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    Colle Gnifetti

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    Colle Gnifetti

    From Zermatt (1600m) via the Monte Rosa Hut (2887m) to Colle Gnifetti (4420m) and back again.

    The journey to Zermatt (1600m) is not particularly long, we come from skiing on the Belalp in pairs and are back in Switzerland's car-free mountain sports paradise at ten o'clock. There the ski boots are first laced up and made their way through the village. At the time there is still something going on, the looks of the people are either astonished or glassy 🙂 At the south end of the village we meet the slope that leads down from Furi, strap on the skis and skins and set off for the moonlit night. The freshly groomed slope leads quickly over slight inclines Furi (1867m)where we make ourselves comfortable in a dry spot at the foot of the oversized lift station.

    The alarm clock rings at 6 o'clock, the things are packed quickly, once bitten into the sandwich and off you go, first down to the other side of the stream (Schweigmatten). After some wandering we decide to take the first path on the right, along the creek. Behind a commercial building, we then find the tracks purely in the Gornerschlucht, As it is, we lose it then quite fast and rise a bit too high, thanks to GPS, but you find yourself but quickly ("the road is right of us"). It just looks different than in summer :). In the direction of the east, the view opens in bright weather to the narrowest point of the upper Gornerschlucht, which is usually impassable in summer. Now there is a meter of snow in it, and we slide up on the slopes.

    Behind it opens a view, in which every person in the world should be clear, what a pups he is against nature. In front of you the tongue of the Gorner Glacier, you look up (from left to right in running direction) Northrend and Dufourspitze, Parrotspitze, Liskamm (all higher than 4500m), Roccia Nera and Breithorn (higher than 4100m) including the mighty glacial streams, from there above down flow.

    We follow the tracks on the Gorner, which lead us first through a surreal looking Eiscanyon, which leads in the summer meltwater. Then you enter the almost columnless southern half of the glacier and head straight for the day's destination, the Monte Rosa hut. It is barely noticeable uphill. The sun bangs, very good creaming is mandatory. We notice that the multi-fuel cooker can not be used with methylated spirits because it burns only in the liquid phase. Of course, this is pretty stupid now, because you can not get far without water in winter and in this sunny weather, especially not at this altitude. But with the reserves we go first direction hut. Shortly before you leave the glacier, the bottom icebreaker of the Grenzgletscher has to be crossed, which should be done quickly. The Randkluft is perfectly snowed in and we climb through the departure lanes up on the moraine ridge, where after ten minutes already the hut stands (by Furi about 7h with a long break).

    For all who were not there yet: This hut is not a normal mountain hut building made of stones that are just lying around, cliché ornaments and ibex horns on the wall. Very modern construction and (as far as I see it) masterful joiner's work (who can come up with such an angle ??) form the so-called "rock crystal", clad with aluminum panels and completely versolarzellt to the south. The interior can only be guessed, the hut is still too, so everything is happening in the winter shelter.

    At the same time with us four Italians from the Dufourspitze come back (because of too much wind not on the summit) and invite us in broken English promptly for pasta food. Our plan to get here was actually a bivouac a bit higher up, we have everything with us, mattress, sleeping bag, cooker and food. After weighing the benefits of the winter room (gas plates, warm room to dry, nice roommates) with the price, which is still acceptable at 28 francs per person, we decide to just stay here. There is NEN shoe room, a toilet (with urinal!), A hallway for the skis and the bedroom with cooking utensils, etc .... A little later, an Englishman and an Italian arrive, and so it is quite comfortable. We sunbathe on the terrace, enjoy the view and strap on again to explore the first few meters of the morning route (although that is very obvious). Three of us (still a quick Italian) we go in the afternoon to about 3300m, and had when driving back buttery snow under the skis.

    The evening is conceivably luxurious, the Italians cook noodles for everyone, summarily bring table and bench from the boot room in the shelter and everyone contributes to what he just found in his backpack. So we have pasta with cheese sauce, sausage, ham, cheese, chocolate, a bottle of sambuca, coffee etc. Since you can schonmal invest a few francs, instead of lying already in the sleeping bag for two hours and to wait for the morning ...

    The alarm goes to us two 5 o'clockItalians want to go later. Relaxed, we have a breakfast cereal, shoulder the packed backpacks and head out into the cold. The morning starts very slowly to gray, there is no wind, the sky is blue, and when we turn off the headlamps, we are already at the turning point of the day before. The dimensions on the Grenzgletscher are just so out of the world, that we just have to keep marveling. To the right, the north face of the Liskamm rises into the sky, in front of us are several huge steps of ice-breakers. The glacier is snowed in perfectly, we do not need a rope, the steep steps are taken quickly on the departure lanes.

    We are already celebrating this perfect day of skiing, when we, the Parrotspitze directly ahead, get the first gusts of wind. After the last ice break before the left turn in direction Colle Gnifetti the east wind starts to blow, and we tie the jackets. Now two of the Italians have caught up with us, and four of us fight against the wind up the last slope. It works like this: Five steps forward, three back, rest, from the front. The icy winds on the glacier make moving forward almost impossible. The icicles on the face grow up, and just before the Colle Gnifetti, up about 4420m, the Italians, five minutes later, we decide to turn back. The Capanna Margherita looks down at us from her signal, it's a pity we can not get up. Felling with wind strength Megastark makes fun again. Until Colle Gnifetti we needed about 6 hours with breaks (about 1500 Hm).

    The downhill turns out to be a bit difficult at the beginning, knee-high, board-heavy windsurfing alternates with buttery drift snow hollows. But after ten minutes, behind the right turn (south -> west slope), we leave the wind behind us and can enjoy the existing departure lanes. Here is the snow better. One by one we drive through the glacier breaks, impressively in the oversized channel between Liskamm (4527m) and Dufourspitze (4634m), We meet the next two Italians who even turn around in the pass between Signalkuppe and Parrotspitze. The landscape is breathtaking, and just before the hut, the snow becomes wonderful for surfing.

    Arriving at the hut, the Italians once again shoot the bird, inviting us to eat pasta almost immediately upon arrival. Naturally, people do not like to reject that, and so we fortify ourselves and wait for the arrival of the other two. At about 3 pm we make our way to the sixth and packed up for the descent towards Zermatt, the ascent track over the Gorner following. The sun is blazing, and then down there is the heat to feel. On the long, flat passages, you only have to push a few times, otherwise you glide relaxed against the glacier tongue. By the impressive Gornerschlucht Then we slip back into civilization, where we are above Furi hit the slopes. Here we say goodbye to the comrades, which directly after Zermatt leave, while we stop at the next snow bar with sun loungers and enjoy the last rays of the sun after this Hammer Tour with a cool cyclist.

    The descent to Zermatt is then quick and around 6:00 p.m. we arrive at the train station, where we still have one hour and, as always, observe and comment on Zermatt's tourist activities 🙂

    From Zermatt to the Monte Rosa hut: approx. 1300 Hm (long flat on the Gorner glacier)

    From the Monte Rosa hut to Signalalkuppe (4554m): about 1600 Hm (that's pretty much at this altitude!)

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