At home on the peaks of the Lower Engadine
From draughtsman to passionate mountain guide
As a child and teenager, Marco spent many hours in the mountains and on the ski slopes. Even in his childhood, Marco appreciated the versatility of the Lower Engadine and the various sports opportunities. It was precisely this versatility that also shaped Marco's youth through the pursuit of various skiing sports. He took part in various competitions, including alpine ski races, freestyle and freeride events. During his apprenticeship as a draughtsman, Marco already realised that he did not want to work in an office all his life. After his apprenticeship, Marco worked as a cable car mechanic and height worker. During this time, Marco worked in various countries, including the USA, Italy and France. Marco worked as a cable car mechanic from May to November. To compensate, he took time off in winter to pursue his favourite hobby, skiing. The last cable car he installed was the chairlift in his home village of Ftan, and so he came full circle.
The beauty of my job is the variety between the seasons; in winter the focus is on ski tours and in summer on climbing. This variety is what I value enormously.
Fascination Mountain Sports
Mountaineering is suitable for everyone and this is exactly the challenge for Marco: to choose the right tour for the right guest so that they return home satisfied and safe at the end of the day. Today, the mountain guide is more than just the mountain guide, he is also a coach and mental trainer. «As a mountain guide, we have to give the guests confidence in themselves so that they can master the challenge at hand in the terrain,» says Marco. Climbing has not changed insignificantly in recent years, but guest behaviour has. Guests know a lot more about nature and the region, and as a mountain guide Marco can bring them even closer.
I like being in nature, especially in my home of the Lower Engadine, and I like working with people. So what could be better?
On ski tour with Marco Steinemann on the Minschuns Pitschen
It's 8.30 in the morning and Marco is greeting his two guests at the valley station of the Scuol mountain railways. «What are the expectations for today's ski tour?» Marco asks his guests. Paul just wants to go on a nice ski tour and spend a pleasant day in nature. Stefan from Zurich is 60 years old and has received new ski touring equipment from his children, which he now wants to test. They both go on ski tours regularly. Marco announces the destination of today's ski tour: The «Minschun Pitschen» at almost 2927 m above sea level. The tour starts at the valley station in the skiing area in Scuol. The first 1300 metres in altitude can be conquered with the help of the mountain railways. The first ascent begins between Mot da Ri and Compatsch in the direction of Piz Minschun and Piz Oscar. On the way, Marco keeps giving helpful tips, asking the two of them: «How do you notice already during an ascent whether the terrain is steeper than 30 degrees and thus whether you need to be careful with avalanches? By overcoming the ascent with the help of hairpin bends,» Marco tells his guests.
After the first ascent, Marco explains the different mountains nearby. After a wonderful descent through the deep snow, the second ascent begins and leads through the Chavigliadas to the Minschun Pitschen. At the summit it is time for lunch and the obligatory entry in the summit book. The descent, which takes about an hour, leads through the Val Tasna between Ardez and Ftan. Once there, the aperitif organised by Marco is already ready. Marco, Stefan and Paul let the day pass comfortably in review and come to an end. An all-round perfect day for the guests and Marco himself. The Lower Engadine is the ideal starting point for various ski tours – whether for beginners or advanced skiers.
In summer on alpine tours and in the climbing garden of Ardez
In summer, Marco tends to go on high tours with his guests. One of his favourite mountains is Piz Linard. The Chamonna Linard CAS serves as the starting point for the ascent of Piz Linard. Marco has a special relationship with this hut. The hut is run by the members of the SAC section Engiadina Bassa Val Müstair on a voluntary basis. In his childhood, his mother hosted this hut and so he was often in the Chamonna Linard CAS as a child.
My personal goal is to get to know the Alpine arc even better. We have the most beautiful mountains on our doorstep, you don't necessarily have to go to the Himalayas for that.
Commitment to the local SAC section Engiadina Bassa Val Müstair and the mountain sports youth of the Lower Engadine
Marco himself is also a board member of the SAC section Engiadina Bassa Val Müstair, the only Romansh-speaking section in Switzerland. For Marco, climbing has become a trend sport; more and more people are climbing indoors in halls and now want to try this experience in the mountains.
The Lower Engadine is close to his heart – so he has invested a lot of time and energy in the renovation of the climbing garden below Ardez over the last few years. In addition to improving the existing routes, Marco has opened up new routes. Marco would like to continuously expand the offer. The mountains and climbing are his passion and Marco passes this on to the children as JO leader of the SAC section Engiadina Bassa Val Müstair. Marco is on the move with the young people, who are between 10 and 21 years old, throughout the year. In addition to mountain sports, Marco's hobbies include biking, hunting and punk rock concerts, where he finds a balance.
Mountaineering School Grischa
During his training as a mountain guide, Marco was an aspirant at the Grischa mountaineering school. After his training, he was able to join the company. Each of the five owners has a region in the canton of Graubünden which they cover. They are the respective specialists in their region. His guests want a local guide and through the mountaineering school this can also be offered.
For me and the Grischa mountaineering school, the sustainable idea is in the foreground, which is why each of us offers the tours in our region/home.
Text: Sven Berchtold
Images: Andrea Badrutt, Claudio Daguati