Ski Touring Punta Galisia from the Rifugio Benevolo

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Added by Sophie Nicholson

Must-do for anyone who appreciates powder snow, spectacular mountain views, great skiing and Italian coffee! Great mountain hut with friendly guardians, 3 course meal, wine, hot showers, clean and modern toilets. One of the best day ski tours from a hut that I've had the pleasure to experience and my stand out ski touring day of the winter season here in the Alps.

Park your car as far up the road in the Rhemes Notre Dame valley as the snow will allow. The road turns to trail at Thumel (1,879m) where there is a car park but be prepared to park alongside the road further down the valley at Pelaud (1,811m) or Bruil (1,723m).

From here, skin up the valley to the Refugio Benevolo which is situated at 2,285m. Allow around 3 hours for the ascent which is basically straightforward unless there is insufficient snow (bootpacking and transitions may be required) or too much snow (in which case avalanche danger in the valley may precipitate a change of plan). Keep your eyes peeled for marmottes and chamois!

Upon arrival at the Rifugio Benevolo you will be delighted to hear that there is electricity, hot showers and a downright friendly welcome from young Italian mountain goats who will want to know what you might like for dinner. Yes, this is Italy. You have a choice. Get ready for a 3 course carb fest to load you up for the next day.

Get up early and if the weather and conditions allow, be prepared to leave the hut by 07.30. The skin up to Punta Galisia involves over 1,100m of ascent and is around 3km in distance. From the hut, stay on the right hand side of the river before crossing over to the left after about 1km. Continue up the relatively flat valley before the terrain dictates it's time to raise the heel risers and put in the effort.

The normal line takes you up the Fond glacier to the skyline whereupon you follow the ridge in a easterly direction before climbing the final steep slope to the top of Punta Galisia itself (3,346m).

Altitude will probably slow you down but it will all be worth it - the views are spectacular and you will be able to see Mont Blanc, Gran Paradiso, Val d'sere and many iconic Alpine peaks.

Descent is of course condition dependent and you can follow the skin track back to the hut or ski directly off the north face of Punta Galisia before rejoining the skin track as the valley flattens out. Ski all the way back to the Rifugio for a latte macchiato and a well earned slice of torta before making your way back to your car and the reality that awaits there!

Allow 3.5 - 4 hours for the ascent and 2 - 2.5 hours for the ski back down to the car. We started at 07.30, broke trail in about 30cm of fresh snow all the way to the summit and got there at 11.30. We took our time on the descent, stopped at the Rifugio to refuel and repack our gear and were back at the car by 14.00.

If you're heading north in the direction of Courmayeur or Chamonix, be sure to pop into the infamous cafe on the left as you drive through the town of Morgex. The best post ski tour gelato and cappuccino for miles!

Useful links: 


Avalanche Bulletin - updated during winter season

Avalanche Safety Gear

Rifugio Benevolo

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