Ascent of Piz Calderas on 2013-09-08

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Lee Newton -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Andrew Tibbetts
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, September 8, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Piz Calderas
    Elevation:3396 m / 11145 ft

Ascent Trip Report

A fine peak, fairly remote by Alpine standards with a nice varied route.

3hr15 to hut, 4hr15 to summit, 2hr15 to hut, 3hr20 to road. 13.2 km each way.

As usual we had arranged a long weekend to climb Piz Toedi, as usual the weather wasn't suitable, as usual heading SE into Engadine brought a change to better weather, not great but useable.

Andrew and I arrive at Zurich airport mid morning where we meet Lee Newton and drive together via Tiefencastle to the Julierpass. The shortest and quickest approach to the Jenatsch hut goes from here - although it involves an extra 300m of ascent on the way back out. The trailhead is a layby on N side of road at foot of last set of hairpin bends west of summit of pass, N46.47148 E9.71618, 2212m.

We start hiking just after 3pm, needing to get a move on as the hut meal is at 6.30 and the estimated timing is 3h30.... Nice trail, fine rugged scenery, warm sunshine. Cross a pass N46.51030 E9.71491, 2985m, path descends initially R, well marked and cairned. At approx N46.52014 E9.71574 we reach a junction by a glacial lake, keep R, small ascent then nice scenic descent to cross a bridge then short ascent to the Jenatsch hut N46.52927 E9.72448 2658m, perched on a grassy level area surrounded by rugged peaks. We arrive at 18.15, in good time for an excellent meal with some friendly Swiss, then to bed as Andrew and I were up this morning super-early for a 7.10 flight.

Windy and wet overnight but not too bad first thing. Hut breakfast at 6, hiking at 6.50, the only party heading for the summit, on a less than ideal forecast. From hut we head W, immediately forking R to keep on N bank of the small river we crossed by bridge yesterday pm. 15 mins upstream, just before the main valley makes a step up (waterfall), at N46.53455 E9.71480 we fork L (slightly better to fork L a short way further on at N46.53459 E9.71361, 2699m. We cross the braided river quite easily dryshod, then keep R of the side stream, heading S. We climb a steepish headwall via a short sandy moraine slope then crampon L up a fairly easy angled dry glacier (straight up would be steeper but probably OK). We then angle back R crossing a stony area. Above this the glacier is covered in snow so we rope up. It is wet and windy and we are minded to turn back as the weather could be nasty higher up. However we carry on and it's not too bad, the rain patchy and the temps quite mild.

We continue to traverse the now fairly level glacier, with a steep slope above to our L, with evidence of stonefall (we are wearing helmets). In poor visibility we go too far but the idea here is to curve R, heading for a stony rib with a glacial pool at its foot. We unrope. A path heads up the rib, cairned but intermittent. Worth keeping crampons on as they will soon be needed again. Cairned path passes just L of a minor summit (N46.53123 E9.70013, 3160m P40m) then descends N to reach the upper glacier (dry, just one obvious crevasse, easily crossed, no need for rope). We head straight up, heading in direction of summit which is mostly hidden in cloud. At top of glacier we climb a steep short scree gully to N46.53524 E9.69831. From here we head up loose scree, angling slightly L, eventually reaching good rock which we ascend to reach the summit (N46.53644 E9.69588, 3400m, outcrop W of cairn). However, the better route from the top of the scree gully is to follow the (intermittently) cairned trail further L, picking up a nice rocky rib N46.53513 E9.69664, then ascending easily to the summit, well cairned.

We arrive at 11.00 in 4h15 and soon head down as it's raining and there's no view, although even at nearly 3400m it's not cold. We head down the same way, except once we're on the lower glacier, on the final descent we keep high a little longer and descend on nice soft snow. At the foot of the glacier we keep R of the stream and make an easy scree descent, hopping across the now slightly wider river to rejoin the path at N46.53459 E9.71361, following it back to the hut, arriving in 2h15 from the summit.

After lunch at the hut we walk back out to the Julierpass trailhead, arriving back at about 6.45 in about 3h25 from the hut.

The night is forecast wet with the south alps drier tomorrow and we decide to target Monte Togano, just over the border into Italy.

Calderas photo album
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1883 m / 6184 ft
    Extra Gain:349 m / 1148 ft
    Distance:26.4 km / 16.4 mi
    Route:Julierpass, Jenatsch hut
    Trailhead:Julierpass  2211 m / 7257 ft
    Grade/Class:F +
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope
    Weather:Raining, Cool, Windy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:7 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:5 Hours 35 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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