The Occasional Alpinist's Guide to the Cassin

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 UKC Articles 17 Sep 2015
Pitch 4, the 5c+ traverse, with the Cengalo glacier below, 4 kbAre you a mid-range UK-based climber who's collected a decent amount of Alpine experience over the years and fancies a go at one of the classic North Faces in the Alps? We were and we did, and this is what we learned.

Peter Metcalfe and Neil Carruthers share their experience and tips for climbing the popular Via Cassin on the NE Face of Piz Badile.

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 ChrisBrooke 17 Sep 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Well done on a fine climb. I did it a couple of years ago and it's certainly long and tiring. It's worth noting for the south side descent that there's a very good descent topo in the 'Schweiz Plaisir Selection' guide book (which details the more 'plaisir' NE Ridge route.)
 Rick Graham 17 Sep 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Nice article.

I would have mentioned the access traverse ledge being sloping, belayless and occasionally verglassed, so step carefully over any slippery bits.

Stonefall danger still exists from parties on the North Ridge and from the central depression if it snowbound.

Talk of carrying a full sack is misleading, all that is required is a light waterproof,, spare fleece or light belay jacket, headtorch, water bottle and tube, and a few cereal bars.

Abseiling down the ridge gives you an extra days holiday and means less weight to carry.
We did the circuit from the col in rock boots, no need for trainers, crampons or boots.
 HimTiggins 17 Sep 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

We found this topo to be really useful:

We descended the north ridge, which was involved and frustrating, having to change between 30m and 60m abseils and a bit of down climbing. This took us about 6-7 hours back to our bivi, but having previously walked back around from the Italian side the N Ridge descent would still be my preferred option time permitting!
 Marco Plebani 17 Sep 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:
Good article but the correct spelling is "diedre Rébuffat", not "Rebuffant". Like the great alpinist Gaston Rébuffat. And it's Riccardo Cassin, not Ricardo. I'm not trying to be pedantic, but spelling matters. It's not uncommon to see names of superfamous routes, places, and climbers misspelled on UKC, and it's a pity on a website of international reference. A bit more proofreading would help.
Post edited at 16:44
 ro8x 17 Sep 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:
Spot on with the idea of descending into Val Masino. We got dropped off in Bondo by friends staying in Val Di Mello and it worked out perfectly, and if you're quick enough you can get a Pizza from Firoellis in San Martino (amazing pizza!).

 natetan 18 Sep 2015
In reply to Marco Plebani:

Really doesn't matter that much
 Peter Metcalfe 18 Sep 2015
In reply to Marco Plebani:

These have been corrected.
 Peter Metcalfe 18 Sep 2015
In reply to bullwinkle:

Hindsight is a wonderful thing I'm glad to have done the traverse over the summit and walk back from Italy, but have absolutely no desire at all to do it again.
 jcw 20 Sep 2015
In reply to Marco Plebani:

And dièdre is written thus!
 Bruce Kerr 20 Sep 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:
I recall the original Schweiz Plaisir topo indicated that the return walk from the Gianetti hut was 2hrs 45mins ....Many hours later we wished we'd gone down to Bagni Di Masino and taken a taxi back to Vicosoprano But the hut was great!
Post edited at 20:00
Good article about a great route. Well done.

My brother and I did this quite a while back (2003). To descend we rapped the North Ridge in about 5.5 hrs, and were back in the Vicosoprano campsite just in time for some pizza. Route-finding on the descent was a bit tricky, but not ridiculous. I think we may have been a bit lucky - we got to the top about midday just as the main parties coming up the North ridge were summitting, but before anyone else was descending so we had a clear descent. Plaisir also mentions rapping Another Day In Paradise as an alternative. Also, by descending back to the North you can go slightly lighter - I left my approach shoes at the bottom of the ridge.

Like all alpine stuff, it's well worth being fit, acclimatized, climbing efficiently and being first to leave the hut. We were first on the route, and though we were overtaken higher up, we weren't really held up by anyone and so were on the top by midday.


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