The sight is always overwhelming. The rays of the winter sun caress the frozen ice, making the gigantic climbing wall in the Pontresina gorge glow in ever-changing colours. The route of the ice climbers leads precisely along the spots that seem to be the smoothest. The waterfall is frozen piece by piece in these areas and contains little air. This is important during the ascent because it provides a secure hold for ice screws, ice axes and crampons.
Anne-Pierre Ackermann, host at the Romantik Hotel in Samedan, has been working closely with the mountaineering school in neighbouring Pontresina for years. There, climbing fans are welcomed by mountain guide Marcel Schenk. Those interested do not need any experience on the slippery wall for this slippery adventure. Marcel Schenk and his team are always on site and ensure the safety of the ice climbers. "Of course, it is an advantage if a basic level of fitness is available and those interested in climbing are free from vertigo. However, even more experienced ice climbers will have a severe muscle ache the next day," says Marcel Schenk.
In a three-hour introductory course, those interested can dare to climb the ice climbing wall. The equipment is provided and consists of a helmet, ice axes, crampons, ice screws and climbing harnesses. "Usual winter clothing is sufficient on the wall. We recommend two pairs of gloves - a thinner one for climbing and a thicker one when standing at the bottom of the icefall," explains the mountain guide. "The fascinating thing about ice climbing is the constant change. The icefall is never the same, the climbing experience changes every day."
The Pontresina Gorge
In the Pontresina gorge, icefalls of up to 40 metres await sporty climbers; in the Engadine, the peak is 300 metres high. In the evening, the icefalls in the Pontresina gorge are artfully illuminated. A magical, fascinating atmosphere that makes you want to go on the next cool climbing tour.
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