2013-03-31

Easter Snowshoe Tour: Can da Maighels (2314m) and Passo Bornengo (2631m)

Anita and I planned a 4 day snowshoe excursion over the Easter holidays. We booked the Can da Maighels mountain hut and headed out on Friday. We started late after enjoying a nice board game and movies night with friends (and lots of beer!) the evening before. We get off the train at Oberalppass at 2044 meters. That leaves us with a nice and easy ~6km and 500m approach to the hut at 2314m. Although a short cut exists that avoids going down from the pass before climbing up to the hut again we decide against using it. It traverses under cliffs and cuts a steep slope, which we judge to be too avalanche prone. Rightly so as we can see quite a few old snow slides that took down parts of the trail. The second we got off the train it started snowing and, although we didn't know it yet, wouldn't stop all weekend.

Fresh off the train.
A mouse running around in the snow.

The hut is quite crowded with ski touring folks. We don't get much sleep - someone is always snoring in the dormitories. At 7 in the morning everyone heads out. Anita and me are going straight south, following the Maighels valley. The idea is to do some reconnaissance today and see what mountains look climbable. It's still snowing and windy. Anita has a cold and starts coughing up blood. We decide to split and she makes it back to the hut.

The hut and Piz Cavradi (2612m).

I slog on. Visibility is next to nil. While I was still in the vicinity of some skiers in the beginning I'm quickly on my own. Breaking trail in fresh snow for 5 kilometers gets me up the Passo Bornengo at 2631m. From here I was hoping to do a quick traverse and minor climb of ~130 meters up Piz Alv. Unfortunately I can't see anything in the drifting snow. Considerable risk of avalanches and the danger of accidentally getting onto overhanging cornices convince me to not solo any further and bail instead.

Windy.
Retracing my steps back down...

Back at the hut just after one o'clock in the afternoon I'm almost the last person to arrive. Most others have bailed much earlier due to the bad conditions. We spend a relaxing afternoon with board games and books.

The trail to the hut is well marked.
View towards the east and the Rhine valley.
An avalanche buried the road.

Anita isn't feeling any better on Sunday and if anything, conditions outside have gotten even worse. So we decide to bail and hike down to the village of Schamut where the Glacier Express picks us up. A hot bath at home lifts Anita's spirits. And I pissed into one of the Rhine springs - take that river! ;-)

No kidding.
Just to mock us...
...the weather is clearing up a bit.