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Bernese Oberland Ski Tour 

6 day trip | March - May

The Swiss Berner Oberland offers some of the most fantastic ski touring opportunities in Europe.  This amazing area of high peaks, many over 4000m, huge glaciers and an extensive system of high mountain huts, makes it a must for any ski touring trip.

 

Our 6-day ski tour starts with a meeting in Interlaken, a pretty lake-side town which is overlooked by the famous peaks of the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger.  We take the train to the Jungfraujoch, which goes inside the Eiger itself, to the summit at 3454m.  From here we begin our journey into this wonderful area.

 

We will use 4 of the huts for our trip and make several ascent and descent of peaks as we go.  This trip is best suited to advanced and expert skiers with a high level of fitness and, who want to explore one of the most beautiful areas in Switzerland. 

 

This trip makes a great alternative to the Haute Route, if you're looking to summit some high peaks and enjoy great ski descents then this is the trip for you.  We guide it on a 1:4 ratio only or a maximum group size would be 8 skiers with 2 guides. 



Itinerary

Day 0: This is the day you should plan to arrive in Interlaken.

Zurich and Bern airports are the closest international airports.  For travel from the airport its best to take the train to Interlaken West railway station. 

Our preferred hotel is the Hotel Rossli in Interlaken, a small family-run hotel in the old part of town. 

We will have a meeting with your guide at the hotel around 6-7pm where the guide will run through the plan for the week, update you on the weather forecast and snow conditions and do a kit check.  This is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have related to any aspect of the tour.



Day 1: This is the first ski day of the tour.
You will catch the train from Interlaken West railway station after breakfast at the hotel, and travel to the Junfraujoch.  This journey takes just over 2 hours and offers spectacular views of the north face of the Eiger and many of the 4000m peaks of the Oberland region. 

 

At the top of the Jungfraujoch you have time to look around at some of the tourist attractions there and take in the magnificent view, before setting off towards the Hollandia Hut.

We will first ski south-west on the upper part of the Jungfraufirn glacier towards the peak of the Rottalhorn.  We make our first ascent towards the Lauroitor at 3659m, it's also possible to climb onwards to the summit of the peak called Louwihorn 3773m (its sometimes spelt Lauihorn).  The col at Lauroitor is a perfect place to view the Mönch and Eiger as well as the north wall of the Gletscherhorn and the Äbeni Flue.

 

From here we have a long and magnificent ski down the Kranzbergfirn glacier.  We bear right-handed, having past the end of the south ridge of the Kranzberg, onto the Grosser Aletschfirn.

We then have a steady ascent to the Hollandia hut at 3235m, where we overnight.

 

Total ascent for the day is around 680m (2230ft), descent 905m (2965ft).



Day 2: We will leave the Hollandia Hut early and aim to make an ascent of the Äbeni Flue at 3961m. 

We ascend via its south-west flank, having left the Hollandia hut and traversed back across the Grosser Aletschfirn in a north-westerly direction, we head up the right-bank of the Äbeniflue glacier and at around 3560m we begin traversing towards the south-west face.

The summit of the Äbeni Flue looks like it has 2 summit peaks, the true summit is the left-hand one at point 3962m, and can be reached by climbing directly to the saddle separating the 2 peaks and traversing left to the top.  The summit provides 360° views of most of the massif, so you can take in the routes of the days ahead.


Usually, we descend back to the saddle and ski the superb slope of the south-west face back in the direction of our ascent.  Sometimes it is possible to descend on the south-east side, but this can depend on the snow conditions at the time.  Once we re-join the Aletschfirn glacier its skins on again to make the steady climb to the Konkordiaplatz and the Konkordia hut at 2850m.  We overnight in the Konkordia hut.

 

Total ascent for the day is around 875m (2860ft), descent 1265m (4139ft).

Day 3: Today's aim is to traverse between the Konkorida Hut and the Finsteraarhorn Hut, via the Grünhornlücke, a col at 3279m.  Initially, we have a steady climb on our skins up the Grüneggfirn glacier to the col, this climb is just over 450m in vertical high gain and will take about 1 -1.5 hours at a steady pace.

