Swiss Alpine Pass Route (Part 1)
This summer we decided to do the first half of the Swiss Alpine Passes Route which closely follows the Via Alpina route. The route can be squeezed into two weeks walking by rushing through it with public transport and so on, but it fits more naturally into a good 3 week trip. So we split it down the middle at Grindelwald and spent a few extra days there. We returned this year to complete the trip as we liked it so much, see Swiss Alpine Passes Route part 2for details.
Kev Reynolds book was quite useful in planning but mostly we used this website http://h2h.eurohiker.net/ as it splits the trip up into more sensible chunks and takes a slightly more interesting route.
Day 0: To Sargans
We flew to Geneva and took the train to Sargans, though it would be just as easy to go via Zurich.
Day 1: Vorsiez (1176m)
From Sargans head through Mels crossing the Seex River on the road to Vermol. Then to Weisstannen and west to Vorsiez. Alpsiez was a fantastic place to stay, a real working alpine dairy.
Day 2: Elm (977m)
Continue up the valley to Foo Alp (1875m). Climb over the Foopass (2223m). Then downhill through Raminerwald and along the Raminerbach to Elm.
Accommodation: Gasthaus Segnes
Day 3: Braunwald (1200m)
Follow the Sernf River then head off to Büel (1288m) then Matt (1699m). Then up to Obererbs (2161m), down to Wichlenmatt (2036m), finally climbing to Richetlipass (2216m). Then down (steeply) through Durnagel to Linth and Linthal – from where we got the funicular train up to Braunwald.
Accommodation: Hotel Adrenalin
Day 4: Klausenpass (1840m)
We took the balcony path to Unerboden to avoid a busy road. We finished the day hitching up to the Klausenpass pass to avoid a very heavy rain shower. Hotel Klasuenpasshoehe (1km on from the pass) is a fantastic little old Victorian hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel Klasuenpasshoehe
Day 5: Eggberge (above Altdorf)
Here we left the Via Alpina for a balcony route passing through Heidmanegg (1862m), Mettenen (1749m), Älpeli (1660m), Unterer Gisleralp (1685m), Hünderegg (1874m) & finally Eggbergen. Here we found the most entertaining cats and a very near lightening strike.
Accommodation: Berggasthaus Eggberge
Day 6: Stäfeli (1393m)
We took the cable car down to Altdorf, a bus through and then the cable car back up the other side of the valley to Brüsti (1531m). We then walked along the Grat ridge to the Angistock (2050m), & then the Surenenpass (2291m). The route then went down to Blacken (1773m) and finally to Stäfeli, which is a fab little mountain hut.
Accommodation: Berggasthaus Stäfelialp
Day 7: Engstlenalp (1834m)
On through Engelberg where some of us took the cable car to Trübsee. For the others, it was a hot but enjoyable climb out of the valley to the Trübsee (1764m) then up higher to the Jochpass (2207m) – (where it rained very heavily whist we ate soup in the cafe). Once the rain had stopped, we descended past Engstlensee (1850m) to the Engstelnalp hotel – another lovely Victorian hotel.
The rain brought out the Alpine Salamanders in huge numbers.
Accommodation: Hotel Engstlenalp
Day 8: Meiringen (595m)
We went via Tannalp (1974m) and the Tannensee, then took the path along the Erzegg ridge to Blameregg (2155m), Oberstafel (1831m), Understafel (1628m), Oberegg (1317m), Reuti (1061m), before descending at the end of the day into Meiringen which we did by cable car to protect tired knees.
The accommodation was great, but you need to factor in a further 20 minutes walk from Meiringen to get there. Buses can get you back into the town for food later.
Day 9: First (above Grindelwald)
We took the funicular up the Reichenbach Falls – this is worth doing for the views which you won’t get from the path. We then carried on up Reichental via Rosenlaui (1328m), to the Grosse Scheidegg pass. We then took the Hohenweg 2400 balcony route to First. Despite being a modern ski/cable car complex, Berghaus First was surprisingly good and the food and hospitality were outstanding.
Accommodation: Berghaus First
Day 10: Grindelwald
We dropped into Grindelwald after an uninspiring morning failing to get the famous spectacular views of the Eiger across the Bachalpsee lake in thick fog. We had booked a self catering apartment for a few days and we were determined to buy some new cotton clothing and get our smelly hiking kit washed in a launderette!
Accommodation: Ferienwohnungen Mettenberg:
Day 11: Bäregg
We took the local Pfingstegg cable car and did a little day trip out to Berghaus Bäregg above the Grindelwald Glacier and then back via Restaurant Milchbach and past the Hotel Wetterhorn.
This one was so good it has a page of its own…
To see Walcherhorn click here
Day 13: Faulhorn
Took a bus up to Bussalp, walked up the Faulhorn then down to the Bachalpsee. The Bachalpsee was well worth returning to, as with no fog in sight, the views were really spectacular. We then finally wandered down to Waldspitz where we got the bus back again.
Day 14: Eiger Trail
We took a train to Alpiglen and walked up the Eiger trail to the Eigergletscher station and then walked down to get a return train from Kleine Scheidegg.
Day 15: Returned home
But spent a few hours in Interlaken and went up the Harder Kulm funicular on the way back.
We found the weather this year was unusually hot for the Alps. We were also overwhelmed by the diversity of wild flowers. We actually got bored of orchids by the end of the trip!
Author: Phil Newby