Alpine Ski Mountaineering Vol 2 - Central and Eastern Alps

Ski tours in Austria, Switzerland and Italy

By Bill O'Connor

This guidebook describes 11 multi-day Alpine ski tours and ski mountaineering routes in the central and eastern Alps, covering hut-to-hut trails in the Bernese, Urner, Albula Alps as well as the Tour Soleil and classic tours through the Bernina, Silvretta, Otztal, Stubai and Ortler. Skiing, mountaineering and navigational skills are all necessary.



Generally March until mid-May. Each route has a suggested best time to go.


Les Diablerets, Kandersteg, Andermatt, Preda, Pontresina, Ischgl, Obergurgl, Gstaad, Grindlewald, Neustift, Innsbruck.


Ski mountaineering is a potentially dangerous activity, and should only be undertaken by those with a full understanding of the risks and with the training and experience to evaluate them.
Must See

Must See

Idyllic conditions of perfect snow, few crevasses, a track in place, and perfect clear weather!
1 Mar 2003
7 Nov 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
  • Overview

    The European Alps offer some of the finest and most accessible ski mountaineering in the world. A combination of magnificent and varied terrain, an enviable snow record, excellent public transport, unrivalled hut system and a long ski season make them a focus for mountaineering and skiers throughout the world.

    This guidebook includes some of the finest ski tours of the central and eastern Alps – hut-to-hut trails that explore the Bernese, Urner, Albula and Bernina Alps of Switzerland, as well as classic tours through the Silvretta, Otztal, Stubai and Ortler regions of Austria and Italy. None of the routes is extreme, although the conditions can be, and it’s for that reason that mountaineering judgement and sound decisions are all important.

    The 11 tours in this guidebook cover a significant part of the Northern as well as the Central and Eastern Alps. They range across Alpine Switzerland from its north-west corner to its south-east tip, from Vaud to Graubunden, before sliding east, following the vast arc of the Alps into the Austrian Tyrol and South Tyrol of north Italy.

    All the tours described in this guidebook are in areas that bristle with 3000m peaks, glaciers and extensive permanent snowfields. The Central and Eastern Alps also have an enviable snow record, and in many instances can offer ski touring when other areas are waiting for better snow cover to fill crevasses and make travel on dangerous glaciers possible.

    The selection in this guidebook covers tours in the most important Alpine regions. They are also varied in length and difficulty, although most fit within a full week’s touring. Of course, if poor weather or conditions prevail they can take a lot longer. The routes also include a mix of circular tours, which are convenient for those wishing to leave car or equipment in one place, and linear routes that journey hut to hut or even from country to country.

    The routes described are all Alpine – they require both skiing and mountaineering skills. While technical climbing ability of a high standard is not essential, the skills required to operate on steep slopes and glacial terrain, where cramponing, ropework and crevasse rescue may be necessary, are essential for safety, as are navigational skills. It goes without saying that avalanche awareness skills and knowledge are vitally important for everyone who intends to ski mountaineer.

