Text and pictures © 1994-2021 Guillaume Dargaud
Last updated on 2018/10/17
"One cannot climb at all unless he has sufficient urge to do so. Danger must be met (indeed it must be used) to an extent beyond that incurred to normal life. That is one reason men climb; for only in response to challenge does one man becomes his best." — Ax Nelson.
This page is the original of a paper published in Vertical Mag n°118, May 1999.
150 km away from Rome, in the heartland of Abruzzo, lays a huge limestone block where extreme skiing is practiced next to 600m aid climbs and where runout vie ferrate cross path with pocket-holed slabs as in Verdon. Gran Sasso concentrates in a couple km² all the mountain activities.
Just like Mt Blanc, Gran Sasso has its 11 km tunnel. On its exit you feel a shock: you have to stop on the emergency lane to examine the Paretone, a mile high face right above. And immediately you feel like going there for a climb. The three main summits of this small 24 km long range are Corno Grande, Corno Piccolo and, separated by the deep Val Maone: Pizzo Intermésoli. All 3 fit in less than 2.5km. There you can ice climb, go down canyons, hike, paraglide, mountain climb but the two main activities are rock climbing and mountain skiing. The origin of the name "Gran Sasso" is obvious (if you speak Italian) from Prati di Tivo, village at the foot of Corno Piccolo. From there it shows as a huge compact limestone block, 300m high, barely crossed by a few gullies filled with snow till summer.
Right: The broken down Arrapietra refuge, facing the Paretone and the Corno Piccolo.
Left: Jenny on Meridionalizziamoci, north face of Corno Piccolo
We are in the heartland of Abruzzo, and it's here that the Duke met with the mountain before going to K2 early last century. The birth of Italian mountain climbing may be here when in 1573 the 69 year old captain Francesco De Marchi reaches the top of Corno Grande, highest peak of the range and summit of Apennine with its 2912m, after an epic he relates at length in the archives of the nearby town of L'Aquila. The second ascent will wait till 1794 when a scientist inspired by De Saussure reaches the top with barometers, thermometers, gear and all.
But the Apennines are not as attractive as the Alps and it will be one more century before real climbers come and try the local routes. Among the first ones, the Englishman Douglas Freshfield and his Chamonix guide François Devouassoud. Local climbers (esp from L'Aquila) and Romans begin to get interested too and a spirit of competition settles: first winter ascent to the climbers from the Alps; first summer and winter ascents of Corno Piccolo and central summit of Corno Grande to the locals... The presence of the Calderone glacier, the southernmost (some say the smallest) of Europe, gives an alpine style to the place.
In 1927 arrives Aldo Bonacossa from Milan with a pair of skis and performs multiple first descents. That's no surprise: snow abounds in winter. But beware: most of the descents are hard, none below 35° and snow conditions change fast. Temperature can reach 30°C after several days of snowing: avalanches meet sunburns ! More generally weather changes really fast because of the closeness of the seas: 45km from the Adriatic and 120km from the Tyrrenian sea. The tragedy of Cambi and Cicchetti who died of exposure less than a km from Pietracamela after the 1st winter traverse of Corno piccolo in 1927 is a proof to that. The wind is the dominant element and clouds always show up in summer afternoons. Always take a rain jacket and start early, especially since italians are rather late starters ! On the other hand, in winter if you don't want to break trail, you may have to wait till noon !
In the 30's tens of grade IV and V routes are opened, but some slab areas like the shoulders of Corno Piccolo or the Monolito will wait 40 more years for their 1st ascents. The greatest climbers sometimes show up, like Gervasutti who opens the first grade VI of the range. A friction slab with big shoes, wheeeh...
Right: First ascent of Filo en Fondo, East face of Corno Piccolo.
