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Engadine Valley
July - August 2017
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Engine pod open - not a good sign. Five hours late getting away from JFK. Thanks, Delta.
First day in Sils-Maria, I climbed Marmorè, a nice 400-meter workout. The Silsersee (Lake Sils), Maloja at the far end. Delta Airlines, all is forgiven.
Part of Sils-Maria from Marmorè. The Hotel Waldhaus is the massive Edwardian pile on the forested hilltop above town.
Looking northeast from Marmorè. The Silvaplanersee, Silvaplana, the Champfèrersee, Champfèr.
Heading up into the Fextal from Marmorè.
The Fextal. The hamlet of Fex-Crasta on the left, the Silsersee on the right.
Along the Via Engiadina, a view of the Silsersee and the little hamlet of Plaun de Lej. This is an area of linguistic mixing - Lake (English), See (Deutsch), Lago (Italiano), Lej (Romansh).
The Via Engiadina drops down into Grevasalvas, filming location for the 1978 version of Heidi.
Climbing out of Grevasalvas along the Via Engiadina.
The Via Engiadina coming down from Blaunca, towards Maloja.
The Via Engiadina coming down from Blaunca. Beyond, the Val Bregaglia, about 400 meters lower than the Engadine.
The Silsersee, from Cadlagh.
The Silsersee from Isola, looking towards Maloja.
One day I hopped the bus to St. Moritz, took the short funicular from St. Moritz to Chantarella, then the long funicular, seen here, to Corviglia.
The half-way meeting of the descending and ascending cars.
The funicular approaches Corviglia (2486 m).
The last stage, a gondola from Corviglia to the summit of Piz Nair (3056 m).
Looking southwest from Piz Nair, towards the Champfèrersee, Silvaplana, and the Silvaplanersee.
The view from Piz Nair. One of those little bumps on the horizon is the Matterhorn (4478 m), about 175 kilometers away.
The view from Piz Nair.
The view from Piz Nair.
On Piz Nair, an ibex with modelling experience. He knew exactly where to stand, and didn't move for over an hour.
The view from Piz Nair.
The view from Piz Nair. There is an airstrip in the Engadine, at right, just long enough for your private jet.
St. Moritz.
On a relatively murky day, I took the lift to the Corvatsch Mittelstation, then walked the long Panoramaweg back to Sils-Maria.
Took the bus down the Maloja Pass to Casaccia, intending to take the long, relatively gentle trail up into the Val Maroz. The trail was closed because of a rockslide, so I had to use the "direct assault" route - 400 meters straight up. Got to this point in about one hour. Not bad for an old guy.
Not surprisingly, I had the Val Maroz almost entirely to myself. Ran into a few mountain bikers coming down from Bivio, but that was it.
A typical evening menu at the Waldhaus. The tough thing was choosing one from each category. In ten days, I never saw the same thing twice on the menu.
On another day, an excursion up the right flank of the Fextal.
High in the Fextal, approaching Fex-Curtins.
View back down the Fextal from Fex-Curtins.
Still higher in the Fextal, at Alp da Segl (2058 m).
Leaving Alp da Segl.
The end of the road in the Fextal at Muot Selvas (2070 m).
Coming down from Muot Selvas.
Coming down from Muot Selvas.
For those who don't want to hoof it, there are other hooves available.
Approaching Fex-Crasta.
The Hotel Sonne Fex.
The last stretch of the Fextal, approaching Sils-Maria.
Once again down in the Val Bregaglia, above Casaccia. The church of San Gaudenzio, early 16th Century.
San Gaudenzio.
Casaccia, and the lower end of the long series of hairpin turns of the Maloja Pass.
The hard way to do the Maloja Pass. If these two started at Chiavenna, about 25 km away, they've already climbed 1100 meters, and they're heading into the pass, a very steep 350 meter climb.
The remains of a medieval watchtower above Casaccia.
The Mera, below Casaccia.
Another day, and I took the lift to Furtschellas (2312 m). The Silsersee, and Sils-Maria at lower right.
Climbing from the upper lift station at Furtschellas, the Silvaplanersee beyond.
I headed up the rugged left flank of the Fextal. Just a bit windy.
The Fextal.
Still higher in the Fextal.
The upper Fextal. Time to layer up.
At the high end of the left flank of the Fextal, Lej Sgrischus (2618 m). Needed a woolly cap and gloves, had neither.
Lej Sgrischus.
The view from Lej Sgrischus, the Silsersee in the distance.
