Day 3: A huge mountain day with shorter variants

Statistics

1

day +

1,852

m

1,949

m

30

max┬░

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Difficult

Description

This is a stunning 2000m day involving 2 major summits- early start required.

Descend gently from the hut to take you onto the open slopes beneath the glacier.

Take the R hand of the 2 major glaciers as you look at them, passing to the N of the obvious Zufallspitze.

This is a long gentle skin, eventually reaching the broad snowy ridge coming up from the Casati Hut at about 3350m.

Here you angle to the S, heading for the obvious saddle between the Zufallspitze and Cevedale.In optimal conditions you might be able to skin, but often you need to carry skis over the bergschrund and then on and up to the summit of the Cevedale and its fine cross at 3769m. You can ski from the summit of the Cevedale to the S, then SE, then E, down as far as you like, but logically no lower than about 3100m, given the remaining big skin up the next major peak.

It is also possible to take a higher traverse, through some rocks, to miss out some of this next ascent.

Now skin broadly in a SW direction, deviating to avoid bands of crevasses and steeper ground.

You are heading for the top of the ridge bounding the S side of the large Mare Glacier you are on.

From the ridge follow it W then S over a small foresummmit, then on to the main summit of the Palon de la Mare, 3703m.

In good conditions you can ski its steep SW ridge but it commonly needs to be descended on foot.

Below the Palon de la Mare Glacier descends easily to its NW, then SW.

It steepens up into some snowy runnels below, on the R hand side of the glacier.

Make sure you spot the point, at about 2800m, where you need to turn NW in order to get onto the slopes that take you down to the Branca Hut.

This is a particularly fine hut, in a brilliant location, where you will be delighted to enjoy its hospitality and the amazing N facing peaks visible from the terrace, over the next few days. If the weather is less good or legs are not wanting 2000m of skinning, there are a few easier alternatives to link these two huts.

One is to descend SW from just above the Casati Hut at about 3450m, before you get to the Cevedale, down onto the Cedec glacier, then down NW then W, then S, past the Pizzini Hut at 2700m.

You continue on down the valley, with a final short easy skin to the Branca.

Easier still if the weather is worse is simply to head straight to the Casati Hut at 3254m and descend directly from there, past the Pizzini Hut to the Branca, with the same final short skin up.