 

Once we have made the initial descent on the other side of the col we stop and put our skins back on again and climb towards the peak of the Wyssnollen at 3590m.  We climb up in a south-westerly direction towards the summit, at the top you get magnificent views of the surrounding 4000m peaks.  The descent is via the same route until we reach the Fieschergletscher, then we have a steady skin across its vast expanse to the Finsteraarhorn Hut at 3048m.  Here we spend the first of 2 nights. 

 

Total ascent for the day is around 1320m (4325ft), descent 1125m (3675ft).

Day 4: We have a number of choices today, depending on weather, snow and avalanche conditions and how people are feeling. 

 

The peak of the Finsteraarhorn at 4273m dominated the skyline in the Oberland and is a wonderful objective, although it is not possible to reach its summits with skis we can reach the peak of the Hugisattel at 4088m, a fine 4000m ski objective.

 

Other options typically include an ascent of the Agassizhorn or the Hinteres-Fiescherhorn.  All are fine day tours from the hut, you will spend a second night in the Finsteraarhorn hut.

 

Total ascent and descent for the day if we go to the Hugisattel will be around 1200m (3937ft).

Day 5: Today we make our way to the Oberaarjoch Hut via an ascent of the Grosses-Wannenhorn a fine peak with its summit at 3906m.

We leave the hut and ski across the Fieschergletscher towards the imposing peak of the Grosses-Wannenhorn, we have a reasonably long skin to its summit, around 1000m elevation gain; so you can expect it to take 3-4 hours in total.

The final summit slope is steep but perfectly skiable and makes an excellent descent on the way down. 

 

We ski back to the glacier below and glide down to the junction with the Galmigletscher.  From here we have a steady but quite long climb to the hut, the views of the Finsteraarrothorn and the Oberaarrothorn take our minds of the walking!  We overnight in the Oberaarjoch hut.

 

Total ascent for the day is around 1550m (5085ft) and descent 1340m (4396ft).

Day 6: Our final ski day, we have one last big ascent to the Vorderes Galmihorn a peak that overlooks the Goms valley at 3507m.  It is a reasonably steep ascent from the Galmigletscher, but well worth the effort for the views that afford from its summit. 

 

We descend northwards to the Bächilicke, the col that leads us to the Bächigletscher and our route our of the Oberland.  We have a long descent to enjoy on this southeast facing route, that will eventually lead us to the village of Reckingen.  We may need to walk down the road to the village or catch a bus or taxi, from there we will take the train back to Interlaken.  Usually, we would be back at our hotel in Interlaken by late afternoon. 

 

There are other routes out to the valley that include going through the Oberssrjoch pass down to the Grimselpass and then picking up the train to Interlaken.

 

Total ascent for the day is around 505m (1656m) and descent is 2445m (8021ft).

Day 7: This is your travel day home, the tour finishes after breakfast and your free to make your onward travel when it suits you.  Typically you need to check-out of your room at the hotel by 11am. 



*Please note that the itinerary can change along the way due to changes in weather, mountain conditions, and any other unforeseen circumstances.

For a detailed map of the route, you can click on this link and see each day outlined https://s.geo.admin.ch/7bbf8e0f9e

 

 

Price Description

Please contact us for a price for this ski tour, typical inclusions and exclusions are detailed below.

 

Price Inclusions: 

  • 6 days of skiing with a UIAGM/IFMGA certified guide 

  • 5 nights accommodation in mountain huts on half board in dormitory-style accommodation 

  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Interlaken (1 at the start and 1 at the end) based on a comfortable 2* style hotel, twin room sharing bed & breakfast

  • Use of avalanche transceiver, climbing harness, shovel, and probe 

 

Price Exclusions:

  • Flights and transfers to and from airport to Interlaken

  • Any other train/taxi/bus local transport required for the trip 

  • Possible purchase of lift tickets

  • 2 evening meals in Interlaken

  • Lunches and drinks each day

  • Ski/boot hire if required

  • Rescue Insurance

  • Travel Insurance 

 

Participant Requirements

We grade this as an advanced level ski tour.  Participants should have previous ski touring experience, be able to execute a good up-hill kick turn and be familiar with using boot crampons and carrying an ice axe.  Skiers need to have a good ski level where you can ski off-piste in all snow conditions including powder, crusty and heavy snow where you can link controlled parallel turns in the fall line at a regular speed and stop in control.

