None of the popular routes on the Punta da l'Albigna lead directly to it's summit. Instead they finish on a ridge some distance from the top. In order to climb on towards the summit this ridge has to be crossed by climbing through a short gully which exits onto a large field of rubble on the other side.
From here it is possible to either start the descent by following the stonemen and faint path tracks or to scramble up towards where the summit 'tower' begins and climb the last 6 or so pitches towards the top.
Getting down from the summit is achieved by two abseils from the nearby secondary summit to a rubble field which can be followed downwards without difficulty.
The secondary and primary summits of the Punta da l'Albigna
In order to climb to the Punta da l'Albigna summit you first have to climb the Meuli, Moderne Zeiten or Steiger route. A description of the Meuli route is available.
Having finished one of the routes and reached the rubblefield beneath the summit tower, walk/scramble up towards the summit tower all the time keeping the ridge you just crossed closely to your right. The route to the top is roughly on the north - west side of the tower and is not cleary visible at first. The first pitch is a large slab which is quite well bolted.
Having reached the summit tower itself, continue along underneath it until you reach the pitch described above. Beware of the steep drop to your right! There is one short tricky exposed section you have to cross before reaching the start of the pitch.
From the comfortable stance at the foot of the pitch, climb upwards and rightwards across a steep slab. This is the most difficult pitch, rated at 5b. Bolts are in place but it can still feel quite committing in places!
From the belay at the top an easier 4a/4b pitch starts by going right and then leads upwards across slabs and small cracks towards a belay which is hard to recognize from afar. It consists of a small length of prusik cord looped through a hole drilled in a flake. Luckily it is not too hard too back it up with a nut or a friend.
Although the guidebook (Schweiz Plaisir Sud) indicates further stances in it's topo diagram, we found none and because the difficulty eases to 3a - 3b we decided to simul-climb towards the summit. Be careful as there are some loose rocks in places!
The summit does not sport a good belay either although again it is not too hard to build one of your own. From the summit proceed carefully over a short exposed section to the secondary summit mere meters away.
From here, two short abseils on the south side take you down to a steep and exposed section of grassy ledges. A few careful steps further you reach another large field of rubble which you can safely follow down towards a gradually improving footpath which is marked with stonemen.
Cross the stream and follow the stonemen towards the path that leads down from the hut and make your way back along it.
The summit of the Punta seen from the rubble field through which you descend.
8 - 10 quickdraws, slings, a few small-medium sized friends, a selection of rocks.
Map: Swiss 1:25000 #1296 'Sciora'.
Guidebook: Schweiz Plaisir Sud.