BMG Route Card: Voie Normale - Piz Buin

by Andy Perkins Mar/2011
This article has been read 7,793 times
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In this feature from the British Mountain Guides, a qualified and experienced guide recommends a classic and favourite route for the current time of year.

With basic information, inspirational photos and a brief overview, if you're looking for an objective to tick this month - look no further!

February 2011 - Andy Perkins takes us up the Voie Normal, Piz Buin, Austria.

Lise Tonelli approaching the Piz Buin. The climbing goes diagonally from the col to the left hand ridge., 97 kbLise Tonelli approaching the Piz Buin. The climbing goes diagonally from the col to the left hand ridge.
© Andy Perkins

Adam Wainwright tackling the crux of Piz Buin in full Scottish conditions. , 70 kbAdam Wainwright tackling the crux of Piz Buin in full Scottish conditions.
© Andy Perkins
Range: Silvretta Alps
Mountain: Piz Buin (3312m)
Route: Voie Normale (from the Wiesbadner hut)
Length: 800m of skinning and 150m of climbing
Grade: MSA and PD
Guidebook: Ski Mountaineering Volume 2 by Bill O'Connor published by Cicerone
UKC Logbook Link: Piz Buin


In a bizarre twist, a sun cream manufacturer thought it'd be a good idea to name their product after a relatively unknown mountain, and the rest is history. The product is still around and the mountain is still a great choice for a trip in a range of mountains ideal for introductory and intermediate ski mountaineering.

Best tactics for an ascent

Most people incorporate an ascent of Piz Buin as part of the classic Silvretta circuit starting in Ischgl and passing through the Heidelberger and Jamtal huts to the Wiesbadner hut. The hill is much more imposing when viewed from the Tuoi hut to the south, and depending on whether powder or spring snow is flavour of the month, you can tackle it from either side. Assuming it's from the north, then a traverse leads to a reasonably straightforward skin bypassing the icefall of the Ochsentaler glacier. A steady ascent across a snowy but relatively crevasse free plateau leads to a ski cache at or just above the Buinlucke col. Some easy scrambling which usually requires use of crampons and an axe leads to the upper slope and a great panorama from the summit.

What makes it so special

Whichever direction it's viewed from, the Piz Buin is a shapely dome of rock and snow. The scrambling is just challenging enough, the view from the top feels central and grand, and on several descents the ski down has given me some of the best snow I've ever had the pleasure of laying down turns on.

Andy Perkins - BMG

Lise Tonelli attacks a steeper variant with the summit of Piz Buin behind.
© Andy Perkins

Peter Wolf and Mike Rae moving into the Scottish style clag on the Ochsentaler glacier.
© Andy Perkins

BMG Guide Bruce Goodlad setting off from the Wiesbadner Hut in a cracking morning
© Andy Perkins

Andy Perkins, 114 kbAndy Perkins
© Andy Perkins Collection

More info on the British Mountain Guides

IFMGA Badge, 48 kbA British Mountain Guide is an International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations (IFMGA) Guide, which put simply, means an internationally qualified guide with the knowledge and skills to lead parties in the world's most challenging mountain environments.

From first steps to the biggest objectives, a British Mountain Guide is an expert in techniques and safety, and a reliable companion for your adventures.

About Andy Perkins:

Andy Perkins is a BMG and IFMGA mountain guide living in Chamonix. Although he has a reputation as a big wall specialist and mixed climber, most of his winter work is on skis. He guides as far afield as the Vanoise at one end of the Alps and the Hochtirol at the other.

In his spare time Andy climbs rock and eats cakes.

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