 

We will be touring through various snow conditions (possibly including everything from deep powder to ice).  You should be comfortable touring on slopes up to 40 degrees, using ski crampons, and making kick turns.  If you have not had much experience ski touring, we recommend going out with a guide in your local area for a day or two before the trip.  Alternatively, if you are a good athlete and a quick learner, you can hire one of our guides for a day or two before the trip to help nail down some of these important touring skills. 

 

The downhill skiing component of this trip is also very important.  You should be comfortable skiing black diamond runs in the ski area in any condition (crud, powder, ice, etc).  It is very helpful to practice skiing on your touring skis to get used to their performance as it may differ from your typical downhill skis.  If you feel comfortable on them on black and double black runs as well as crud and powder, you should do well.

We run this tour on a maximum ratio of 1:4 or 2:8.

 

FAQs

Expected Weather:

Spring weather in the Alps can vary from hot and sunny to cold and stormy very suddenly.  The temperatures can fluctuate between highs in the 70’s and 80’s (Farenheit) during the day to lows below freezing at night.  If we are touring on the glacier in the mid-day sun, it can feel extremely hot, but a strong wind or cloud cover can cause the temperature to drop drastically.  We could also encounter stormy conditions that could be bad enough to make us abandon the route and search for skiing at lower elevations or in marked ski areas.  

 

Huts:

The mountain huts in the Alps are essentially basic high alpine hotels.  The provide dormitory-style accommodation with basic washing facilities.  Pillows, duvets (or 2 blankets) are provided, you just need to bring your own cotton or silk sleeping bag liner.  They serve breakfast and dinner and plenty of other hot and cold food on request.  Lunches, drinks, beer, wine etc can all be brought in the huts.  These huts are typically big and will sleep up to 120 people each night, so they can seem busy and noisy (bring your earplugs for nighttime).

 

Groups:

We do not put together groups of skiers who do not sign up together.  We have found that trips are much more enjoyable when you do them with friends.  All you need is a group of 3 or more and we will run a trip for you.  We can run the Bernese Oberland Tour with 1 or 2 people, but the price changes so email us for more information about that. 

Travel Information: 

We suggest you fly into Zurich Airport and take the train to Interlaken West railway station.  Journey time is a little over 2 hours and usually requires 2 changes, 1 at Zurich main station and one in Bern.  You can look up and book tickets in advance on www.sbb.ch/en

 

To access the start of the trip we take the train from Interlaken West to the summit of the Junchfraujoch railway.  This journey will take just over 2 hours and require 2 changes of train, 1 in Lauterbrunnen and 1 at Kleine Scheidegg.  The cost of the journey (one-way) is currently 120.40 CHF per person.

 

At the end of the ski tour, we finish in a village called Reckingen.  In Reckingen we take the train back to Interlaken; this journey will take about 2.5 hours with 2 changes; 1 in Brig and 1 at Spiez; currently the cost of this journey (one-way) per person is 62.60 CHF.

Accommodation:

Hotel Rossli in Interlaken is a comfortable 2* hotel, it's owners, Christopher and Nadine, provide a warm and friendly atmosphere. 

It's in a great location in the old part of town, 5 mins walk from Interlaken West railway station.  There serve a good breakfast, have tea/coffee/hot water available 24/7 in the sitting area.  The bedrooms are clean and comfortable and there is an Italian restaurant next door that serves great food.

 

Insurance:

There are 2 different types of insurance: Travel or Trip Cancellation insurance and Rescue insurance. Typical travel insurance will cover the cost of the trip if you have to cancel before or during for any reason.  There are many companies that offer this type of insurance such as Travelguard and Travelex. For rescue insurance, we recommend getting the Swiss heli rescue insurance (http://www.air-glaciers.ch/sion/carte-de-sauvetage/charte-du-sauvetage/english).  If you have rescue insurance through an Alpine Club or your own provider, that should work also.

 
 
 
 
Other tours and ski mountaineering trips you may be interested in...
 

 

Bernese Oberland 

We can run this ski tour on dates from Mid-March to Mid-May

 

Contact us directly for custom trips:

smartguides@mac.com

tel: +1-206-925-3991

 
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