Tourism starts with the building of the Garibaldi refuge at the base of the south face in 1886, the Franchetti refuge in 1959 better located between Corno Grande and Corno Piccolo and some more. In 1934 the building of the cable car going directly to Campo Imperatore, this 20km long high plateau at the south of the range, allows the true beginning of climbing. This cable car had a nasty ending (no american plane involved this time) when a 10m block fell into the intermediate station in 85, while it was in operation ! A new one was built afterwards. In the 70's some people with delirious equipment projects (hotels, roads and lifts everywhere) received a violent opposition that lead to the site being classified as a national park in 1991, and only a couple ski lifts in the lower parts are here to trouble the peace. No rangers to tax tourists, no tourist center either. But on sunday hikers and climbers flow in a noisy mess, particularly at the bars below. I even saw a wedding at the Madonnina (2015m).
For rock climbing, the best rock and the shortest approach are on Corno Piccolo, which access is through Prati di Tivo. If the chairlift works (rare !) the access time is reduced to 15 minutes for the north face of Corno Piccolo. At worst it takes 3 hours to get to Paretone. By the way, it's a shame to admit that the only bolts in the range are on climbs less than 15 minutes away from the lift. Are sport climbers lazier than others ? Strange, they don't have to carry the rack of friends, stoppers and hooks necessary to complete the few pitons already in place on the other routes. A friend from Paris could not believe finding such an unbolted place less than 2 hours from Rome. Here Adventure holds on two pitons hammered together in a pocket hole as a belay.
Left: The Gran Sasso range seen from Campotosto lake.
In some areas (le Spalle, il Monolito), the extraordinary quality of the rock is good for soloing, introduced by the alien Pierluigi Bini between 75 and 79. He opens, solos and opens while soloing many routes. Free climbing and its ethics start with him, but he refuses the use of bolts, although very useful on those slick slabs, trust me ! Some of his runout routes will wait 10 years for a second ascent (Placche del Totem, via del Vecchiaccio, Placche Manitù...). He also opened the Mephisto crack up on Paretone, 600m of VIb in a remote and wild face. His saga remains legendary, like the day he bagged 150 routes at Morra, totaling 4500m of climbing, or the winter day he soloed four grade VI long routes on the slabs of Le Spalle, 3 of those being first ascents ! Other major climb of the 70's, the Di Federico-De Luca (TD, V+) on the appropriately named slabs of the Monolito; a route that can be reached by first climbing the unpronounceable but 'interesting' offwidth of Ura mawashi tobi geri jodan (TD+, VIb).
In the 80's are opened 140 new routes and 50 variations. In addition to the old serious routes of Corno Grande and the runout slabs of Corno Piccolo, climbers discover the pillars of Intermésoli (Di Federico-De Luca), in Val Maone. Lets name Zarathustra and Icosaedro on the first shoulder (Spalla) of Corno Piccolo, kingdom of monofinger slabs; on the east face the hard Star Trek and Cavalcare la tigre whose runout friction traverse above huge overhangs has seen more than its fair share of climbers turning back. But the major climb of the range is Il Nagual e la Farfalla, a 600m EX VIII- A3 of hard and remote access in the very serious Paretone face. Its first climber liked it so much that he also did the first 4 repeats.
Right: The final ridge of Filo en Fondo, 2nd ascent.
One of my strange memories is one early morning in autumn, arriving in an empty Prati di Tivo on my way to some solo. The barely parked car was surrounded by 30 of those huge shepherd dogs they have in Abruzzo, fiercely impressive (they were used as wolf killers). Took me some balls to get out and head off to the mountains, accompanied by those placid dogs. Completely different is my memory of coming out solo of the austere south face of Corno Grande under the sight of a hundred hikers with sandwiches, cameras and running commentaries... It was just like being on the Arab routes in Verdon, right where the buses vomit their share of fat sightseers. If you are more lucky maybe you'll see a wolf, a royal eagle or a brown bear; those awesome animals having always survived in the remote places of Apennine.
