Cima di Castello
Itinerary: Albigna cable car – Albigna Hut – Cima di Castello (3379 m) – Forno Glacier – Forno Hut (CAS)
Distance: 20,2 km
Walking time: 10 hours 15 minutes (plus 1 hour 15 minutes for the stops)
Vertical distance: 2010 m uphill; 1530 m downhill
Left Pontresina at 5.50 a.m. to meet the new guide, Lukas, at 6.30 at a large car park just below the Maloja pass. He left his car there and I drove on to the Albigna cable car, where we took the first cabin (only 8 places) at 7.00. We reached the Albigna Hut from the top of the cable car (just below the massive dam wall) in about 45 minutes. I had camped near the hut with my brother Rolf in 1962!
The rest of ascent was uneventful except that the route to the summit involved ascending a crevassed glacier and Lukas got the hut warden to show the best path on a map. This worked well and we found the best way through without once having to retrace our steps. The way down to the Forno Hut led down another very crevassed glacier and again Lukas found the best (only?) safe route in an uncanny manner, helped by the hut warden’s sketch. But he had also examined the route from the summit and taken a photograph which he later used.
At the end we had to go down some 4 km of bare glacier ice. Although the glacier was quite flat, the surface was so irregular and furrowed with streams of running water that our progress was quite slow. The hut was situated about 250 metres above the glacier level, which was tiring at the end of the day but offered a superb view.
1 and 2. Camping below the Albigna Hut, July 1962
3. On the summit
4. The Forno Glacier. The Cima di Castello is at the back on the right