Pian Dei Morti Area

Pian Dei Morti Area

Ice Falls


First climb:  E. Cavallo – G.C. Grassi, 6th December 1981

Elevation gain:  200 m

Difficulty:  ED

Exposure:  East

Altitude:  abt.1900 m

Climbing time:  6 – 7 hrs

ACCESS:  At the end of Pian della Mussa, walk to the base of the Naressa rocky wall on your left.  The waterfall is clearly visible on the left of the snowy gully that divides the wall in two parts.  2 hrs from Balme.

ROUTE:  The first cliff cannot be overtaken directly since it is made up by a series of gigantic stalactites which do not reach the base of the cliff.  Avoid it by climbing a long grassy slope with scattered rocks on the right, very steep at the beginning, reaching, after 50 m, the edge of the cliff.  Climb the first wall of the waterfall going to the left and reach, through a difficult and mixed climb, the base of it.  Cross horizontally to your left on a false iced cornice (70°-75°) reaching, at the end of it, some uncomfortable rocky steps (50m).  Continue climbing for about 30 m (90°-80°) on the right of the wall up to a ramp which you will climb for 20m (70°).  Reach a belay behind a great cylindrical stalactite that is detached from the wall.  Proceed to your right on some ice swellings and then shortly cross on rocky slabs covered by a thin layer of ice.  You will then reach a vertiginous slope of iced grass by which you will access to a horizontal ledge (25m – 82ft). To your right, at the margin of the ledge, climb the waterfall of thin and granular ice (85°) up to the start of a narrow and characteristic small gully.  Follow it up to the end (80°-90°) and then get over to the left (75°) heading for the low vegetation  beyond which you will exit on the plateau.

DESCENT:  Shortly climb diagonally to your right so as to reach the Rifugio Gastaldi mule track which easily takes you back to Rocca Venoni and Pian della Mussa.  0,30’ walk.

NOTE: This climb has been repeated only once.  Choosing the best suitable conditions is fundamental to succeed in climbing the Pian dei Morti Big Waterfall.  This is the ideal climb to prove that a serene spiritual movement is more important than sheer physical strength and restrains the risk of actual dangers.


First climb:  P.L. Perona – E. Pagliano, February 1982

Elevation gain:  70 m

Difficulty:  TD

Exposure:   South-East

Altitude:  abt.1900 m

Climbing time:  6 – 7 hrs

ACCESS:  In order to reach the base, from Pian della Mussa make reference to Pian dei Morti Big Waterfall as landmark.  The Little Naressa Waterfall creeps in its left side, starting from the snowy slope which divides in two parts the waterfalls rocky wall.  2 hrs walk.

ROUTE:  Climb the first 35m cliff up to the base of the second narrow and very steep (65°) one.  Overtake it and reach a ledge at the foot of  an overhanging rocky cliff (85°).

DESCENT:  Descent with two double ropes.


First climb:  M. Bernardi – P. Lenzi – C. Persico, February 1981

Elevation gain:  150 m

Difficulty:  TD+/ED-

Exposure: East

Altitude:  abt.1900 m

Climbing time:  5 – 6 hrs

ACCESS:  The Naressa Waterfall is the first to the left of the snowy slope which divides in two parts the waterfalls rocky wall.  2 hrs walk.

ROUTE:  Start climbing the initial part slightly to the left and reach a niche at the base of the central stalactite (30 m, 75°).  Through a very difficult crossing, reach the center of the iced buttress.  Climb it (20m, 90°, porous ice).  Reach the tableau through the series of easy little gully (70° – 75°).

DESCENT:  At the exit, cross to the right to reach the gully that divides in two parts the rocky wall.  Easily descend it  on packed snow.  1 hr.

NOTE:  This waterfall is to be faced in maximum-security conditions.  It is a very difficult test site for the best ice-climbers.


First climb:  A. Balmamion – E. Mosca – E. De Marchi – P.L. Perona, 28th December 1980

Elevation gain:  180 m

Difficulty:  TD/TD+

Exposure: North-East

Altitude:  abt.1900 m

Climbing time:  3 – 5 hrs

ACCESS:  The same as for the Naressa Waterfall being the Meringue Waterfall parallel and just to the left of it.

ROUTE:  Climb the very narrow initial part of the waterfall 35m high (65°) and make a stop in a niche shaped by the ice against the rocks.  Slightly to the left and, after having climbed a first wall (70°), climb the second cliff on the right (75°-80°).  When the slope decreases at the base of small gully between the meringue on the left and rocks on the right, stop and take a rest.  Cross toward the left up to the base of the stalactite, climb it (90°) and proceed until you reach the overhang.  Skirting the rock, go further on to your left until reaching a second overhang where you will stop and rest.  Horizontally cross to the left (6-7m) in order to be out of the overhang and then reach the above plateau.

DESCENT:  Same as for the Naressa Waterfall.

NOTE:  After the many climbs, the Meringue Waterfall is nowadays a classic.  Its particular position hidden from the sun makes it possible for the waterfall to be in good conditions almost at all times. For this reason, is of much interest for ice- climbers.

At the far end of the Naressa rock mound, in the small Arnas amphitheater, named from the near gully to the left, there are two important waterfalls which join in a snowy gully.  The left vertical one descends perpendicularly from an impressive range of overhangs.


First climb:  G.C. Grassi – G. Montrucchio, 29th January 1983

Elevation gain:  120 m

Difficulty:  D

Exposure: East

Altitude:  abt.2100 m

Climbing time:  2 hrs

ACCESS:  At the end of Pian della Mussa head toward South.  Past Alpe Venoni, 1822 m, you will proceed in the gully of Rio di Arnas reaching, at last, the base of the waterfalls at the end of  the rocky barrier in front of Rocca Turale.  3 hrs from Balme.

ROUTE:  Climb a swelling (70°-60°) and then toward the ascending ramp to your left (55°), 50 m.  Continue climbing for  40 m in the ramp (55°).  Follow to your right a marked small gully to your right (80°) then move a little to the left overtaking an almost vertical slope of iced grass until you reach an easy ledge which leads, on the left, to the plateau.


First climb:  G.C. Grassi – T. Gallo – G. Montrucchio, 9th December 1983

Elevation gain:  100 m

Difficulty:  TD/TD+

Exposure: East

Altitude:  abt.2100 m

Climbing time:  3 ½  hrs

ACCESS:  The same as above for the Right Waterfall.

ROUTE:  Climb the waterfall in the center until almost reaching the base of a protruding stalactite (90° then 70°-80°-85°).  Avoid it and, by a half circle to the right (90°), then up swellings (80°), climb against the rocky roofs 50m.  Climb to your left under the barrier overhanging on ice which sticks out from the rock, then, cautiously through soil and clumps of grass, exit to the left of the summit small gully.  You may choose, at the end of the vertical ice, to overtake a very delicate slab of brittle rock more to the left (V).