Tschierva glacier as seen from Piz Corvatsch. The high peak dominating the center left of the image is Piz Bernina decorated with the Biancograt a distinct ice ridge. Piz Bernina is the only mountain exceeding 4000m in Engadin. The peak on the right is Piz Roseg. Credit: Daniel Schwen,  Shot on 2009-06-19 Photo taken in , Pontresina, Graubunden, Switzerland.(c) Daniel Schwen, licensed under: CC BY-SA 2.5.
Tschierva glacier as seen from Piz Corvatsch. The high peak dominating the center left of the image is Piz Bernina decorated with the Biancograt a distinct ice ridge. Piz Bernina is the only mountain exceeding 4000m in Engadin. The peak on the right is Piz Roseg. Credit: Daniel Schwen, Shot on 2009-06-19 Photo taken in , Pontresina, Graubunden, Switzerland.(c) Daniel Schwen, licensed under: CC BY-SA 2.5.

General

Bernina Alps and Bregaglia are located very close together in the southeast corner of Switzerland. Outside mountaineering circles the area is more famous as the winter playground of the "jet-set", centered on the fashionable resorts of St. Moritz (1822m) and Samedan (1720m) in the upper Engadin valley, and Pontresina (1800m) in Bernina valley.

  • Bernina Although Bernina Alps is one of the most traditional alpine regions, the area is far less frequented than Chamonix of Zermatt. The area is complex with many sharp summits, large glacier filled valleys and a range of very worthwhile climbing objectives of all difficulties. The centerpiece and name sake of this compact area is the Piz Bernina (4049m), the highest Alpine peak east of Monte Rosa. Like Piz Bernina, also other famous peaks, Piz Palü, Bellavista, Piz Roseg and Piz Scerscen are heavily glaciated, providing catchment areas for two great glaciers, the Roseg and Morteratsch. As Bernina rock is not good, it is fortunate that the best climbs are on snow, ice and mixed ground; the corner stones of traditional Alpinism. Traverse of the whole chain is possible starting from Piz Roseg over Piz Scersacen, Piz bernina, Bellavista and Piz Palü to Piz Cambrena.
    • Margna-Tremoggia group Located furthest to the west. The highest peaks of the group are Piz Tremoggia (3441m) and Pizzo Malenco (3438m). The area is well suited for hiking and trekking but not very popular among the climbers.
    • Corvatsch group Corvatsch group. Corvatsch group is the S-N chain between Engadin valley in the west and Val Roseg in the east. Highest peaks are Piz Corvatsch (3451m) and Piz Murtel (3433m). Not very popular amongn the climbers but well suited for trekking.
    • Sella group Located in the SW and mainly accessed from val Malenco in Italy, although access is also possible from Val Roseg. Highest peaks rose to above 3500m. SAC guidebooks lists lots of climbs but none of them are very famous. The area sports several huts and bivouac shelters.
    • Bernina group Bernina group forms a horseshoe around vadret da Tschierva. The group contains the the section of the Bernina main chain between Piz Roseg and Piz Bernina and a long side branch running to the north from Piz Bernina separating Roseg valley in East and Morteratsch valley in East.
    • Piz Palü group Piz Palü group. Eastern part of the high peaks containing the chain Piz Zupo - Bellavista - Piz Palü - Piz Cambrena.
    • Scalino group Located between val Malenco in the west and val Poschiavo in the east. The namesake of the group is Pizzo Scalino (3323m).
      • Scalino-Canciano
      • Painale-Rognedo
      • Malgina-Combolo
    • Val da Camp group Val da camp is the eastern side valley of upper val Poschiavo. Val da camp mountains cover the areas to the east of road connecting Bernina and Poschiavo valleys (Bernina Pass), between Bernina group in the west and Ortler group in the east. Part of the larger group known as Livigno Alps.
