Bernina Haute Route- Piz Palu to the Boval Hut

A historic high peak from the Diavolezza, followed by a very long N facing descent

Ski Touring Difficult

Distance
12 km
Ascent
1.4 km
Descent
1.9 km
Duration
6-7 hrs
Low Point
2.4 km
High Point
3.9 km
Gradient
44˚
Bernina Haute Route- Piz Palu to the Boval Hut Map

This is an iconic mountain and a great ski peak providing relatively steep skiing. Acclimatisation may be an issue for some so consider doing a few days high up before getting underway with this tour.

Description

Take the lift to Diavolezza. There is an option to stay the night before, but most people will take the first lift and carry on from there. You drop down frozen S facing slopes from the lift onto the glacier below. Put skins on and follow the well used skinning track up the glacier, avoiding both the steepest ground and also the largest crevasses. The exact route varies from year to year, but you need to skirt to the W of point 2936m, then head SE, towards the steep mixed buttress that descends from Piz Cambrena. Follow steepening N facing glacial slopes to the W of this peak, steeper initially, then easier in the mid section. From about 3400m it steepens again as you head up towards the ridge above, at about 3700m, then along it to the E summit of Piz Palu. Some of this may be on foot with crampons and axe, in which case it is wise to rope up, and you could stash your skis, as you will be returning this way. From the E summit a fine snowy crest links to the main summit of Piz Palu at 3900m. There is a magnificent view in all directions, with several higher peaks nearby, but only the Piz Bernina tips over the magic 4000m. This will be your objective possibly tomorrow or the day after. You retrace your steps and ski down the line of ascent, to about 2900m, where you continue down the glacier. You can sometimes hug the skier’s L bank of the glacier, but this can be quite crevassed. Possibly better is to traverse out L, to come close to Isla Persa at 2720m. From here you ski down more steeply again, crossing a lateral moraine below the worst of the crevasses, onto the big flat Morteratsch Glacier below, at about 2400m. Cross this glacier and head up the best way through the opposite lateral moraine, to the Boval Hut at 2494m.

Difficulty

Difficult

Serious gradient of 30-38 degrees where a real risk of slipping exists.

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, May

Features

  • Alpine
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area