Es-cha Hut to the Kesch Hut

An up and over day, with a technical scramble to a col and an optional climb up the biggest peak in the area

Ski Touring Difficult

Distance
6.9 km
Ascent
870 m
Descent
840 m
Duration
3-4 hrs
Low Point
2.6 km
High Point
3.4 km
Gradient
47˚
Es-cha Hut to the Kesch Hut Map

There is a technical ridge in between these two huts, with a lot of rocky terrain and the way through is not obvious from below. Fortunately there is a natural weakness, the Porta d’Es-cha (a col at 3007m), which allows you through.

Description

From the Es-cha hut head NW, initially steeply, then more gently, before a final steepening that skirts to the R of the steepest ground, to the final technical section. This is equipped with chains that you can use as a handrail, and some may choose to rope up. Luckily it is much easier on the far side of the ridge, with a gentle traverse onto the Porchabella Glacier the far side.

There is a choice of whether or not to climb Piz Kesch, at 3418m, the highest peak in the area. It is an exposed mixed scramble, which gets an Alpine grade of PD, so it is definitely a mountaineering objective. You do it on foot, with crampons and axe, and it is an out and back trip, leaving your skis at the foot of the ridge, on the R in ascent. Confident mountaineers might choose to solo it, but it is commonly short roped. When we were there, some climbed, and some enjoyed an extra hour of sunny picnicking at the ski stash.

In any case the descent from there, on N facing slopes to the Kesch Hut, is usually very good, on wide open slopes and often in powder, due to the sheltered nature of this high bowl. For those wanting an easier summit, the nearby Kesch Pitschen is an obvious objective. It has mellow E facing slopes, or when in condition, steep N facing slopes.

Difficulty

Difficult

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

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

March, April

Features

  • Alpine
  • Cliffs
  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area