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TouringTip | Roccabella

Leisurely ascent and racy descent on the Julier Pass

by Alexander Braschel 12/19/2019
A leisurely ascent in the sun, a racy descent in the shade. Doesn't sound bad, does it? You can find it on the Roccabella, at the end of the Julier Pass, above the small village of Bivio.

We actually only came across this tour by chance. Originally, we wanted to climb Piz Lagrev. However, on weekends in March, people tend to choose the tour destinations on the Julier Pass based on the availability of a parking lot at the starting point rather than other criteria, so we drove from Silvaplana until we found the parking lot at the valley station of the first T-bar (Tua) in Bivio. Of course, this tour is not an insider tip, but it feels far less popular than the other tours on the Julier. And in the steep, wide descent through the northern slopes, there is still enough untracked terrain even after several dry days.


The ascent from the parking lot is quite easy and is definitely a pleasant experience due to the lack of hairpin bends. We climb the first 100 vertical meters along the edge of the already little-used slope before we take the first opportunity to follow a ratrack trail slightly to the south-east and cross the stream here on a bridge. Following the track further south, we turn off in a wide arc to the east at the first obvious opportunity until we reach the Bocchetta d'Emmat (saddle) after a not too steep ascent. From here we head north in a few minutes, but now steeper, up to the 2727m high Roccabella. The reward here is a magnificent view from a fairly broad summit.

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The descent leads us from here through the beautiful, shady north-facing slopes with short couloirs. Weaker skiers can of course ski down along the ascent track. You can either ski directly from the summit into the northern slope, or (less or not at all frequented) you can cross the cornice a little to the west (a short ascent without skins may be necessary).

In any case, it is advisable to take a look at the face from the road beforehand and possibly take a photo, as the western section in particular is somewhat confusing from above.

Once at the bottom, you will sooner or later reach the ratrack trail again, which you follow in the direction of the Julierstrasse and which leads you back to the parking lot (skating is sometimes necessary).


Valley: Bivio

Altitude difference uphill | downhill: 920 m each (of which approx. 120 on a ratrack trail)

Best time of year: As soon as there is enough snow. Often offers good conditions even in late spring thanks to the shady high altitude.

Exposure: N, W, S

Special dangers: Downhill slope often blown in at the top. If in doubt, ski down along the ascent track.

Note: The PG touring tips are general descriptions of tours that we like subjectively. Our touring tips do NOT refer to CURRENT CONDITIONS. Read the situation report and the weather forecast and plan your tour accordingly.

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This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

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