Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Region September 2012

After departing the Dolomites, we travel north to the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland, the mountain valleys and ridges towering above the enchanted city of Interlaken in central Switzerland.  Our plan is to hike from village to village, staying a few days at each destination to explore during day hikes, returning to the comforts of a small mountain hotel.

We start by taking  a train from Interlaken to Grindlewald, then walk through town and catch a cable car to the top of First - a big ski destination in winter.  From the summit of First, we start hiking west past Lake Bachalpse and up to the summit of the Faulhorn, where we'll stay in the Faulhorn "hotel" a mountain refugio perched right at the summit of the Faulhorn with amazing views of the entire glaciated range of Alps directly to the south across the Grindlewald valley.


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


The Finsteraarhorn (4,049 medters) at sunset - highest mountain in Switzerland - as viewed from the Faulhorn.
From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


We depart eh Faulhorn the next day and continue hiking north and west keeping a high line to ultimately reach Schynige Platte. From there we catch a cog train back to Zweilutschinen, and connect to a train that returns us to Grindlewald.

From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


Berghaus Manndlenen
From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


The weather drops down and rain enshrouds the valley so we pick a lower activity today.  From Grindlewald, we board the postal bus and ride it to the pass at Grosse Scheidegg.  Getting off in a total whiteout, we find the bright yellow trail signs and follow the red and white painted rocks back towards Grindlewald.  We stop at Hotel Wetterhorn for a coffee then head up the mountainside towards Michbach - a lodge perched in the mouth of the heavily glaciated valley below the Wetterhorn.  From there we hike right at the base of the massive cliffs below thee Mettenberg to Pfingstegg, opt NOT to take the cable car down and return by foot to Grindlewald.

From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


Hiking trail tunnel
From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


Next day, we take the cog railway up over Klieine Scheidegg pass and down the other side arriving in Wengen.  We deposit our bags at the Baeren Hotel, one of the only hotels remaining open at this time of the season, quickly re-pack day packs, and catch the cable car up from town to Mannlichen. From here we hike the incredible Panaramaweg  between contour lines, just below Tschuggen, pass through Kleine Scheidegg on foot, and then follow the gently descending trail all the way back to Wengen.

From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


Low clouds again on the next day, so we opt for a low key hike from Wengen to the Interlaken overlooks of Letterhorn and Spatenalp returning to Wengen with strong winds.  Today, the cog railways are all shut down up high and the Thuun winds are blowing at close to 100 mph across the ridges and passes.  Definitely a good day to stay below tree line.

From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


Today, we take the train down to Lauterbrunnen and hike up the valley to visit the stunning slot canyon waterfalls at Trummelbach, continue our hike to the head of the valley at Stechelberg, then return to Wengen.  Paragliders, and base jumpers appeared overhead every 15 minutes or so adding a stunning punctuation to the otherwise bucolic and surreal atmosphere.

From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


A tunneled, tracked, inclined cableway brings you up to the top of ten cascading waterfalls which erupt from underground and have carved out this slot canyon from the hard basalt.  Tunnels and balconies have been chipped out of the rock so normalk hikings can experience the power and magesty of this special place.  The hike follows the tunnels and staircases back to the valley floor.
From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


Today, we move to Muren by taking the train down from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen, then the cable car up to Gritschalp, then the train past Winteregg to Murren.  From there we hike through town, take the Allmenhubel elevated cable driven train  to its terminus (this train used to be the lift that supported the bobsled run)  and hike the remaining way to Blumental and the Sonnenberg hotel. The weather is so great, that we immediately depart on a day hike to Gimmelwald. The weather continued to hold, so we shot up to the summit of the Schilthorn on the cable car for sightseeing, and then back down as th forecast called for more rain tomorrow..

From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012



From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


As forecast, the next day was totally overcast, so we hiked from Murren to Grutshalp and returned to Murren on the train.

From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


On the next day, Diane rested and I escaped the low lying fog and clouds by hiking above them to the summit of the Bietenhorn (2,756 meters)

From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


Unfortunately, all great things must come to an end, and we had to depart the next day for Zurich and our flight home.

From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


Wood sculptures in the town of Brienz

From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


A few iPhone pictures captured with the TrueHDR app

From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


Faulhorn Hotel on the peak...
From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


Narrow winding roads with interesting signage
From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


Cow fences pulled down for the winter as the pastures convert to ski runs
From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


From Switzerland - Bernese Oberland Oct 2012


Selections from this post will be made available for sale as high resolution note cards, wall art, and posters by Thanksgiving 2012.  Stay tuned and I'll alert you when these images are ready. I'll b happy to make a custom wall calendar for you as well from any 13 images from the collection. 





2 comments:

Jane said...

What a super super holiday you've had, and such great photographs

Sam Lightbody said...

Wow! Unbelievable, otherworldly, spectacular photographs. We once spent a week in Wengen skiing, now I know that I must get there in the summer! Sam