione. 1.30 hours. Leave the main path to Colle dei Becchi and begin to rise to tracks towards the evident rocky sloping pedestal that leads to the base of the reddish wall. Climb it on easy rocks, when it becomes steeper, head slanting left, then return right choosing the most convenient itinerary to reach the ledges below the steep reddish wall, where there is a large white spot, visible from below. The route starts on the left of the white spot at the base of a dihedral (slings embedded inside a block). 2.45 hours from Rifugio Pontese
L1 - Follow the dihedral above the stance, gain a crack on the right and climb it for a few meters, then traverse left. Continue straight on easier rocks to the top of a little pillar.
L2 - Up slanting left, then a horizontal blade leads to the left to a vertical crack. Follow the crack to a small balcony with ropes. Continue straight ahead on a short vertical wall and exit on a corniche. Follow the corniche to the right for a few meters and belay.
L3 - Don't climb heading in the direction of the pegs above the belay, but follow the corniche again towards to a first peg, then still on the corniche (about 15 meters of traverse).
L4 - Follow the upward dihedral up under a small overhang. Overcome the overhang and go straight for a few meters, then slanting right reach a large terrace.
L5 - Take the left one of the two corners side by side, after about 10 meters switch on the right one and reach the summit of the pillar.
L6 - Take the slanting-left corner immediately right of the stance and reach a new terrace on the right.
L7 - From the belay up the 50 meters dihedral-chimney. Continue again inside the chimney to a corniche. From here climb the overhang above, directly to the summit cross (belay on boulder wedged).
Descent - Following the normal route on the opposite side (Vallone del Roc side), alternating some abseils and brief sections of easy climb, getting the base of the peak, then Collare dei Becchi.
Rope 2x55, helmet, quickdraws, a complete set of friends, excentrics, slings
There are no fees or permits needed to climb Becco Meridionale della Tribolazione. The peak is located inside Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso, established in 1922, one of most important National Parks in Italy. You should take care of nature as usual within the boundaries of all the natural parks. Free camping is not allowed and fires are strictly forbidden. The whole fauna and flora are protected. Don’t disturb fauna and other mountaineering and hikers’ peacefulness with every kind of noise.
Rifugio Pontese on Pian delle Muande mt. 2200 (guarded by “Gran Paradiso Friends” Association) open in summer (40 minutes from Teleccio Lake) - Hut phone +390124800186
Other accomodation in Valle dell'Orco
Different possibilities of accomodation can be found in Valle dell'Orco. The only existing equipped camping is located in Ceresole Reale in the upper valley. In Noasca, the village located near the Piantonetto road, it’s possible to find some accomodations in the Ostello and Hotels.
The best period to climb the peak goes from middle June to middle September.
"Rock Paradise – Classic, modern and sportive climbing in Gran Paradiso valleys” by Maurizio Oviglia Ed. Versante Sud 2000 - The best for the new and classic rock climbs
“Gran Paradiso e Valli di Lanzo - Le cento più belle ascensioni" Gian Carlo Grassi – Ed. Zanichelli 1982 - The best for classic routes on ice and rock
"Gran Paradiso” by E. Andreis, R. Chabod and M.C. Santi Guide dei Monti d’Italia TCI-CAI
“Gran Paradiso - La Grivola - Cogne” – IGC 101 1:25.000
"Il Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso" - IGC 3 1:50.000