Piccolo Rothorn (3014m), trail 10
from Gressoney La-Trinité to the Piccolo Rothorn
(you can continue on to the Rothorn)
Trail 10 starts from Gressoney La-Trinité and arrives at the Piccolo Rothorn (3014m). It is 5395m long and the total positive elevation gain is 1403m.
The approximate time for the ascent is 4h11. The trail is rated EE difficulty.
The Piccolo Rothorn is a mountain that towers above Stafal: from below, its appearance is awe-inspiring because of the sheer cliffs that fall away. Instead, the upper part presents itself as a harmless hill, which is reached without any problem from a barren plateau that on the opposite side is dominated by the silhouette of Testa Grigia.
To reach the Piccolo Rothorn, the trail is almost always well marked: below the summit, the vast plateau that you traverse is completely devoid of vegetation, so there is no real path but a series of cairns and markers on rock that you follow without problems. The only technical difficulty is a very short section (about 20 meters) equipped with a wire rope, not particularly worrisome, which is faced just before climbing the final plateau.
Once you reach the Piccolo Rothorn, if you are an experienced hiker, you can continue along the rocky ridge until you reach the very nearby Rothorn (3152m, about 30 minutes from the Piccolo Rothorn), whose first ascent (August 17, 1789) is officially attributed to the man who is considered the father of mountaineering: Horace-Bénédict de Saussure (although in reality all he did was follow existing hunting trails marked out by a Gressoney prelate).
There is no path: you have to scout the route by following several stone cairns that are fairly easy to spot. For this section, one needs to have what is called a “firm footing,” that is, not to be afraid of having to pass through slightly exposed points (not on vertiginous precipices, but on jumps of a dozen meters or so – certainly not harmless). There are also a couple of short (easy) passages where you have to hold on to rocks to proceed. It is certainly worth pushing up to the Rothorn: to the already extensive panorama is added the Ayas Valley side and all the distant peaks of the Aosta Valley.