1 ADAMS REILLY – LUSENEY
The Luseney (3504 m.s.l.m.) is the peak that majestically rises just above Bionaz and the inhabitants of Bionaz are very proud of such an elegant summit.
The famous Anglo-Saxon mountaineer and cartographer Adams Reilly was the first to climb it together with Jean Antoine Carrel (who was the first climber of the Italian route to the Matterhorn) and Henry Charlet on 22 August 1866. Reilly, after having explored all the Alps, used these words to describe the Luseney: "It is one of the most beautiful snowy peaks in the Alps"
2 MICHEL CROZ – MONT GELE'
Mont Gelé (3518 m.s.l.m.) is a classic mixed terrain climb starting from the Crête Sèche refuge. Its central location in Aosta Valley gives climbers a spectacular full 360° panoramic view over the most important peaks of Aosta Valley and Switzerland; your gaze sweeps from Dent d’ Herens, to Monte Rosa passing through Matterhorn, to reach Grivola, the Gran Paradiso, Mont Blanc, with Mont Vélan and Grand Combin seemingly at the palm of your hand. Below the Fenêtre Durand that leads to Switzerland can be seen. This pass was crossed by many fugitives who were helped by the partisan band, commanded by Ettore Castiglioni, during the Second World War. Among them was also President Einaudi, fleeing from the Nazi-fascist regime, to neutral Switzerland.
The first to climb Mont Gelé on 11 August 1861 was Michel Croz (the first Matterhorn climber with Whymper) together with his brother Jean Baptiste and Frederic William Jacomb. In 1861 they were also the first to climb the Castore and the Monviso.
3 IL DIAVOLO – BECCA CREVAYE AL MORION
Becca Crevaye (3300 m asl) (patois, the local dialect, for "with a hole") is named after the characteristic hole, sized almost 10 meters in diameter, which is located below the peak. It was first conquered by the abbe Henry, the abbe Pantaleone Bovet and the bearer Teodulo Forclaz on 11 July 1904. The legend tells that in the fourth century during his journey back from Rome with his blessed bells, the Bishop of Sion (San Teodulo) hired the Devil to carry the heavy bells. To save the effort the Devil, instead of climbing over the peak, crossed it in the middle, thus leaving the characteristic bell-shaped hole.
4 HABBE’ HENRY - TOUR DE LA TSA
Tour de la Tsa (3058 m.a.s.l.) was solo climbed by the abbé Henry for the first time. The abbé Henry was first and foremost a great and valiant mountaineer, forward-thinking and with many interests.
Joseph-Marie Henry was one of the last persons of the clergy in Aosta Valley interested in mountaineering, botany and sciences in general. At first, as an assistant pastor in Cogne, he collaborated with Pierre Chanoux on the creation of the Chanousia alpine garden at the Piccolo San Bernardo pass. In his native Courmayeur, he planted another botanical garden, the park of the Abbé Henry in Plan-Gorret. Abbe Henry became famous for celebrating the mass on the summit of the Mont Blanc for the first time on 5 August 1893. After becoming a pastor of Valpelline, he studied the valley thoroughly, climbing all of the surrounding peaks and giving names to the several peaks. Henry actively collaborated with the Société de la flore valdôtaine, for which he was the president from 1901 to 1941. In 1929 he wrote his most famous work, "The Histoire populaire religieuse et civile de la Vallée d'Aoste".
In July 1931, Henry achieved something absolutely unique: he succeeded, not without difficulty, in climbing Mount Gran Paradiso, taking a donkey called Cagliostro with him to the top.
This creative initiative increased tourism in the area of Valsavarenche after attracting the attention of many hiking enthusiasts to the Gran Paradiso, many of which wanted to try their luck at the ascent – now certified as "easy" because of the fact that even a donkey was able to reach the summit.
Joseph-Marie Henry died suddenly at the age of 77 while attending to his garden, in the company of his bees. (Source: Wikipedia)
5 ETTORE BIONAZ - L’ AROLETTA - CRETE SECHE
Aroletta (3000 m.a.s.l.) is the crest that separates the valley of Crête Sèche from that of Faudery. Over the years it has become a real reference point for the mountaineers. This crest is the one that characterizes the area where the Crête Sèche refuge is located. This shelter was the idea and the project of Ettore Bionaz.
The Alpine Guide Ettore Bionaz was a good sculptor and he was among the first founders of the avalanche dog association. He was also the mayor of Bionaz and the first manager of the Crête Sèche refuge. Above all, though, Bionaz was a person who lived and breathed the mountains and he managed to transfer his deep love for the mountains to those who had the good fortune of spending time with him.
Even now there are many climbers who remember him and talk about him at the shelter. Many people return to Bionaz and continue to cherish this village, thanks to Ettore and the image of these places that Ettore transmitted to them.
Unfortunately, Ettore Bionaz left us young returning from Mount Cervo with a client during a disastrous fall, losing his life at the age of 45. Ettore is Daniele’s uncle.
6 EDWARD WHYMPER – DENT D’ HERENS AND CERVINO
La Dent d’Hérens (4171 m.a.s.l.) was first conquered on 12 August 1863 by Florence Crauford Grove, William Edward Hall, Reginald Somerled Macdonald and Montagu Woodmass, with the guides Melchior Anderegg, Jean-Pierre Cachat and Peter Perren.
Edward Whymper, the first climber on Matterhorn, said about Dent d 'Herens: "This mountain is the only one I tried to climb several times without succeeding. This was a mortifying shock." Whymper admired this mountain for a long time and he portrayed it several times in his drawings, but unfortunately, he never managed to climb it.