Some of the most spectacular glaciated summits in the Alps lie in the Engadin. Topping them all is the 4,049-metre Piz Bernina – the sole 4,000-metre peak in the Eastern Alps. What does it take to conquer this giant? Our mountain guides know exactly.
Piz Palü, Piz Bernina, Piz Roseg: this sublime trio stands on the “bucket list” of mountaineers from all over the world. These giants of rock, ice and snow form the core of the Bernina massif, which marks the southern boundary of the Engadin and offers countless ascents and climbing tours of all levels of difficulty.
The starting point for any guided ascent is the mountain guides’ office in Pontresina. The expert and highly experienced mountain guides know where the best conditions are to be found and which ascent is most suitable for you. Do you already have experience of climbing with an ice axe, crampons and ropes? Then the Piz Palü – dubbed the world’s finest glaciated summit – offers a popular goal.
The Piz Palü (3,901 m) and Piz Morteratsch (3,751 m) also offer good preparatory climbs before tackling the king of the Engadin mountains, the Piz Bernina (4,049 m). The demanding route over the legendary Biancograt ridge is regarded as one of the finest in the Alps, and rewards climbers with glorious views.
Visitors who have never used crampons can gain their first experience with a glacier trek on the Morteratsch Glacier. Even if this mighty river of ice is shrinking every year, the experience of walking on it is powerful: the colossal ice masses are awe-inspiring.
Most summit ascents begin with an overnight stay at the Berghaus Diavolezza mountain hotel or at one of the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) huts near Pontresina. The Diavolezza (2,978 m) is well worth a visit in its own right, not least because of the glorious views of the Bernina massif and its glaciers. The nickname “Ballroom of the Alps” is well deserved; accessing the panoramic peak is easy, thanks to the cable car. The SAC huts of Tschierva, Boval and Coaz are located in the side valleys of Val Roseg and Val Morteratsch, and also make popular hiking destinations.
In addition to the peaks of the Bernina massif, there are also thrilling ascents to be enjoyed to the north. One popular climb is the Piz Kesch / Piz d’Es-cha (3,418 m), typically tackled from the Chamanna d’Es-cha mountain refuge above Madulain. The neighbouring valley of Val Bregaglia, meanwhile, is home to the famous granite cliffs of the Sciora massif. The mighty Pizzo Badile (3,308 m), with its notorious north face, is known worldwide as one of the classic Alpine climbs. The Pontresina Mountaineering School offers guided ascents of these mountains, too.
Do you enjoy tackling panoramic peaks independently? The many summits in the Engadin accessible by high-altitude alpine hiking trails offer a thrilling challenge along with glorious views. The classic ascents: the Piz da la Margna (3,159 m) near Sils, the Piz Julier (3,380 m) above Silvaplana, the Piz Ot (3,246 m) above Samedan and the Piz Languard (3,262 m) near Pontresina.