Trip Report: The Beautiful Berner Oberland

Posted on 07 Oktober 2011

Instead of the headline ‘The Beautiful Berner Oberland’ I could also call the trip ‘An Untrained Person Tries To Walk In The Swiss Alps’. But one after another. My last three months were very busy. I had to work very much and we also have a small farm with three horses where is also a lot of work to do especially in the summer month. There wasn’t really time to write blog articles or something else. So I was really happy to have an time-out of three weeks from work. Since a time I had planned with my fiancee a ten day trip to Switzerland. She wanted to visit some friends  in the first days and I wanted to use the time for a 5 day hiking trip on the Via Alpina in the Berner Oberland from Meiringen to Adelboden. That was the plan two months ago. Two weeks before we drove to Switzerland I checked the forecast for my trip. It was snowing at that time in the alps. This was not the weather I had expected. After this I changed my three season setup into a warmer winter setup with sleeping bag and tent instead of tarp an quilt. Two days before we leaved Germany I checked the forecast again. Now they had a great Indian Summer. I decided to put several setups in the car to make a decision in Switzerland. You never know. The weather in the Alps is very changeable. We arrived on Monday afternoon and the conditions were perfect. I started to pack my LAUFBURSCHE huckePACK with the three season setup for my trip an the other day. It was a splendid feeling to go out for a trip after such a long time of work and I couln’t sleep in the night before I started.

Day 1 Meiringen – Schwarzwaldalp – Grindelwald – near Kleine Scheidegg

After a big breakfast in the morning my fiancee brought me to the starting point at the Reichenbachfall near Meiringen. The first kilomnetres were very boring, because the trail crossed several times the street up to the waterfall. On my way to Rosenlaui I met another hiker. It was David from the USA. He wanted to walk the same like me, but the stayed for the night in hostels. We decided to walk together on this first day, but our common path should be separated in Grindelwald, because David stayed there in a hostel for the night.

Slowly our way became more and more interesting. Along small rivers and old cattle huts we walked through the forest. Every now and then an avalanche had torn a large clearing into the forest. At the end of this forest we reached a valley. There was a big mountain with a glacier at the end. The view was perfect and it was a nice spot for a campsite, but it was really early in the day.

We mad a short stop there for some photos, snacks and refill the water bottles. Then we followed the track up to Große Scheidegg. The landscape began to change slowly. We reached the treeline an it got warmer and warmer. An Indian Summer had founds its way in these nice Swiss Alps.

After one and a half hour walking through blueberry bushes and undergrowth we arrived at Große Scheidegg. There we made a longer break with a cold beer until we continued our way down to Grindelwald. The first metres of the descent were beautiful. Lonely small trails and the Eiger ahead.

This should be changing rapidly. The trail ended and we walked some kilometres on the street up to Grindelwald. Arrived in Grindelwald in the afternoon, I said goodbye to David. He stayed for the night in a hostel and I decided to walk some hours because it was four o’clock in the afternoon und not yet time to rest. I started to follow the way in the hope to find a campsite for the night. But it should still become a hard and long way along many cattle pastures.

I passed Brandegg and Alpiglen, two small villages. The trail was very steed. My legs were burning and I couldn’t walk. I got cramps. Then I stopped and ate some chocolate to give my body new energy. Finding a campsite in that area was not possible, because it too steep there. Finally I took all my strength together and walked for another half an hour until I reached a beautiful campsite under a tree near Kleine Scheidegg.

I pitched my HMG Echo 1 for the night and made a delicious meal with porchini mushrooms and a warm tea. After dinner I went into my warm quilt before I fell asleep very quickly.

Day 2 Kleine Scheidegg – Wengen – Lauterbrunnen – Rostockhütte – Serfinnenfugge

The night was very relaxing. I woke up at seven o’clock in the morning and had a fantastic view at the Eiger Nordwand. After a fast breakfast with muesli and a cup of Starbucks Via coffee I packed everything and was ready for the day. My legs were in perfect conditions and ready for the next kilometers. It took me only half an hour until I reached Kleine Scheidegg.

Life was starting there at this moment. The first trains with tourists arrived there and I decided to leave this location very quickly. The descent took me via Wengen to Lauterbrunnen. One highlight was the descent along the race track of the Lauberhorn Ski Race. It is amazing to see where some people go down. They are completly crazy and adrenaline junkies.

