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TouringTip | Piz d'Err

Great tour to the gatekeeper of the Julier Pass

by Philip Crivelli 12/18/2017
The Piz d'Err is one of the highest mountains on the Julier Pass, the gateway to the Engadin. Although the mountain itself is well-known, it is not overrun in winter. This is probably mainly due to the fact that the climbs are a little more challenging or involve an overnight stay in a hut. However, the descent and the panorama make up for every drop of sweat burned on the ascent.

The Julier Pass and Bivio in particular are traditional touring areas. In the main season, solitary tours between the top of the pass and Bivio are a rarity. However, if you turn left before Bivio at Sur in the direction of Alp Flix, you are much more likely to make your own tracks.


From the edge of the village of Sur, follow the road to Alp Flix. The alp is located above the edge of the forest on a large area. From here, traverse northwards along the slope. After a while, a basin opens up on the right-hand side, at the end of which lies Piz Calderas and our destination, Piz d'Err. Interestingly, Piz Calderas towers 20 meters above Piz d'Err, but it is still overshadowed by its neighbor in terms of fame. At an altitude of 2800 m, the challenging part of the ascent begins. Here you turn into a steep south-facing slope, which you only leave again at an altitude of around 3,250 meters. After the steep slope, the route continues over flatter slopes until the terrain becomes steeper again towards the summit. Leave your skis in the ski depot for the final ascent to the summit. Now climb into the gap between the two peaks and follow the ridge in a southerly direction to the main summit.

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The reward for your efforts is now at hand. From the ski depot, the descent first leads along the glacier in a north-easterly direction. At the end of the glacier, the terrain drops steeply. The descent now leads fairly directly north down to Alp d'Err. From 2700 m above sea level, the slope becomes flatter again and gradually runs out to just above Alp d'Err. From there, follow the valley floor to the next small alp. Here at Alp Viglia, turn onto a forest road and follow it to Tgant Pensa. Depending on the snow conditions, you can continue a little further on the paved road, but often the last few meters down to Tinizong are covered on foot.


Depending on snow conditions, fitness level and weather conditions, there are several variants on this tour. The most obvious option is to climb over the steep slope on the ascent to Piz d'Err on the western side and reach the left side of Piz d'Err. Just like on the right side, there is also a glacier there. And just like on the other side, the slope at the end of the glacier leads steeply into the valley basin to Alp d'Err.


It takes a little planning to complete the tour as a one-day project. As you don't return directly to the starting point, it's worth considering where you want to leave the car. Or whether it is better to do the tour by public transport. As always, this depends on various factors.

The ascent is particularly challenging on the steep southern slope. Crampons skis and probably also for feet can make things easier. The descent is world-class, but requires safe conditions as the slope is very steep and difficult to see.

The further descent through the valley is no longer difficult. Nevertheless, the valley, which is only open in summer, has its charm. The forest road through the forest should not be underestimated either, as it is not particularly wide and the terrain around it is steep in some areas. In certain snow conditions, it's not easy to ski down there in style.

At the end of the day, the Pir D'Err is an extremely rewarding but challenging tour in an area where you don't meet very many ski tourers.


To get from Tinizong to Sur, it's best to briefly check the bus connections over the Julier Pass at We parked our car at the end of the passable section of the road from Sur towards Alp Flix. Information on snow conditions is difficult to find. Generally speaking, the area in Central Grisons is not blessed with record amounts of snow, which can significantly influence the conditions for safe conditions and sufficient snow, especially in the lower altitudes. The webcams in Bivio and Savognin may provide useful information.

Important! Northeast of the stream in the valley to Alp d'Err is a nature protection area. However, there are also some permitted ascents and descents there. It is best to consult the current maps at

Difficulty (5-level scale):****
Special dangers: As always, pay attention to the avalanche situation. The descent leads through very steep terrain. Safe walking on steep terrain is also required for the ascent.
Exposure: Ascent mostly south, descent mostly north
Altitude difference start and finish: Start Sur 1610 m, Piz d'Err 3377 m, Tinizong 1232 m
Altitude difference ascent and descent: Attitude difference ascent approx. 1800 vertical meters, descent approx. 2000 vertical meters, depending on snow conditions
Duration: 8 hours
Best time of year: March-April
How to get there: From Tiefencastel, follow the sign in the direction of Alp Flix in the hamlet of Sur. Depending on the snow conditions, park your car in the village or along the road towards Alp Flix.

Note: The PG touring tips are general descriptions of tours that we like subjectively. Our touring tips DO NOT REFER TO CURRENT CONDITIONS. Read the situation report and the weather forecast and plan your tour accordingly.

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This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

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