The valley around the Albigna Reservoir offers great sport climbing and mountain routes on the fine granite of the Bregaglia (Bergell). It was also the setting for the film Five days One Summer with Sean Connery ( I was climbing there while they were shooting in 1981). It is part of the Val Masino Group
Piz Casnil is a smaller peak in this area that offers some nice climbing and great views. In spite of the popularity of the region, this climb is less often done. When we did it, we were the only party, saw no one all day and yet the Albigna hut had been packed to overflowing!
The Albigna basin lies west of the Forno valley. Piz Casnil can also be accessed from the Forno hut. Thus, Piz Casnil might make a nice follow up or warm up to Cima di Rosso. It's also a good choice if the weather is unsettled or if you haven't time for a long tour.
On the topo map, the unlabeled point 3189 south of Piz Bacun is Piz Casnil.
First ascended 24 August 1880 by Lavater-Wegmann and J.M. Caviezel by the South Face couloir.
Swiss 1:25000 topo maps needed: Sciora #1296 and Val Bregaglia #1276
Getting TherePublic Transportation
One can take a train to St. Moritz, then go by bus towards Vicosprano, SW of Maloja Pass. From Italy, one would take a bus towards Maloja Pass. There is a bus stop at Pranzaira, east of Vicosoprano, near the cable car station run by the hydrodam company. It is open to the public and takes you to the top of the dam. It's a truly airy, scary ride! Walk across the dam and follow the trail to the Albigna hut , a short hike of 45 minutes.
There is a trail from Pranzaira up a stone staircase to the dam that takes about 3.5 hours to hike.
There are two main highways leading to St. Moritz and on over Maloja Pass: From the north and west via Chur and the Julier Pass, from the east via Innsbruck (or Bozen) - Landeck - Zernez and from the south from Chiavenna over Maloja Pass. There are parking opportunities in Pranzaira
See Forno hut for directions to it.
The following are the most climbed routes. See the routes section for more detail
- South Ridge
The normal route, it is reached from Casnil Pass (trail) and offers UIAA II (YDS 4th to 5.0-ish) climbing. 3.5 hours from hut to summit. From Albigna hut, follow the main trail to twin ponds, continue east up rocky slopes to a ridge. Slant left and ascend scree/snow to the pass. Scramble and climb the ridge as directly as you like - lots of options! Most common descent route. Along with the North ridge, makes for a pleasant traverse of the mountain.
- North Ridge
UIAA II to III, 3 hours from the hut
- East Ridge
Classic climb first ascended solo by Walter Risch in 1922. Fairly sustained UIAA III/III+ (5.3 to 5.4 ish) with some sections of IV to IV+ (YDS5.6 to 5.7). Good stances every 30 m and some fixed protection. 5 to 6 hours from either Albigna or Forno huts
Depending on the route and time of year, ice axe and crampons may be needed. Rope and basic rack and quickdraws for technical routes.
When To ClimbMid summer to early fall, depending on snow conditions
Camping, hotels, condos and pensions abound in the whole area from St. Moritz to Vicosoprano and beyond. This is an extremely popular resort area, so reservations are advised. It's also expensive (so it seemed to me).
The Albigna and Forno huts can be used as bases.
Mountain conditionsFor latest weather, check Meteo Swiss
Check the St Moritz website for conditions.
Live webcam above St Moritz is also a good information source.