UKC

Piz Badile North Ridge/NordKante Advice

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 jmoony11 06 Jul 2024

Heading out to at the beginning of August, hoping to get on North Ridge. I've been doing my research but thought there would be a few nice folk who wouldn't mind sharing some advice from prior experience! Few questions I have would be - 

1. Best place to check in regarding need for crampons/ice axe - the huts on either side? I know it's been a very snowy season in the Alps so keen to make sure we've got what we need.

2. Ropes! I've picked up several of the guides and read some reports online, including the UKC one. There is a variety of info relating to length of rope needed, from single 50s to 2 60s. From looking through topos I think the climb itself has no pitches longer than 50m, would a single 50 suffice for all the abseils on the south side? I guess if a single 50 is used you'd be pretty committed once at a  certain point up the ridge!

3. Descent, again I've read several of the descriptions in the guides and online. Just wondering if anybody had any specific advice from experience they think would be useful?

Thanks!

 Martin Bennett 06 Jul 2024
In reply to jmoony11:

I can only comment on the route over the Porcellizzo and Trubinasca passes back to Switzerland. We did it after doing the Cassin and being benighted by the worst Alpine storm I've ever known, causing us to (not) kip in the summit bivi-box - 3 parties totalling 8 in a box for 4!!. With no food for a second day we descended the South side (don't remember any problems with that), stayed high rather than get food and water at the Gianetti hut (big mistake) then walked, and by the end practically crawled(!), over the two passes. I've never been so knackered before or since.

Post edited at 11:45
OP jmoony11 06 Jul 2024
In reply to Martin Bennett:

Bloody hell, sounds like an epic! Thanks for comments on south side descent 👍🏻

 Jeff Ingman 06 Jul 2024
In reply to jmoony11:

We descended the South side after doing the Cassin in 2016. Think we did 4 ab's but we had 2x60m ropes so not really in line with your plan. I do remember seeing plenty of tat that we didn't use.

We went down to the Gianetti for beer and were able to avoid the snow patches that year, though we were carrying grippy spikes for our shoes (not crampons). May be snowy this year.

We continued down to Ardenno and got trains and a bus back to Chiavenna

 McHeath 06 Jul 2024
In reply to jmoony11:

If you have to retreat from high on the route, you‘ll be very glad of 2x 50m twin ropes. We abbed the whole ridge to get out of a thunderstorm which hit us on the final pitches of the Cassin at 10am instead of the predicted 17:00, so be sure to keep an eye on the weather while you’re climbing. I don’t think we‘d have been down before dark if we hadn‘t had the twin ropes.

 Rick Graham 06 Jul 2024
In reply to McHeath:

> If you have to retreat from high on the route, you‘ll be very glad of 2x 50m twin ropes. We abbed the whole ridge to get out of a thunderstorm which hit us on the final pitches of the Cassin at 10am instead of the predicted 17:00, so be sure to keep an eye on the weather while you’re climbing. I don’t think we‘d have been down before dark if we hadn‘t had the twin ropes.

I was just about to post but totally agree, thanks for saving me a longer post.

The logbooks beta on here suggests 50 m abseils max both north and south sides.

Messing about with tag lines and escapers is the last thing you need in a storm, so ideally the lightest twins you can afford.

Most pleasant option consensus seems to be stay in huts and get taxi, bus or train combos back over the border.

Try to plan timings with weather and crowds.

Though having teams  to follow means you have extra clues to avoid their route finding mistakes.

 beardy mike 06 Jul 2024
In reply to Rick Graham:

Yes massively this. An escaper is all fine for something you're unlikely to use and only for a few pitches but it would be a fricking nightmare on the north ridge. Light single and matched half? It's mostly really direct in line so wouldn't cause much drag on a single, but you definitely what the option of easy to organise, full 50m abseils. 

OP jmoony11 06 Jul 2024
In reply to McHeath:

Cheers, I was thinking this and you’ve just made my decision. Will go with fairly lightweight 50s. 

OP jmoony11 06 Jul 2024
In reply to Rick Graham:

Cheers Rick! Definitely thinking the same about a single and escaper, wouldn’t fancy that! 
 

Will go with some lightish twin 50s then we’re covered for all eventualities. 
 

