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Ascent of Testa Grigia on 2010-06-28

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Andrew Tibbetts
Date:Monday, June 28, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Testa Grigia
    Location:Italy
    Elevation:3315 m / 10876 ft

Ascent Trip Report

Following yesterday's Grande Rochere ascent we arrived in Champoluc early evening (in a thunderstorm), found a meal then headed a short way up the valley to find a quiet place to sleep.

Monday, 07:24 - the trail starts in the small village square, at N45 49 52.8 E7 43 34.8 (signposted; we found unrestricted parking 100m to the west) initially following a narrow residential street E, then winding up through nice woodland, crossing a (grassy) piste, then via more woodland to reach a small collection of old buildings known at Franz (N45 49 55.2 E7 44 21.4, 1892m). Here the signpost is unhelpful: keep R (E) unless you want to visit the ski complex at Crest involving an extra 30m of ascent.

The route continues through flowery pasture, mostly obvious except at N45 49 37.0 E7 45 16.2 (2049m - fork right). A high cwm is reached: the path heads R to cross a stream then steeply L to ascend the headwall (zigzags, fixed rope). Being early season, there was a large snow patch on the final ascent to the Colle di Pinter (2777m, elaborate cairn) although there is probably little if any snow later in the year. A cairned route heads N (snow slope; minor exposure higher up) to gain the ridge N of Monte Pinter. We had deep (firmish) snow here (we put on crampons, which were useful higher up but presumably unnecessary later in the season); the path heads N to follow the E edge of the ridge, then steepens keeping to the E side. Finally we encountered a snow arete, with snow becoming waist deep at the N end. Then a short crag (2m crack climbed by a fixed chain). Above this a ledge leads to the final 20m steep rocky ascent (fixed cable) which emerges at the summit (12:16): cairn, summit register and bell. Although there was cloud all around, somehow the summit stayed clear; we had limited views, mostly downwards.

On the descent it rained for a while but was mostly hot and sunny; we were back at the car at 15:24. We narrowly avoided a soaking - a heavy thunderstorm started just after we got down.

After a post-ascent in-car picnic we drove into Switzerland via the dramatic Grand St Bernard pass (no border guards, no dogs, no brandy!), finding a meal in Martigny - also internet access at the Casino Bar on the main street.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1777 m / 5830 ft
    Elevation Loss:1777 m / 5830 ft
    Distance:12.9 km / 8 mi
    Grade/Class:YDS3 (fixed rope)
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons
    Weather:Raining, Hot, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Intermittent rain on descent, cloudy view
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1777 m / 5830 ft
    Extra Loss:29 m / 98 ft
    Distance:6.4 km / 4 mi
    Route:South ridge
    Trailhead:Champoluc  1567 m / 5144 ft
    Time Up:5 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1748 m / 5732 ft
    Distance:6.4 km / 4 mi
    Route:South ridge
    Trailhead:Champoluc  1567 m / 5144 ft
    Time Down:3 Hours 



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