Many things could be said about the winter ascents of the early 1900's, back in fashion in the 50's by a dissident group of the Italian Alpine Club, the SUCAI, and then more commonly practiced in the 80's by Domenico Alessandri, Giampiero Di Federico, Tiziano Cantalamessa (local guide), Paolo Caruso... It even became the main activity of Massimo Marchegianni. In Apennine winter ascents usually consist in steep grassy slopes covered with snow. Hairy and dirty. But on Gran Sasso there are some real snow or mixed gullies, although ice is rare. The slabs are too steep to be covered with snow, if you are interested in friction climbing with plastic boots and gloves ! Most routes have been repeated in winter, nice example of human masochism (*).
And if all of this is not enough, you can still try to repeat the 1987 ski descent of Paretone by Toni Valeruz: 1400m very sustained with some 60°. A face he also base-jumped off some time later ! Grade 8 has barely been seen in the range, but truly, if that's what you're after, better go to... Grotti !
(*) But also good training: Caruso did the first winter ascent of Cerro Torre and Marcheggiani/Cantalamessa climbed Fitz Roy in a day !
Right: Tonino Palermi near the summit of Macera de Morte.
From Rome using highway A24 (Roma-L'Aquila-Teramo). For the south side, exit in Assergi then follow signs up to Campo Imperatore (road closed in winter, take the cable car in Fonte Cerreto) on road 17bis-c (1h15 from Rome). For the north side, take the first exit after the big tunnel in San Gabriele, follow the SP 491 to Montório, then SS 80, go through Pietracamela and then Prati di Tivo (1h45).
Late December to early Mai for skiing, late May to early November for climbing with big variations depending on the years (I've skied in June once). In summer it gets real hot on south facing walls and thundershowers strike in the afternoon. In other words: K-way and suncream. Off-season it can be real cold on north facing routes, remember that the rocks are all above 2000m. For snow conditions, call MeteoMont (39) 06 85 55 618.
Climbs of all levels, but specifically around grade VI. Many hikers in summer
Access from Prati di Tivo: take the chairlift (rarely open) or follow the only road to its end (Piana del Laghetto) and take the ridge trail that brings you to the end of the chairlift (la Madonnina, 2015m). From there follow either the trail that goes to the north face of Corno Piccolo, the Prima Spalla and Seconda Spalla; or the trail to the east face, the Franchetti refuge and the pass between Corno Piccolo and Corno Grande (Sella dei due Corni).
Access for Paretone is more complex: from the Franchetti refuge take the ferrata Ricci and, a bit before the summit, go down the Jannetta couloir as best as possible (IV, a couple cairns).
For the south face of Corno Grande, access is from Campo Imperatore where you follow the geological trail towards the Direttissima, then follow an ex-ferrata to the Bafile shelter (signs).
Left: Myself leading the aid-climbing pitch of Viaggiatore Incantato.
When in Prati di Tivo, the 'Seggiovia' hotel is unbeatable for climbing bums: just unroll your sleeping bag under the roof of the chairlift ! Many expensive hotels (~100 000 lire/night) and an abandoned camping ground. The Franchetti refuge is perfect for access to the Paretone or if you plan to spend some time on the east face of Corno Piccolo (ph: +39 0861 959634), open every WE and in summer.
In Campo Imperatore there's the hotel were Mussolini was held prisoner in 1943 before being liberated by a commando, the refuge CAI Duca degli Abruzzi (Ph: +39 0330 550194), the old (1886) Garibaldi refuge at the foot of the south face and the tiny Bafile shelter in the south face. In winter it's possible to unroll the sleeping bag in the cable car building (it's even heated, with table and restrooms !).
The restaurant of hungry climbers in Fano Adriano (Le 7 Effe), near Prati di Tivo. Several bars and lousy restaurants in Prati di Tivo. Supermarkets in L'Aquila and Montório. Climbing gear in L'Aquila and Teramo.
Coleggio Regionale Guide Alpine (39) 871 69338.
Visit the many churches (more than 80) and the XIth century thermal baths of L'Aquila; the abandoned village of Rocca Calascio and its impressive castle, the Adriatic sea, the Genepi liquor of Gran Sasso, the italian ice-creams...
