Elizabeth Moceri and the "Diavolezza" Tour • August 1-9, 2007

Elizabeth Moceri from Seattle, WA came climbing with Kathy this summer, following on her "Princess Tour" of two years back. Mo has done at least as many climbing and skiing trips with us as anyone! But although she has done every alps ski mountaineering tour we've ever offered, as well as several mountaineering expeditions, this was just her second trip with Kathy in the summertime Alps. The hut we stayed in near the Piz Bernina, as well as a certain prevailing attitude, led us to dub this year's trip the "Diavolezza Tour".

Other Recent Trips


We started out in the Bernese Oberland, on the Mönch. Mo pauses here to enjoy the views, as we scritch-scratch our way up the mostly snow-covered rock, in crampons.


In gorgeous weather and great conditions, we had the summit to ourselves for a good long break, before the arrival of the next group gave us an interesting photo opportunity.


The following day's program was to climb the Jungfrau—normally a dawn start; however the weather forecast called for heavy rain/snow/thunderstorms from early to mid-morning, so we headed off much closer to midnight than first light. Despite this, it was snowing even before daybreak. Mo here pulls out the heavy gloves as we approach the Rottalsattel at about 3800 meters. Brrrr!


Poor visibility combined with icy wind and heavily-falling snow convinced us this was not the day to summit. We retreated to the welcoming warmth of the Jungfraujoch station, where a small crowd of climbers sat waiting for the coffee shop to open up with the first train of the morning.


Next stop: the Engadine. Our plan was to spend a day climbing rock in the sun, from the Albigna hut, shown here with the peak that bears the same name—the Punta Albigna. Following a rainy day's drive, the sun cooperated with us once more!


Great quality granite, high up on the Punta Albigna, overlooking the reservoir and the hut.


After a pleasant night at the hut, we had time in the morning for one more route above the reservoir before heading back to town for a "spa experience"!


But first, easing into the world of luxury, a spot of lunch by the lake was in order.


Although Kathy would love to be able to take credit for this segment of the trip, it was Mo's formidable sleuthing skills that zero-ed in on the choice of hotel and spa, located in Scuol, just down the road a bit from St. Moritz. The room....


...The pool... (not the tan). We had a 2 and 1/2 hour "Roman-Irish bath" session, and what a relaxing experience that was! Not to be missed, if you are ever in the area.


The next day, it was back to the hills! Mo starts up the "Klettersteig" on Piz Trovat, next to the Diavolezza hut, high above the glacier.


Extremely effective advertising near the summit of the Klettersteig. Those clever Swiss!


Once more the changeable weather influenced our plans. Our original program was to climb from the Diavolezza hut to the Marco e Rosa hut via the "Fortezza" (the fin of rock in the right of this photo), and from there to climb the Piz Bernina—out of sight on the right. But the weather gods were offering only one good day for climbing, so we chose to use it to traverse the Piz Palu (the peak on the left). Our route, after the Fortezza, joins and follows from left to right, the skyline of Piz Palu. This was the view from the terrace of the Diavolezza hut, on the evening before our climb.


After, frankly, a very long glacier and talus approach (see the teensy weensy Diavolezza hut far, far below in the red circle), the climbing high up on the Fortezza is exciting and scenic. The morning's weather was beautiful...


...but by the time we summited, threatening cumulus were gathering and darkening in every direction. This discouraged us from dallying on top.


A few short hours later, we watched the thunderstorms from the cozy warmth of our hotel in Pontresina.


In the next couple of days we tried to do some rock climbing, but the weather really was quite un-cooperative. Being in the neighborhood of the Swiss National Park, we took advantage of the opportunity to do some hiking and sight-seeing. This is just a cozy little cottage in the woods along our walk.


Breaking out of the woods, we came upon this very lived-in mountain "restaurant" with quite effective marketing techniques of its own.


Sometimes, after a tiring and engaging physical effort, I find myself unusually sensitized to the fascination of small and mundane things. This rainy day's walk offered so many little hidden gems that I could hardly keep up a steady pace. The next few photos are a bit of self-indulgence, as I basked in a mood of introspection and appreciation of small beauties.


Having no botanical background, I would love it if any viewers can fill me in on the identity of these flowers. This is clearly some kind of Monk's Hood...


A Wooly Thistle, methinks?


And I have no idea who this lovely thing is.


We also checked out the historical Cloisters in Müstair, famous for Carolinian painting and stone carving.


The nearby village of Santa Maria boasts beautifully renovated examples of some typical architectural icons of this unique part of Switzerland; the large arched doorways...


...and the so-called "Sgraffiti"—geometrical designs and fanciful patterns painted or scratched on the surface of the houses' thick walls.


The deep-set windows are particularly beautiful; this is an unusual example.


Although the weather was a mixed bag, we had a wonderful time exploring this beautiful corner of Switzerland. We'll be seeing Mo again on skis in the Spring!

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