top of page


Gerli Porro Refuge and Ventina Glaciological Path

Discovering Alpe Ventina, on the trail of a retreating glacier.


The Ventina Glacier

The Ventina (or Ventina) Glacier, at the feet of the imposing profiles of Disgrazie and Cassandra, represents one of the naturalistic pearls of Valmalenco and the Valtellina sector in general, and one of the most easily accessible glaciers in our Lombardy mountains. Unfortunately, the generalized retreat of all the glaciers, which has been ongoing for more than a hundred years, has also seriously affected the Ventina glacier, which loses a few dozen meters every year, thus forcing us to climb and work harder every year to reach its front.

From Chiareggio to the Gerli Porro Refuge and the Ventina Refuge

The starting point of the hike is Chiareggio (1612 m), the last inhabited area reached by the road on the western branch of Valmalenco. Crossing the entire town you reach a huge car park with a stony surface, located under the houses of Chiareggio, on the side of the Mallero. Once you have parked the car, you cross the muddy waters of the Mallero over a small bridge, beyond which the track bends to the right to gradually enter the Ventina valley.

We are in a pine and larch forest, which leaves little to see. Only higher up, a few minutes before arriving, do we exit the woods to cross, still on an easy path, a vast stony surface, from which we finally have a view of this part of Valmalenco, with the characteristic V-shaped carving of the Muretto pass, to the north. A few more meters and we emerge behind the Gerli-Porro Refuge, located at the northern end of Alpe Ventina (1960 m, 1.00 h). The eye runs across the meadows, goes beyond the alluvial plain, climbs up ancient moraines to finally reach the glacial body of the Ventina, in the shape of a crescent moon, today unfortunately no longer as voluminous as a few decades ago.

Wanting to add something else, we can go up to Torrione Porro (about 1.30am return), an easy summit with a view from above on Ventina and Lake Pirola, or (a more classic choice) reach the front of the glacier.

The Vittoria Sella Glaciological Path to the Ventina Glacier

This second hypothesis takes us along the Vittorio Sella Glaciological Path, marked by blue stamps and equipped with plates reporting the position of the glacier front at various moments of the last century. Take it past the plain and the Rifugio Ventina, keeping to the eastern side of the valley. Ignoring the detour to Passo Ventina, you enter the semi-circular valley carved out by the glacier. The crest of the moraine on our left, as we proceed, rises higher and higher, showing us the thickness that the glacier had reached at the moment of maximum expansion of the Little Ice Age.

Once we reach the base of a step, the glaciological path abandons us, forcing us to continue along steep stony tracks. Once we reach the shelf, we find the front of the Ventina (h1.30) in all its grandeur before our eyes.

On the way back, having descended the step again, we cross the stream on a small bridge, to complete the route of the glaciological path on the western side of the valley. We return to Alpe Ventina (1.00 am), from which we descend to the valley with the cart track used in the morning (0.45 am).






The mountains are a dangerous environment: make sure you always have the right equipment — hiking or trail shoes, warm clothes and waterproofs in case of unexpected changes in weather conditions, a small emergency kit.


I've made an Amazon "shopping note" to make sure you have everything — ps if you buy from these links, 3% goes to support the development and maintenance of Hikes of the World 🙏.


  • Breathable t-shirt ( example )

  • Sweatshirt, fleece, or light jacket

  • Waterproof windbreaker (for example: men / women )

  • Gloves and hat (you never know)

  • Backpack with rain cover

  • Trekking poles (not essential, but they help to unload the weight of the backpack and ease the impact on the joints)

  • Trekking or trail running shoes (in great vogue lately because they are lightweight. These Salomon ones - for men and women - are an excellent entry-level, preferably Gore-Tex)

  • For via ferratas: complete via ferrata kit (I have this one , very light and compact, with this harness and helmet — or you can buy complete kits ). Buy in store to receive ad hoc support

  • To sleep a night in a refuge: sheet or light sleeping bag

  • Water bottle or thermos

  • Light crampons if you think you will find ice or snow on the route

  • Power bank or cell phone charger

  • Camera

  • Drone, for those who love to "fly" (used in moderation and at a distance from other people. I have had the DJI Mini 2 for over 2 years and have found myself very happy with it. The DJI Mini 3 also allows you to take vertical photographs)

  • Small emergency kit ( example )

  • Sun cream (essential)

  • Sunglasses


bottom of page