  • Bregaglia & Disgrazia Only a few miles 'down the road', to the west of Val Malenco, on the border between Switzerland and Italy lies Bregaglia (also known as Bergell Alps). It is strikingly different from Bernina, as the mountains in Bregaglia are typically rockier and more lush than the mountains further north or east, as the warmer climate of the south has its impact on the range. Sheer, smooth faces and soaring ridges and buttresses are typical features. Most famous mountains of the range are Piz Badile (3308m) and Piz Cengalo (3370m). Both of these mountains are known for their long, slabby rock routes, the most famous route is over 900 meter long Cassin on Piz Badile. The highest mountain of the group is Monte Disgrazia (3678m) further east. It is much snowier and more glaciated than the other mountains of the group.
    • Bregaglia
      • Pizzo di Prata - Monte Gruf Ridge to the west of passo Trubinasca. Forms northern and western border of val Codera.
      • Pizzo Porcellizzo - Ligoncio - Cime del Calvo Long north-south chain running more or less south from Piz Badile separating val Codera in the west and val Masino in the east.
        • Pizzo Porcellizzo
        • Ligoncio
        • Cime del Calvo - Monte Spluga Located SE of Pizzo Ligoncio
        • Cime delle Merdarola - Monte Pesconfio Side branch towards east from Cime del Calvo ending just to the west of San Martino. Forms the SW border of Val Masino.
        • Cime di Gaiazzo - Sasso Manduino Side branch towards west from Pizzo Ligoncio.
      • Sciora - Cacciabella - Spazzacaldeira Long chain running north from main chain (Cima della Bondasca). Separates val Bandasca in the west and Albigna in the east. Southern part of the ridge is formed by impressive Sciora group.
        • Forcellette Chain running to west from Cacciabella and thus forming the north border of Bondasca valley.
        • il Gallo - Pizzo Spazzacaldera Chain towards north from Sciora group (Piz Cacciabella).
        • Cacciabella
        • Sciora group Pass Cacciabella Nord - Punta Innominata - Torre Innominata - Punta Pioda - Ago di Sciora - Sciora Dadent - Cima della Bondasca Geographically compact group, but one with several famous ascents. The climbs are almost solely accessed from Bondasca valley, as the Albigna side has poorer rock and longer approaches. Traverse of Sciora group is possible at both directions at 4a (S-N SAC 4 #763, N-S SAC 4 #764).
      • Main chain Long W-E chain of high peaks forming the watershed and national border between Switzerland and Italy. Chain is almost continuously over 3000m high from Pizzo trubinasca in the west to Cima di Zocca in the east, but there are some passes that allow crossing the ridge. Most of the famous peaks and climbs of Bregaglia are located on the ridge itself or very close to it.
        • Pizzo Badile - Pizzo Cengalo The group consists of only three main summits, but all of them are very important climbing destinations and sport great number of big routes.
        • Pizzi del Ferro - Monte di Zocca
        • Albigna - Forno
        • Pizzi Torrone - Monte Sissone Group located on the main chain to the west of Monte Sissone and Disgrazia group: Colle del Castello - Punta Rasica - Pizzi Torrone - Monte Sissone. Mostly climbed from Val Masino on the Italian (south) side.
      • Cantun - Piz Bacun Chain running towards north from Cima di Castello separating Albigna and Forno valleys.
    • Disgrazia group More or less north-south chain joining Bregaglia chain on Monte Sissone. Monte del Forno - Monte Rosso - Cima di Rosso - Passo Sissone - Monte Sissone - Cima di Chiareggio - Pizzo Pioda - Monte Disgrazia - Pizzo Cassandra

Logistics

Main convenient centers are St. Moritz (1822m) and Samedan (1720m) in the upper Engadin valley, Pontresina (1800m) in Bernina valley and Sondrio in valtellina. These can be reached by car from Zürich, Munich or Milano. It is also possible to reach St.Moritz and Pontresina by train either from Switzerland (Bernina Express from Chur, approximately 4h from Zürich via Chur to Pontresina) or from Italy (Tirano).

