Ken Baldry's Alpine Pages

Correspondence about the Berner Oberland

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Grindelwald are
Easy walking with Children
Engleberg to Kandersteg estimate
Kandersteg with a youngster
Two short trips in the Bernese Alps

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The Bernese Oberland

swiss trek

From: Amy Fried, e-mail Subject: advice on swiss trek
hi ken, your web site is incredible. good job on putting lots of useful info together.
i was wondering if you could recommend a 3 or 4 day inn to inn trek. i have hiked and biked all over the world but my boyfriend is not athletic, so i am looking for something extremely easy and beautiful for him.
i was thinking of doing something like 2 short days from either shnygge platte or lauterbrunnen to grindelwald and then on to meirengen.
or, alternatively to go somewhere in the valais, but i couldn't easily figure out a route there. i also couldn't figure out if the scenery was the same awesome snowy peaks kind of stuff. from what i understand the weather is much better there. do you have any ideas for a 3- or 4-day trek in the valais? thanks! amy

To: Amy Fried Subject: Re: advice on swiss trek
Hello Amy, The 'walk' from the Schynigge Platte to First is more-or-less all day but without much up-and-down. You go up from Wilderswil (train from Interlaken West or walk - never stay in Interlaken unless someone else is paying!), where there are several hotels, by the rack railway & go down in a gondola from First to Grindelwald. The views are fantastic. Don't go over to Meiringen from Grindelwald - it is no great shakes as a walk, especially as the road has been made up (although you can keep cutting it off). A better idea is to take the gondola from Grindelwald Grund to the Mannlichen & walk along the horizontal footpath to Kleine Scheidegg (great views of the Eiger, Monch & Jungfrau) & then, down to Wengen which is a charming place. Stay in Wengen. It is only half an hours walk down to Lauterbrunnen but it lacks Wengen's charm (like, no cars). Whatever you do, don't stay in the Hotel Falken in Wengen - it is crap & very few Swiss hotel are. If your boy-friend can't hack these easy trips, get him fit or change him!
As for the Valais, there are many wonderful trips but the weather is always pot luck anywhere in Der Schweiz. You do need to be fairly fit to get the best out of the Valais & the peaks are a different range from the Bernese Oberland (e.g. Matterhorn etc) although from many places in the Valais, you can see both. Zermatt is well-equipped with railway & cable cars & one can do several worthwhile walks down. Saas Fee is the most beautiful place in the World (opinion) & there are two good, easyish walks with great views, up Mellig (you can get 1/2 way by gondola) & up the Mittaghorn from the Plattjen chairlift. Also, pleasant walk down from the Spielboden gondola or Langfluh (great glacier scenary) just above it. There is a short cable car from Spielboden to Langfluh.
If you want more detail, just ask. Best wishes & Berggruss, as the Gerry-speakers say, Ken

Easy walking with Children

From: Peter Brawn, e-mail Subject: Question about family walks in Switzerland
Hi Ken I really enjoyed visiting your web site on Swiss walks and hiking.
In the summer of 1999, my family (age 10wks, 6y,8y and wife Valerie) sent to Europe and stayed part of the time in Wengen. Did some walking and hiking around Wengen and Grindelwald combined with train travel. I would like to go back this summer. My 2 year old can walk quite well, but we have a baby jogger as well for longer walks.
I would like to fit in a few shorter and easy to moderate walks that would allow wearing some light day packs and either hut to hut or village to village for 2-3 days. My kids all enjoyed our time in the Alps in 1999.
Any recommendations that would be family friendly. Thanks for your assistance. Peter Brawn

To: Peter Brawn Subject: Re: Question about family walks in Switzerland
Hello Peter, I take it a 'baby jogger' is one of those rucksacks you put babies in - American/English language problem. You would need one. Grindelwald was a good choice for your 1st trip. Try my Kandersteg pages on this link
Do the walks round Kandersteg (several pages), then either:
1. Take the Stock cable car & walk over the Gemmi (stop for lunch at the Scwarenbach Hotel) to the other cable car down to Leukerbad - spa village with hot pools or
2. Train back to Frutigen & bus to Adelboden. Bus to the Engstligenalp cable car, up that & wonder at what you find.
3. Another day, bus to the Hahnenmoos gondola, up it to one of the most complete views in the Alps (Snow hills, forest & farmed valley) & walk down towards Lenk (bus stop some way down or walk it all). Lenk is heavenly. Adelboden & Lenk are on the Cross-Swiss Walk pages. From Lenk, go to the Simmenfalle, more like steep rapids than waterfalls. Also, bus to Iffigenalp & walk (3 1/2 hours) to the Wildhorn hut for lunch & back.
That will keep you busy & entertained. Any more info needed (like, how to get there), just e-mail me.

