For our most challenging walk of the trip there is a remarkably gentle warm-up as you leave from Pontresina and stroll through the Val Roseg. A gravel path snakes its way through the pine forest, slowly gaining height beside the torrent of meltwater gushing from the glaciers at the head of the valley. Information boards punctuate the walk offering insight into the valley, the wildlife found here, the forces of nature at work, and the conservation efforts.
The restaurant at Roseg is a good opportunity to gather your energy, because here the valley walls begin to constrict around you, meaning the only way out is up and over; the path veers right and begins zig-zagging up the wall of grass and rock. Now out of the tree-line, you can enjoy unobstructed views to the hulks of mountain that blockade the valley and the glaciers that clasp their near-vertical slopes. These are the biggest mountains in eastern Switzerland and appear even more majestic when you’ve climbed 1,000 metres to witness them!
From Fuorcla Surlej, a mountain hut in the saddle between Munt Arlas and Piz Mortel, you drop into the Engadine Valley, and enjoy a short descent to the Murtel Gondala Station which will bring you effortlessly back down. From here, take a bus to St. Moritz for your overnight.
There are several river crossings. There are always stepping-stones available but these may be slippery, and especially when wet. Take extra caution on these crossings.
Some of the path is along rocky steps and sections with exposed roots; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.
There are some exposed edges; be sure to read instructions carefully, stick to the main path, and don’t wander close to the edge. Use handrails where provided.
In early spring/summer there may still be patches of snow. Walk around where it is possible, and otherwise place your feet carefully and use walking poles if you have them.
This path requires you to cross the railway tracks. Check whether the warning lights are flashing, and then check both directions, before crossing carefully.
This route is above 2,500 metres so bear in mind you may feel a shortness of breath and additional muscle fatigue associated with the altitude.
Points of Interest
This secluded glacial valley is towered over by the highest mountains in Eastern Switzerland; along the way you will get glimpses to Piz Bernina 4049 metres, Piz Scerscen 3971 metres, and Piz Roseg 3937 metres. Clinging to these mountains you will see the glaciers of Vadret da Roseg above the lake, and Vadret da Tschierva to the east. The lake, Lej da Vadret has only been revealed by the retreat of these glaciers over the last century. The pine forest section through which you walk is rather more hospitable, and you might see red squirrels, woodpeckers and alpine flowers.
Food and Drink
After leaving Pontresina, there are restaurants at Roseg after 7km, Fuorcla Surlej after 11km and Murtel Gondola Station after 13km.
A steep climb separates Roseg and Fuorcla Surlej, which will take approximately two and a half hours. Be sure you have enough water before leaving Roseg.
Such is the way of Alpine hiking, that you need to be prepared for all seasons and weathers; sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required, as is plenty of sun-cream and a healthy respect for the sun.
Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
This walk is isolated with few opportunities to buy food or water so be sure to bring enough with you.