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Steep Spring Skiing at the Torrone Centrale

Written by Andri Bieger

On this map: The route to the Torrone Centrale, starting from the Maloja Pass in Switzerland.
-4°C
Maloja, Switzerland

This spring, we set out with three friends on a skiing mission to find the steep stuff on the Swiss/Italian border.

From our base camp, the lovely Forno SAC cabin, we would try to climb and ski the 50° steep north wall of the 3290m high Torrone Centrale.

On a beautifully warm spring day, we set off from the Maloja pass to the 2500m high Forno cabin. The heat tortured us the whole way up and we were witness to countless avalanches on the other side of the valley due to the days’ temperature.

At the cabin, a cold beer and beautiful panorama over the endless glacier awaited us as the reward.

The next morning our Alarm went off at 4:59. We ate a quick breakfast and made our way down to the glacier to start the final push to the Peak.

As the morning drew on the air became warmer as the sun started to glow over the mountain tops while we were strapping on our crampons and grabbing the ice axes for the last 400m of the North face.

We were around half way up when two guys started skiing the face from above us. Fearing their sluff, we dug ourselves in the snow and grabbed our ice axes firmly.

Luckily, those guys were more into small, slow, jump turns which only set off little amounts of sluff.

At 10:50 am, after almost 5 hours of gruelling work, we arrived at the top of Torrone Centrale at around 3200m. After sharing a couple of high fives and a small lunch that we had prepared we got ourselves ready for the part that makes all the suffering worthwhile… The descent.

Cyril dropped in first skiing smart and strong in the variable snow conditions and avoiding the crevasses at the bottom, in which he fell the year before. Next was his brother Erik, this being his first time skiing such a face.

Being the last one on top I absorbed the marvellous panorama over the Italian Alps before starting my descent. I arrived at the bottom with burning legs and empty lungs, barely avoiding the crevasses at the bottom that Cyril had warned me about.

We took one last look back up, imprinting the image of this beautiful mountain in our minds, and made our way back down to the car over vast stretches of the glacier and sweet smelling forests.

To treat our sore muscles, we decided to go for a swim in the still mostly frozen Lake Silvaplana, proving to be the perfect way to end the trip.

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