  • Contents

    Using this Guidebook
    On Tour
    The Alpine Hut System
    Avalanche Awareness
    Avalanche Accidents
    Helicopter Rescue
    A Safety Strategy for Ski Mountaineering
    Grading and Difficulty
    Equipment List
    Bernese Alps West
    Stage 1 Col du Pillon – Les Diablerets – Glacier de Tsanfleuron – Arpelistock (Arête de l'Arpille) – Gelten Hut
    Stage 2 Gelten Hut – Wildhorn – Wildhorn Hut
    Stage 3 Wildhorn Hut – Schnidehorn – Weisshorn – Wildstrubel Hut
    Stage 4 Wildstrubel Hut – Weisshorn – Wildstrubel – Lämmeren Hut
    Stage 5 Lämmeren Hut – Roter Totz – Kandersteg
    Stage 6 Kandersteg – Selden – Alpetli glacier – Mutthorn Hut
    Stage 7 Mutthorn Hut – Lauterbrunnen
    Bernese Oberland North
    Stage 1 Grindelwald – Jungfraujoch – Louwihorn – Konkordia Hut
    Stage 2 Konkordia Hut – Trugberg – Konkordia Hut
    Stage 3 Konkordia Hut – Wyssnollen – Finsteraarhorn Hut
    Stage 4 Finsteraarhorn Hut – Finsteraarhorn – Finsteraarhorn Hut – Grünhornlücke – Konkordia Hut
    Stage 5 Konkordia Hut – Kranzberg – Hollandia Hut
    Stage 6 Hollandia Hut – Äbeniflue – Fafleralp
    Alternative Stage 6 Hollandia Hut – Mittaghorn – Fafleralp
    Bernese Oberland 4000ers
    Stage 1 Grindelwald – Jungfraujoch – Mönch – Mönchsjoch Hut
    Stage 2 Mönchsjoch Hut – Jungfrau – Mönchsjoch Hut
    Stage 3 Mönchsjoch Hut – Gross Fiescherhorn – Hinter Fiescherhorn – Finsteraarhorn Hut
    Stage 4 Finsteraarhorn Hut – Finsteraarhorn – Finsteraarhorn Hut – Grünhornlücke – Konkordia Hut
    Stage 5 Konkordia Hut – Gross Grünhorn – Konkordia Hut
    Stage 6 Konkordia Hut – Aletschhorn via the Hasler Rib – Riederalp
    Alternative Stage 6 Alternative Route via the Mittelaletsch Bivouac
    Stage 7 Mittelaletsch Bivouac Hut – Mittelaletsch glacier – Aletschjoch – Aletschhorn, via the NE ridge – Riederalp
    Urner Alps Traverse
    Stage 1 Realp – Albert Heim Hut
    Stage 2 Albert Heim Hut – Winterlücke – Lochberg – Gwüest
    Stage 3 Gwüest – Chelenalp Hut
    Stage 4 Chelenalp Hut – Sustenhorn – Hotel Steingletscher
    Stage 5 Hotel Steingletscher – Sustli Hut
    Stage 6 Sustli Hut – Grassen – Engelberg
    Tour Soleil
    Stage 1 Realp – Rotondo Hut
    Stage 2 Rotondo Hut – Witenwasserenpass – Piz Rotondo – Rotondo pass – All'Acqua – Corno Gries Hut
    Stage 3 Corno Gries Hut – Corno pass – Griessee– Blinnenhorn – Cesare Mores Hut, or Citta di Busto Hut
    Stage 4 Rifugio Claudio e' Bruno – Hohsandhorn (Punta del Sabbione) – Talli Glacier – Binntal Hut, or Mittlebarg Hut
    Stage 5 Binntal Hut – Albrunpass – Alp Devero Rifugio – Castiglioni – Scatta d'Orogna – Citta di Arogna Hut
    Stage 6 Citta di Arogna Hut – Kaltwasserpass – Monte Leone Simplonhospiz
    Stage 7 Simplonhospiz – Niederalp – Sirwaltesattel – Oberfullmoos – SaasBalen – ascent of Sengkuppe
    Albula Alps Traverse
    Stage 1 Julierpass – Fuorcla d'Agnel – Piz Agnel – Tschima da Flix – Jenatsch Hut
    Stage 2 Jenatsch Hut – Val Laviner – Fuorcla Laviner – Piz Laviner – Val Mulix – Nax – Preda – Rätische Bahn to Bergün
    Stage 3 Bergün – Tschimas da Tisch – Murtel da Lai – Fuorcla Pischa – d'Es-cha Hut>
    Stage 4 d'Es-cha Hut – Porta d'Es-cha – Piz Kesch – Kesch Hut
    Stage 5 Kesch Hut – Alp Funtauna – Scalettahorn – Piz Grialetsch – Grialetsch Hut
    Stage 6 Grialetsch Hut – Fuorcla Sarsura – Piz Sarsura – Val Sarsura – Zernez
    Bernina High-Level Route
    Stage 1 Diavolezza – Munt Pers
    Stage 2 Diavolezza – Piz Palü – Boval Hut
    Stage 3 Boval Hut – Piz Bernina – Marco-e-Rosa Hut
    Stage 4 Marco-e-Rosa Hut – Bellavista – Marinelli Hut
    Stage 5 Marinelli Hut – Fuocla dela Sella – Piz Sella – Ils Dschimels – Coaz Hut
    Stage 6 Coaz Hut – Il Chapütschin – Pontresina
    Silvretta Traverse
    Stage 1 Ischgl – Zeblasjoch – Heidelberger Hut
    Stage 2 Heidelberger Hut – Breite Krone – Jamtal Hut
    Stage 3 Jamtal Hut – Dreiländerspitze – Weisbadner Hut
    Stage 4 Weisbadner Hut – Piz Buin – Silvretta Hut
    Stage 5 Silvretta Hut – Schneeglocke – Saarbruckner Hut
    Stage 6 Saarbruckner Hut – Bielerhöhe – Galtur
    Ötztal High-Level Route
    Stage 1 Obergurgl – Schönwies Hut – Langtalereck Hut
    Stage 2 Langtalereck Hut – Hohe Wilde N Summit – Annakogel – Gurgler Ferner – Hochwilde Hut
    Stage 3 Hochwilde Hut – Schalfkogeljoch – Schalfkogel – Martin Busch Hut
    Stage 4 Martin Busch Hut – Similaun – Similaun Hut – Hauslabjoch – Hochjoch Hospiz
    Stage 5 Hochjoch Hospiz – Fluchtkogel – Vernagt Hut
    Stage 6 Vernagt Hut – Brochkogeljoch – Wildspitze
    Stage 7 Braunschweiger Hut – Pitztaler Jöchl – Pollesjoch – Hinter Pollesalm – Huben
    Stubai High-Level Route
    Stage 1 Oberiss – Franz Senn Hut
    Stage 2 Franz Senn Hut – Wildes Hinterbergl – Franz Senn Hut
    Stage 3 Franz Senn Hut – Ruderhofspitz – Wildgratscharte – Amberger Hut
    Stage 4 Amberger Hut – Wietenkarsattel – Windacher Daunkogel – Hildesheimer Hut, or Dresdner Hut
    Stage 5 Hildesheimer Hut – Pfaffenjoch – Zuckerhütl – Wilder Pfaff – Sulzenau Hut
    Stage 6 Sulzenau Hut – Pfaffenneider – Müller Hut – Wilder Freiger – Nürnberger Hut – Ranalt
    Ortler Grand Circuit
    Stage 1 Sulden – Zaytal Hut – Zayjoch – Schafbergspitze – Zaytal Hut
    Stage 2 Zaytal Hut – Zay glacier – Angelusscharte – Laaser glacier – Lyfijoch – Zufritthaus, 1880
    Stage 3 Zufritt Hut – Gramsenferner – pt.3285 Martellerjoch – Hintere Schranspitze, and Hintere Rotspitze (optional) – Careser glacier – Veneziaspitze (optional) – Köllkuppe – Hohenfirner – Marteller Hut
    Stage 4 Marteller Hut – Zufallfirner – Monte Cevedale – Monte Pasquale (optional) – Pizzini Hut
    Stage 5 Pizzini Hut – Gran Zebru glacier – Königspitze (Gran Zebru) (optional) – Col Pale Rosse – Miniera pass – Cima Della Miniera (optional) – Vth Alpini Hut, or Bertarelli Hut
    Stage 6 Vth Alpini Hut, or Bertarelli Hut – Monte Zebru – Ortlerpass – Niederer Ortler glacier – Bergl Hut – Trafoi