  • Air: Nearest international airports are Zürich, Münich and Milan
  • Train: Train connection from Zürich to Samedan. Connection train from Samedan to Poschiavo via Bernina pass.
  • Car:
    • (221km, 2h47min)
    • (295km, 4h6min)
    • (395km, 4h)
    • (470km, 5h33min)
    • (206km, 3h11min)
    • (164km, 2h28min)

Climbing info

General

Several grading systems are used depending on the type of climbing:

Alpine climbs
International French adjectival system is used to grade alpine climbs. Sometimes traditional grade is completed with commitment grade expressed in Roman numbers.
Rock
For alpine rock routes traditionally UIAA grade has been used. That being said, SAC guidebook uses French rock grades for rock routes in Bregaglia. Plaisir Sud uses French rock grades as well, but they have completed them with E-grade for overall seriousness running from E1 (routes with crag character) to E4 (long and serious routes with very alpine feel to them, such as "Cassin" on the north face of Piz Badile).
Ice & mixed
For moderate and middle grade climbs, most common way is to express the steepness either as maximum or average angle of the slope. For the difficult routes, WI grading is used, usually as two-part variation (including commitment grade). For mixed stuff, some modern routes sometimes use M grades for mixed sections, which certainly tells a lot more about the actual demands met by a climber rather than more commonly used normal rock grade. British guidebooks sometimes use Scottish winter grade.

Seasons and weather

High season for most routes (especially rock) runs from early June to early September. However, harder ice routes are typically in best condition earlier, usually in May and early June.

Rescue

Italian and Swiss rescue can cost quite a bit unless you have insurance that covers mountain climbing including evacuation costs. Needless to say, insurance provided by alpine clubs comes highly recommended.

Alpine distress signal:
6 x within a minute with regular intervals, give some sort of visual or acoustic signal. Then pause for a minute and repeat the signal until you get an answer. To answer: 3 x within a minute - one minute pause.
Telephone:
  • SOS Italy (pref)+41118 (home)+41333333333
  • SOS Switzerland (REGA) (pref)+411414

References

Authoritative guide to the area is Swiss Alpine Club's Clubführer, available in five volumes both in German and French. Volumes 5 and 4 cover Bernina and Bregaglia. For Breggalia rock routes Plaisir Sud is considered to have the best topos, but it only covers small selection of routes.

Best print maps are Swiss Landeskarte maps available in 1:25 000. Additionally, Map+ has maps available online, that zoom in all the way to great detail (looks a lot like 1:25.000 at least for Swiss part of Bernina and Bregaglia areas). Unfortunately the maps are available only through rather small viewport, so you can't save a map covering large area from there. Well directly anyway.

  • Bernina and Bregaglia. The site has maps of Switzerland that zoom in to great detail, looks a lot like 1:25.000 maps with full detail. Unfortunately the maps are available only through rather small viewport. At Map+.
  • Swiss Landeskarte: 441:100 000
  • Swiss Landeskarte: 50131:50 000
  • Swiss Landeskarte: 268 Julierpass1:50 000
  • Swiss Landeskarte: 278 Monte Disgrazia1:50 000
  • O'Connor, Bill: Alpine Ski Mountaineering - Eastern Alps v. 2: Central and Eastern Alps (Cicerone Winter and Ski Mountaineering). Isbn: 9781852843748. Cicerone Press, 2003.
  • Schmitt, Edwin & Pusch, Wolfgang: Hochtouren Ostalpen - 90 Fels- und Eistouren zwischen Bernina und Tauern. Isbn: 9783763330102. Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, 2004.
  • Seibert, Dieter: Eastern Alps - The Classic Routes on the Highest Peaks. Isbn: 9780906371541. Diadem Books, 1992.
  • Widmaer, Johanna: Best of Alpine Genussklettereien, Band 1. Isbn: 9783926807304. Panico Alpinverlag, 2002.
  • Donatsch, Peter & Coulin, David: Die schönsten Gipfelziele der Schweizer Alpen Ost - Ostschweiz, Glarus, Schwyz, Graubünden, Tessin, 2. A. edition. Isbn: 9783855029075. AT Verlag, 2002.
  • Griffin, Lindsay: Bernina and Bregaglia - selected climbs including Disgrazia and the Albula Region. Isbn: 9780900523601. Alpine Club, 1995.
  • Sertori, Mario: Alpine Ice - The 600 Best Ice Falls In The Alps. Isbn: 9788887890839. Versant Sud, 2009.

