A very famous and beautiful route, up the snaking snowy ridge to the summit of the most easterly of the 4000m peaks

Statistics

1,472

m

460

m

29

max┬░

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Difficult

Description

This highly photographed route is a classic of its type, famed for its shapely and undulating snowy crest.

The difficulties of the route are actually all on rock, and in most conditions the snow crest is pretty straightforward and lower angled than appears in the photos.

It is a long descent from the summit, some electing to do it as an out and back trip, others by a traverse down the slightly easier Fortezza ridge.

Easiest, as described here, is to break up the journey, by staying in the Marco e Rosa hut only 400m below the summit of the peak.

This allows you to add on another fine peak the following day, Piz Palu, by traversing it, then descending to the lift system at Diavolezza.

We left very early when we climbed Piz Bernina, stocking up on water at the hut and doing the full traverse of the Biancograt then Piz Palu in a day.

Suss out the morning path through the boulders the day before.

There have been rockfalls in the unstable slope you need to traverse, shortly after leaving the hut, so printed descriptions of the exact route may be inaccurate.

Broadly you are traversing boulder strewn slopes above the crevassed glacier, heading roughly SE, until you are above the worst of the crevasses at about 3000m.

Drop down to the the edge of the glacier and follow up easy snow, or rocks to its L.

The glacier steepens as you head towards the Forcla Prievlusa at 3427m.

This may be mostly on snow, or, later in the season, more on rocks towards the L of the col, in ascent.

The ridge above is on good rock, with some exposed moves traversing around to the R of the ridge, then easing slightly, before meeting the foot of the famous snow crest at about 3560m.

Follow this, usually in a good track, to the foresummit of Pizzo Bianco at 3993m.

It changes in character once again to a classic mixed Alpine ridge on good rock.

There are some horizontal and short steps down, before climbing up to the main summit of Piz Bernina at 4048m.

Admire the stunning vista - you are on the biggest summit for a long way, with nothing higher to the N, E and S.

The Marco e Rosa Hut lies beneath you on a saddle.

There is a further short snowy crest and some easy mixed down climbing- a couple of lines are possible, followed by an easy walk down the glacier to the hut.