Val Greina Double Traverse

Val Greina Double Traverse

On the last two weekends of March, three AACZ parties attempted ski traverses of the Greina, one of the largest and wildest high plateaus of Switzerland, with climbs of several surrounding peaks.

The first group—six of us—started from Vrin on Thursday the 17th around 9:45, after a brief stop in the village’s excellent Bäckerei. Overcast conditions overnight made for wet snow on Alp Diesrut with an uneventful approach to Terrihütte winter room. On the second day we summited Piz Terri (3149 m) in heavy fog, then relied on GPS navigation for the steep southerly descent to Capanna Motterascio and the long skin over Passo della Greina to Capanna Scaletta. The third day, however, rewarded us with perfect conditions and magnificent views. We climbed both Piz Gaglianera (3121 m), whose summit ridge made for easy but at times exposed climbing, and Piz Valdraus (3096 m). After a long ski down Val Lavaz and a climb to Medelserhütte, Robert and Yannick skied out to Curaglia on rapidly warming snow, while David, Max, and Ven overnighted at the hut with Stefan, who had climbed up alone from Curaglia. The fourth day dawned clear and cold like the third, and the four of us made good time to the summit of Piz Medel (3210 m). The descent was more of an adventure, a succession of perfect powder, wind-faceted firn, an unexpectedly steep couloir (not the recommended route!), hard-frozen avalanche debris, and, finally, wet grass just above Curaglia.

The second group, eight strong, started the following day, but made a late start, and, unfortunately, had to turn back due to wet slides and low visibility.

The third group, with seven skiers, started a week later, on the morning of Friday the 25th. We opted to reach Terrihütte via Fuorcla Cotschna to avoid the steep slopes of Alp Diesrut. Most of the group also made the side trip to Piz Tgietschen (2857 m). On the following day we made a 5:30 start, and headed straight up to Piz Greina (3123 m) via the south ridge. This is not an official route but offered a nice combination of steep snow and easy rock. We skied down a couple hundred meters and immediately tackled the south face of Piz Vial (3168 m), a fun but rapidly warming snow face up to ~50°. After a great ski descent into the Greina valley, most of us also climbed both Pizzo Coroi (2784 m) and the adjacent Pizzo Marumo (2791 m) on their much safer north-facing slopes, before skiing down to Capanna Scaletta. Day three saw a 6:30 start after the change to daylight saving time. We tackled Piz Medel via the east ridge, which included a fun bootpack halfway up through steep snow and rock. After tagging the summit, some of us skied down the glacier and skinned up towards Cima di Camadra (3173 m), which also featured nice steep snow and rock scrambling.

In total, over the course of seven days of touring, thirteen AACZ members summited ten different peaks, netting most of the significant high points in the Greina region. It was great to see a combination of new candidates and experienced members taking part in this outing.

(Text by Max Poletto and Jonas Walheim)