The other way to Lauterbrunnen was net useful. Lauterbrunnen is the target point of the second stage from my journey, but I never had planned to stay there at noon. I followed the Via Alpina signs and they brought me to Mürren. The ascent there was anything but easy. However I could  walk the steep ascent in the shadow what it makes a bit easier. Mürren is a small village with a train station and lots of hotels.

Nothing what I would call beautiful. After a cold drink I continued my way and walked towards the Rostockhütte. This is a small SAC hut in die middle of the mountains. I arrived there in the late afternoon.

From that point I had two options for my trip. Walking via Sefinenfurgge down to Griesalp and from there up to Bluemlisalphütte on the other day or I had the chance to walk over the Serfinenfurgge an then over a glacier.  To make a decision I asked the hut tenants for advice. He told me that the way via Griesalp is safer, because the other hut in the valley of the glacier is closed and the way is not really easy.

Once more I had a look into my card and started to walk in direction to the Serfinenfurgge (2612m) to get my own impressions. When I arrived there at 6:15 in the evening it was getting cold.

On my way up there I passed the first new snow of the year. At the top I ate some nuts and an energy bar, because I was really tired and exhausted, but I decided not to walk via Griesalp. Even if the trail was safer I chosed the glacier route.

Now it was time to find a campsite for the night and I began to descend. This wasn’t really easy because the way was slippy and some mountains goats triggered rockfalls on me. I had to be very careful at this passage.

After another hour of descent I arrived a perfect campsite. A small water source was near me and some chamois grazed on the slopes. The HMG Echo 1 was pitched quickly and I put on my Montane Fireball Smock, because it was getting cold. I filled up my water bottle and made some hot water for dinner and a warm tea.

My dinner was disappointing. These Fuizion is not my taste. Somehow it all tastes the same. Instead of a delicious dinner I had some chocolate and nuts. After that I made some photos of the setting sun before I went to bed.

Day 3 Gamchigletscher – Bluemlisalphütte – Oeschinensee – Kandersteg -  Usser Üschene

The night was very restless. There were several glacial terminations in the night. Every time there was a thunder and I could not sleep very well so I decided to get up early in the morning.

A warm coffee and a splendid glacier view were a great start up and after packing I followed the trial. The Gspaltenhütte was on my way, but this hut was closed since some days. It was a perfect day, because the rising sun enveloped the glacier in a wonderful light. Only two big blisters on my feet clouded the mood. However, I could not go back. The way down to the glacier was very slippy and I had to be very careful.

One at the bottom I saw some glacial terminations of the night. You could feel how the glacier works. I used a short break for some photos before I followed the path. It was a constant up and down. After an hour I met two beautiful girls. We got into conversation and made a break with coffee, cacao and snacks. They told me that they spent the night in a hut and now they were on their way to the glacier. After the break we said goodbye and I continued my way.

Some marmots next to the trail prepared the caves for a long hard winter. I reached the ascent to the Bluemlisalphütte (1956m). Oh my god what an ascent. Two and a half hour steeply uphill on a slippy ground in the early morning to the Bluemlisalphütte (2840m).

What could be better???? I accepted my fate and started to walk. It was very exhausting so that decided to make a break after an hour walking. What could be better than a mouthful of cold water out of the platypus bottle? Finally I reached the last meters. Narrow and precipitous stairs led to the summit. Only secured with some cables.

It was not easy for me, because I am not afraid of heights in such a situation. But I did it. After three hours oh walking I arrived at the Bluemlisalphütte. As a reward I bought myself a cold Coke and a sandwich. Meanwhile it was time to leave this beautiful place. Time was running away and I had to do a descent down to 1132m to do.

Sun was burning really hot and I decided to make a sun hat out of my TAR Z-Lite, because I used my poles for the descent and it was not possible to use my umbrella as sun protection. Downhill was even more strenuous than uphill, but the excellent landscape compensated everything.

A highlight of the descent down to Kandersteg is the way along the Oeschinensee. It is a fantastic panorama to see this beautiful lake in front of the big mountains.

Exhausted and with legs full of pain I arrived at the train station in Kandersteg in the later afternoon. I could not walk any meter. Just sat there and asked me why I do all these things. Instead of pain I could have a relaxed trip. But in the end I was happy that I did it. Because I did not want to give up at that point, it was time to find a camp for the night.

After some chocolate I followed the signs of the Via Alpina in direction to Üsser Üschene. There I found a splendid campsite near a stream. On this day I went early to bed after dinner. There was no time for everything on that evening. No notes or photos of the landscape, only sleeping.

Day 4 Bunderchrinde – Bunderalp – Adelboden

This day started with the same procedure as the days before. Waking up early, packing and a coffee for a good start in the day.

