Ortler, Italy ski tour • March 3 - 9, 2015

This year's ski touring season got off to a cracking start with a group of tough cookies in the Ortler region. Our arrival was preceded by a significant snowfall, followed by truly fierce winds, which made for some interesting and truly "variable" snow conditions. Fortunately it was a group of strong and experienced back country skiers, so the skills were there to deal with what the mountain dished out.

Other Trips with some of these folks

Scott - Berner Oblerland - April 2014
Scott - Albula - March 2014

Fred - Albula - March 2014
Fred - Cham & Zermatt, April 2013
Fred - Berner Oberland, May 2012
Fred - Queyras - February 2011
Fred - Chamonix to Zermatt - April 2010
Fred - Chamonix to Zermatt - April 2009
Fred - Stubai - March 2008
Silvretta - March 2008
Fred - Berner Oberland - May 2007
Fred - Ortler - April 2006
Fred - Chamonix to Zermatt - April 2005

Nancy and Jeff - Albula - March 2014
Nancy and Jeff - Haute Route - April 2003

John - Cham & Zermatt, April 2013
John - Berner Oberland, May 2008
John - Haute Route, April 2008
John - Ortler, April 2006
John - Ötztal, April 2005

Return to all recent trip


From left to right, Scott, Fred, Nancy, Jeff, John, Patty and Mark.


Leaving the ski area at Sulden, we cross the Madritschjoch Pass into the Madritschtal valley.


At its best this week, the snow was chalky and firm and held body weight. At its worst ... it did not! But so far, so good, here!


The Marteller hut, our first night's home.


Heading out on a reconnaissance mission after lunch, we enjoy the sunshine.


Heading back down for dinner, sans powder but still enjoying the ride.


The following morning we headed out good and early, as the forecast was for a marked deterioration later in the day.


In and out of clouds, we found truly impressive sastrugi on the approach to Cevedale.


After a bit of a struggle down the Cedec glacier in thick fog, we found our way to the Branca hut. John enjoys the squall on the terrace.


Our third day dawned very cloudy, extremely windy, wicked cold! We got out for a lap above the hut, though it was an exercise in endurance! Fun in a sick sort of way.


At last we got a beautiful clear day, with winds up high but only light breezes lower down. Heading up the glacier, we were distracted by dramatic ice features near the glacier toe.


Mark visits the back of an ice cave...


It looks ready to fall in!


Heading up the Forni glacier towards Tresero.


Beautiful weather, and solitude in the high mountains.


Looking at the distant peaks, from right to left: San Giacomo, Cevedale, Pasquale, and on the far left, the Gran Zebru.


Difficult wind and snow conditions turned us around just below the summit ridge. A bit of a struggle to make the transitions in this weather!


On the descent, we were rewarded by some firm, chalky "packed powder", to use a euphemism much in favor in North American resorts.


Speaks for itself, this photo! We're not exactly leaving bragging tracks behind! But we're skiing it!


Revisiting past glories, anticipating future pleasures.


Oh, and speaking of pleasures!


A test of nerves before dinner.


After three nights in the comfy Branca hut, it's on to the Pizzini. A much warmer day for our move.


After an early lunch, we headed up to the Col de la Pale Rosso in spring-like conditions.


Lovely views from the Col.


Arriving at the Col, that is Cevedale in the background.


A wee summit to cap it off.


This was a really fun descent! Stringing together pathways of velvety carpet ride between the seas of ... well, less velvety and more breakable ... stuff!


We headed out the next morning to see what the snow would be like behind the Forni peaks.


Heading up to the Passo di Zebru Sud.


A wind-scoop challenge was the start of the entertainment.


Followed by more linkages of velvet, Kathy being the canary in the coal mine, finding all those places where the crust was too weak to bear weight!


When the worthwhile descent ran out, we skinned back up over the Passo di Zebru Nord. This was actually a beautiful skin back up the hill in a very remote-feeling cirque, with no one but ourselves in sight.


Near the top of our climb.


Almost to the pass.


We made a detour on foot to tag the summit of the Cima Zebru.


Using all of our "kit", here!


Mostly easy walking, interspersed with a steep step or two, the long ridge to the summit afforded views to all sides.


On the top!


Our final morning dawned surprisingly cloudy as we headed up for an attempt on Cevedale, en route to Sulden and the end of our trip.


The fickle weather and again, tricky skinning conditions, made us back off to a plan "B" (or maybe "C" or "D"; we kind of lost track!). Jeff on top of Pasquale with Mark.


Coming back down the glacier from the Cevedale-Pasquale col.


The inevitable tromp up to the Cassati hut...


Which was not yet open for the season...


... so we carried on up the Suldenspitze.


From there it was a tricky but rewarding ski down the glacier back into Sulden. The Ortler did not pander to our egos this season, but it did deliver! Thanks to all the team for a fun trip, and here's hoping all your snow will feel ike champagne powder after this!

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