Short hikes to one of the many huts, hikes to the glacier in under an hour, and even simple hikes are all overflowing with wondrous surprises. In Pontresina, mountain sports guests don’t have to push themselves to their limits in order to have fun. For beginners in particular there is a comprehensive range of activities on offer – while at the other end of the spectrum, the ambitious climber preparing for major tours in the Himalayas or Patagonia, for example, will also get their money's worth. Or, to quote Gian Luck: "For me, as an all-year mountain guide, Pontresina is the place that is most interesting."
Base Camp of the Engadine
Adventurer and summiteer
Gian Luck (1982) presides over the Bündner Bergführerverband [Grisons Mountain Guides Association] and manages the Bergsteigerschule Pontresina, which was established in 1963. With an impressive 86 mountain professionals, it is the largest and oldest mountain sports provider in all of Grisons.
"A good mountain guide is an old mountain guide."
For him, the Bernina Range is simply home. And then there is of course his love for his girlfriend, who drew him to Pontresina. Either way, he has not once regretted it – quite the contrary. "Bringing a guest to the summit is just cool. It is a lasting experience." Gian Luck sums up his enthusiasm for the climbing profession; he never takes risks, "Because a good mountain guide is an old mountain guide." For about 200 days of each year, he takes guests to the Piz Bernina and Piz Palü – the two most famous peaks in the Engadine. Many arrive as guests and leave as friends. A mountain adventure binds people together.
If you want to get a taste, you can rent everything on site, from hiking boots to full climbing equipment. And the hotels also play a crucial part, offering special lunch packages for tours. Luck suggests a one-day ice training course for sporty beginners: students familiarise themselves with climbing gear such as crampons, ropes, and the necessary techniques. In the evening, it's off to the Diavolezza so that you are ready to climb the Piz Palü the next morning. For people with tour experience, the Biancograt holds great appeal. And for professionals, Gian Luck recommends the more demanding alternatives "Bumiller" and "Ostpfeiler". Both are technically difficult and steeper than the normal route.
GUIDED SKI AND SNOWBOARD TOURS INCLUDING EQUIPMENT RENTAL
The Bergsteigerschule Pontresina and Go Vertical give tour advice, offer guides, training and provide rental equipment.