OverviewThe Bio Pfeiler is a rocky outcrop near the southern Casnil pass in the Albigna area, south-eastern Switzerland. It is not marked on the map except by its height, which is 2843 meters. (See the MAP)
The Bergell, of which the Albigna area is a part, is a famous rock-climbing destination and the Bio Pfeiler makes for a great outing. The Bio Pfeiler's style of climbing presents a pleasant change from most routes in the area, emphasizing featured granite crack-climbing with the odd layback move and roofs to pull through instead of friction climbing. For those of you looking to get their hands dirty, this is it! The Albigna is probably best known for the Spazzacaldeira and its summit pinnacle the Fiamma. Situated right next to a cable car station, this pleasant hunk of rock attracts the biggest crowds. The Bio Pfeiler, on the other hand, has a nice approach walk of an hour or two. While this might make it slightly less perfect for a lazy day's climbing, the walk is well worth it.
There are a variety of routes running up the south and south-western aspect of this granite bulge which are equipped to varying standards. A small rack will be required to climb them comfortably. Descent from the top is a relatively straightforward downclimb which nevertheless features some exposure. The approach and descent can be done on trainers.
Getting ThereThe Bio Pfeiler can be climbed as a day trip by taking the cable car up to the Albigna Lake. Alternatively one can start from the pleasant Albigna hut or one of the many excellent bivouac locations the area has on offer.
From the Albigna hut several paths head off in the direction of the Bio Pfeiler. Looking towards your destination, take the middle trail. The left one soon branches off in a northernly direction towards the Piz Balzet, while the southern most one drops altitude quickly and brings you closer to the Punta da l'Albigna. The well-trodden trail is easy enough to follow for the most part but gets less distinct as you near your destination. Keep an eye out for stonemen and you will nevertheless soon find yourself at the south-western corner of the Bio Pfeiler. Most route names are marked on the rock but the vestigal snow field at the bottom may have obscured them somewhat.
Time required: approximately 2 hours from the cable car station and 1h15 from the Albigna hut.
Routes"Bio Pfeiler" or "Via Klassika"
5c (5b obligatory): probably the easiest route on the Bio Pfeiler. A great climb featuring cracks, laybacks, roofs and but a little slab climbing. Bolts on the belays and crux moves, but bring a small rack of nuts and friends to complement.
6a / 6b on featured granite.
5b / 5c.
GearCirca 8 quickdraws
Small set of nuts
50 meter rope (doubles if you need to abseil)
3 to 4 cams, small-medium sized
Guidebooks and mapsMap: Swiss 1:25000 #1296: Sciora
Guidebook: Jürg von Känel, 'Schweiz Plaiser: SUD' (Edition Filidor 2003) And: SAC Fuhrer 'Sudlicher Bergell'
Red TapeNo rules or restrictions apply, except for the general ban on bivouacing in the area.
CampingThe closest campsite in the valley is located at Vicosoprano and is very pleasant. The Albigna Hut is also a very nice place to stay and there are plenty of bivouac options near the cable car station and along the path toward the Bio Pfeiler.
External LinksThe Albigna Hut
Camping Mulina in Vicosoprano