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Valle Orco

  • Grade context: FR
  • Photos: 48
  • Ascents: 398
  • Aka: Orco Valley
  • Aka: Valle dell'Orco

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Summary

The Orco Valley (Valle dell' Orco) is located in the Gran Paradiso National Park, which is situated to the north of Turin and west of Milan. This valley is famous for its gneiss crack climbing, which is said to be the best in the Western European Alps.

Description

The epic big walls of Sergent, Caporal and the Torre di Aimonin provide long multi-pitch Trad routes, which can accessed with minimal walk-ins. The style of climbing involves plenty of splitter cracks, delicate slabs and some excellent face climbs across a wide range of grades. Generally the routes are well protected using trad gear such as cams and nuts, though the majority of the delays are bolted. Hence it is easy to retreat from routes if the weather closes in.

There are also many single pitch sport routes that line both sides of the valley around the villages of Ceresole Reale, Locana, and Sparone. This makes it easy to find the sun or shade depending upon the time of the year. The bouldering scene is growing as there are many boulders that litter the valley floor, particularly around the main campsite.

Approach

The Orco valley climbing begins from the town of Sparone (~550m elevation), and continues all the way up the valley as far as Colle del Nivolet (~2641).

The main areas are:

  1. Sergent/Caporal
    (~1600m) After going through the town of Noasca, go up 4 sharp switchbacks in the road. You enter a long tunnel. Immediately after exiting the tunnel, turn sharply to the left at the intersection to the carpark. The carpark extends for ca. 1km along the old Orco road, until you reach a gate where you can't drive any further. Choose where to park depending on what sector you are climbing in.
  2. Locana

  3. Sparone

Where to stay

  1. Camping La Peschera

  2. Camping Casa Bianca

  3. Camping Piccolo Paradiso

Ethic

Renowned for its incredible crack systems, there is a predominantly clean climbing ethic in Valle Orco.

Bolts
are often placed for anchors & abseils, but are otherwise strongly discouraged where natural protection can be placed.

Even so, there are a fair number of sport/bolted climbs in the valley. Talk to local climbers/guides before considering putting in bolts, bolts are permanent.

Some classics crack climbs, bolted in mania of sport climbing in the 80's/90's, have since had their bolts removed.

History

History timeline chart

Climbing has been happening in Valle Orco since the early 1970's.

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Activity

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