A Day on the Pizol, Switzerland Backcountry Skiing

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 5, 2012      
Upper part of the Pizol tour.

Upper part of the Pizol tour. Summit is the rocky point to right of saddle. We wanted to scramble that by using an easy ferrata that's set on the back side, but part of the steel cable was buried by ice, and we didn't bring our spikes. Lesson learned. If you want springtime summits in the Alps, bring spikes and perhaps the rando rope. Even without the absolute top, this was a perfect tour for our first day in Switzerland.

Just as it is back home in Colorado every spring, the situation here is “find something mechanical to convey you to snow line,” otherwise you’ll spend all morning (or all day) dirt hiking.

Don’t get us wrong, we like hiking. But we’d rather ski when the nieve beckons from above like some kind of shining scepter of the mountain king.

Lisa at Wildseelugen saddle.

Lisa at Wildseelugen saddle. You head up to this from Pizol Hutte, drop over, then tour up to the Pizol. The main tour is very easy, and you can add bonus vert by re-skinning and climbing surrounding corn snow slopes, or on the way back you can drop a bit lower in one or two places and skin back out (while being careful of afternoon warm snow avy danger).

So in the case of the classic Pizol tour a short distance northerly from Chur, Switzerland, the tour began with a ride on the cable to a truly excellent starting point at the Pizol Hutte. This smaller gasthaus serves both lift skiers and backcountry folk. It’s located in a windy but scenic spot so they built it squatty at one story high, with a huge horizontal bank of triple glazed windows taking in a stupendous view. (By the way, thanks Reto for the recommend, this was the perfect tour for first day here.)

Pizol Hutte window looking southeasterly.

Lisa at Pizol Hutte window bay looking southeasterly. Mandatory espresso stop.

Looking down at Pizol Hutte from first part of the tour.

Looking down at Pizol Hutte from first part of the tour.

Gps-ing the Pizol tour

Gps-ing the Pizol tour

Lou is still going crazy with the fill flash. He must be reading too many Euro climbing magazines.

Lou is still going crazy with the fill flash. He must be reading too many Euro climbing magazines. This is Lisa at the saddle next to Pizol summit, experimenting with Wildsnow Girl poses.

Lou skiing down the Pizol

Lou skiing down the Pizol

Lisa heading down.

Lisa heading down.

Lisa finds a handsome man in die Schweitz

Lisa finds a handsome man in die Schweitz

Directions with advice on footwear

Directions with advice on footwear

Expansive views from the gondola

Expansive views from the gondola

Apologies for not giving you travel fanatics a better map. Best we can do with limited time is the Google map below, with Pizol Hutte marked. It appears that the Pizol (peak) is not indicated in Google Maps.

Größere Kartenansicht


7 Responses to “A Day on the Pizol, Switzerland Backcountry Skiing”

  1. Mark W April 5th, 2012 9:18 am

    Beautiful terrain. Enjoy.

  2. Nick April 5th, 2012 10:35 am

    Gorgeous area.

  3. Joe John April 5th, 2012 6:08 pm

    I love that wide open white Swiss terrain and post ski Glutwein. Check out the Pitz Jenatsch hut, out of St. Moritz if you have time.

  4. F. Felix April 6th, 2012 6:13 am

    Nice, Lou!

    While you are in the Chur neighborhood, you might want to check out the Toedi. there’s plenty of snow this year (at least there was last week), and it’s one of the longest descents in the Alps.

    The Oberalpstock out of Disentis is also really nice.

  5. Tim April 6th, 2012 2:39 pm

    Switzerland has some of the best maps in the world (along with watches and chocolate). Check it out at http://map.geo.admin.ch/?lang=en

  6. Dave Bell April 7th, 2012 8:58 am

    awesome link Tim…thanks.

  7. dmr April 8th, 2012 2:29 pm

    For those interested, here’s the equivalent link for France:


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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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