For many people, this is the first 4000m peak, An easy ascent from its traditional route, the peak also has alternative ways to reach the top, such as from the Swiss side with its mixed terrain.
Punta Quota 4106m
One of the two “twins” of the Breithorn together with the rocky tip that marks the top of the Oriental, another step in the integrated crossing from the Roccia Nera to the Western Breithorn.
Ayas Guides' Hut
The Ayas Guides’ Hut in Lambronecca, open since 1991, stands on a rocky ledge overlooking the Great Glacier of Verra offering to those who stay there an incredible view over the Val d’Ayas, the Breithorn group, the Pollux and the Castor. It offers about 80 beds during the summer season (June-September) and spring (April-May) and has a comfortable winter room during the rest of the year.
The Castor stands out as the last 4000 of the Val d’Ayas, reachable from the Quintino Sella Refuge or from the Ayas Guide, is certainly a top not to be missed. Its normal route is covered by numerous alpinists every season but it can also offer great itineraries like the routes that run up its Southern wall. In addition, its peak is crossed by the Mezzalama Race, a prestigious international ski mountaineering race.
The ridge of the Lyskamm stands starting from the Felik mound, and its crossing is one of the most sought after in the Alps: more than a mile of sharp, thin ridge that in moments of rest offers a breathtaking view on all 4000m peaks of the Rosa Glacier, Valais and the Mont Blanc, overlooking the mythical north face. The western peak is slightly lower than the eastern one, and also offers interesting mixed routes to climb as well as the classic access from the Felik mound.
The highest of the two Lyskamms, the starting point of the most famous crossing in the Alps: more than a kilometer of sharp and thin ridge that offers a breathtaking view over all 4000m peaks of the Rosa Glacier, Valais and Mont Blanc, finishing on the mythical north wall. This peak can also be reached by passing from the top of the Nose and then past the Sella Ridge, a beautiful route of classic mixed terrain that will certainly give an extra thrill before tackling the crossing!
The highest peak of the entire Rosa massif can be reached from its normal route after climbing the Zumstein by the hill between the two peaks or along the Rey Ridge, an absolute classic climb, coveted by many climbers who frequent these mountains .
The summit of the Pyramid Vincent from the Punta Indren lift catches one’s eye, but to climb the summit you have to climb some more passing near the Mantova and Gnifetti refuges almost until the Lys Pass is in sight. From there a glimpse opens towards Vincent Pass and the East Face of the Rosa Glacier, and dominates the Po Valley with a view of all 4000m peaks, the Valley of Aosta and Monviso.
The Central marks the halfway point of the Breithorn group, a snow field separates it from the Western peak. From its summit we can see the imposing North Face which was a playground for the pros of the 80s and 90s, who figured out how to connect the slender ice lines that run through it to get to the summit.
The Capanna Giovanni Gnifetti is named after the parish priest of Alagna who was among the first to ascend the peaks of Monte Rosa, on the wave of the nineteenth century mountaineering of exploration and conquest. Located on a rocky spur straddling the Lys Glacier and the Garstelet it forms the historical base for all the ascents from the Valsesian and Gressoney sides. It has about 180 beds and in addition to the summer opening it also offers a spring opening period.
Also known as Signal Kuppe this peak is named after Giovanni Gnifetti, parish priest of Alagna in the late 1800s, who was among the first to take part in the exploration of Monte Rosa. So it was that he often found himself setting foot first on many of those then untouched peaks, along with his companions. At Punta Gnifetti there is also the Margherita hut, the highest refuge in Europe and scientific observatory whose original nucleus was inaugurated in 1893 in honor of the queen of the House of Savoy who used to spend the summers in Gressoney. It can accommodate up to 70 people and the view from its balcony on the Eastern wall of the Monte Rosa Glacier is breath-taking … try it!
Gobba di Rollin
The grandentrance to all of the 4000m summits of Monterosa. Once past the ski slopes of Plateau Rosa and arrivedat the Breithorn Pass, the viewbecomes 360 degrees and the vastness of the glacier sets in.
Very evident from Champoluc, the Nose owes its name to its upfront position compared to the Lyskamm. Passage point for the Rosa tour, it offers a simpler route to the eastern sector of the massif rather than crossing the two Lyskamm peaks. The Nose is also part of the Mezzalama Race, the last ascent for athletes before the long descent to the Gressoney valley.
The Città di Mantova hut, owned by the Guide Society of Gressoney, offers support for all the ascents of the eastern sector of Monte Rosa. Recently expanded and made more comfortable, it also has a spring opening for the numerous ski-mountaineers who want to reach 4000m on skis.
From here begins the “half traverse” of the Breithorn chain, starting from the window between Oriental and Central … one of the most interesting treks that this side of Monte Rosa has to offer. A skywalk on snow and rock on the border between Italy and Switzerland, incomparable!
A summit reachable from Lys Pass with a small deviation from the trail to Capanna Margherita, not to be missed if you want to set foot on all of the 4000m peaks of the Rosa Glacier and enjoy an incredible view of the whole massif!
Quintino Sella at Felik Hut
The Quintino Sella Refuge at Felik was the first hut built to provide support for the ascents of Monte Rosa, the first hut was built on the rocky ridge that leads to the Felik Glacier as early as the late 19th century. Following a collapse it was rebuilt in the early 1900s higher up and then definitively moved to its current position. Today it is known as the “Old Hut” and also serves as a winter room, while the modern lodge built in 1980 offers 140 beds. From the lodge, most ascend to Castor or continue on with their Monte Rosa tour, while others go to the Lyskamm.
Its profile stands out against the sky, its large snow slide makes the ascent easier but not trivial and marks the beginning of the integrated crossing of the Breithorn chain. The Roccia Nera also offers numerous rock routes along the southern slope and goulottes along the north. At the base of the slide there is also the Rossi-Volante bivouac, an ‘eagle’s nest’ which almost seems to be in suspension over the Val d’Ayas.
An isolated peak between the Roccia Nera and Castor, it offers a fun and never boring climb along its ridges or you can climb it from the snowy “slide” along the west wall. A stretch equipped with chains and cables leads to the base of the final ridge and then from there we continue vertically up to the summit. Little curiosity: Castor and Pollux are named after the twins of Greek mythology because they are almost identical from the Swiss side!
Standing just above the Gnifetti Pass, this peak takes its name from the man who did one of its first ascents, Joseph, a native of Gressoney who conquered it in the late 1800s. This third highest peak of Monte Rosa is usually climbed once reached the Capanna Margherita, given their proximity, along its snowy ridge.