John Cobb joins Mark for a week of changing plans in the Piz Bernina area • August 18 - 23, 2014

Consistent with the theme for the entire summer, this week of climbing in the Saint Moritz area involved lots of modifying of plans. Our original goal was simple enough–only two climbs, the Biancograt on Piz Bernina and the North Ridge of the Piz Badile. But the ever-fickle weather and snowy conditions in general forced some adaptation.

Other trips with John

Alps, July 2006

Return to all recent trips


Our first day went as planned. A simply transfer to the Tschierva hut. Here is a view of the Piz Bernina with the Biancograt on the left skyline. The hut is just visible on the left edge of the photo.


As with many a trip to the Tschierva hut, this one began with the horse-drawn taxi.


The Roseg valley and the start of the walking part of the hut hike.


The forecast was poor for the following day, however. So our first change of plans was to switch from the Bernina to Piz Morteratsch. With a 5 am breakfast we were off into the gathering storm. In this photo, at sunrise, the weather already is looking "odd".


The rain and cloud generally held off until we reached the Fuorcla da Boval.


Not much of a view from the summit of Morteratsch.


Back at the Fuorcla, as we de-crampon, it starts to snow in earnest.


We are finally off the steep rocks and onto the lower snow patches. A short while later we arrive at the Boval hut, then on down to Pontresina, for a shower and a comfy bed.


With an unsettled forecast, the Piz Badile was out of the question. We hoped, instead, to head for the Marco e Rosa hut and climb the normal route on the Piz Bernina, via a traverse of the summits of the Piz Palu. This sensibly requires an overnight at the Diavolezza. This gave us part of a day to play on the via ferrata on Piz Trovat.


Piz Trovat. Mouse over to see, more or less, the line of the via ferrata. Piz Palu is hiding up in the cloud behind to the right.


The location of the via ferrata is spectacular.


Unfortunately, the keg was dry.


About two thirds up the route.


Finally finished, we hike back to the Diavolezza for a beer and dinner.


Piz Palu's east summit.


The following day our hope was to traverse the three summits of Piz Palu, then continue onto the Marco e Rosa hut. Other than a bit of low cloud in the morning, things started well.


Climbing out of the cloud on Piz Palu.


Almost up to the small pass at 3700 meters.


A very scenic morning.


Another team descending Piz Palu.


On the summit of Piz Palu East.


We stayed a while to take photos and enjoy the view.




Unfortunately, with a discouraging weather forecast and a surprising amount of new snow up high, we decided continuing on to the Marco e Rosa hut was ill advised. So back down to Pontresina to regroup.


With a mix of sun, cloud and a bit of rain in the forecast, we though a trip to the Albigna hut might work out. John enjoys the view from the small lift to the Albigna dam.


A murky morning as we head up to the hut.


The rain eases up as we cross the dam on the way to the hut.


Looking across the reservoir.


The Albigna hut and Punta Albigna.


In the afternoon, the rock dried enough to do a couple fun short climbs on the slabs below the hut. Here John tip-toes up "Wassersinfonie".


Then a second route, "Via Lucia e Marcello". These fun four (or so) pitch routes are great practice for friction climbing.


Our plan for our second day in Albigna, and the last of our trip was to climb "Modern Times" on Punta Albigna. Mouse over the photo to see the route.


But no, at about 4 am it started raining. We waited until about 10 am for a hint of better weather, but in the end admitted defeat.


We hiked down to the lift, drove back to Pontresina, and with the remaining hours of the day did the very fine via ferrata called La Resgia.


Pontresina behind.


The "rope bridge".


And the "Spider's web".


And the summit.

Your Comments - more info
comments powered by Disqus