We take the first lift up to Diavolezza. Here we marvel for the first time at the huge panorama of the Bernina range. We follow the hiking trail up to the moraine and over it down to the Pers glacier. Under the spell of the mighty north wall pillars of Piz Palü we cross the Pers glacier to Gemsfreiheit. Soon we also reach the Fortezza ridge. In an easy climb up to II degrees we climb over the rocks and soon stand on the glacier plateau of Bellavista. At first slightly ascending and always looking at the Piz Bernina, we get closer and closer to our daily goal. We finally reach the Marco e Rosa hut after about five to six hours. Here we recover from the tour and prepare for tomorrow's summit day.
Behind the Rifugio Marco e Rosa we climb over the glacier and a steep glacial slope up to the first rocks of the Spallagrat. Beautiful climbing in the II. and III. degrees follows now, before we stand on a narrow firn ridge. Via the pre-summit "La Spalla" we soon reach the highest peak of the Eastern Alps - the Piz Bernina.
The descent leads us back over the Spallagrat to the Marco e Rosa hut, where we take another short break. Then we start the way back and follow our tracks from the previous day over the Bellavista terrace, the Fortezza and the Persgletscher. Shortly before the Diavolezza with its wonderful sun terrace, we face one last climb.
Sewing machines, sports shops or even a railway line. They all carry his name. But the crown belongs only to him: The Piz Bernina (4'049 m above sea level) or also called " king of the mountains ", is the only four-thousander of the Eastern Alps and thus the Mount Everest of the Engadin. Unreachable. That's the way it's been for a long time. Until 1850, when the first climber Johann Wilhelm Fortunat Coaz dared an attempt - an extraordinary achievement. At that time he wrote in his diary: "At 6.00 in the evening we stood on the longed-for majestic peak on pure ground which had not been walked on by any human being, on the highest point of the canton. Serious emotions touched us. The greedy eye roamed over the earth to the wide horizon and thousands and thousands of mountain peaks lay around us, rocky from shining glacial seas emerging. Astonished and anxious, we looked over this magnificent mountain world."
First ascent of Piz Bernina
Coaz and his assistants started at 6 o'clock in the morning at the Bernina Inn at 2'050 m above sea level. The morning was nice and cold, the temperature was minus 2 degrees. The three pioneers were equipped with nailed shoes, a hemp rope, headscarves against the sun's rays and long poles to sound out crevasses. An overnight stay in the open air was impossible, too much preparation would have been necessary. Over the Morteratsch glacier they reached its feared "labyrinth" called crevice-rich part, which they crossed under great difficulties. Because the glacier was alive: The impressive sound of cracking accompanied the formation of new crevasses, pieces of ice constantly collapsed next to the three adventurers.
Sprint to the Summit
With courage and skill the three worked their way up the south side to the armpit, where they took the only break for refreshments. Here they also left all their luggage behind in order to climb as easily as possible over the ridge to the icy summit. At 6 p.m. the three had reached the finish line and had thus mastered 2,300 metres of altitude difference and 24 kilometres. Summit! Coaz spontaneously dubbed the still nameless peak "Piz Bernina". There was a cold wind blowing on the top. The boots and the wet trousers were frozen, the thermometer showed minus temperatures. So the three first climbers were forced to descend. Thanks to the full moon, the three saw enough to overcome the dreaded labyrinth and find the right, crevice-free way into the valley. At 2 o'clock in the morning, 20 hours after departure, they returned safe and sound to the Bernina Inn. Today, the Coaz hut in the Bernina region is named after him in honour of the first ascender.