Snow can continue to fall on the park’s highest mountain, Corno Grande (2912m), until late May, and remain thick on the ground well into June, so outside July and August, the ascent should only be attempted by experienced and fully equipped climbers. At all times you should be prepared for some fairly strenuous scree-climbing and steep descents. If you are fit, but not experienced, it is probably wiser to take a guide: contact Mountain Evolution (w ). Perhaps the most challenging route is the tough trek from the top of the cable car right across the mountain range, taking in the Corno Grande, and sleeping over at the Rifugio Franchetti (w ). The refuge website has several suggested itineraries (in Italian only), and the staff are also very knowledgeable. If you’re going to do any of the Gran Sasso trails, you’ll need the CAI Gran Sasso d’Italia map (on sale in newsagents around the region), and should check out weather conditions with your hotel or online at w first.