In order to find climbers, the best place to look is in Prati di Tivo, at the Gran Sasso 3 bar in the late afternoon.
With a 572 pages guidebook, the choice is hard. Here's a selection of great classic routes and nice modern ones. Plenty of variety and exposure. Rating system is UIAA. Few bolted routes, we are talking trad climbing here, so take along stoppers, friends and particularly webbing to tie through holes. Note that tricams, aliens and hooks can be useful on this pocketed sandstone. Hard or dangerous moves are often protected, even if only by an old 2mm cord in a sharp hole ! The number in the first column brings you to the xerox of the map (in bold are the climbs I've done), the number in brackets is the reference in the guidebook.
Corno Piccolo, North face
Excellent rock, quick access from the end of the road in Prati di Tivo. Many easy routes.
|1||NE ridge of Corno Piccolo||AD- IV- 500m [31z4]||Very panoramic ridge with 2 not so easy pitches. Can be used as a descent route (2 rappels). Pitons.|
|2||Via Bachetti-Fanesi||D V- 180m [31z]||Easy classic in good rock.|
|3||Iskra||D- V- 200m [31j]||Classic and very busy crack. With a girlfriend we passed 10 people by climbing on the slab !|
This is the first shoulder of the Corno Piccolo, north face. From Prati di Tivo it is obvious as a big compact sphere on the right. Excellent smooth rock. For the west face, access is by climbing the Bonacossa couloir between both Spalle or by doing a route an the 2nd Spalla first.
|4||Meridionalizziamoci||TD+ VI+ 300m||Recent route, not on the guidebook. Mostly on pocket-hole slabs on an exposed buttress. Pitons and some bolts already in place.|
|5||Spigollo delle Guide||TD VI- 240m [48j]||Classic crack climb. Wooden corners already in place...!|
|6||Il filo di Arianna||ED- VII 200m [48m]||Pitons and bolts in place.|
|7||Mario-Di Filippo||TD- V+ 180m [48u]||Old classic that uses a crack system on the slab.|
|8||Aficionados||ED- VII- 185m [48w]||Slab with bolts at the cruxes (hooks useful), one pitch of crack climbing (take stoppers+friends).|
|9||Stefano Tribioli||TD+ VI+ 215m [48x]||Slab opened without bolts by P-L Bini. Technical, nice and sustained.|
|10||Il ballo della tarantola||TD+ VII+ (VI+ obb) 215m||All on slab. Bolted.|
|11||Zarathustra e nonna Iole||TD+ VI+ 210m [48z]||Sustained slab.|
To the west and lower than the first shoulder. Excellent rock. There's a third shoulder even lower. A via Ferrata passes at its base.
|12||La Dama in Nero first pitch (VI+) linked with Icosaedro||TD+ VII- 150m [46j1-46j]||Stupendous pocket-hole slab and strange crack. Runout and questionable pro. One bolt.|
|13||Via del Vecchiaccio||D V- ou VI 210m [46q]||Slab then crack.|
|14||Placche del Totem||TD+ VI 200m [46r]||Slab opened without any pro by P-L Bini ! A couple bolts now for us mortals.|
|15||Notte delle Streghe||TD VI- 245m [46v]||Very nice classic.|
|16||Placche Manitù||TD+ VI 230m [46y]||A major climb at the time, opened without bolts by P-L Bini. Crux is a 20m friction traverse.|
Big rocks west of the pass between Corno Piccolo and Corno Grande (sella dei Due Corni). Perfect rock but long approach for such short climbs.
|27||Via Gervasutti||TD- VI- 120m [40d]||Short and nice classic. For decades the hardest route of the area. Pitons.|
|28||Via del Tetto||D+ V 125m [41h]||Nice varied route: chimney, crack, pocket-hole slab, overhang, friction... Pitons.|
East Face. Rock usually good. Bigger and more exposed than the north face.
