Today’s sports programme was really about driving the Stelvio, which at 2757m I think is the highest of the alpine passes I had not previously driven, and conveniently nearby. So I headed off up the Inntal and hacked left over Reschenpass and into Italy. The Stelvio proved a fun drive (if a little busier than one would like) but the weather turned pretty foul, with sleet at the top.
The east side of the Stelvio Pass, a fun drive despite the rain and traffic. Looks mean for those cyclists…
I dropped over onto the easier western side, then took the first right, dropping into Switzerland, then heading up valley towards the Pass dal Fuorn, a mere 2149m, which would take me back to the Inn Valley. The weather quickly brightened up on this side of the crest, and by the time I arrived at the pass, looked like a nice day for a walk. Unfortunately, the only accessible 3000m peak was back at the border in the clag, and Piz Daint was the obvious choice if I wanted the sunshine. The distance was not that great at 4 km, but it is well over 800m of ascent to its 2968m summit.
Minor path heading left and up onto the rockier ground of Piz Daint
Starting fairly gently on a good path, a shoulder is crossed and a bit of downhill ensues before a lesser path heads off left and soon reaches rockier terrain. A long section of zigzags was eased by the sight of a couple ahead on whom I was gaining ground – these ascents always go faster with a bit of competitive spirit.
On the shoulder before the steep – the orange section is like badly run-out scree and a little unpleasant
The route reached a bit of a col where a path continued down the other side, but my way was left, on up the ridge, and this soon reached a levelling where the view ahead showed me exactly what I had in store to reach the top. Unfortunately, another group who I was hoping to overtake on this stretch decided to stop for a break, giving me no competitive incentive on the final steep ascent. This proved to be quite exposed, with very steep sides and loose stones underfoot. Not really that hard going up, and I was soon at the top, just outside two hours, but well under the time signposted at the start of the walk.
Looking south over the shoulder of Piz Dora (2951m) to Piz Murtaröl, 3180m
The summit view was really very extensive, with no higher peaks in the foreground, so although the quality of the walking was nothing to write home about, and it’s always annoying to be so close to the 3k mark without hitting it, this was rather reminiscent of climbing a Corbett back home – never as high as a Munro, but almost always a better viewpoint. The view can only distract for so long, however, and soon I started the descent, which, as expected, proved a lot more delicate than the way up, with the exposure very much more apparent looking ahead and down.
The steep and rather loose path down from Piz Daint – the steepest (orange stained in view above) bit is over the immediate horizon middle-left
All went well, and from the shoulder, progress became very quick indeed, getting back to the car in under an hour and a half. The drive down into Inntal showed a river, the Spöl, that was not in the guidebook, but looked paddleable but a little inaccessible at the bottom of a steep V-shaped valley. Looking at the map, however, it seems that a dam steals the water and directs it to the S-Chanf hydro, so maybe it never gets enough water to run. Once back at Zernez in the Inn valley, the route was familiar from having paddled various sections of the river and didn’t take long back to the campsite at Prutz.