But the start into this day was not to my expectations. I did not find the trail and walked over an hour on a wrong way. After a while I realized it and I saw the right far far away. However, I did not want to go back and finally I decided to cross the slope. This was the shortest way, but not the easiest. It was very steep and stony and I was a bit tired. After all I reached the right trail after half an hour and started my further ascent.

The trail was very small, stony and closely intertwined and I could not believe that I met some biker on this trail. I had some problems to walk there and they rode on their bikes down to Kandersteg. Crazy guys. One hour later I reached one of these nice alpine cabins. A hunter was there and he spent me a coffee. He told me the he wanted to hunt some chamois in the afternoon and that was time to prepare the cabin for the long winter.

We had a fantastic conversation and he told me good tips for some upcoming trips, so I must come back again. I really forgot the time and meanwhile it was time to continue the trail. Bunderchrinde was my first target of the day and I reached the pass after 45minutes of walking on scree. My next target and the end of my trip was Adelboden. The descent down to Adelboden claimed a further two hours.

There were no big highlights to which I can remember. I was really happy to reach Adelboden after such a short time. My fiancée waited there for me and she was really happy that I have arrived there without problems.

Conclusion:

Switzerland is a fantastic country for trips. I really love the Alps and this was not the last time that I stayed there for a trip. The decision to walk the distance in three and a half day was OK. I started untrained in this trip, but everything was possible for me. With this tour, I have made round about 12000m (ascent and descent together). Maybe my next trip would be a bit longer and in another season, because flora and fauna of Switzerland is worth seeing.


Some short Gear Reflections:

HMG Echo 1: On this trip I used the Echo 1 complete with the inner, because the weather in the Alps can be fickle. The conditions on my trips were perfect and I had no problems with condensation or something else. The only problem in my opinion is the big packsize of the inner.

Golite Ultra 20: This is still my favourite quilt for thhe three season setup. Warm enough to -2°C and very light. For winter trips I will combine it with a MLD Spirit or a MYOG synthetic quilt.

60g Cook Set: It  was my first time that I used this set on a trip, because I built it for this trip. The performance was OK. I only have to cannge the 1g stakes. They are too small and I have to improve the stove a bit.

BPL Merino Hoody: A fantastic piece of gear. Kept me always warm, although it is so thin.

LAUFBURSCHE huckePACK: Still a class of its own. It is my favorite pack and I like it really much.

Montane Fireball Smock: One of the best synthetic smocks, but I purchased a Mont-Bell Thermawarp Parka with a hood for cold winter and autumn trips.

Inov-8 Roclite 315: Perfect grip and still my favorite shoe.

Panasonic Lumix GF2 with 20mm Pancake: I took a long time, but I bought it. The touchscreen handling of the camera is fantastic and the combination with the 20mm Pancake is light and makes splendid photos. The cam fits without problems in a small LAUFBURSCHE hip belt pocket.

Fuizion Food: What a dissappointment. This food is not really my taste. Ordered some packages, but now I have to sell them.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-UJl0y5rZ1OE/Tps7QeGJH4I/AAAAAAAAFTM/lOw9q0qcLPw/s720/P1010352.JPG

  • Anonymous

     Beautiful! Thanks for sharing

  • JayDub

    I love that coffee cup.  I thought at first that was hot chocolate filling it, though.  

  • http://twitter.com/thunder_night joe newton

    Pretty, pretty landscapes Beni, thanks for sharing with us!

  • http://summitandvalley.blogspot.com/ Martin Rye

    Stunning scenes and good trip.  Thanks for this. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/jimdbui Jimmy Bui

    What pants are you using in that picture? They look good!

  • http://hrxxlight.com Benjamin M.

    It is a cheap 3/4 Meru Yokohama pants from Globetrotter Outdoor Store in Germany

  • Rosa Meyer

    hallo,
    bin gerade zufällig hier hinein gestolpert und dachte: ‘Hey, diesen innovativen Sonnenhut habe ich doch schon mal gesehen’!
    Tolle Bilder hast Du gemacht, da möchte ich sofort wieder losfahren, obwohl ich ja eigentlich lieber ans Meer wollte ;-)
    Alles Gute, Rosa
    (Die eigentlich mit perfekter, selbstgenähter Ausrüstung in die Berge starten wollte, es dann aber mal wieder nicht mehr rechtzeitig geschafft hatte …)

  • Pingback: Hiking in Switzerland – Greina Plateau | hrXXLight()

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