From: Peter Brawn Subject: Re: Question about family walks in Switzerland
Ken, Thanks for your helpful and prompt reply. BTW a "baby jogger" is one of those 3 wheeled (with bicycle like wheels) tricycles with baby in the middle for driving over rough ground and city streets. Actually when I was little we lived in Holland and spent a few winter holidays in Adelboden. My brother was there this past winter. Your recommendations sound great, Cheers, Peter

To: Peter Brawn Subject: Re: Question about family walks in Switzerland
Hi Peter, Your baby jogger does not sound very practical for the Gasterntal & Wildhorn Hut trips & I have my doubts about the Simmen Falls. A baby-carrying rucksack would be a better idea for those. The jogger should be ok for the others.

Engleberg to Kandersteg estimate

From: Bergae Gregg, e-mail Subject: Engleberg to Kandersteg estimate
Hi Ken, I'm going to Switzerland for two weeks at the middle of next month, following part of the route you took on your cross Switzerland trip. In the Liebermans book "Walking Switzerland", they say allow 10 days for the trip from Engleberg to Kandersteg, allowing for the possible poor weather. My questions are these:
Do you agree with their time estimate? How many "good weather day's" walk would you say it is?
Are there many exposed sections on this route?
I'm quite comfortable travelling in the mountains during rainy and foggy conditions, albeit on familiar Rocky Mountain and Sierra trails, sometimes bushwacking .Is this just not done in the Alps because of the dangers involved?
I am reading your accounts of the sections involved, and either it's a relatively safe route, or you are indeed a brave man!
I'd really like to "be on the move" even during rainy periods, and bivouacking if conditions warrant it. The reason being that I'd like to visit Zermatt for a few days at the end of my trip. I'd really appreciate any information you could give me on these points. Best Regards, Gregg Bergae
P.S. Can you buy medical/evacuation insurance in Switzerland? My thought here is that if it was a local insurer there'd be less hassles making a claim!, even though it would probably be more expensive than in the U.S.

To: Gregg Bergae Subject: Re: Engleberg to Kandersteg estimate
Hi Gregg, 10 days is good for Engelberg to Kandersteg. I reckon 7 days, including the first, half day & 10 gives you time for bad weather, rest days or looking around particular areas on the way. I have thoroughly revised the Cross-Swiss Walk pages in the last few days, as a result of this year's (2001) trip (note the two alternatives from the Joch Pass) & I have added a suggested itinerary to the first page. I don't know if you have seen the Grindelwald walks pages.
If the weather is set fair, it usually stays fair for several days. August can be Hot. The route is safe enough but, as I said in previous e-mail, bivouacing is not done or necessary. It is pleasant to stay in the older (& cheaper) family hotels & meet the natives. (E.g. Hirschen in Meiringen, Bellvue in Grindelwald). There are camp sites in most villages but, if you are on your own, you won't want to carry a tent etc or your load will be too heavy. See my rucksack page. There is a bunkhouse & nothing else in Griesalp in the Kiental. This stop separates two tough days, especially the second.
You get the train from Kandersteg to Brig through the Lötschberg Tunnel. At Brig, take the BVZ train to Zermatt. I have Zermatt walks pages as well.
I don't know about insurance in Switzerland. I have annual British Mountaineering Council insurance, which is good for all types of trip & skiing, so I charge it to my business. I once had to make a claim & there was little hassle but you have to be a member of an affiliated club.


From: Terry Brennan, e-mail Subject: Info on Grindelwald
Hi, I'm trying to organise a 4/5 day walking holiday in mid September for a group of reasonably fit 40 somethings, prefarably in the Grindelwald area.
Ideally we would spend most of the time walking from/to mountain huts.
The walks cannot be above snow level as some of the party are not experienced and have no suitable equipment. Do you have any useful contact addresses or info please?
In particular details of huts and approximate 'grade' of walk, the travel details can be easily arranged.
Many thanks Terry Brennan (Liverpool UK)

To: Terry Brennan Subject: Re: Info on Grindelwald
Hi Terry, Go to my Grindelwald pages:-
and the first four walks (Gleckstein Hut, Mannlichen, First to Schynigge Platte, Untergletscher) listed are ideal for non-serious-mountaineers. The Untergletscher one in particular (which you can continue as far as the Schreckhorn Hut) takes you into magnificent glacier scenery without having to step on the stuff.
If you have a fifth day, take the trains to Lauterbrunnen & do the walk on my Cross-Swiss tour, page:-
bottom of the page, for great views of the Lauterbrunnen Wall from the Jungfrau to the Tschingelhorn. Lunch at Ober Steinberg.
I was in Grindelwald recently & had forgotten how touristy it is! I stayed in the Hirschen, which is now pricey (nearly £40 B&B) but the Tourist Office is good. Anything else, just let me know. Hut to hut walks are not practical in Switzerland but very much so in Austria. Have a great time.

