The Bernina Pass

We’re 2328m up and it’s 4.45am. The dreaded, annoying tone of Aiken’s alarm is going off and it takes him a few moments to realise it’s the signal to wake up. Sliding to the foot of the bed he flicks the lights on, as I bury myself under the covers away from the bright lights of the van. Aiken lights the stove and gets the water boiling, before filling the cafetière (he is the designated coffee maker in the mornings).
The kit we prepped the night before goes on as we take it in turns to get changed due to the limited standing space on offer in our home on wheels.

We drove the 12km up the Bernina Pass from Pontresina the night before in the dark, and as I get out of the van the following morning it all looks very much the same, the lack of light keeping the vast mountain ranges hidden from our tired eyes.
We’re high up above the valley below, where we had been riding the day before on the epic flow trails in St Moritz, so this experience would be mega different to the groomed turns and rollers on the opposing hills.It’s surprisingly warm, due to the cloud cover. Unfortunately we know that means no epic sunrises today, but we push on up and away from the van as it’s just too good an opportunity to miss.
We spy a bit of single track countouring around one of the peaks up in the distance and aim for that. The going is immediately pretty tough! The time, coupled with the altitude have us blowing almost straight away.With every crest, came even more spectacular views!The terrain got steeper and rockier the higher we climbed, however once at the top the views of the Engandine to one side, and Italy the other were just staggering.Whilst we didn’t get the glorious sunrise we were hoping for, the moody skies with the sun trying to break through just added to the feel of the morning! En route down Aiken spied out a spicy little line down some rocks!
Watching Aiken drop in to some pretty rough and sharp rock chutes at 2500m+ up at 7am certainly wakes you up.Nestled just above the lake was a small wooden hut, built so users of the mountain could take shelter if conditions got too gnarly. After ducking inside it we spotted a weather worn sign, but soon realised my GCSE Spanish wouldn’t get us very far- it was written in Romansch (thanks google), one of Switzerland’s language secrets that only those within certain corners of the country are really able to crack!Legs feeling fresher we got back onto the trail, and began the descent down the valley.It flowed so well! A few punchy climbs and natural alpine trail before a
mellow flowing singletrack dropped us over a 1000m into Samedan, out of the alpine, and back to valley floor. That were rate good. 

Photo Credit to Phil Gale and Emmie Collinge.

One Comment

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  1. Great shots guys, Aiken needs a proper hair cut…..bring him around here


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