Castore 4226 m - Castor in German – is a magnificent snow-capped peak belonging to the Monte Rosa Group, Pennine Alps, located on the main alpine watershed on the border between Aosta Valley (Italy) and Wallis (Switzerland), between Colle di Verra and Colle Felik. Castore is a massive peak, but at the same time it shows elegant shapes. Castore with its 4226 meters above sea level is one of the favourite destinations from the Refuge Quintino Sella. It's higher than the adjacent Polluce (Pollux), together which it forms the small group of Gemelli.
If climbed along the South-East Ridge Normal route, Castore is one of the easiest Fourthousander of the Alpine chain. Check here the complete list of the 82 alpine Fourthousanders and the 46 minor summits: Club4000. Moreover this route is truly spectacular, following airy snow ridges - so don’t expect to be alone, rather be sure to meet a lot of people… - and the view from the summit is great.
You will see the group of Breithorn, the Cervino - Matterhorn, the Grand Combin massif, the Monte Blanco, the closest Polluce and Eastern and Western Lyskamm, moreover all the main peaks of Monte Rosa Group, including Punta Dufour and Nordend, Punta Gnifetti, Punta Parrot and Pyramide Vincent. To the North the view is wide over the Swiss mountains of the Wallis.
There are three different reasons for its popularity:
1. The magical limit of 4000 m 2. The short and fine Normal route 3. The wonderful panorama
The village of Stafal m. 1825, located in the high part of Valle di Gressoney, Aosta Valley can be reached from the A5 Motorway, exiting Pont St Martin then following the Valle di Gressoney until the end of the road.
From Stafal m. 1825 to Rifugio Quintino Sella m 3585
From the parking area a cable car leads 300 meters further up, where a chair lift by a long run leads up to Passo di Bettaforca m 2720. Here take the obvious path n. 9 to the Quintino Sella shelter, rising on the crest and getting quickly to the Bettolina Pass m. 2905. From here carry on the wide crest to the junction with the path coming from Pian di Verra. Follow the yellow marks, climb up some easy rocks, then follow the final airy ridge, equipped with fixed ropes, leading to the terrace on which is located the Rifugio Quintino Sella m. 3585.
Castore South-East Ridge Normal route report
Difficulty: Alpine F+
Difference in level: 640 m. from Rifugio Quintino Sella
First ascent: William Mathews and F.W. Jacomb with the guides J.B. Croz and Michel Croz 23- august 1861
A fine route without particular technical difficulty. Anyhow the ridge is airy and sharp.
From the shelter reach the Felik Glacier and follow its gently angled slopes North direction, heading to Punta Perazzi. Here head towards NE - crevasses - leaving Colle Perazzi on the left and reaching the bottom of the steep ice-slopes below Colle Felik. The best solution is to pass the bergschrund on the right. After the bergschrund climb the steep slope, gaining Colle di Felik 4061 m. (about 2 hours from the shelter).
From the plateau head to North-West (left) - usually there's a good track - in the direction of the obvious snowy ridge.
Follow it with a little of ups and downs. The crest is sharp but easy, exposed in a few sections, leading quickly to the summit. Now enjoy the wonderful views all around over the highest peaks of the Alps: Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso, Monte Bianco and the 4000 of the Swiss Alps.
Descent: reversing the same route
Rope, ice-axe, crampons, glacier-gear.
No fees no permits required
Mountaineering: from June to September
Ski-mountaineering: from March to May
Owner: C.A.I. Sezione Biella
Situation: Felik Glacier shore
Open: from middle June to middle September
Size: 140 persons + 25 in the winter shelter
Guardian: Ezio Cassina
Phone +39 0125 366113 - Cell +39 348 8107793
"Il grande libro dei 4000" by Marco Romelli and Valentino Cividini - Idea Montagna ed.
"Tutti i 4000" - L'aria sottile dell'alta quota - Club4000/CAI Torino
“4000 delle Alpi” by Richard Goedeke - Ed. Libris “Monte Rosa” by Gino Buscaini – Collana Guide dei Monti d'Italia C.A.I.-T.C.I.
"Breuil/Cervinia-Zermatt" Kompass map 1:50.000
"Cervino-Matterhorn e Monte Rosa" n. 5 - Istituto Geografico Centrale 1:50.000