In a snow pit, incorporating about 2.5 a of accumulation, on the 4 450 m high Colle Gnifetti, Monte Rosa, various snow characteristics, isotopes (δ
18O, 3H), electrical conductivity, dust, trace elements, and pollen were investigated. The aim of this study was to develop a key for the stratigraphic interpretation of cores from cold, high-alpine firn areas. It appears that the strong influence of wind results in mixing and re-sedimentation processes in the surface layers. Nevertheless, by interpreting several parameters in a combined way, it is possible to classify a large number of the layers according to their season and sometimes to their place of origin. Apart from the melt layers, which only appear in early summer to summer layers, other prominent features are the (Saharan) dust falls, characterized by dust and conductivity peaks.