|17||Cavalcare la tigre||ED- VII- A2 400m [34h]||Traverses a succession of slabs between overhangs (rappels impossible). Pitons + 5 bolts.|
|18||Star Trek||ED VII- 380m [34j]||Technical and sustained crack. Friends and stoppers necessary.|
|19||Rossana||TD+ VI A1 360m [34o]||Exposed. Crack & overhangs. Physical. Pitons.|
|20||Spigolo a destra della crepa||TD VI- 320m [34p]||A major route opened in 59, a great old classic.|
Obvious smooth rock on the summit of the east face of Corno Piccolo. Perfect rock, great exposure, in the sun in the morning with watchers at the Franchetti refuge... was else can you ask for ?
|21||Ura mawashi tobi geri jodan||TD+ VI 150m [35c]||Logical way to get to the Monolito (otherwise access by a grade III scramble on the left). Very good offwidth before the slabs of the Monolito.|
|22||Kronos||EX- VIII 70m [35g]||Bolts but runout...|
|23||Rosy||TD VI- A2 180m [35h]||Recently rebolted very badly. First part free climbing on pocket hole slab, then aid climbing in an overhang.|
|24||Golem||ED- VII 170m [35i]||Nice route entirely on slab. Opened from the bottom with very little gear...|
|25||Baphomet||EX- VIII- A0 150m [35j]||Crack'n'slab, runout and high level. Take hooks and 9 quickdraws.|
|26||Via Di Federico-De Luca||TD V+ 180m [35k]||Follows the easiest (but far from obvious) way on the face. Long and nice classic. Pitons and some bolts.|
On the west summit of Corno Grande and the east face of Torrione Cambi. 1h30 of access from Campo Imperatore. Very exposed and remote. Rock from average to very good.
|29||Diretta Consiglio||TD VI- 300m [54r]||Historical route but cheesy rock.|
|30||L'isola non trovata||TD+ VI 325m [54t]||Cracks, dihedrals and overhangs. Good rock.|
|31||Musica nova||ED- VII- 185m [61i]||Torrione Cambi. Nice route opened from the bottom (bolts). Take some stoppers and friends.|
|32||Les Freaks sont chics||TD+ VI 80m [61j]||Finishes in Asterix.|
|33||Asterix||TD- V+ 220m [61l]||Mostly on slabs.|
(N-E face of Corno Grande). The mythical face of the area. 1200m of rock. Maximum exposure and loneliness guaranteed. The bottom is unfortunately mostly grass & bad rock and the access is either from the summit going down the large but tough central canal (canale Janneta, IV, couple cairns), or by an exposed ledge hard to find (la Cengia dei Fiori, IV).
|34||Il Nagual & la Farfalla||EX VIII- A3, 11 pitches of difficulty [68c]||The hardest route of the area, very sustained, opened with fixed ropes and bivis. Repeated in a day since. Good rock. Take misc gear including hooks. A couple pitons and bolts in place.|
|35||Diretta Alessandri-Leone||TD V+ 500m [71c]||On the third pillar. Logical route on cracks.|
|36||Via Mario-Caruso||TD+ VI 450m [72c]||Opened in 59 and repeated only 20 years later !|
|37||Fulmini e Saette||ED VII 700m [73f]||Not obvious to follow in an awesome place.|
|38||Via Alletto-Mario-Caruso (classique)||D+ V- 500m [73h]||First and for 23 years only route on the right side of Paretone. Access from the Cengia dei Fiori.|
|39||Cresta Nord||D IV+ 1150m [73m]||Very long ridge route, not sustained. Great and panoramic view. Rock good in the technical parts. Take 2 quickdraws and a couple slings. Only rock route that starts from the bottom. Read about a bad solo attempt.|
2635m. The climbing routes are in Val Maone, access from Prati di Tivo (1h). Good rock. Low altitude allowing for out of season climbing. Succession of 5 pillars. Many modern routes. Way down by grassy slopes north of first pillar (trail).
