By Dennis Payne, ed.
Here’s a challenge – Hike to 3900m before breakfast
Alpinism Adventure in the Engadine
Switzerland, April 2016: This summer, Grand Hotel Kronenhof (www.kronenhof.com) is giving guests the opportunity to capture the excitement of a kid’s mountain camp, by sampling a wide range of Alpine adventures that they would not normally get a chance to experience back home. There will be ice training on glaciers, rock climbing, an overnight stay atop a mountain and an early morning alarm call to hike up a 3900m peak to see the sun rise. Beginners, as well as intermediates are welcome, as guests will be taught the full set of skills required to complete all the activities.
The day following check-in, guests will meet the guides for a full introduction to the Alpine programme, then it will be straight into action with a full-day “Glacier Experience”. On the stunning Morteratsch Glacier, the largest in the Bernina Range, guests will be taught how to use climbing irons, as well as an ice pick and rope, to cross the frozen landscape, while the guides provide lots of interesting facts and figures on glaciology.
Day three brings a full-day “Rock Experience” during which guests will learn to hike and climb along “via ferrata”. This is a variant of rock climbing that involves following a route through the rocks, while equipped with double-length safety rope.
On day four, guests will have a chance to relax and make use of the Kronenhof Spa either side of lunch at Le Pavillon, before transferring to Diavolezza by cable car at the end of the afternoon. Diavolezza stands at 2,978 metres and it is here that guests will have dinner, then spend the night, at Berghaus Diavolezza, a typical mountain-top restaurant with rooms.
By 4am the next morning, the group will be heading out, headlights attached, ready to climb up to the summit of Piz Palü at 3,900 metres, using all the skills they have learned in the past few days. It is not for the feint-hearted; it is a four to five hour ascent and a three hour descent, but seeing the first sun rays kiss the majestic mountain tops make it all worthwhile. By the end of the afternoon, guests will be heading back to Grand Hotel Kronenhof where they will enjoy a well-deserved dinner in the Grand Restaurant.
On the final day, guests will benefit from a 50-minute AktiVital massage prior to checking out – they will most likely need it and will certainly have earned it – before returning home totally relaxed, having had to focus on physical pursuits for a few days rather than modern technology, and with a real sense of achievement.
The “Alpinism Adventure Days” package includes the following:
– 5 nights’ accommodation, with sumptuous breakfast buffet & half-board dinner in the Grand Restaurant on four nights and dinner, B&B in the Berghaus Diavolezza on one night
– Unlimited access to the Kronenhof Spa
– Unlimited use of all open mountain railways in St Moritz/the Engadine valley
– All Alpine activities & tuition, as described
– Use of all equipment required in activities (guests must provide their own clothes)
– Transfers to all activities
– Packed lunches on days two, three and five
– Lunch at Le Pavillon on day four
– 1 x 50-minute AktiVital massage