Ski Traverse Parc Ela

Ski Traverse Parc Ela

The weather forecast for the weekend of 13./14. of January 2024 was great. Combined with enough snow, and moderate avalanche danger, the weekend was perfect for a hut tour and ski traverse. Thus, nine Huttli signed up for a traverse of the Parc Ela and an overnight stay at the Chamona d’Ela.

After arrival at the train station in Filisur, it’s just a short walk through the beautiful village down to the Albula river and then up to wintery Val Spadlatscha. We planned to visit mount Chantota on the into the valley but conditions didn’t look good, thus we went directly to the hut. 

To our surprise, the hut wardens were also presented. While they were trying to get the fire going, most of us continued towards pass d’Ela for some more skiing and track preparation for the next day. 

The sun just set next to Pizza Grossa (yummy) when we reached the pass. We enjoyed the well-deserved powder in the last sun rays. There were almost no tracks. In the meantime, the hut wardens got the fire under control and the hut was slowly warming up. 

Tamara cooked a huge amount of excellent risotto. She had bought 150g of rice per person assuming that the group would be hungry and we were. The hut didn’t get really warm and everybody was concerned that the night would be cold. Fortunately, that was unfounded and in bed it was cozy.

After a lazy breakfast, with liters of good coffee and tons of oats, we left the hut at 09:00 and returned to the pass d’Ela again, enjoying the track prepared yesterday. The group was choosing a chill pace and we spent  almost 2 hours enjoying skinning through powder up to the pass. From there, it is a short ski descent to Lai Grond. Some went over the Furschela da Tschitta and the rest of us went on towards Piz Val Lunga (3077m). 

The ascent was much tougher than expected. The snow in the +40° couloir was partly frozen. So we decided for an early ski depot and scrambled quite long through rocky terrain. While climbing, we concluded that the rating should be more AD- rather than PD+. Some turned back at the ski depot, also because of lack of gear but for the remaining four, it was the right amount of excitement without being dangerous. Some where happy that they brought crampons + ice axe.

Steffen is enjoying the summit

The views from the summit was magnificent but it was -10°C and almost 15:00 o’clock. For only 1070m of ascent, we had been quite slow. The late start, relaxed pace, missing tracks and difficult summit had taken its toll. We didn’t stay long and started the 1700m descent.

We enjoyed mainly really good powder and great skiing just interrupted by some nasty passages through a forest. After arriving at the Albis pass road, you’re supposed to walk up to Preda rather than ski down the sledging run, since skiers are not allowed there. Certainly, nobody in our group considered that.

(Text and Photos Robert Büssow)

Robert, Natalia, Steffen, and Felix (left to right) on Piz Val Lunga