Home base for Switzerland hiking

Mar 11th, 2006, 07:42 AM
  #1  
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Home base for Switzerland hiking

We want to do a village based hiking trip in September. We want to visit Grindewald, Wengen, Murren, Kandersteg. Which places have the best day hiking trips? We aren't sure where to spend our multiple nights and how best to split our trip up?
Should we stay 3 nights in Grindewald, or spend more nights in Murren? Helpful suggestions appreciated.
krissykris is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 08:01 AM
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Hi again, krissykris

I booked myself into 4 nights at Murren, but after the 3rd, I decamped for Spiez, having done all I wanted to do. I did a lot of walks and hikes, and cable car trips to the peaks and the valleys. I was also blessed with 4 days of straight sunshine in September. Had it rained or been foggy, it would have been a far less interesting place to be.

Were I to go back to that area, I would book myself into Lauterbrunnen or Wengen and "commute" to the peaks by cable car and train. I wouldn't count on my weather luck again, and I'd want a location that enabled me to easily day trip to cities in case of bad weather. Gettting to and from Murren is just to complicated for that.

The Lauterbrunnem valley is beautiful (it's fantastic to look up at those peaks). I've heard Wengen is attractive and convenient to everything.

The one place I wouldn't stay is Interlaken.
nessundorma is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 08:04 AM
  #3  
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Do you know what maps we need to get?
krissykris is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 08:18 AM
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If you can find a copy,the topographic map of the Bernese Oberland is vital. There are plenty of good hiking guides, too.
The best one in English is by Kev Reynolds.

Hikes are well sign posted.

The classic in the area is to take the trail from Schynigge Platte over to the gondola station named First. ( = ridge in German)
It is fairly long and you need an early start to take the train up to Schynigge Platte in time to head out on the trail. You want to arrive at the gondola station before the final valley descent.
The times are shortened in September, so it depends on when you will be there.

If you really want a challenge, the trail from Mürren over the Sefienenfurka to the Höhturli to Kandersteg would require a night in an alpine shelter hut.

It is quite arduous. Never did it myself, but I have talked to people who have.

Around Kandersteg, the hike from the Kandersteg side over the Gemmi Pass to the Daubensee is a good one. You can descend on the cable way to Luekerbad and return to Kandersteg by train.

You do need to time it right, of course.

Another very good hike is from the Grimsel Pass out to a shelter "hut" that overlooks the glaciers. It is about a 10 mile round trip. Again, you could stay at the hut.

The term hut can be misleading. Some of them are 3 story buildings that sleep 125 people and are attend by a full time staff during the season.

I perfer to stay in lauterbrunnen and commute because distances are short.
That way I am not shifting my base and all my clothes from place to place.

Oh one more. at the end of the Lauterebrunnen Valley, trails go up higher and higher to some alpine lakes and a shelter hut on the flank of the Jungfrau.
It is a steep climb. There are hotels in the mountains along the trails.
I say "hotel", but they are rustic.

There is also a hotel on top of the Faulhorn which you can visit on the Schnigge Platte - First hike. But the route is optional. the view from the top of the Faulhorn is like no other in the region.

The area is full of good hikes. I have not done them all, but the ones I have done are rewarding.
brookwood is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 08:26 AM
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Krissy,

We generally stay 3 nights each in Grindelwald, Mürren, and Kandersteg (actually at Oeschinensee, the lake). We haven't run out of hikes yet. Grindelwald probably offers the most, in terms of number and variety. There is a 1:25000 Wanderkarte (hiking map) for Grindelwald, one for Kandersteg, and a 1:50,000 Berner Oberland Landeskarte. I'm sure there are others as well. European hiking maps are expensive, but the tourist information offices also have free brochures that show the various hikes. Unless you have a travel store where you can actually look at the topo maps, I suggest you wait and buy them there.

I think a good guidebook, such as the Seattle Mountaineers' "100 Hikes in the Alps", or Kev Reynolds' "The Bernese Alps of Switzerland: a Walking Guide" will tell you much of what you need to know---starting and ending points for the hikes, route, difficulty, and so on. I started planning our first trip there by using these books, picking out the hikes I wanted to do, and then choosing our village bases from there.
enzian is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 08:30 AM
  #6  
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We have a week to hike. We are unsure if we should pick a few villages in which to day hike or try to hut to hut between villages. Suggestions? We want to end up in Kandersteg as we understand this will easily get us to Italy by train after our hiking trek is finished. Should we stay a few nights in Wengen, a few in Murren and a few in Kandersteg, bussing between Murren and Kandersteg and skip Grindewald? Which villages have the best hikes? We are good hikers and have climbed mountains, but don't want anything too technical and don't want 3500' per day. Also, we want to make sure we don't box ourselves in too tightly with a 12 mile hike each day if weather is bad.
krissykris is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 08:36 AM
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Enzian, are you hiking between those three towns or traveling between them by bus or train? How long does it take to get between each location? We only have a week. If we hike it, will we be on trails or a road
krissykris is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 08:39 AM
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Where do you stay at this lake? I did a search and can't find this place
krissykris is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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Grindelwald, Wengen, and Mürren are all quite close to one another. Grindelwald is in one valley. Wengen and Mürren are small, car-free villages on benches on opposite sides of the Lauterbrunnen valley. You can see from one over to the other. From Grindelwald, you can take a train up and over the ridge to Wengen and down to Lauterbrunnen. The old funicular from Lauterbrunnen is being taken out of service, so to get to Mürren one will have to take the postbus to Stechelberg and ride a gondola lift up from there. You can see the train schedules here: www.sbb.ch

Kandersteg is in a different valley on the other side of the mountains behind Mürren. The train there from Lauterbrunnen takes 2 hours. You are correct that it is right on the main line into Italy, so it makes a good base. Brookwood suggested some good hikes there.

