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Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
or Pizzo Bernina (Italian pronunciation: [/ˈpit.tso/ ˈbɛrniːna]) is the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps, the highest point of the Bernina Range, and the highest peak in the Rhaetian Alps.[3] It rises 4,048.6 m (13,283 ft) and is located south of Pontresina
Pontresina
and near the major Alpine resort of St. Moritz, in the Engadin
Engadin
valley with the massif partially in Italy. It is also the most easterly mountain higher than 4,000 m (13,000 ft) in the Alps, the highest point of the Swiss canton of Graubünden, and the fifth-most prominent peak in the Alps. The minor summit (4,020 m (13,190 ft)) known as La Spedla
La Spedla
is the highest point in the Italian Lombardy
Lombardy
region. The mountain was named after the Bernina Pass
Bernina Pass
in 1850 by Johann Coaz, who also made the first ascent.[4] The prefix Piz comes from the Romansch language in Graubünden; any mountain with that name can be readily identified as being located in southeastern Switzerland.

Contents

1 Geography 2 Geology 3 Climbing history 4 Tourism 5 Climbing routes and huts 6 Panorama 7 Deaths on Piz Bernina 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

Geography[edit]

Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
and the Morteratsch Glacier

Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
is one of the few isolated Alpine four-thousanders and the most topographically isolated mountain of Switzerland. It is the culminating point of a group of summits slightly lower than 4,000 meters (13,120 feet) mostly lying on the main watershed between Switzerland
Switzerland
and Italy
Italy
(such as Piz Scerscen, Piz Zupò, and Piz Palü). The only other summit higher than 4,000 m (13,000 ft) is La Spedla
La Spedla
(the Shoulder), a minor prominence south of the mountain, which is also the highest point on the Italian side of the massif. The summit itself is located on a perpendicular chain (orientated north–south) starting at La Spedla
La Spedla
on the border and finishing at Piz Chalchagn, composed also of Piz Morteratsch
Piz Morteratsch
and Piz Boval. Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
separates two glacial valleys, the Tschierva Glacier
Tschierva Glacier
on the west and the Morteratsch Glacier
Morteratsch Glacier
on the east. The waters flowing on both side of the mountain end up in the Inn River
Inn River
running northeast through Engadin. South of Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
the watershed separates the drainage basins of the Danube
Danube
(Black Sea) and the Po River
Po River
(Adriatic Sea). The summit of Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
is the culminating point of the Danube drainage basin. Politically, it is split between the municipalities of Samedan
Samedan
and Pontresina. Geology[edit] The rocks composing Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
are mostly diorites and gabbros. The massif in general is also composed of granites, notable on Piz Corvatsch and Piz Palü.[5] Most of the range belongs to the Austroalpine nappes, a tectonic unit whose rocks come from the Apulian plate, a small continent which broke away from Africa (Gondwana) before the Alpine orogeny. The Austroalpine nappes
Austroalpine nappes
are common throughout all of the Eastern Alps. Climbing history[edit]

Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
from the west

View from the pine and larch woodland above the Morteratsch Glacier

View from Diavolezza

The first ascent was made via the east ridge in 1850 by the 28-year-old topographer Johann Wilhelm Coaz (1822-1918, from S-Chanf) and his assistants, the brothers Jon and Lorenz Ragut Tscharner. On 13 September 1850, shortly after 6 a.m., they left the Bernina Inn (at 2,050 m (6,730 ft)) with their measuring instruments. They traversed the Labyrinth (on the Morteratsch Glacier) and headed to the Fuorcla Crast'Agüzza, a col between the Crast' Agüzza
Crast' Agüzza
and Piz Bernina. They reached the summit at around 6 p.m.[6] Johan Coaz wrote in his diary:

"At 6 p.m. we stood on the ardently desired lofty peak. On soil that no human had trodden upon before. On the highest point of the canton at 4052 meters above sea level."

