from Monte Rosa Hutte
This is a tour that sooner or later a skialper must put on the agenda, beautiful and exciting, with stunning views of one of Europe's most beautiful glaciers, also great from an alpinistic point of view... after all you get to the top of the second peak of the Alps.
Of course it requires adequate preparation, good training and stable weather. In skialp style, the Punta Dufour is climbed up from the glacier of Monte Rosa. We have reached the Refuge Rosa Hutte from Zermatt, because usually in May the Cervinia ski plants are closed, but you could get to the Rosa Hutte also going down from Plateau Rosa.
You can leave your car in Tasch.
You reach Zermatt by train
Once in Zermatt you take another train, that goes up to Gornergrat; both tickets can be bought at Tasch. While travelling, you can already enjoy a beautiful view of the Matterhorn
You get off at the station of Rotenboden m.2815, and go down to the glacier of Gornergletscher. There are numerous indications.
You follow the summer route, with or without snow, with a long traverse to the east. You descend on the glacier and climb to the refuge, always well visible, which stands on the right bank of the moraine; the route - obvious - is well marked with indications and signs.
You can already enjoy extraordinary views
So you reach the Rosa Hutte.
Consider at least two hours and a half, especially if you want to go back along the same route to the Rotenboden station.
From the hut, you climb to the south-east towards Platje, down on the Grenzgletscher glacier (that is, on the right upstream) where you are likely to find a track that leads to the Capanna Margherita, and after climbing a steeper slope you get to the glacier of Monte Rosa.
Following an intuitive path you climb keeping mainly to the right of a first serac and then left of the next one, until on constant slopes you reach an elevation of 4000 meters.
Then you turn right approaching the ridge of the Punta Dufour; the saddle in front of you, called the Silbersattel, divides the Punta Dufour from the Nordend
you go up trying to follow the safest path to Silbersattel
where you can leave your skis.
On your right stands the destination, that can be reached through a visible channel that is equipped with ropes
you follow the channel and the ropes
and after reaching the ridge, you walk the last few meters on it, bypassing a spur (delicate step, but easy)
and you reach the summit cross!
Neverending views from the top
Same route back to the Rosa-Hutte;
From here you can go back to the Rotenboden station along the same route taken the day before, or as we did, go down by holding the left bank of the glacier.
There you reach a junction with the well-known free ride path of the Black Gate near the end of the glacier. There you must pay attention and be cautious: at the end of the glacier, in fact there is a small canyon below which a stream flows.
You shall therefore assess the condition of bridges and snow, especially late in the season. There is a drop of about two meters, where a bolt allows you to make a quick double rope. But generally, with good snow conditions, there is no need of it. The manager of Rosa Hutte will indicate whether or not you can go this way.
After passing through the Canyon, if there is no more snow, you go along a path, then a narrow service road - for the hydroelectric plant below - and rejoin the track going down to Furi.
From there, with or without snow, you reach Zermatt.
■ fb, 2014-05-17