Bernina group

General info

Although Bernina Alps is one of the most traditional alpine regions, the area is far less frequented than Chamonix of Zermatt. The area is complex with many sharp summits, large glacier filled valleys and a range of very worthwhile climbing objectives of all difficulties. The centerpiece and name sake of this compact area is the Piz Bernina (4049m), the highest Alpine peak east of Monte Rosa. Like Piz Bernina, also other famous peaks, Piz Palü, Bellavista, Piz Roseg and Piz Scerscen are heavily glaciated, providing catchment areas for two great glaciers, the Roseg and Morteratsch. As Bernina rock is not good, it is fortunate that the best climbs are on snow, ice and mixed ground; the corner stones of traditional Alpinism.

The area is bordered on:

  • Bernina valley in the north leading from Samedan (1720m) in Engading valley via Pontresina (1774m) to Bernina Pass (2307m)
  • Val Poschiavo in the east running from Tirano (430m) to Bernina Pass (2307m)
  • Val Valtellina in the south
  • Val Malenco in SW
  • Upper Engadin valley in NW with winter sport centers Samedan, St. Moritz and Silvaplan culminating in Passo del Maloja (1815m)

Classic climbs of Bernina are:

References

  • Bernina group
  • Swiss Landeskarte: 268 Julierpass1:50 000
  • Swiss Landeskarte: 278 Monte Disgrazia1:50 000
  • Swiss Landeskarte: 1257 St. Moritz1:25 000
  • Swiss Landeskarte: 1277 Piz Bernina1:25 000
  • Swiss Landeskarte: 1278 La Rösa1:25 000
  • Kompass Karte: 93 Bernina-Sondrio1:50 000
  • Jentzsch, Andreas & Jentzsch-Rabl, Axel: Firn- und Eisklettern in den Ostalpen - Auswahlführer mit 84 Tourenvorschlägen für Österreich, Südtirol und die Schweiz. Isbn: 9783950092004. Alpinverlag Jentsch-Rabl, 2004.
  • Moran, Martin: The 4000m Peaks of the Alps - Selected Climbs. Isbn: 9780900523663. Alpine Club, 2007.
  • Anker, Daniel: Piz Bernina - König der Ostalpen. Isbn: 9783905111453. As Verlag, Zürich, 1999.
  • Collomb, Robin G.: Bernina Alps (Alpine Guides). Isbn: 9780901516824. West Col, 1976.
  • Flaig, Walther: Berninagruppe - Gebietsführer für Wanderer, Bergsteiger und Hochalpinisten, 11. verbesserte Auflage edition. Isbn: 3763324178. Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, 1997.
  • Giuliani, Pierino: Bündner Alpen, Bd.5 - Bernina-Gruppe, 6., Aufl. edition. Isbn: 9783859022126. SAC-Verlag, 2007.
  • Vannuccini, Mario: Grenztouren im Berninagebiet - Engadin, Puschlav, Valmalenco, Veltlin. Isbn: 9783907067031. Bücher aus Graubünden, 1999.
  • Vannuccini, Mario & Merisio, Luca: Bernina - Viertausender zwischen der Schweiz und Italien. Isbn: 9783907067109. Bücher aus Graubünden, 2001.

Valleys

Generally speaking the Bernina groups is formed by a main wall of high peaks running from Piz Roseg in the West to Piz Palü in the East. The major side branch running to the north from Piz Bernina and containing Piz Morteratsch separate the Roseg valley in the west and Mortertasch valley in the East. Upper Morteratsch valley is divided by Fortezzagrat running to the north from Bellavista separating Morteratsch and Pers glaciers. Most climbs are accessed either from the north through side valleys of main Bernina valley or from the south through val Malenco.

