Piz Scerscen

Piz Scerscen

13028 feet/3971 meters
Lombardia/Graubünden (Bernina), Italy/Switzerland, Europe

Last update: April 15th, 2002
   © Copyright by Rahel Maria Liu

Piz Scerscen

Biancograt to Piz Bernina (left), Piz Scerscen (middle), Piz Roseg (right) (August 2001)

© Copyright by Rahel Maria Liu


During a long time the Piz Scerscen (pronounced: cherchen) did not have any name because it has been seen as part of Piz Bernina. But indeed it is a big massif on its own with rock on the south (italian) side and firn and ice on the north (swiss) side. It goes from SW to NE, from the Porta da Roseg to the Bernina. On the swiss map, the Piz Scerscen is marked with 5 points:

  • 3781m: The first rock tower between Porta da Roseg and P. 3875.

  • P. 3875: The 'Schneehaube' with its little white firn cap, which is immediately noticed from people watching from the swiss side. The rock ridge has become a firn ridge.

  • 3971m (SAC)/3967 m ( Vanis ): This main summit is a free located rock tower, seen from the Piz Bernina.

  • 3954m: This E-summit is reached from the main summit via a small, almost horizontal ridge.

  • 3895m: On this point is a widely visible tower, which is located in the Fuorcla Scerscen, a saddle, to which the ridge has been going down.

    The ascents from the swiss side are altogether in firn and ice and quite difficult, especially the N-flank with its hanging glaciers, which falls down with ice faces and ice breaks to the Vadret da Tschierva. The ascents from the italian side are mostly rockclimbs.

    The Piz Scerscen got its name when people become interested in the icenose. It was climbed for the first time in summer 1877 (22th of Septemer) by Paul Güßfeld with the guides Graß and Capat. It got directly famous and is a standard ice tour till today. The nose is a ice break of the huge high firn plateau. In 1870, Heim and Güßfeld measured an absolute height of 60 meters. Ulrich Wieland, one of the most famous ice climbers of the 1930s estimated 100 meters in 1929, 30 m of it with 90°. Other people even estimated it still higher and as overhang. Erich Vanis, who climbed it 1958, thought, that it was abou 50 to 60 meters high and with an average steepness of about 50°. The main reason why it has been estimated easier in later times is probably the advance of technical aid (crampons and ice screws) which lets the climbers belief that it is not as difficult as the first climbers thought.

  • Routes Overview

    A. From the swiss side:

    1. N-flank:
    • SS, 8-10h from Tschiervahut (today scarcely ever climbed and not recommendable, even not as descent when having climbed up the icenose) (SAC)
    2. NW-ascent ('Eisnase'/icenose):
    • S, 6-7h from Tschiervahut (SAC)
    • 700 hm (face), 40°-45°, at the icenose till 60° (1-2 rope lengths), 3-4 h (from the Fuorcla da l'Umur) ( Vanis )
    3. WNW-flank:
    • SS, 8-10h from the Tschiervahütte
    B. From the italian side

    4. SE-flank:
    • ZS, III-IV, 6-8 h from Rif. Marinelli (SAC)
    5. S-face:
    • ZS, III-IV, 7-8h from Rif. Marinelli (SAC)
    6. SW-couloir:
    • ZS, 6-8 h from Rif. Marinelli (SAC)
    7. Traverse from SW to NO (Piz Bernina):
    • S, III-IV, 6-8 h from Porta da Roseg (SAC)

    Getting There

    1. To the Piz Scerscen:
    • a. You come from the Tschiervahütte: cross the glacier with direction to the W-foot of Piz Umur, from there you go the steeper snowflank up and on the glacier along the west side of Piz Umur.
    • b. You come from the Rif. Marinelli.
    2. To the Tschiervahütte:
    • You reach the hut from Pontresina: on foot (1h), by mountainbike (to rent at Roseg-inn) or with coach (reservation by phone necessary!) to the Roseg-Inn (1999) in Roseg valley. You only have to follow the wide road.

    • From Roseg-Inn, you cross the river via a bridge and go along the river till the way goes up over the hangs. You follow the way all the time and reach in 2 h the Tschiervahütte.

    • You reach Pontresina by train or car on the road no. 29 from Samedan. You reach Samedan on the road no. 27 either from the NE (Zernez, via road no. 28 from Davos in the N or from Bozen in the E) or from the SW from St. Moritz. To St. Moritz a few kilometers on the road no. 27 from Silvaplana (and the Lago di Como). To Silvaplana, you can come also from the N from Chur on the road no. 3. To Chur: On the A13 from the N from the Bodensee.

    When To Climb

  • Summer (june to september)

  • Camping and/or Accomodation

  • There is a camping ground in Morteratsch, 10 min. by train from Pontresina.

  • Mountainhuts

    1. From the swiss side: Tschiervahütte (2580 m): 2. From the italian side: Rif. Marinelli
    Mountain Conditions and General Information

    • Phone-numbers:
    • Coacher (for reservation): 0041/81/8426057
    • Roseg-Inn: 0041/81/8426445
    • Touristinfo (Pontresina): 0041/81/8388300
    • internet: http://www.pontresina.com/
    2. WEATHER

  • Schweizer Landeskarten:
      1:25000 no. 1277 Piz Bernina
      (1:25000 no. 1257 St. Moritz)
      1:50000 no. 268 Julierpaß
      to order at 
    DAV Service

  • Books

  • SAC-Führer: Bündener Alpen, Vol. 5 (Bernina-Gruppe)

  • Erich Vanis , Im steilen Eis. Munich 1980.
    ISBN 3-405-12158-2

  • Walther Flaig , DAV-Gebietsführer: Berninagruppe. 11.th ed. Munich. 1997.
    ISBN: 3763324178