Ascent to Castore: a waltz through my best thoughts

Between Myth and Reality: My Adventure at the Quintino Sella Refuge and the Ascent to Castore Castore is a 4000 accessible to many but not for the inexperienced. To conquer its peak, I decided to book a Monte Rosa guide to gain my goal and of being able to look at it from a different perspective
ascent to castor
I’m not a mountaineer

I enjoy walking, but only when the sun is shining, the temperature is mild, and the effort is moderate. However, I am curious, I love stories, and I read the newspaper every morning. When at the beginning of August a few summers ago, I saw the news about the inauguration of the renovated Quintino Sella refuge in an environmentally friendly and sustainable version, I delved into it to understand, and I decided that I would have gone there. Whether the choice came out of boredom, curiosity, or an eco-friendly spirit doesn’t matter; the result was unforeseen, and the expectation far exceeded.
Reading about the wonders of the Quintino Sella refuge, I learned that it is the base for the ascent to Castore, one of the most accessible 4000-meter peaks of Monte Rosa. To me, who only knew Castore as the mortal son of Leda, offspring of Tyndareus born with the immortal Pollux in a whirlwind of mythological gossip, the Castore peak was just a mountain name among others. But I wasn’t aware of what an ascent to Castor entails.

Ascent to castor peak: a climb for many with guides from Alagna or Gressoney

Being a 4000 accessible to many but not for the inexperienced, I decided to book a Monte Rosa guide to look at Castore from a different perspective. The myth has always flattered me but that summer I needed a reality check! Getting to the Quintino Sella refuge was easy, a 3-hour trail with a final equipped route. I had a few thrills but which I faced chatting extensively with the guide, who tolerated me with patience.

The night in the refuge was easy

Quintino Sella at Felik is just as I had read in the newspaper: welcoming, warm, innovative, with a magnificent hall. I experienced it without worries, with a few beers and lots of chatter, as one can imagine an evening in a refuge. I didn’t realize I was at 3585 m.

Climbing Castore is not improvised

The next morning, Andrea, the guide who took care of my unsuspecting enthusiasm, made me get up at 4 am! In 3 hours, we were at the top of Castore, and those were hours I won’t forget. I learned not to get tangled in gaiters, to hold the ice axe the right way, and I let my best thoughts flow. Can’t say I didn’t make an effort, but it was a balanced commitment, rewarded by strong emotions. I peeked down at a sleeping Gressoney from above, breathed in the orange dawn in front of the Lyskamm, squinting to see the lights of Capanna Gnifetti. And finally, I emerged on a sharp ridge that scared me a bit, but Andrea taught me to handle it with the lightness of acquired professionalism.

And when I reached the summit, I had around me the Matterhorn, Gran Paradiso, Mont Blanc, Monviso, and I realize of how small but lucky I am.

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