|40||Stentichina e Pantafora||TD+ VII- 210m||On 'Le Struture' before the first pillar. Bolted. Take 10 quickdraws and some cords.|
|41||Worm's wall||D+ V 150/350m [21c]||2° pillar. Sustained crack. Take stoppers and friends. 200m of dirty IV to get to the start.|
|42||Wall of Woodoo||ED VII+ 265/400m||Bolts and pitons. Lots of slabs and a monster overhang.|
|43||Forza 17||ED+ VIII- 255m [21p]||Beautiful climb on dihedrals and then slabs on a rounded buttress. Bolted in the hard parts. Take stoppers.|
|44||Via Amighetti||TD- VI- 400m [22g]||On the ridge of the third pillar.|
|45||Via Bachetti-Fanesi||D V- 500m [23e]||4° pillar. Average rock in the lower part.|
For winter climbing. Can be in condition from anytime to anytime, but usually around march-april for the longest ones. Beware of hot days !
|M1||Direttissima||F II 300m [54d]||South face Corno Grande. Normal route in winter. Many hikers in summer.|
|M2||Canalone centrale||PD III 250m [54z2]||South face of Corno Grande. Some ice gullies in the vicinity.|
|M3||Canalone Haas-Acitelli||PD II 1250m [67f]||East face of Corno Grande. Starts from the bottom of Val dell'Inferno. The most isolated route of the range, beautiful. Possible route variations. Read the horror story.|
|M4||Via Jannetta||AD+ IV 1500m [73a]||Large ramp at the center of Paretone. Mixed and then snow. Isolation and exposure. Skied by Toni Valeruz. Another bad solo.|
|M4'||Le Tre Vette||AD- III 2km [73v]||Traverse of the 3 summits of Corno Grande. Better done in winter (bad rock). Panoramic and very exposed. Take double rope and slings. Some pitons.|
|M5||Primo scrimone||from PD to D+, from 55° to 90°, from 300 to 800m ||Set of ice gullies in the middle of Val Maone.|
|M5'||Intermésoli Pillars||60° to 90°, mixed [21-23]||Gullies between the many pillars of Intermésoli in val Maone. Warning, east face.|
|M6||Gullies on the north face of Corno Piccolo||40° to 60° and more ||Visible from Prati di Tivo. Two have even been skied. On the others, the ice on the rock slabs is often very thin. In summer it's the fastest way down (grade III).|
|M7||Ice climbing||Grade II/3 to IV/5, 50 to 100m||One is accessed from Prati di Tivo in ½ hour in Val Maone. Often in condition. Other waterfalls in the high Vomano valley (near Ortolano), and in the Fondo della Salsa (north face of Mt Camicia) including 2 first (of 600m !!!) still to be climbed. There's a guidebook special ice-climbing.|
Access from the Fonte Cerreto cable car that brings you to Campo Imperatore (south), then up 250m to the Duca d'Abruzzi refuge (2385m). From there go on sight. Rating: MS (average skier), BS (good skier, <35°), OS (very good skier, <45°), A (axe and crampons necessary).
Other skiing in the Gran Sasso range possible on Mt San Franco, Pizzo de Camarda, Pizzo Cefalone, Mt Corvo, Mt Aquila, Mt Infornace, Mt Prena, Mt Camicia and Mt Corvo.
Other summits of the Apennines were mountain skiing is done: La Majella (Direttissima), Mt Sirente (canale Maggiore), Mt Terminillo (canale centrale), Mt Sibilini...
