Piz Palü

  • Piz Palü
  • 3905 m.
  • Primary factor: 208 m.
  • Switzerland
  • Location: North 46:22.700, East 9:57.633
  • Climbed June 1996


How to get there: The nearest town is Ponteresina near St. Moritz in south east Switzerland. Good train connections.
Route description: One proceeds by car or train from Ponteresina to the big gondola that brings you up to a rather large mountain hut near the base of Piz Palü A good place to spend the night. The next (early) morning one follows the trail passing to the left of the nearest little top and eventually descending down to the glacier below the east summit. From here the hike up the ice-fall is quite spectacular with often large crevasses. On reaches the saddle on the shoulder east of the east summit (see picture). From here one literally follows the Swiss Italian border. From there one climbs with crampons to the East summit. Descending into the saddle and follows a rather narrow, exposed snow ridge to the middle and highest top of Piz Palü. If weather permits one can continue the traverse across the West summit and return another way.
Comments: My climb together with a Swiss guide from Ponteresina turned quite scary. The forecast called for possible thunder around noon. It was overcast the entire way, but when lightning struck essentially at the very summit, just as we set foot on it at 8 am, and ice axes starting buzzzing rather loudly, I can just tell that there were two guys that RAN down the narrow ridge that we so carefully had climbed up a few minutes earlier. Lightning continued while we raced back to the hut, setting a new record time for the distance. The storm turned in to one of the worst in a long time causing numerous deaths in Italy and a considerable snowfall all the way down in Ponteresina, this was mid June!