The Bergell is an alpine rock climber's paradise on the Swiss/Italian border. The routes are on perfect granite, and range from several hundred feet long to 2,500 feet. Unlike nearly everything else in Europe these days, this is a trad area, with a few museum quality pins and the odd bolted anchor.
The Italian side of the range is more friendly in that it is South-facing, and naturally has less ice and snow. The Swiss side is burlier, with some glaciers, and a lower beginning elevation that makes the routes a bit longer.
The famous route in this area is Via Cassin on the North Face of the Badile, a 25 pitch giant that clocks in at 5.10. For beta and pictures, check out the CosleyHouston.com site.
You can't beat the huts over there for bargain bed and food. Wake up to a giant latte in a bowl, climb 'til you're hammered, and head back for pasta, wine, and maybe an after dinner drink. If you need to sleep in snow caves to be happy, this isn't your cup of grappa. Be sure to bring a sleeping bag liner, earplugs, and a headlamp to be perfectly comfortable at the hut, they even provide the slippers!
The Val di Mello area from which you depart is one of the Euro hotspots for bouldering these days, and there are gobs of crags as well. You could probably spend an entire summer climbing in this place!
A note on translating climbing terms. "Exposed" in English-language climbing tends to mean a feeling of airiness. In local guidebooks, "Expo!" means there is little to no protection. In US terms, it means an R or X rating.
Credit for nearly all these pictures goes to Colin Winter.
Drive North from Milan towards Lecco, before navigating one of the longest road tunnel systems in the world, on to Morbegno before turning off up to San Martino. It's about two hours from Milan to the valley. There are a couple different branches of the valley that access various areas. Best to get a local trail map when you arrive.
The approaches are pretty steep, picking up about 1,000 feet of vertical per mile. The hut we went to was about 4 miles from the trailhead.
2 Total Routes
['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
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A chopper dropping provisions in to the hut.
An overview of some of the walls, from the Italian...
From the top of a route, hut visible below. It's ...
The Big Daddy - The Badile from the Italian side. ...
Rifugio Gianetti with the Badile behind... remembe...
On Punta Albigna
On Torre Innominata
The Sciora group as seen from the Vial
Descending the Fiamma
On the Fiamma
On Punta Albigna