Castore SE Ridge Normal Route

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 45.92171°N / 7.79237°E
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Alpine F+
Sign the Climber's Log



Castore SE Ridge Normal Route


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.

Castor & Pollux from the Gornergrat 2013
Castore and Polluce from the Gornergrat - Ph. Lodewijk


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. 

Climbers on the upper ridge up to Castor, 4226m.
Climbers on the upper ridge up to Castore
Climbers on Castor (13864 ft / 4226 m)
Climbers on Castore











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.


The parade of Monte Rosa 4000s
The parade of Monte Rosa 4000s as seen from M. Glacier

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


Obelgabelhorn,  Zinalrothorn and Weisshorn from Colle Felik
Obelgabelhorn, Zinalrothorn and Weisshorn from Colle Felik - Ph. Alpinbeta


noth sides of Castor (left)...
North face of Castore


Getting There

Road Approach

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.

Rifugio Quintino Sella approach path
Rifugio Quintino Sella approach path
Rif. Quintino Sella approach path
Rif. Quintino Sella approach path








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.

Route Description

Castore South-East Ridge Normal route report

Difficulty: Alpine F+
Difference in level: 640 m. from Rifugio Quintino Sella
Exposure: SE
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.

Castore Normal route beta


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).

Castore, ice-slopes below Colle Felik
Sunrise on Castore Normal route










From the plateau head to North-West (left) - usually there's a good track - in the direction of the obvious snowy ridge. 

Castor ridge
The ridge
Castore - Normal route
Castore - Normal route










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

Essential Gear

Rope, ice-axe, crampons, glacier-gear.

Views of Castore

Il Castore
Ridge of Castor
Early morning on castor ridge.

Red Tape

No fees no permits required

When to climb

Mountaineering: from June to September
Ski-mountaineering: from March to May


Rifugio Quintino Sella

Rifugio Quintino Sella m. 3585

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


Meteo Valle d'Aosta
Meteo Switzerland


New guidebook Il grande libro dei 4000
Guidebook Tutti i 4000 - L'aria sottile dell'alta quota
4000 des Alpes (Alpine Fourthousanders) Guidebook
Monte Rosa guidebook

"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.


Western Lyskamm map
Western Lyskamm map

"Breuil/Cervinia-Zermatt" Kompass map 1:50.000 
"Cervino-Matterhorn e Monte Rosa" n. 5 - Istituto Geografico Centrale 1:50.000




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