Ascent of Cima Presanella on 2008-08-26

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Lee Newton

Andrew Tibbetts
Date:Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cima Presanella
    Elevation:11673 ft / 3557 m

Ascent Trip Report

Presanella, 3558m, P1676m

Map: Kompass 1:50k map (100m contours) is poor, Swiss 1:25k map somewhat better

Stats: 10mi, 1600mH

Time: Tue 26 Aug 2008: 1h10m to hut, 9h round trip, 1h down to road.

Hut: Refugio Amola G. Segantini, tel 0465 40384

Start: From E, Larici, Trail 211 starts at top of zig-zags on narrow road above S. Antonio di Mavignola. Can park here, or drive first part of trail (roughish track) 500m to small car park by bridge.

Route: From trailhead (car park), Trail 211 (wide track) crosses bridge and heads W along N bank of river. Just before a farm building, a narrow footpath forks R, soon crossing a stream (footbridge) then climbs steeply NNW to gain a ridge, which it follows W to the Refugio Amola G. Segantini: an obvious trail all the way. From here we had planned to take the Normal route via the Bocch. di M. Nero, but one of the hut staff advised us against this due to rockfall, and explained to us the route described below, using a folder of maps and photos. From the Refuge, Trail 219 continues WSW (paint marks and cairns: with care it is easy to follow even with a pre-dawn start). It skirts the base of some cliffs, heads S across a boulder slope to reach the base of Presanella's SE ridge, then climbs steeply NW (grassy) to reach the Passo di Quatro Cantoni (signpost). A steeper path descends SW, protected by a cable (not really needed). Trail 219 continues SW down into the Val di Nardis. However, at the foot of this initial steep descent from the pass, cross a bouldery hollow on a bearing of approx 290deg, on a path (not obvious; occasional cairns) crossing a shoulder, descending a little, skirting around the foot of a big ridge, keeping just above the Vedr di Nardis glacier on its NE bank. Once past the ridge, Presanella summit can be seen ahead, above slabs and some steep snow and fairly easy rock. The slabs were a little icy, as was the snow slope, although axe and crampons weren't needed. The final climb was on fairly loose steep rock, on a fairly distinct trail. The descent was a reverse of the ascent, and despite being partially in mist we made a better job of routefinding than on the way up, having a better idea of where the route went.

Difficulties: PD by the Normal route. F+ by the 4 Cantoni route we were recommended. Easy scrambling on descent from Passo di 4 Cantoni (cable); some steepish snow on final climb; watch for icy slabs.

Triangulation point: Rickety 1.5m metal prism, backed up by a Bolt (maybe 2?) in rock nearby.

Summit: Compact rocky summit with big drops to N. W and NE ridges look quite challenging: there were recent boot prints up from the NE.

Notes: We got to the trailhead about 4pm Monday evening after the (very undemanding) ascents of Monte Casale and La Paganella earlier in the day. We sorted out our climbing gear then hiked up to the Refugio, a very comfortable affair. We had phoned ahead to book beds, but needn't have bothered: being midweek, there was only one other party there. As mentioned above, a young lad on the hut staff showed us a "new" route, with the help of a folder containing useful photos. He assured us there was no glacier or rock work. As a compromise we took rope and minimal rock gear, but left our axes and crampons in a locker at the hut. After breakfast we made a pre-dawn start, following the rocky paint- and cairn-marrked trail without much difficulty. Another party who had evidently started from the road that morning, followed us initially then apparently headed off for the Normal route. Dawn broke and we enjoyed fine views of the Brenta group across the valley, crowned by the superb Cima Tosa, which Lee had climbed a year ago. We crossed the Passo di 4 Cantoni, the immediately forked R off Trail 219, picking up a few cairns, then straying a bit too far R on the boulderfield, and spending a while studying Lee's 1:25k map and recalling the photos from the night before. It was clear we needed to bypass L of the massive buttress. This done, skirting above the glacier, the final climb was clearly visible all the way to the distant summit cross. Carefully crossing some icy slabs, we headed up a snow slope (fairly steep and still a little icy before the sun reached it; it's possible to avoid the steeper snow by keeping L, on rock). Finally a steep, fairly loose stony path leads to the summit. Cloud had been hanging around all morning, but the summit was clear when we arrived, allowing intermittent views across to Adamello (only 4m lower than Presanella), along Presanella's fine supporting ridges and down its mighty N face. After a lunch break we made a rapid descent of the snow slope, now sun-warmed and ideal for "skiing" down in boots. Then the rough bouldery descent, managing to find the line OK this time, with the help of a rough compass bearing, the occasional cairn and our route knowledge from earlier. Back at the hut we enjoyed a hot chocolate, collected our gear from the locker and walked out to the cars. We then drove to Lago di Fedaia ready to climb the magnificent Marmolada the next day.

For trip details and logistics, see the Säntis report
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5373 ft / 1636 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5373 ft / 1636 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Hut Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5242 ft / 1597 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 5111 ft / 1557 m; Extra: 131 ft / 39m
    Loss on way in:131 ft / 39 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8.1 km
    Route:Segantini hut; Passo 4 Cantoni
    Start Trailhead:Larici  6562 ft / 2000 m
    Time:6 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:5242 ft / 1597 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 5111 ft / 1557 m; Extra: 131 ft / 39m
    Gain on way out:131 ft / 39 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8.1 km
    Route:Passo 4 Cantoni; Segantini hut
    End Trailhead:Larici  6562 ft / 2000 m
    Time:5 Hours 

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