© Copyright: Stefan Burkhardt

Rifugio Guglielmina to Rifugio Gnifetti

Previous Day July 25th 2007
Start time: 9:50
Arrival time: 17:25
Duration: 7:30
Climb: 1010 m
Descent: 240 m
Next Day
We got up early, when dawn was breaking and hurried outside for some pictures. It was just below zero and the sunrise was amazing.

Afterwards we had our first real breakfast in Italy. There was good dark bread, Yogurt, Muesli and great hot chocolate. Much better!

After breakfast we asked our host whether we could leave some items behind during our side-trip to the Signalkuppe. He gave me a box and showed me a storage room where we could deposit our belongings. Awesome service again... Also, the hotel employees and owners were always very friendly and helpful. We were asked whether we would stay for lunch and decided to see what they would serve.

To get ready for the afternoon, we started to split our gear into two big piles, leaving everything we could behind. With a guide and a reservation in the Rifugio Gnifetti we could get by without tent and thermarests. We also left a lot of other non-essential things behind to reduce our load a bit.
After that we took off for a 1 hour exploration of the area and observed construction of a new cable-way which almost reaches the Rifugio Citta di Mantova at 3498 meters.

When we returned our host had a message from Lyskamm Viaggi for us. It turned out that their own guides were all booked but they were able to find an external replacement. We were to meet him at 15:00 at the Passo Salati cable-way.

We were then led to a table reserved for us right at the edge of the terrace with the best imaginable view. We had a delicious vegetarian Lasagne with artichokes and a huge platter of cheese for lunch.
Having eaten so much, we were a bit slow to get up and left for Passo Salati around 14:20. At the terminal of the Alagna cable-way we waited for our guide and saw some not at all shy ibexes.
Our guide's name was Alberto Zucchetti. He works for Guide Alagna, a group of guides based out of Alagna. He arrived at 14:45 and greeted us heartily. We packed our extra gear and took off up the ridge towards the Rifugio Gnifetti. The path first climbs quite quickly up the Stolemberg. After a while we descended again down to the Colle dell' Acqua. Here the route began to ascend again.
We passed the terminal belonging to the retired cable-way up to Punta Indren. Apparently there is some discussion about refurbishing it but the costs are substantial. Alberto was quite unhappy about its closure since the new one under construction will only be ready in 2 to 3 years.
The trail turns away from the ridge here and starts to traverse across what was supposed to be the Indren glacier according to our maps. However, its eastern flank is almost completely gone and only the western end still had some substance.
At the western end of the glacier the path hits a steep rocky ridge. It forks into an easier variant which detours around it to the south and passes by the Rifugio Citta di Mantova and a second option which involves some scrambling. The tricky parts are secured with ropes and wooden steps, though, and we did not have any problems but quite some fun.
Once on top of the ridge, one gets a good view of the Rifugio Gnifetti across the Garstelet glacier. It was snow covered and a good path lead across. To get to the Rifugio one had to scramble up a few ladder steps which again were secured with ropes.
We arrived at the Rifugio at 17:25. It is quite large, offering beds for 150. We had room number one which only contained 5 beds and was situated in a corner above the dining room. It appeared to be a very good choice, presumably since the guide office reserved it. It was very quiet, warm and had an awesome view.
Mountaineers get up early, breakfast time was 4:30 to 6:15.
Even the view from the toilet was 'breathtaking'. The Lys glacier is quite large and comes down from the Colle de Lys. We would climb it the next morning.
This was the view I went to bed with.
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