I suggest, again, that you get one of the hiking guidebooks. Spend 3 or 4 nights in either Grindelwald, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, or Mürren, and the other 2 or 3 at Kandersteg. You can travel between them by train.
enzian is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 09:06 AM
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The map I have is this one:
Berner Oberland Landeskarte Der Schweiz

Issued by the Bundesamt für Landestopographie. I presume the hq is in Bern. I got mine from The Adventuresome Traveler Bookstore several years ago.

The last time I looked, Amazon had taken over the franchise and the offerings had dropped dramatically. I am sure a good outdoor store somewhere in the US would have one. I just don't know which one.

One other aspect of Lauterbrunnen you should take into account is that the cable line from Lauterbrunnen up to Grutschalp, where one transfers to foot or to a small train, is scheduled to go out of service around the end of July.

It is being dismantled and replaced with a different form of cable conveyence - an aerial cable way using masts to support the cable.

The Schilthornbahn will be the main means of transportation from the valley to Mürren for several weeks until the new line is put into service, hopefully in December.

The train line to Wengen will be unaffected.

One other good hike is the Eigernordwand
Wanderweg. It runs from the Eigergletscher station downhill to Alpiglenn on the Kleine Scheidegg - Grindwald line.

I really think you are better off, if your legs are strong, to hike up rather than down. The angle of ascent/descent is enough that going down can be dicey.

The trail is used heavily and the surface is granular stone, i.e. skid prone even with lug sole boots.

I did with a game right leg and found coming up actually less of a risk than going down. I had a hiking pole that I used fully to keep my balance.

If you want a real adventure, tackle the cliffs of the Rots Gufer and go up to the Schreckhornhütte.

I have not yet seen a description of the Rots Gufer in English, but here is one in German:
Zwar helfen Ketten, Leiter und Haken, den Felsriegel zu erklimmen.
As I read this it says, Indeed helping chains, ladders, and hooks are there to help scale the steep rocky stretch.

The hooks may be places to tie ropes, or clip on carabiners.
I must admit, it was more than I cared to try.

the route takes you deep into the glacial world of the inner alps.
brookwood is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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If you hadn't already done so, go www.grindelwald.com and discover at least 20 different hiking trails described in detail from Grindelwald, Wengen and Murren. IMO, the most numerous hiking trails are in the First area above Grindelwald.

As I informed you on your other thread, the Jungfraubahnen Pass is exactly what you need to hike this entire region from Grindelwald to Murren. Have a nice trip!!! Mike
barbmike is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 10:22 AM
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krissykris---what is going on? You have about five different discussions going. It seems like everytime you get an answer, you change you mind and start a new discussion.
Nora_S is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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How does Nora_S know this? Simply click on your own name and see ALL your other posts. Mike
barbmike is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 11:35 AM
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Mike---I think she's just had trouble figuring things out. She expressed discouragment on one of the others, and I suggested she just follow through on one thread where she can ask her questions and get feedback. This one for Switzerland, and the "Special Lodging" one for Italy.

Since they are going in September, I suggested they spend 4 days in Grindelwald where they will have more options if the weather is iffy (we've faced snow in September!) I think your suggestions on Grindelwald are spot on so hopefully she will take a look.
enzian is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 12:49 PM
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One caveat about the Jungfrau pass.
It is good for 6 consecutive days at a cost of 190 chf for adults, normal price.]

It is NOT valid on the Schilthornbahn at all. The last section of that trip, from Mürren to the top, costs 65.60 chf.

For the Jungfraujoch, the cost is half of 91.60 chf unless you take the early morning run.
brookwood is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 12:54 PM
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I'm planning switzerland and italy ( cinque terre and tuscany) and so I started several posts to gather information on all three areas. Why would this be a problem? I guess for some of the experts in here, I'm not following the rules, but I don't know them. I have NOT changed my mind on a thing, just trying to figure out my lodging and make sure I can get there.
krissykris is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 01:15 AM
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I must agree with Nora_S. I replied to one of the threads and suggested a hiking itinerary. Never got a response.
Ingo is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 06:40 AM
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ttt
barbmike is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 07:33 AM
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You never got a response because I'm trying to research everything that has been said here and try to determine how it fits in and I've had to weed through a bunch of emails about knit suits or something.
Thank you for all you help, everyone.
I've spent the better part of my weekend on this. Never been in a chat room before, don't think I'll ever try this again since I guess I don't know how to do that either. For those that feel I have confused them or wasted their time, sorry for that.
krissykris is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 09:07 AM
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Kris,I'll add my two cents. My husband and I are returning to Switzerland for the second consecutive summer. We just can't get enough! ( We'll probably go back next year, too. ) The problem with Switzerland is that there are way too many beautiful places and not enough time to see them all. If you only have 3 days in the Berner Oberland, Wengen is a great place to stay. We did many great hikes there. You said a "village based hiking trip". Do you only want to stay in one place? We are doing a village to village hike through the Val D'Anniviers arranged by the tourism bureau which transports our luggage and arranges hotel stays. They have a 4 night plan as well. Other companies offer self-guided hikes, too. Just a thought, but if you base out of one place and get a good hiking map, the opportunities are numerous.
LLindaC is offline  

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