Ortler Ski Tour • Italy • April 4 - 10, 2007

This April saw us back in one of our favorite places for ski mountaineering; the Ortler region of the South Tirol. Joining us this time were the crew seen below: Tom Valis and Heather Culbert, Canadians currently living and working in London; Gary Rowles from Sandy, UT; Bill Kent from Sand Point, ID; and Christine Cremo and Kevin Facemyer from Reno, NV.

Other Recent Trips


The group here poses for a photo on the summit of San Mateo. After our squally first morning, the weather was like this every day!


Due to the busy Easter week, we stayed in a hotel outside of Sulden, in the nearby village of Stilfs (or Stelvio, if you prefer the Italian name). This turned out to be a charming place, little changed over the years except for the meticulous upkeep of the houses with modern accoutrements.


The morning of our departure dawned grey and stormy, with a welcome snowfall of about 12 inches. It cleared by early afternoon, leaving one of the season's rare powder stashes to play in. The group here ascends toward Cevedale from the Marteller Hut.


High winds on Cevedale made us opt to head straight to the col between it and Pasquale. Christine enjoys the view.


A nice corn run brought us do the Branca hut by mid-afternoon. The sunset later on was amazing!


The man for whom this welcoming and well-appointed hut was named...


Among the hutkeepers' many talents is a touch of whimsy.


Our objective for our third day of the tour was the nearby San Mateo Peak. Our descent route, shown here by the red line, consisted of untracked powder all the way down! Super snow on a north-facing aspect.


The weather on the summit was also unassailable, and the views fantastic with very little haze. We couldn't believe our luck.


Just a sample of the snow conditions we enjoyed on this spectacular day.


Christine rips it up...


We eagerly await another excellent meal in the hut.


The following morning we headed out for a less well-known (to us) summit along the ridge West of the hut, near a peak called Punta Taviela. The relative solitude was great, the snow... mixed! Some great, some less than, but all scenic.


After a stern test of our kick-turn mettle on steep slopes, we emerge into welcome sunshine on a gentle glacier bench.


We found some really nice pockets of powder up high in little compression zones between the crevassed areas...


and yet another hungry crew clamoring for their supper!


The amenities...!


Moving over to the Pizzini hut, we took advantage of the corn conditions on this south-facing part of the valley (the powder was pretty much eaten up by now anyway!). Here we approach a high point on the ridge above the hut, taking in a long afternoon lap after lunch.


Sunset from the dining room lent a romantic touch to the evening.


And drew us outside for a photo or two.


Our next day we split up, the "boys" accompanying Mark for more corn snow skiing, while the "girls" went with Kathy for an Alpine ascent of the Grand Zebru. Ascent line in red here...


On our last day we returned to Cevedale—much more welcoming in the calmer weather—before our ski back down to Sulden


The snow conditions were definitely firm! the views spectacular.


A nice strudel break at the Cassati hut gave us strength for our final descent.


and the Spring had almost arrived in Sulden by the time we got down. Not bad for a "low snow" year!

All images, layout and text ©2007 Cosley & Houston Alpine Guides, All Rights Reserved