Morteratsch and Pers glacierMorteratsch and Pers glacier
Roseg glacierRoseg glacier


Eternal Bernina ice

The Bernina range is not only one of the most beautiful but also one of the most intensely and densely glaciated mountain ranges in the Eastern Alps. According to an inventory, there are currently still  87 individual glaciers in the Bernina range, covering a total area of around 85 km2, 69 of which are located on the Swiss side and 18 on the Italian flank of the mountain range.


The loss of glaciers in the Bernina range since the high point in 1850/60 as the result of global warming means that almost 35 km2 or just under 30% of the then glaciated area has melted.

"Glacier cave" at the Morteratsch glacier in 2005
"Glacier cave" at the Morteratsch glacier in 2005

Morteratsch glacier

The Morteratsch glacier – known as Vadret da Morteratsch in Romansh – slowly wends its way along its 6 km route from Piz Bernina down into the Morteratsch area and along the Isla Persa, where the Morteratsch glacier merges with the Pers glacier. Its volume totals around 1.2 cubic km, and in terms of length it is the third longest in the Eastern Alps. Since 1878, the glacier has lost more than 2.2 km of its length.

  • A glacier walking path provides information at 20 stopping points on climate, geology, and botany. The accompanying book on the glacier path entitled "Lebendiges Gletschervorfeld" is available from Pontresina Tourist Information and the municipality.

  • In spring, a marked ski route leads from Diavolezza over the glacier to Morteratsch Rhaetian Railway Station.

  • Natural wonders include the "glacier caves", which are constantly being formed at the base of the glacier. These ice grottos are formed by water. The small stream of the winter months becomes a torrent of glacier water in summer. The streams run along the ground, carving their way through the glaciers, carrying huge boulders and grinding their way through the ice. The fine dust formed in the process changes the clear water into white "glacier milk". The resulting caves only survive the winter and are washed away by the torrents of water in spring.

Morteratsch and its history

The moving local tale of Aratsch and his beloved tells the story of a young mountain farmer who wanted to marry the daughter of a rich landowner but reaped nothing but scorn from him. After moving away, he returned as a proud officer only to find that his beloved had since died. In his despair, he flung himself onto the glacier to his death. For a long time, the ghost of his beloved was heard mourning her dead lover:"Mort Aratsch! Mort Aratsch!" The new mountain farmer banished the ghost of the dead woman from the mountain pasture, cursing her poor soul. The glacier then started to move forward, burying the pasture beneath it.

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