Be aware of the very changing conditions: it can snow for several days and then be 30°C. Or rain. Or wind that kicks you down. Pack accordingly. Ski crampons as well as real crampons are often required. Many couloirs are classics but have seen many accidents.
|S1||Val Maone||150m at 35°, then easy. 1400m of downhill [F11]||From the Duca Abruzzi refuge, go down directly north (steep at the beginning, or follow the NE ridge by foot till it flattens). Go down Val Maone till a road that climbs 100m to Prati di Tivo. In good conditions it's possible to go down to Pietracamela.|
|S2||Canale Bissolati, Corno Grande||OSA, 40° sustained, 400m for the couloir [G1]||Climb to the summit by the Direttissima. Then go down the first couloir west of it. Nicknamed the killer couloir... Alternative: go down the Direttissima (100 at 45°, then 10m at 50° very narrow, then easier). Alt2: go down the Morigia-Acitelli (starts a couple meters on the left, 300m at 45°). All 3 visible on the picture.|
|Calderone glacier + Vallone dei Ginepri + Passo della Portella||BSA, 30° at the easiest in good conditions. 2370m of downhill [F13]||Up Corno Grande via the Direttissima. Go down north (starts 150m west of the summit). Traverse to the west before the Franchetti refuge to the pass (sella dei due Corni). Down the Vallone dei Ginepri staying on the right (avalanche prone). Go up Val Maone full south to the Portella pass. Ski down to Fonte Cerreto|
|S6||Traverse of Pizzo d'Intermésoli and down the Conca del Sambuco||BSA. 1040m up, 2120m down [E5-F10]||Down Val Maone to 1800m altitude. Up west to the sella dei Grilli, then north to the south summit. Follow the ridge to the north. Before the north summit, take the north-east slope, staying on the left.|
|S7||Pizzo d'Intermésoli, south face||OSA, 45° at the start [E1]||Down Val Maone to 1800m altitude. Up west to the sella dei Grilli, then north to the south summit. Down (steep at the start) the same way. Dangerous.|
|S8||La Valle Fredda||From easy to BS depending how far you traverse. 1000m [F2]||Good way to go down from Campo Imperatore. Very often in good conditions, even late in the season. From Campo Imperatore take the SE skilift. Traverse 500m to the east (plenty of tracks). Follow the bottom of the valley to the road. One km by foot to get back to Fonte Cerreto.|
Left: Tonino and Antonella on an excellent route right on the Vena Rossa above the road leading to Fano Adriano, a couple kms down the Gran Sasso. The route is 'Il Pasto Nudo', aperta da Pino Sabbatini e Pierpaolo Reggimenti.
Right: Trying to find the correct way to hold those crimpy tiny holes.
Right: Gran Sasso (left) and Mt Intermesoli (right) seen from Fano Adriano.
Right: Random climbing up the Prima Spalla. There are some many routes to chose from we actually started at random without a guidebook. It started with 2 pitches of 4th class with only a stiff 6b roof move.
Left: Groovy slab climbing.
Right: A view on Mt Intermesoli from the top of Prima spalla.
Right: Mt Intermesoli's pillars contain some of the best routes of Gran Sasso.
Right: Towards the summit of Corno Piccolo.
Right: Coming down the normal route of Corno Piccolo.
Left: At the pass between Corno Grande and Piccolo, the Fiamme di Pietra have the pure unadultered best limestone on the planet. Here people on the ever classic Gervasutti pillar.
Right: Sunrise on Paretone (left), Corno Grande (back) and Corno Piccolo, with the Prima Spalla clearly visible on the right.
Left: Jenny on the Clessidre's route, an easy classic all slab climbing.
Right: Antonella on the upper part of the route.
Left: Jenny racing against the threatening clouds.
Right: Summit of the 2nd spalla.
Right: Tonino on the thin pockets of Aquilotti 75. Great limestone.
Left: Traversing towards the end of the route.
Right: Tonino belaying me on the next to last pitch, with another party visible far below.
Tonino's pics of Aquilotti 75.
Right: After climbing the 2nd Spalla, a short walk takes us to the base of the 1st spalla, and off we go for the 2nd route of the day: Incontro con Camelia.
Left: It looks unclimbable from below but is actually full of holes.
Left: Vertical panorama of the crux pitch, 40m of sustained slab.
Tonino's pics of Incontro con Camelia.
Take a look at my Italian -> English dictionary to better understand the guidebooks or some names.