The Itinerary

  • Ortler Circuit Day 1: Branca Hut (2487m)
  • We begin at the Branca Hut, which is a short 90 minute ski from the trailhead. We generally ski up in the morning, drop some gear in the ski room, and then spend the day touring in the immense valley beyond. Options include the Pizzo Tresero (3549m) or the Punta Matteo (3678m), both located to the SE of the hut and approached by the Forni Glacier. On either of these peaks we can ski to very close to the summit, stash our skis, and then put on crampons for the final short climb to the top.

  • Ortler Circuit Day 2: Branca Hut to Pizzini Hut (2700m)
  • Today we focus on getting up and over Monte Cevedale to the West. This will put us in position to ski down to the Pizzini Hut. The usual route takes us up the Cevedale Glacier and passes massive cannons left over from WWI. From here we can descend the upper Cedec glacier. This descent is one of the most photogenic of the tour. It should also be noted that the Pizzini has hot showers, a sauna and a bar area that is generally full of happy Italians unwinding after big days in the mountains.

  • Ortler Circuit Day 3: Pizzini Hut to Marteller Hut (2610m)
  • If conditions permit, we can cross over the Passo del Madriccio at 3123m. This sets us up for a beautiful 900 meter east and then north facing descent all the way to the Zufalhutte (2265m). After an optional coffee or bite to eat, we then climb about 300 meters back up to the Marteller Hut (2610m). This day pushes out into a corner of the Ortler that has an even more remote feel with plenty of options for afternoon tours. In less than ideal stability we sometimes skip the Marteller in favor of an additional night at the Pizzini or Branca. While all this sounds complicated, the way the huts are arranged allow for some flex in the schedule, which means we can continue to get in good skiing even during most storm systems.

  • Ortler Circuit Day 4: Additional Night at Marteller Hut
  • With so many options in this area, we’ll spend an extra night at Marteller.

  • Ortler Circuit Day 5: Marteller Hut to Casati Hut (2830m)
  • Our preferred route for the day is to make the steep climb over the pass between Monte Pasquale and Monte Cevedale and grab an amazing descent from the top of Pasquale. We then climb up and over the steep pass (usually with skis on our back) and spend the night at the Casati Hut.

  • Ortler Circuit Day 6: Return to Branca. Final night at Hotel St Caterina
  • The return to Branca generally offers long, corn skiing, descents. We generally shoot to be out to the trailhead by early afternoon, at which point we have a group lunch, share one last espresso, and spend our final night at Hotel St Cristina and dinner in the village.

  • Ortler Circuit Day 7: Airport drop-offs
  • We recommend using Milano Malpensa if your choose to fly into/out of Italy. If you choose to fly into Switzerland, we can easily pick-up in Visp, which is an equal distance to either Geneva or Zurich airports.

The Ortler Route

The Ortler are a group of high peaks nestled between St Moritz to the west and the Dolomites to the east. If you look on a map, you can find the Ortler just south of the point where Italy, Switzerland and Austria come together.

Along with our partner and UIAGM certified mountain guide, Brian Farquaharson, we've planned a route that winds its way among some remarkably high peaks in the Cevedale area and also through some historical sites where one can still find artifacts from the first World War - when Italy and Austria ruthlessly battled against each other.

The fact that most of these summits don't quite reach 4,000 meters means that we'll expect to see far fewer crowds than other parts of the Alps and, unlike a typical Haute Route trip, the Ortler Circuit is not so much a traverse, but is rather a loop that hops from point to point in search of prime skiing and spectacular scenery - connecting what might be the most comfortable huts in the Alps. With this said, keep in mind that there's no reason to bring a big pack for your bedding and supplies. The huts provide just about everything you'd need. And since we're in Italy, the food is absolutely amazing!

Ultimately, our tour will begin and end in the ski town of Saint Caterina Valfurva, however, we DO recommend arriving a few days early - just to prepare for the change in environment and to adjust to any difference in time that may have occurred after a long journey. Many of our clients simply meet us in our homebase of Zermatt where a few extra days of accommodation and skiing are an easy arrangement.

Included Services

  • UIAGM certified guide
  • Avalanche beacons
  • Snow shovels & probes
  • Airport pick-ups & drop-offs
  • Hut fees
  • Breakfasts and dinners

Price

  • Group of 4: $1,850 per person
  • Group of 6: $1,400 per person