One of the highest mountains in the Monviso-Gran aradiso section of the Alps, and and one of the most recognizable peaks from Turin, the Levanna Orientale was known since Roman times as the "peak of the rising sun" (to rise = lat. levare), being placed directly east of the nearest (and much travelled) valley on the Savoy/French side.The peak itself (that, along the nearby and much less frequented Levanna Centrale and Occidentale, forms the Levanna Group) is topped by a long, almost flat ridge, dividing a French side - a 250 mts high steep wall, mostly ice and rock, and a much higher Italian side, going down to the valley floor for almost 2300 mts. Actually, to geto on the top of the Levanna, you've to climb on of the biggest mandatory height gain of the entire Alps. The normal route is thus quite long, requiring normally one night in the nice Daviso Hut (2.30 hrs. from Forno Alpi Graie). From there, is still 6/7 hours to the top, first on scree and loose rock, then on a sistem of nevees and short rock steps, not really difficult but interesting - and requiring some care. Overall, it is a remote spot where is preferable not getting caught by bad weather and/or fog.
A more technical alternative is combining the approach from the northern Orco Valley (the southernmost side of the Gran Paradiso massif, renowend for several fine and difficult climbs of granite) with the short French wall. The refuge of choice is the Leonesi hut (a true eagle's nest) located at 2900 mts. and reachable from Ceresole in 4 hrs. From there, you climb the steep (40-50 dgs.) couloir up the Colle Perduto, then, after a short traverse on the glacier on the opposite side, you climb the western wall, a mini north face of Tour Ronde of sort. In winter, it is a delightful and interesting climb in almost complete isolation. From the top the view is nothing short of breathtaking - from the southern Marittime Alps up to the Monte Rosa Massif, and west all the Vanoise-Ecrin area. The other two Levannas are much less frequented (it means that are almost deserted!). Occidentale is the least interesting. Centrale is the highest (3607 mts.) and none of its route are easy. The most interesting are from the Ceresole/Orco side, and requires some long climbing/scrambling on steep rock, becoming much more difficult under wet or icy conditions.
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