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The Gemmi Pass - Leukerbad side

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This is the Northerly route out of Leukerbad and goes to Kandersteg. It is a trade route through the Berner Oberland.

From Kandersteg & top of the Gemmi pass

Having walked up from Kandersteg, you have probably arrived at the café. As you approached it by the old hotel, usually closed, there was a path to the right, more or less parallel with the top of the pass. Follow this down & bear left when the other path goes off towards the Lammerenboden or the West side of the Daubensee. But before deciding to go down this path, read the next section, as some of the steps down are large &, while suitable for your pack horse, can be tiring for people.

Up from Leukerbad

I have stayed five times in the Hotel Derby, more or less opposite the bus station & convenient for the Gemmi Path, as you carry on past the hotel & look out for the sign to the left nearer the top of the village. I have done this walk up twice: once in 1978, anice day but, alas, I was without a camera but the following record & photos are from 7-9-2010, when, aged 67, I did it in the rain.

Leukerbad & the Gemmi Pass

The path goes up, gaining about 200m through the woods in big zig-zags until it arrives at the cliff where a big crack goes up it. Then, it goes in a rising traverse to the right (East) . This goes across to a second, bigger crack, up which the excellent pack-horse track goes, although it is hard to imagine this if you are looking up from Leukerbad.

The first zig-zags after leaving the
trees at the foot of the cliff.

The rising traverse. (This photo continues
from the one to the left).

Looking up the pass crack
from the end of the big traverse.

The path turns into the cliff in another large crack & this is where the safety ropes on the outside of the path start. (Note that these are not fixed ropes in the usual sense, because the path is quite wide, between 1.5 & 2 metres all the way for pack horses). There are a few zig-zags & then, a gallery rising into the crack.

This shows the two galleries in the crack

The first zig-zags in the crack
below the first gallery

In the first gallery. Note the height of the steps.
The ones in the second gallery are even larger.

Signs of a second gallery much further up can be seen & more zig-zags get you up to it. After moving up this, the path comes out by some trees, turns up to more zig-zags that bring you out into a sort of glade, where there is a sign to a Via Ferrata, which I ignored.

The zig-zags between the two galleries.

By the trees. Up is right to left.

Same place as photo to the left but looking up.

The path goes up the left-hand side of the glade (looking up) to a wide gully full of choss, up which a few big zig-zags go, coming out on the right side to a set of concrete steps.

Just before the Glade.

The chossy gully at the left end of the Glade.

Above the chossy gully.

The better set of concrete steps

These curl up to the left & come out on a 'normal' slaty Alpine path through grass to a rather more disorderly set of concrete steps to where the pass path comes out at the top, after, in my case 2 1/2 hours of a rather wet experience. it is another 1/4 hour to the Gemmi Pass Hotel by the cable car, where a university geology field group were staying. I wrote this record up over an expensive coffee (sfr 4.20) while it was fresh in my mind & while I dried out, which made it cheap at the price.

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Contact: Ken Baldry, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him URL:
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