Lej Sgrischus.
Time to head back down.
Back down in relative warmth (60's rather than 40's), Fex-Crasta at lower left.
Looking back up the Fextal.
After ten days in Sils-Maria, I decamped for Pontresina, at the other end of the valley. I was not met by a hotel van since my hotel was across the street from the railroad station. Neither was I met by a vintage Bentley, alas.
Walking up Val Roseg from Pontresina. A long, gentle grade from town.
Nearing the upper end of Val Roseg.
Val Roseg.
Val Roseg.
Took the train from Pontresina (1805 m) to Ospizio Bernina (2253 m), in the Bernina Pass, and walked along Lago Bianco. This is a special train, consisting of rail cars from the 1920's.
Lago Bianco, in the Bernina Pass.
I climbed from the Bernina Pass. Here, the railroad station at Alp Grüm (2091 m) nestled in the valley above Poschiavo.
Sassal Masone, a little refugio at 2355 meters, below the Vadret da Palü (Palü Glacier).
The Vadret da Palü.
The Vadret da Palü.
The Vadret da Palü.
Looking back up at the precarious perch of Sassal Masone.
Zooming in.
The Vadret da Palü, seen from near Alp Grüm.
Another day, another glacier. The Morteratsch, flanked by the triple peaks of Bellavista, Piz Argient, Crast' Agüzza, Piz Bernina, and Piz Bianco.
The peaks of Bellavista.
Bellavista, Piz Argient, Crast' Agüzza, and the Morteratsch Glacier.
Looking up the Engadine Valley from Muottas Muragl (2456 m). From lower right to upper left, Celerina, St. Moritz, the Moritzersee, St. Moritz-Bad, Champfèr, the Chamfèrersee, Silvaplana, the Silvaplanersee, and Sils-Maria. The Hotel Waldhaus is the white rectangle above the most distant lake.
Swiss trail-building at its finest, along the Panoramaweg from Muottas Muragl to Alp Languard.
The Panoramaweg.
The funicular approaching Muottas Muragl. You didn't think I climbed up here, did you?
The Panoramaweg.
The Panoramaweg. The Lej da Staz (small lake) and Moritzersee (larger).
The Panoramaweg, Val Roseg opposite.
The Panoramaweg, the Bernina Range dead ahead.
Val Roseg rising from the Pontresina railroad station. I can see my hotel from here!
Piz Palü.
Pontresina, foreground, and St. Moritz, on the lake in the background.
Approaching Alp Languard on the Panoramaweg. On the horizon, the Bernina Range - Piz Palü, Bellavista, Piz Argient, Crast' Agüzza, and Piz Bernina.
Piz Palü.
Bellavista, Piz Argient, Crast' Agüzza, Piz Bernina, and Piz Bianco.
Piz Palü and Bellavista.
Morning in the valley below Pontresina.
The Lej da Staz, a little mountain lake on the forest trail between Pontresina and St. Moritz.
St. Moritz.
St. Moritz.
The gondola from St. Moritz-Bad (1772 m) to Signal (2130 m).
Approaching Signal.
The view from Signal, St. Moritz-Bad at right.
The view from Signal towards Champfèr and Silvaplana.
Postcard material for the Rätische Bahn. The train from St. Moritz heading for Pontresina, and ultimately for Tirano.
In the Pontresina railroad station, this chunky little diesel switcher spent all day shuttling carloads of timber and the occasional refrigerated car for the local supermarket, attaching them to passing passenger trains. I never saw an actual "freight train."
The Bernina Range, on the climb from Alp Languard to Chamanna Paradis. The cow couldn't care less.
A cow who isn't interested in hiking.
A cow with twisted horns who is refusing to sign a model release.
Chamanna Paradis (2540 m), St. Moritz in the distance.
A view of the Morteratsch Glacier spilling down from the Bernina Range, seen from Chamanna Paradis.
Flora and fauna. I was a bit late for wildflowers this year.
The capper of a visit to Pontresina. Take the train from Pontresina (1805 m) to Bernina-Diavolezza (2093 m), then the gondola ride to Diavolezza (2978 m).
Heading for Diavolezza.
Almost there.
The payoff. Freezing cold, howling winds that made standing up a challenge, but an unmatched view. Piz Palü and Bellavista, with the Vadret Pers spilling down below them.
Bellavista, Crast' Agüzza, and Piz Bernina.
Piz Palü.
The view from Diavolezza.