Piz Duan (3131m)
is considered to be one of the most perfect lookout mountains of Switzerland. Thanks to its prominence - it stands out above Bergell / Val Bregaglia
for more than 2000m, above Val Maroz for almost 1500m - its panorama is clearly breathtaking. Someone calculated 450 (!) 3000ers and still 35 (!!) 4000ers on display on its aepex. Clearly most impressive are the granite spires of the Bergell Alps / Val Massino Alps
just across the valley but the whole of Graubünden / Grisons / Grischun
and much of the Alpi Lepontine
can be seen as well as the Valais Alps
around Monte Rosa
Still Piz Duan is rather unknown - a guidebook claims it is only climbed by locals - since the distances and elevations which have to be covered are immense. It starts with the location. Piz Duan
is part of the Platta Group
and stands at its southern end, where Graubünden
borders Italy. It takes hours and the crossing of several passes until you reach the trailhead in Casaccia
. The village is located at 1400m so that an ascent of Piz Duan
covers an elevation gain of some 1700m at a distance of more than 12km one way. You can imaginethat only the most stubborn climbers actually visit the mountain.
Moreover, while well-kept hiking trails lead up to passes on two of its sides the remainder of the climb is trailless and requires experience. Rated PD, both regular routes are not exactly difficult but while one requires glacier experience the other requires very good judgement on a system of ledges in the east face of the mountain. However, anyone experienced in exposed block-and-rock hopping can reach the summit proper. The normal route can also be done as a ski tour in winter while the east face route is only possible in late summer / early autumn.
The best trailhead for Piz Duan
is at Casaccia
in Bergell / Val Bregaglia
. It follows the old, often cobbled route to Septimerpass / Pass dal Sept
until it reaches Val Maroz
, a wonderful Cwm which more or less directly heads for Piz Duan. Passing a first Alp, Maroz Dora
the valley negotiates a terrain step before reaching the large pasture of Maroz Dent
. Here the two regular routes to Piz Duan
The normal rote crosses the left of the little glacier to climb the main summit to the right
- The normal route heads west and aims for Passo di Duana above the end of Val Maroz. Here a bit before the lake Lägh da la Duana turn south into the north face of the mountain. You cross a small glacier on its western side (crevasses to the east). At around 3090m turn right onto the east slopes of the main summit and follow them to the top.
The east face route traverses from the bottom left to the saddle between the two summits and from there to the main one to the right
- A somewhat less frequented route heads up the east face of the east summit. From Maroz Dent follow the signs which lead to Val da Cam and the plain Plan Lo. A long and steep terrain step is negotiated by half a dozen switchbacks until you reach a line of large cairns at the lower end of Plan Lo. Hike the valley to the pass in its end and head for Lägh da Cam, a small lake underneath the south-east ridge. Here head across the grass slopes, avoiding the near vertical lower part of the ridge. You'll have to cross a large scree field to reach the east face of the east summit. Across a system of ledges (good judgement required) head for a notch north of the east summit. From here follow a broad rubble slope to the main summit.
Piz Duan from Piz Lunghin
- By public transport:
- Take the SBB & RHB railway from Chur to St. Moritz.
- There transfer to the yellow post bus to go to the villages Maloja and Casaccia.
- Online train & bus schedule (public transport Switzerland): SBB schedule
- By car:
Piz Duan from Maroz Dent
- From Chur take B3 to the village Tiefencastel and onward through Savognin, Bivio and over Julier pass to Silvaplauna.
- From turn south and follow B3 to Maloja and Casaccia.
- From Italy take SS36 from Lago di Como to Chiavenna, where you switch to SS37 / B3 into Bergell / Val Bregaglia and to Casaccia.
The upper end of Val Maroz seen from Maroz Dent
The resort villages in Oberengadin and Bergell are quite expensive but you can find all sorts of accommodation in the area. Follow the following links:
There's no red tape to speak of. Even the parking lot at Cassaccia
is free of charge (which is rare for Oberengadin - if you intend to start from Soglio
you won't be as lucky). There are quite a number of Ibexes and Chamoix in the area and with a bit of luck you can spot a bearded vulture, Europe's largest bird with a wingspan of 2.7m - 3m.
Piz Duan seen from the north-west
Maps & Books
- Valchiavenna / Val Bregaglia
1 : 50.000
- Oberengadin / Alta Engadina
1 : 40.000
Rudolf & Siegrun Weiss
- Comer See
Eugen E. Hüsler
In Memory of Ciryll RüeggerA note from the SP staff
Cyrill Rüegger, the member we all used to know as Cyrill and Digitalis, died on June 13th 2009 in an avalanche on the summit ridge of Piz Palü together with his wife Tanja and a common friend. They were swept down by the avalanche into a couloir underneath the east summit and died instantly. Their bodies were retrieved from the Palü Glacier by helicopter a day after the accident.
Cyrill joined SP in March 2006 and soon was one of the most prolific contributors on the site with almost 70 mountain and 5 range pages to his profile. He was an accomplished climber, bagging almost 1000 summits in not quite seven years. Among them are 35 4000ers and 272 3000ers, almost all of them in his home country Switzerland.
While contributing a lot on SP, Cyrill's real internet home was www.hikr.org
where he contributed 585 mountain profiles and reports in his native language German. Cyrill also posted on www.bergsteigen.at and other climbing sites, often under his real name but also under the pseudonym Digitalis. He was a botanist by profession and also contributed his knowledge about medical plants to different websites. Cyrill will be greatly missed by all.
This page will be kept in honour of Cyrill, one of SP's most prolific members and most active mountaineers.
Rest in peace, brother!
The picture above was taken on the summit of Matterhorn on July 28th 2007.