Engadin valley

Engading valley lies to the west of Bernina. Not many climbs are started directly from the valley.

  • Corvatsch groupWest side

Bernina valley

Usually the climbs in Bernina are reached from Bernina valley located to the north of the range and connected to upper Engadin valley with popular tourist attractions Samedan and St. Moritz. Main convenient center in the Bernina valley is Pontresina (1800m). The valley is easily reached with Bernina Expres train running from St. Moritz to Diavolezza (2093m). From there on the train continues via Bernina pass to Poschiavo.

Roseg valley

Val Roseg heads south from Pontresina between Corvatschgroup in the west, Sella group in the south, Piz Roseg, Piz Scerscen and Piz Bernina in the SE and Piz Mosteratch in the east. The upper valley consists of Vadret da Roseg and vadret da Sella in the west and vadret da Tschierva in the East. Main access is by foot from Pontresina. Alternatively the valley can be reached with ski lifts via Fuorcla Surlej (2755m). Chmananna Colaz by Vadret da Roseg and Chamanna Tschierva on the east bank of vadret da Tschierva provide shelter in the valley.

The best known climbs of the valley are started from Chamanna da Tschierva. The most famous and most frequented climb of the valley is Biancograt, one of the most famous snow ridges in the Alps, comparable to Rochefort arete in Mont Blanc area. The other highlights are Eselsgrat and Nordostwand of Piz Roseg, Eisnase on Piz Scerscen and West face of Piz Bernina. Also West ridge of Bernina is a fine climb but it requires another route to be climbed as an approach, either Eisnase of Scerscen (shortest and easiest) or traverse from Porta Roseg or all the way over Piz Roseg via Porta Roseg.

It is possible to cross overf to vadretta di Scerscenen superiore on the Italian side through Passo Sella both from Chamanna Coaz or from Chamanna da Tschierva. This gives access to south face of Piz Roseg (bivacco Parravicini) and rifugio Marinelli Bombardieri.

  • Tschiervahütte (Chamanna da Tschierva)46.40373999.88014032583 (pref)+41818426391
    Connections:
    • from Pontresina train station (1805m) via Hotel Roseg T2, 3,5-4,5h, 850m/11,5km/2h, 600m/5,5km from Hotel Roseg.. (true)
    • from Bovalhütte: over Piz Morteratch. PD+. (true)
    • to Chamanna Coaz T5, 1,5-3,5h depending on a chosen route. (true)
    • ro bivacco Parravicini: via Aguagliouls. 4,5-5h. (true)
  • Chamanna Coaz46.38373959.83555032610 (pref)+41818426278
    Connections:

Morteratsch glacier

Boval hut (2495m) on the west side of Morteratsch glacier can be easily reached from Morteratsch train station (2h, 600m). Bovalhütte provides the shortest and easiest route from Swiss side to rifugio Marco e Rosa and normal route of Piz Bernina. All other routes on Piz Bernina (Biancograt, East face) are dangerous and much more difficult. North side climbs of Piz Palü are much more commonly started from Diavolezza hut.

  • Bovalhütte (Chamanna da Boval)46.395409.904102495 (pref)+41818426403
    Connections:
    • from Morteratsch train station: via Chünetta (2083m). T2, 2-2,5h, 600m/4km. (true)
    • to Tschiervahütte: over Piz Morteratch. PD+. (true)
    • to Diavolezza hut: via isla Persa. 3h, 480m. 1,5h is descent.. (true)
    • to Rifugio Marfco e Rosa: via Fortezzagrat and Bellavista. PD, II, 1100m, 5-6h, 2,5-4h in descent. (true)

Pers glacier

From Diavolezza cable car provides easy access to Diavolezza hut (2973m), located on the east side of Pers glacier, which is Eastern side branch of Morteratch glacier. By far the most popular climbing objective from here is Piz Palü, with Piz Cambrena the only other significant climbing destination. That beins said, Piz Palü offers number of great routes including moderate normal route or E-W traverse and more difficult routes on the prominent pillars on the north face. All other routes on the north face except for the three pillars are dangerous due to ice fall.

