The Meuli route is the easiest route on the North-West side of the Punta da l'Albigna
. The approach is easy and the climbing on the slabby granite is a pleasure. The guidebook states that the route is well bolted and we found this to be true for the first few pitches but the bolts get a bit fewer and farther between in the second half of the route although the difficulty eases as well.
The route does not end on the summit of the Albigna, to reach this you need to climb another 5 pitches or so, max 5b. While the approach to the route and the route itself are perfect for beginners with some multi-pitch experience the descent does involve some tricky downclimbing on slabby granite so be forewarned as getting down is possibly the most difficult part of the whole adventure.
The start of the route can be reached easily from the Albigna hut by following the path that leads in a south-easternly direction across the stream. From the rear of the hut take the path that leads immediately downwards towards an old waterpipe which has a large arrow painted on it. Follow this arrow and the subsequent blue-white markings further downwards and across the stream. From here make your way up to the rubble field at the base of the routes. This field can be easily recognized from the hut so make sure to take some time to get your bearings at the hut before you leave.
The peak is visible all the time so getting lost won't be much of a danger. The route starts just to the right of Moderne Zeiten
, the beginning of which is marked on the rock.
The first few pitches are the hardest and have you climbing over slabby granite. After this there is an easier middle section which leads to a chimney-pitch that is lots of fun to climb. The last few pitches are a combination of slabs and vertical sections and the difficulty here can be the sudden absence of bolts showing which line to follow. The climbing is however not very difficult and if you bring some gear you won't have too many problems. Finally, the very end of the Meuli route is reached by a short pitch of about II grade climbing.
Getting down from the Punta da l'Albigna
after you have climbed the Meuli route is straightforward insofar as the path you need to follow is well marked by stonemen. The sole difficulty is a section of some rather tricky downclimbing on a steep slab on which you do not want to fall and which is difficult to protect. After this the way down is pretty much risk free. Follow the path marked by stonemen and cross the stream to get back on the path which leads back to the hut. Be advised that the stream can swell with meltwater in the afternoon and you might have some difficulty finding a suitable location to cross.
8 - 10 quickdraws, slings, a few small-medium sized friends, a selection of rocks.
Map: Swiss 1:25000 #1296 'Sciora'.
Guidebook: Jorg van Kanel, Schweiz Plaisir Sud.
(Edition Filidor 2003).