Italian Normal route
On skis via Passo del Vannino. No track. Little to no visibility during all day. Descent by compass and GPS (as backup :p).
Refugio E. Margaroli is a perfect base to attempt the climb.
A foggy day.
There is a whole lot more snow in the Alps than normal for this time of year. Two days before this climb I made my way up the Refugio Mores (2505m), just north of Lago Sabbione. There was a lot of snow on the route, roughly starting between 2100 and 2200m. It was soft enough, so I didn't need crampons, but it was tiresome.
Today I started at 6.15, because the forecast was that it would get cloudy, and there might be some precipitation by the afternoon. The day started with blue skies, but soon the clouds started to arrive and even before 9 the higher summits had disappeared.
There is a rocky ridge extending towards the NE from the summit. My map doesn't even show the rocks, but they are there. Starting from the north, I planned to climb the east face, which is just east of this ridge. I read that it is an easy glacier route (I also learned that the glacier isn't very crevassed to begin with, and thanks to all the snow I figured it would be safe enough to go solo). However, as I approached the mountain from the NNE, over the Sabbione glacier, the slope directly to the right of this NE ridge didn't look too steep either and it was shorter than going around it to the E face, so I went up there instead. I would call it the NNE face route. I'm sure it's been climbed before, it's such an obvious route. I estimate that the steepest bit was about 40 degrees, one short stretch, no more than 50m long, if that.
Somewhere around 3000m, I suddenly found some old but still clearly discernible tracks. Perhaps some late spring or early summer skiers? The tracks came from the northwest, so I presume they came from Passo del Sabbione. It was quite fortunate, for soon after that, I entered the clouds, and without tracks the limited visibility would have made it hard to find the summit.
As it was, I got to the top without any problems, shortly before 10.
When I started going up the NNE face, I still planned to come down the east face, but when visibility went out the window, I decided against it - I didn't want to get lost. And so I descended the same way I came up, until I got below the clouds again at around 3000m. After that, I made my way to Rifugio Margaroli via Passo del Vannino.
To beat the weather I had climbed quickly, but I took my time on the descent - until it started snowing around 1 or so. For the record, even lower down there was so much snow that it would have been possible to ski down to 2350m.
Ski route from ref.Margaroli. Very wet and foggy day.
Route form Margaroli refuge. I reached top in a very bad weather conditions, fog and snow. I realised that the ascent was finished when I saw the cross on the top.
the weatherforecast turned suddenly on saturday. The cold front from astlantic was supposed to arrive sunday night, instead it arrived saturday night.
Cold, snow, fog. We reach the top, i guess: at leat i did not find anymore mountain when i reached the final ridge.
Anyway nice experience
Valerio and jolanda
From Città di Busto hut with Alfredo and Attilio
Beautiful skitour to the Ofenhorn 3235m
photos are all here: Link to Ofenhorn 3235m
Left the Binntalhuette at 5AM, returned at 1PM. Went back down the path to cross the stream via the bridge then east up the moraine to the main (though hidden from below) part of the Talligletscher to the Hohsandjoch. Climbing the whole NW Ridge adds more interest since just the summit pyramid is pretty short. Much fun, decent enough rock for a mountain. The descent via the normal route is NOT very fun - all very broken and loose, only recommended early in the season when covered in snow...
From Binntalhütte, a little hazy, while bad weather war everywhere else on the Alps...! Nice view, becoming soon problematic.
We started up on the SSW Ridge which is recommended in Michel Vaucher, Walliser Alpen. Die 100 schönsten Touren.
After two very short scrambly pitches of about I or II, there is a long section of steep very loose rock and talus which was very tedious. The steep buttress which must be climbed to join the west ridge is composed of extremely loose rock with scree and mud covered ledges. The climbing here was so nasty that we abandoned the ridge and traversed onto the normal route.
By this time my partners (wife and daughter) were trashed and bummed and started down while I went on to the summit alone and caught up with them on the way down.
I DO NOT recommend the SSW Ridge. It is most certainly NOT one of the finest climbs in the Valais!
We did made it directly from the valley, great impressions !
A trip report (german only) can be found at :