Val Valtellina

It is also possible to reach some climbs from Italy in the south. Main valley in the south is Val Valtelliuna with the city of Sondrio (297m).

Val Poschiavo

Located to the SE of Bernina group with the city of Poschiavo (1021m) accessible from Tirano (430m).

Val Malenco

Val Malenco is the valley separating Bernina and Bergell groups from the south. Main center in the valley is Chiesa (960m). From there the upper valley is reached via Chiareggio (1620m, to western side) or Franscia and Campo Moro (1990m, to eastern side).

The valley gives access the south sides of all big peaks of Bernina. Especially popular is the normal route of Piz Bernina, as well placed rifugio Marinelli-Bombardieri and rifugio Marco e Rosa divide the ascent into chunks not too big to chew for the masses. Another highlight, albeit much more demanding, is the south face of Piz Roseg with routes around D. The location of rifugio Marco e Rosa high on the ridge, not too far away from Piz Bernina make it well locates to be used as a overnight stop when doing multi-day outing, such as traverse from Tschiervahütte up the Biancograt followed by the traverse of Bellavista and Piz Palü to Diavolezza hütte and awaiting beer down in the valley.

The valley can also be used to access climbs in Disgrazia group. The chief climbing destinations here are Monte Disgrazia north side and Punta Kennedy east ridge.

  • Rifugio Marco e Rosa46.3736609.9104193609Located high up, below Spallagrat of Piz Bernina. Important base for normal route of Piz Bernina. Location is also very well suited to serve as a overnight stop along a multi-day traverse including Piz Bernina and Piz Palü. (ref)+390342515370
    Connections:
  • Rifugi Marinelli-Bombardieri (Marinelli hut)46.3446709.9052262813Largest and the most important of the huts on the Italian side. (ref)+390342511577
    Connections:
  • Bivacco Agostino Parravicini46.361249.883273183
    Connections:
    • from Rifugi Marinelli-Bombardieri PD, II, 2,5-3h. (true)
    • from Chamanna Coaz AD-, 4-4,5h. (true)
    • from Tschiervahütte: From the hut at first accross scree and glacier to lower saddle of Aguagliouls. Traverse the rocky hillside down to Vadret da Sella (crevasses) and follow the glacier through Sella Pass to Italian side. Significantly shorter than going all the way to Restaurant Roseg and following the route from there via Chamanna Boval. F/PD, 4,5-5h. (true)
    • from Rifugi Marco e Rosa 3h. (true)
  • Rifugi Bignami2401
  • Rifugi Cristina
  • Rifugi Caspaggio
  • Carate hut46.3305709.901139
    Connections:
    • from Campo Moro

Bregaglia

General information

Only a few miles 'down the road', to the west of Val Malenco, on the border between Switzerland and Italy lies Bregaglia (also known as Bergell Alps). It is strikingly different from Bernina, as the mountains in Bregaglia are typically rockier and more lush than the mountains further north or east, as the warmer climate of the south has its impact on the range. Sheer, smooth faces and soaring ridges and buttresses are typical features. Most famous mountains of the range are Piz Badile (3308m) and Piz Cengalo (3370m). Both of these mountains are known for their long, slabby rock routes, the most famous route is over 900 meter long Cassin on Piz Badile. The highest mountain of the group is Monte Disgrazia (3678m) further east. It is much snowier and more glaciated than the other mountains of the group.

The following are probably the most classic routes in the area:

Disgrazia-group
Bregaglia/Swiss side (val Bondasca)
Bregaglia/Italian side (val Masino)