I’m Coniston based and know Jen, although I know her as Mrs Graham from when she used to cover for Mr Jackson at Primary School! Also know Pete from our days skateboarding in the village when we were teenagers!

 Rick Graham 06 Jul 2024
In reply to jmoony11:

Hi j

Just worked out who you are.

Pop round if you want sometime, can lend you maps etc. DM for new address.

OP jmoony11 07 Jul 2024
In reply to Jeff Ingman:

Thanks Jeff, that’s useful to know. I’ll see what info I can get from the huts regarding snow, but we may take some spikes/lightweight crampons just in case. 

 Rory Shaw 07 Jul 2024
In reply to jmoony11:

I did this in 2017 as a party of 3. We climbed on a single triple rated 60m and carried a tag line.

We descended the south side, initially using the tag line, which was a bit faffy given the lowish angle so switched to a single 60m which worked well. No difficulty in linking an stations at 30m.

After a night in the gianetti hut we walked back over the passes which I really enjoyed. We were in approach shoes which were just about ok on the one snow patch we couldn't avoid. It could be tricky if there was more snow, especially if it's frozen.

 morpcat 07 Jul 2024
In reply to jmoony11:

We climbed in 2019 as a party of three. In the week beforehand we'd been using a pair of half ropes, and found that they tended to end up twisting together on the longer multipitch routes. So we opted to take a single and a tag line given the number of pitches we planned on the Piz (our #3 was uneasy about moving together over anything but the easiest of ground).

We descended the opposite side and unfortunately followed a party that went the wrong way and missed the easier abseil line. Our rope got caught around some loose blocks, and while I busy climbing back up to safely free it, the other party disappeared. I think they got back onto the right route but we continued down some unnecessarily exciting abseils well into the night and got to the Gianetti at midnight. 

The weather forecast might make your logistical decisions for you. There was only one long climbing day in the week we were there, every other day had a storm. So it was a very busy mountain (making abseiling directly back potentially difficult), and we didn't fancy the walk back over the pass with the risk of being caught in a storm. We ended up splitting a taxi back with another group, which was a relief considering the extra energy we'd burned on our extended descent. 

We took approach shoes and had no issues, but it was a dry season. Calling the huts in advance is  probably your best bet, or you could ask around the campsites for climbers that have been up already.

​​​​​​

Post edited at 14:24
 Dave Garnett 07 Jul 2024
In reply to jmoony11:

> Thanks Jeff, that’s useful to know. I’ll see what info I can get from the huts regarding snow, but we may take some spikes/lightweight crampons just in case. 

https://www.sascfura.ch/en/huette.htm
 

Call the Sasc Fura hut and ask them how much snow there is between the hut and bottom of the Nordkante.

In reply to jmoony11:

Correct link

https://www.sascfura.ch/en/huette.html

Link to huts Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/CapannaSascFura/
 

Looks like there’s more snow than usual for this time of year. 

 Stu McInnes 08 Jul 2024
In reply to jmoony11:

The first time I did it we abbed the North Ridge on a single 60m, it was do-able but pretty spicy on the length a few times....

Last year we abbed the Itallian side - a 50m rope is fine for most of it but you have to find the correct abseils on the last few sections, which isn't particularly obvious. 

The walk back from the Itallian side is really flipping long....

OP jmoony11 22:58 Mon
In reply to Rory Shaw:

Brilliant, thanks for the advice.

OP jmoony11 23:00 Mon
In reply to morpcat:

That’s really useful, thanks for the info. Will definitely check in with the huts. 

Any recommendations for weather forecasts?

thanks 

OP jmoony11 23:01 Mon
In reply to Stu McInnes:

Thanks Stu, good to know.

OP jmoony11 23:01 Mon
In reply to Stefan Jacobsen:

Thanks for the links Stefan. Will check in with the huts prior.

 morpcat 08:46 Tue
In reply to jmoony11:

> Any recommendations for weather forecasts?

wxcharts.com and yr.no

 CurlyStevo 23:42 Wed
In reply to jmoony11:

When we did it we took 8mm 60 half ropes, we bivied and planned to ab the north ridge but ended up taking the short cut Abbing down another day in paradise which joins the main ridge quite high up, not suggesting you do the same but it was pretty fast. As you are basically abbing a steep slab.

Post edited at 23:49

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