    Appendix A Summary of the Tours
    Appendix B Further Reading
    Alpine Ski Mountaineering, Volume 1: Western Alps

  • Maps

    LDS 1:25,000

    Sheets: 1285, 1286, 1266, 1267, 1247, 1229, 1231, 1211, 1191, 1251, 1249, 1271, 1270, 1268, 1290, 1289, 1309, 1256, 1236, 1237, 1217, 1218, 1277, 268 (Julierpass), 1159, 1179, 1198, 1178

    LDS 1:50,000

    Sheets: 272S, 273S, 263S, 264S, 255S, 245S, 268S, 258S, 259S

    Alpenvereinskarte 1:25,000, Sheet 26

    AVK 1:25,000 Sheets: 30/1, 30/2, 30/6, 31/1

    Tobacco Carta Topographico 1:25,000 Ortles - Cevedale Ortgebeit.

  • Updates
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    Alpine hut seasons

    Readers should be aware that seasons for individual alpine huts are determined by the people who manage them and may change. The suggestion of a hut as a stop on a ski tour in this guide does not guarantee that the hut will be open (although most huts have winter rooms open and available throughout the winter as explained in the guide). You should always check ahead, by ringing the numbers given in the guide or by looking at the appropriate Alpine Club website. These websites have the most up-to-date information on the huts: Austrian Alpine Club -; Swiss Alpine Club –; Italian Alpine Club –; French Alpine Club –; Slovenian Alpine Club –; German Alpine Club –

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Oconnor Bill

Bill O'Connor

Bill O'Connor is a mountain guide with extensive winter ski mountaineering experience and is an author of books to trekking in Nepal and Lakeland Scrambling.

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