Ortler Ski Tour: Punta San Matteo from the Branca Hut

Trentino-Alto Adige

Sulden

Day 5: The highest summit in this part of the range with a variety of possible ascents and descents

Ski Touring Severe

Distance
12 km
Ascent
1.3 km
Descent
1.3 km
Duration
6-7 hrs
Low Point
2.4 km
High Point
3.7 km
Gradient
40˚
VIEW ON MAP
Ortler Ski Tour: Punta San Matteo from the Branca Hut Map

Description

This is a significant summit without undue technical difficulty, but due to the long gentle skinning approach is quite time consuming. The route described is more circuitous than a more direct ascent but this can be more icy and unsuitable unless you have steel crampons. See the topos in the hut for more details.

From the hut descend the often icy road past one zig zag and a flat area. Now take a leftwards descending traverse to put you at the foot of steeper ground. You can possibly skin or more likely crampon up a short steep section to put you onto the flatter ground above. Head S on gently rising ground. You will need to get onto or cross an obvious moraine, bounding the 2 gentle glaciers above, aiming for the R hand side of rocky ground, up the L hand side of a steep, icy and crevassed section. Easier glacial terrain above leads SW, then W to an obvious col at about 3300m.

There is a sweet little tin box bivouac hut on the ridge above. You may need to carry through some rocks near here or skin in a good snow year. There is a flattening in the ridge at about 3520m before a final easy but impressive whaleback snowy crest to the magnificent summit of the Punta San Matteo at 3678m.

Descent is possible the same way, but there is a more interesting descent, which is quite steep and due N facing. From the flatter area below the summit, rather than heading down and R onto the ridge, stay on the glacier descending rightwards before taking an exposed traverse horizontally to the right to access a very steep but concave slope leading down due N. Enjoy your turns on this steep pitch before easier angled open pitches below, to eventually rejoin the ascent route and so back to the hut. You can also descend the alternative ascent route that the topos in the hut describe. This ascent/descent can be icy, needing steel crampons at one point. It is essential to have eyeballed this earlier in the day from below.

Difficulty

Severe

Steep skiing at 38-45 degrees. This requires very good technique and the risk of falling has serious consequences.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

March, April

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area