Ortler Ski Mountaineering

In April 2010 Dad and I skied in the Ortler Mountains in the Tyrol region of northern Italy. Despite zero visibility, Dad was hooked. He recruited six friends for an eight-day trip. Dylan Taylor was keen to co-guide with me.

On our late March 2012 trip we had perfect weather, stable and powdery snow and great company. Thank you so much for an incredible trip everyone!

The 2011 Ortler crew from the left: Jim Boland runs Hog Heaven Sausage in Moscow, Idaho; Dave Stock stays busy being retired in El Chalten, Patagonia and Albion, Washington; Don Seiss does AIDS vaccine research in Portland, Oregon; Joe in yellow, Dylan Taylor guides in the Alps, Alaska and Antarctica; Melissa Pearson is a vinter at her winery Coulter's Creek along the Clearwater River in Idaho; Diane and Scotty Cornelius are retired analytical geochemists from Pullman, Washington; and Mike Pearson is married to Melissa and makes wine. 

After a day of skiing Sulden resort and reviewing avalanche companion rescue we toured to the Marteller Hut. Duvets, showers, beer on tap... 

Skinning toward Mount Cevedale on day four.

Dad likes icefall skiing! From Mount Cevedale we skied the Vedretta de la Mare glacier to cappuccinos at the Pizzini Hut before continuing onto the Branca Hut.  

Apres ski at the Branca Hut.

Ravenous for another huge meal at the Branca Hut: Melissa, Mike, Scotty, Diane, Jim, Don, Dave, Dylan and Joe.

We spent a full day touring around on the Forni Glacier from the Branca Hut. First we skinned up to the Bivouac Meneghello. Dylan found some bulging potted meats for lunch.

Diane skiing yummy untracked. Although over 100 people are touring in the area, they all ski the same line from mountain tops. If you don't want moguls from mountain tops then you'll find great skiing.  

Don skiing steep untracked on the Forni Glacier. 

Yeah Melissa!

On day six we moved to the Pizzini Hut and spent the next day skiing the Castelli Glacier. Here Jim is pole whacking for GNAR points.  

You think your Dynafits are old? 

Dad leading over Suldenspitz to our final run to the resort. Last year Dad and I traversed this mountain but all we saw was our GPS, map and altimeter.

Specs on an untracked face for the last run to the resort. Dylan and Erica (joined our group on the last day) are in the shadow below the rock wall as Jim skis the steep, sunlit face. 

I stayed for a second Ortler trip with Elisabeth Depuis. In 2009 Elisabeth and I skied for eight days in the Talkeetna and Kenai Mountains, culminating with a Bomber Traverse day tour. This year, knowing that Elisabeth doesn't get tired, I was prepared for lots of touring. 

After a day of touring around Sulden we headed to the Marteller Hut. Based at the Marteller Hut for two nights we spent a long day exploring nearby glaciers, finishing through a corridor in the cliffs above the Zufallhutte.

On day four we moved to the Branca Hut via the Mare Glacier and Palon de la Mare (3,703m). Elisabeth and I like the same type of skiing: long adventurous days away from the crowds.

Temperatures were high, reaching 39 degrees C in nearby Milan. We'd start touring at 6am, right after breakfast and return at noon, before the afternoon avalanches started rolling.

Our ski day from the Branca Hut included Monte Vioz (3,645m) and an exciting icefall descent.

For our ski day at the Pizzini Hut we toured over Cime Del Forni and up the Miniera icefall.

On our last day we climbed Monte Cevedale (3,769m) before dropping down to Sulden. From the summit we looked back and saw a local guide counter balance belaying five clients across an icy patch.

Thanks for another awesome trip Elisabeth! I look forward to adventuring with you again! Elisabeth is now off for a Northern Selkirks traverse and a skiing on Spitzbergen. Lucky!