The Ascent Of Punta Gniffeti (4554m) Monte Rosa
This is a stunning route to the highest building in Europe. The Rifugio Margherita sits on top of Signalkuppe (Punta Gniffeti to the Italians) and at 4554 metres is one of the highest points of the Monte Rosa massif. And the route to it from the Gressoney Valley is very fine indeed....
The route starts at Stafal where three lifts take you to the Lis Glacier and a good hour's walk / scramble over via ferrata to the excellent Rifugio Gnifetti.
This was a bustling and busy but very friendly place. They slotted us on to a table for eight and very soon jolly table wide conversation started up with people from several countries. And then the food came. And then some more came. And then just a bit more. And then some pudding. And then a bottle of Genepi (the local liqueur) appeared. A great evening all round.
We still managed a very early start next morning following some other parties up the glacier to the Lisjoch (4151 metres) where a very fine view of the southern side of Monte Rosa opens out accompanied by views of many of the main summits of the Alps. A great spot to stop and marvel at the panorama. From here the route contours round a high bowl before breaking out on to the ridge with a steep little pull to the summit. And where else (anywhere?) can such a fine route, at such an altitude be topped off with excellent coffee?
We came back the same way except on the way down called at the equally fine Rifugio Mantova for a bite to eat (excellent home made tarts!)
From the Rifugio Grifetti about 3.5 to 4.5 hours up and about 2.5 to 3 hours down