winter ascent to Mount Vettore

I’m used to climb Mount Vettore twice a year. In winter, if possible, and in summer for shooting falling stars, from August 10th to August 15th.

I counted 39 stars in an hour but normally I fall asleep already near the thirtieth star, unfortunately 😀
the Corno Grande seen at dawn from the Monte Vettore summit

track and path
The GPX track is recorded in high precision (error less than 3m) and runs as far as I could along the CAI paths. You can download it from Wikiloc at the link al the end of this article.
Unfortunately, the progression with crampons and ice axes on ice requires different logics and different approaches which in a couple of circumstances, with a certain degree of reluctantly from my side, forced me to deviate fron CAI path. Example: on the ascent route, just before the plain of the Zilioli cross, an ice barrier a couple of meters high forced  me to ascent earlier on the left of the CAI path.

not suitable for everyone
No, during the winter it is not for everyone, even if there is no snow.
Furthermore, in case of snow it is strongly advisable to be properly trained, it is mandatory to use the equipment required by law in addition to mountaineering winter equipment and harness.
It is important to check the avalanche risk reported on Meteomont web site and group check transceivers, shovel and probe: pieces of equipment mandatory from January 2022 even if I climb alone … no comment.

I do recommend alpine crampons especially in traverses. Snowshoes are practically useless on this path.
Crampons (real ones, for mountaineering) and ice axe are both a must to have. Double ice axes are recommended because, if the snow condition permits, it would be better to ascent and descend in piolet towards Prato Pulito (difficulty F+) to avoid the traverse under the Zilioli. Unfortunately the snow did not allow it and forced me to tackle the traverse.
60m of rope. Harness and helmet.
Fittoni or dead bodies and ice screws, both single and team equipment.
Artva, shovel and probe as I said above are now required by law.
Clothing for mid / high mountain winter mountaineering.

difficulty level.

  • it is not difficult for a experienced mountaineer (F+) but it is a difficult route for the hiker as it often takes on the connotations of winter mountaineering and rarely those of hiking in a snowy environment.
  • I’ve seen too many people go up not properly equipped.
  • traverses with critical exposures especially in the presence of ice. During the ascent I saw two people slip (one for over 100m) fortunately without consequences. Retrieving them safely without mountaineering procedures would have been too risky if not a gamble.
  • on the ascent, the Zilioli saddle was at ‐11°C with gusts of 60Kmh from NNE: protection against cold + wind is vital. Sun and mild temperatures upon returning descent as soon as the clouds have cleared the sky.
  • the steep snow covered slopes are a clear indicator of avalanche danger; it is necessary to be trained and to know how to properly assess the risk on site as well as to consult the avalanche bulletin.

route stats and the .gpx file can be found on Wikiloc, the link is at the bottom of the article. In short:

  • 1000m of elevation gain
  • 5km in total
  • 2470m maximum height

The summit stone and the Cross

The symbolic importance of the contorted summit cross of Mount Vettore has inspired religious and non-religious meanings and thoughts to hikers for years  The cross certainly did not go unnoticed ever, on the contrary it offered an introspective inspiration to those who reached the summit, a moment of interiority and an invitation to reflect. It fell from its basement during the 2017 earthquake and, I don’t know why, it was removed from the summit. Someone, who has all my esteem and support, has brought the cross back to the top and next to its basement.

1999. Summit contorted Cross symbol of Mount Vettore summit in the past.

I seem to remember her even more contorted than the picture. In winter, a large ice block formed around the cross which, hit by the altitude strong winds, I believe is the reason for so much mechanical agony.

Bivouac in the snow

This winter bivouac, thanks to a mild night, was easier than expected: -3°C which dropped to ‐10°C 🥶 before down.

Some night pictures.

The photos of the sparkling towns were taken “off the cuff” because … it was too cold to deploy the tripod 😀. In addition, not without a certain disappointment, I had noticed that the new tripod wasn’t very stable in strong winds.

link to my videos

videos and pictures
few seconds from the summit

Link to wikiloc:


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