"Serious thoughts took hold of us. Greedy eyes surveyed the land up to the distant horizon, and thousands and thousands of mountain peaks surrounded us, rising as rocks from the glittering sea of ice. We stared amazed and awe-struck across this magnificent mountain world." [7]

In 1866, the south ridge running from La Spedla
La Spedla
was climbed by Francis Fox Tuckett and F. A. Y. Brown with guides Christian Almer
Christian Almer
and F. Andermatten. They started at midnight from the Alpe Foppa on the Italian side, and reached the summit at 11 a.m., descending to Pontresina
Pontresina
only a few hours later. The first attempt to climb the northern ridge, the Biancograt, was made on 12 August 1876 by Henri Cordier and Thomas Middlemore
Thomas Middlemore
with guides Johann Jaun and Kaspar Maurer. They successfully reached the top of the ridge, Piz Alv, but when they saw the chasm lying between them and the summit of Piz Bernina, they considered it to be beyond their powers and returned down the Biancograt.[6] Cordier later declared the gap to be "absolutely impossible". Exactly two years later, Paul Güssfeldt, accompanied by the guides H. Grass and J. Gross, reached the summit via the Biancograt and accomplished the first complete ascent on this route. The first winter ascent was made on 15 March 1929 by C. Colmus with guides C. and U. Grass. To win a bet worth 200 CHF, Hermann Buhl reached the summit of Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
from the Boval hut in 6 hours; he then descended the north ridge in only 15 minutes, establishing a record.[6] Tourism[edit]

Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
and the Bernina Express

Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
is the highest summit of the Engadin
Engadin
region and lies close to the resorts of St. Moritz
St. Moritz
and Pontresina. The mountain can be seen from different viewpoints with the use of ski-lifts from Diavolezza, Piz Corvatsch
Piz Corvatsch
or Piz Nair. The Bernina railway
Bernina railway
connects St. Moritz with the southern Val Poschiavo
Val Poschiavo
through the Bernina Pass. Climbing routes and huts[edit]

The north ridge (Biancograt)

The normal route starts from the Rifugio Marco e Rosa, located at 3,600 m (11,800 ft) above the Fuorcla Crast'Agüzza, and follows the route taken by the first ascentionists. The north ridge, called the Biancograt or Crast Alva (both meaning White Ridge), is the most well-known and attractive route to the summit, and is much more difficult than the normal route. The route starts from the Tschierva Hut
Tschierva Hut
(2,584 m (8,478 ft)) in Val Roseg, accessible from Pontresina. The Biancograt itself starts at the Fuorcla Prievlusa (3,430 m (11,250 ft)) and leads to Piz Bianco (3,995 m (13,107 ft)). To reach the summit, the Bernina gap – which repulsed Cordier, Middlemore, Jaun and Maurer in 1876 – has to be traversed.

Other huts in the area

Rifugio Carate Brianza
Rifugio Carate Brianza
(2,662 m (8,734 ft)) – capacity 32 beds, 3 places in winter room Rifugio Marinelli Bombardieri
Rifugio Marinelli Bombardieri
(2,813 m (9,229 ft)) – capacity 220 beds, 15 places in winter room Chamanna Boval
Chamanna Boval
(2,495 m (8,186 ft)) – capacity 120 beds Chamanna da Diavolezza
Diavolezza
(2,973 m (9,754 ft)) – capacity 234 beds

Panorama[edit]

Panorama from Diavolezza. From left to right: Piz Palü, Bellavista, Crast' Agüzza
Crast' Agüzza
(small rocky peak in the middle), Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
and Piz Morteratsch

Deaths on Piz Bernina[edit]

1970: Rollo Davidson and Michael Latham [8]

See also[edit]

Exploration of the High Alps

References[edit]

^ Retrieved from the Swisstopo
Swisstopo
topographic maps. The key col is the Maloja Pass
Maloja Pass
(1,815 m). ^ Retrieved from Google Earth. The nearest point of higher elevation is east of the Finsteraarhorn. ^ "Piz Bernina". summitpost.org. Retrieved 2 April 2012.  ^ Collomb, Robin (1988). Bernina Alps. Goring: West Col Productions. p. 55.  ^ Geologic map of Switzerland
Switzerland
1:500 000, Bundesamt für Wasser und Geologie, CH-3003 Bern-Ittigen, ISBN 3-906723-39-9 ^ a b c Dumler, Helmut; Burkhardt, Willi P. Les 4000 des Alpes. ISBN 2-7003-1305-4.  ^ Piz Bernina, Daniel Anker Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. stnet.ch ^ http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/Rollo/obituary.html

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Piz Bernina.

"Piz Bernina" (in Czech and English). supervht.com. Retrieved 3 April 2010.  Italian route account. Martin Bundi: Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
in Romansh, German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland. Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
on SummitPost Piz Bernina
Piz Bernina
on Hikr

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