Kandersteg with a youngster

From: AJHJazz e-mail Subject: Kandersteg
I have enjoyed very much you web site holiday of Kandersteg. I will be enjoying Kandersteg this summer (June) with my family (wonderful wife and son of 8 years) . Can you recommend an adventure for us this June? Thank you in advance for your help.

To: AJHJazz Subject: Re: Kandersteg
Hi Andy & Arlene, The two walks on my Kandersteg page are suitable for an 8 year old, if you go up the chairlift for the Oeschinensee. Going up the Gasterntal, you can cop out at several places & go to the road for the bus.
Follow the Gemmi Pass link. Take the cable car to the Stock & walk up to the Schwarenbach Hotel for lunch. You have to walk back to the cable car though.
Other trips:
Go back by the railway to Mülenen & take the funicular up the Niesen for a great view of the lakes.
Take the train South through the tunnel to Brig. Take the train to Zermatt from there & the Gornergrat railway at Zermatt for a fantastic view of the highest peaks. This will be a longish day & needs good weather. (See my Zermatt pages).
Another, shorter train day: go to Brig & take the FO train to Betten & cable car to Bettmeralp. Walk East through the village to the gondolas that go up to beneath the Bettmerhorn. View of the Aletsch Glacier, the biggest in Europe. (This is not on the web site...yet).
How's that for a start?

Two short trips in the Bernese Alps

From: Marty Banks, e-mail Subject: hiking in Bernese Alps
Hi, My son and I want to do some hut-to-hut hiking in the Bernese Alps in August. Roughly 4 days and 3 nights. Can you direct us to useful webpages or email addresses for finding out about possible routes. Level of difficulty shouldn't be too great because we are unlikely to be bringing ice axes and crampons.
Thank you very much, Marty Banks
Martin S. Banks Professor and Chair of Vision Science 360 Minor Hall UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-2020

To: Marty Banks Subject: hiking in Bernese Alps
Hi Marty, I gather you hit my web site. The Berner Ob is not well laid out for hut-to-hut, as the huts are placed to climb hills. Austria is much better in that respect (see my Stubai pages). However, there are great village-to-village walks over passes, as on the site. For the stuff on my web site not marked 'Alpine option', you shouldn't need ice axes in August - the snow will have gone. Don't try Mürren to Kandersteg, that's really tough but any other walk in the area on the web site is ok. There will be some Lenk-based stuff after my next trip at end-June but how about this:-
Start in Kandersteg. Day 1 Go over the Gemmi Pass to Leukerbad. Day 2, the high-level footpath to Montana (not on the web - my photos aren't good enough. Day 3 Gondelbahn & Cable car to Pointe de la Plaine Morte (you've crossed the Röstigraben) & follow the signs to the Wildstrubel Hütte (back over the Röstigraben) & down to Iffigenalp (Rawil Pass route) & Lenk. Pretty place. Day 4 Over the Stüblenipass to Lauenen. Day 3 is a sort of rest day (downhill most the way) after the long Hoheweg from Leukerbad.

From: Andrés e-mail Subject: Berner Oberland
Dear Ken, Me and my wife are planning a trip (3 day hike) ion the Bernese Oberland,. I have checked you web page which has been very helpful and would like some advise from you if possible. I was thinking of walking from Grindelwald to Murren through Wengen. Do you think this would be an appropriate hike for four people who are moderate hikers? We are not interested in Alpine hiking since we don't have the equipment. Where would it be better to begin? In Murren and end in Grindelwald or viceversa. We have a book of Berg House of the area and plan to stay in a couple of them. Also, for hiking maps, which woudl be the best option? Many thanks for your kind help!! Andrés.

To: Andrés Subject: Re: Berner Oberland
Dear Andrés, Start in Grindelwald & walk over Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen. You may want to shorten to climb up by getting the train to Alpiglen but the whole walk only takes a day. Next day, take the brief walk down to Lauterbrunnen & the walk up through the woods to Mürren. This is only two days altogether but you can walk or take the cable car up the Schilthorn at Mürren. The walk down via Gimmelwald from Mürren to Stechelberg is quite nice. Map is the Landeskarte 'Berner Oberland', which is a bigger combined map.

If any of this info is of use to you, please print it off & take it with you

If you need any more info, please e-mail me.

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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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