References

  • Meier & Alig, Peter: Bündner Alpen, Bd. 4 - Südliches Bergell - Disgrazia, 6., Aufl. edition. Isbn: 9783859022522. SAC-Verlag, 2006.
  • Collomb, Robin G.: Bregaglia East (Alpine Guides). Isbn: 9780901516497. West Col Productions, 1971.
  • Nigg, Paul: Bergell - Gebietsführer Für Wanderer, Bergsteiger und Kletterer. Verfaßt nach den Richtlinien der UIAA, 7., vollst. aktualis. u. neu bearb. A. edition. Isbn: 376333405X. Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, 2004.
  • Mellor, Chris: Swiss Rock - Bregaglia Granite - Selected Climbs. Isbn: 9781899098057. Void, 2001.
  • Volken, Marco: Badile - Kathedrale aus Granit, 1 edition. Isbn: 9783909111213. As Verlag, Zürich, 2006.
  • Novak, Jiri: Bergell. Isbn: 978809031682. Verlag Montana Brno, 2005.
  • Känel, Jürg von: plaisir SUD. Isbn: 9783906087177. Filidor, 2003.

Valleys

Bregaglia

Main valley on the north side of the group. Connection to Engadin valley (St. Moritz and Samedan) via Maloja Pass. Italian part of the valley is known as val Chiavenna. The main cities in the valley are Vicosoprano and Bondo on the Swiss side and Chiavenna on the Italian side.

Forno

  • Capanna Forno46.3317959.7093772573
    Connections:
    • from Maloja pass, T4, 3,5-4h, SAC 4 #1
    • from Capanna da l'Albigna, T4, 4h, SAC 4 #3

Albigna

Albigna valley is located to the East of val Bondasca. The valley is framed by the long chain running to the north from Bregaglia main chain including peaks Sciora group, Piz Cacciabella and culminating in Spazzacaldeira. The south border is formed by Bregaglia main chain Cima della Bondasaca - Pizzo di Zocca - Punta Allievi - Cima di Castello. The East border is the chain separating Albignna and Forno valleys.

Albigna is best known for shorter rock climbs. Extremely airy tooth of La Fiamma on Spazzacaldeita (5c+) being the best known climb in the valley. The access is easy with a cable car from Pranzaira to Albigna dam. From there its a short walk to Capanna da l'Albigna (2336m). Upper Albigna valley contains several glaciers and borders on the high peaks such as Punta Allievi, Punta Pioda and Ago di Sciora. Of these, mainly only Ago di Sciora is climbed from Albigna valley, either using the normal route along East Flank and South face (4) or more difficult Scarabelli (5c+,A1).

Val Bondasca

Val Bondasca is located to the north (NW) of Bregaglia group, separated from neighboring Albigna by the long ridge leading north from main chain including Sciora group and Spazzacaldeira. Access to the valley from the Engadin valley (St. Moritz) in the north is through Maloja pass (1815m) or from Lugano or from Milano via Lecco and Chiavenna. The main city of the valley is Bondo (823m). It is possible to drive to Laret (1377m, fee). Capanna di Sciora and Sasc Furä huts serve as bases for the climbs.

The climbs from val Bondasca are of much bigger scale than most climbs in Albigna. The best known objective is Piz Badile, with Nordkante a middle grade classic and Cassin one of the best known big climbs in the Alps. Other main attractions are Piz Cengalo, Piodakante of Ago di Sciora and Bügeleisen on Pizzi Gemelli. Climbing is mostly on good granite, however some winter ice routes exist as well. Some of the climbs are equipped. There are three larger glaciers and few smaller ones and snow fields inm the upper reaches of the valley, therefore mountain boots, crampons and ice axe may be needed for ascent/descent to/from some of the routes.

The valley is bordered by long ridges from three sides:

  • In the north the chain running from West to East separating val Bondasca from main Bregaglia valley. The ridge start at Il Mot (2056) and runs via Piz Grand (2345m) to Piz Cacciabella (2980m) where it joins the North-South ridge forming the eastern border of the valley. The ridge is of no particular interest for climbers.
  • Eastern border of the valley is formed by the ridge running from North to south from the Cima della Bondasca (3289m) on the main chain all the way to Spazzacaldeira and separates Albigna and Bondasca valleys. This section of the ridge accessible from val Bondasca contains peaks Cima della Bondasca (3289m) - Sciora Dadent (3275m), Ago di Sciora (3205m) - Punta Pioda (3230m) - Sciora Dafora (3169m) - Torre Innominata (2909m) - Punta Innominata (2930m) - Passo cacciabella (2896m) - Piz Entvadar (2934m) and Piz Cacciabella (2980m). The part from Sciora Dadent to Sciora Dafora is known as Sciora group and is highly impressive series of towers offering several classic climbs ranging from 200m to 1000m meters in length and mostly around 5-6 (french).
  • Southern border is formed by the main chain running from Cima della Bondasca (3289m) via Pizzi Gemelli (3262m) - Piz Cengalo (3369m) - Piz Badile (3305m) - Punta Sant Anna (Piz Badilet, 3171m) - Piz Trubinasca (2918m) - Passo Tubinasca (2701m) - Pizzi val vani (2771m) to Dent dal Luf (2172). Piz Gemelli, Piz Cengalo and especially Piz Badile offer several famous climbs.

Val Valtellina

Main valley in the south is Val Valtellina with the city of Sondrio (297m).

Val Masino

Val Masino is located to the south of Bregaglia, reaching to the center of the group. There are several sub valleys all reached from the main valley:

  • val Merdarola
  • val dell'Oro
  • Val Porcellizzo
  • Val del Ferro. Located immediately to the north of San Martino.
  • Val di Mello (val di Zocca)
  • Vallone di Preda Rossa

The main center of the valley is San Martino (923m).

val dell'Oro
Val Porcellizzo

Located in the western part of Val Masino, giving access to south faces of Piz Badile, Punta Sertori, Piz Cengalo and Pizzi Gemelli.

Val di Mello

Large valley forming the eastern part of val Masino. Val di Mello is considered a mecca for alpine sport climbing. The main base in the valley is rifugio Allievi-Bonacossa (2387m), located in val di Zocca side valley, immediately due south of Punta Allievi. There are also several bivouac huts.

Vallone di Preda Rossa

Side valley located to SE of val di Mello. Used to access eastern climbs on Monte Disgrazia. Rifugio Ponti is located in the valley.

  • Rifugio Ponti46.25119.7227694444444452559 (pref)+39342611455
    Connections:
    • from From Preda Rossa parking lot (1955m), T2, 2h, SAC 4 #36
    • from Capanna del Forno AD, 7h.
  • Rifugio Desio2830Destroyed

Val Malenco

Val Malenco is the valley separating Bernina and Bergell groups from the south. Main center in the valley is Chiesa (960m). From there the upper valley is reached via Chiareggio (1620m, to western side) or Franscia and Campo Moro (1990m, to eastern side).

The valley gives access to climbs in Disgrazia group. The chief climbing destinations here are Monte Disgrazia north side and Punta Kennedy east ridge.

The valley can also be used to access the south sides of all big peaks of Bernina. Especially popular is the normal route of Piz Bernina, as well placed rifugio Marinelli-Bombardieri and rifugio Marco e Rosa divide the ascent into chunks not too big to chew for the masses. Another highlight, albeit much more demanding, is the south face of Piz Roseg with routes around D. The location of rifugio Marco e Rosa high on the ridge, not too far away from Piz Bernina make it well locates to be used as a overnight stop when doing multi-day outing, such as traverse from Tschiervahütte up the Biancograt followed by the traverse of Bellavista and Piz Palü to Diavolezza hütte and awaiting beer down in the valley.

  • Rifugio del Grande-Cameri2564 (pref)+39342256010
  • Rifugio Tartagliane-Crispo1770 (pref)+39342452133
  • Rifugio Augusto Porro-Gerli1965Access to Bivacco Taveggia and Oggioni (pref)+39432451404
    Connections:
  • Rifugio Ventina1980Access to Bivacco Taveggia and Oggioni
    Connections:
  • Bivacco Taveggia46.273769.768452845
    Connections:
  • Bivacco Oggioni46.2763859.757493151
    Connections:
    • from Chiareggio: via Rifugio Gerli+Ventina and bivacco Taveggia.
    • from Bivacco Taveggia PD+, 1,5h.