From Grindenwald

walking in the Swiss alps from Grindenwald

Schynigge Platte

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The rain had dampened our enthusiasm a little so we were a bit late to get started . We took the train from Grund to Wilderswil .From there we took a petite little train up the mountain to the Schynigge Platte. So the train climbs from a little over 500m to just under 2000m , 7km in distance , maximum speed 12 km/h ! The maximum grade on the route is 25% ! At the top it was raining , and about 90 % of the passengers that got out took out their packed lunches. After our lunch we went to walk the tour of the Platte.  On the first part of the climb up we encountered some wierd , black lizard like creatures . Lily thought the first one was plastic as it stood so still . They looked amphibious to me and they move very slowly when they do – turns out they are the Alpine Salamander – they look cute in the photos . After a climb up to the Obergenghorn for a look we continued on the tour of the plateau . We were too late in the day to make the long walk to First so rather than going back to the slow train we walked on to Zweilitscheiten. This was a long and tricky descent  with an average grade from the profile around 24% – walking downhill is not necessarily easy! It started through farmland and then descended through the forest which was a welcome change from the more open terrain. The ground was a mixture of rock , leaves  and mud . Finally we took the train back to Grindenwald and had fondue at the hotel next to the railway station before heading back to base at Grund . Tomorrow – train to Como , Italy.

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Waldspitz to First

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Another sunny day in Grindelwald. After a train from Grund to Grindelwald this morning we walked towards Bussalp and would decide the rest of our trip from there. Being on the other side from the Jungfrau the walk was through pine lined tracks and open fields rather than rocky tracks . Lil thought some bulls were chasing her but I think they were just being inquisitive. Every time we found a sign it still seemed to be 2 hours to Bussalp , despite us following the clear track markers . Finally we reached a track junction with Bussalp in one direction and Waldspitz/First so we were obviously not other track we thought so we turned towards Waldspitz. Much of the mornings walk had been up steep fields with the track rising from 1000m to 2000m before dropping down to Waldspitz. We had already eaten our packed lunch en route so we stopped for tomato soup , expresso and chocolate. On our way to first which is relatively short but a steep climb in the second half there was a cow standing in the grass next to a waterfall. The scenery is spectacular with lush fields and pine forest on one side and the rocky alps on the other.No picture can do it justice. On reaching Grindelwald we did our shopping and headed back to the unit . As it was an early finish I headed on the train to Kleine Scheidigg(2000m)  and ran to Manlichen(2200m) and caught the gondola back down. Just couldn’t resist doing a bit of altitude training . The rain had set in by the time I finished my run and it’s still coming down steady now . Guess we have been lucky with the weather here thus far.

First to Pfingsteg


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Woke to a beautiful morning and no cloud over the Eiger . Our plan was to walk from First(alt 2168m) to Schwarzhorn (2928m). We walked down to the station at Grund but the next train was to be 18 minutes so we continued walking to Grindelwald and on to the lift up to First. We boarded with a Dutch couple that were also doing a lot of walking and had the same plan as us . Our plans were thwarted as the top part of the track was closed due to snow. After getting out at First we headed upwards towards Schwarzorn and then made a right turn to take the long way to Grosse Scheideg . We were on the western edge of the range this time and most of the walking was along grazing fields and alongside streams . There were several alpine marmots that we spotted along the first part of the track. After the trun there was a lot of steep descents on rocky tracks. Several time we had to negotiate herds of cattle , they all seemed pretty docile. At Grosse Scheidegg we stopped for our packed lunch .  This seemed to be a meeting place for all sorts , bikes , walkers , buses – several tracks met up here. We continued going down , partly on bitumen now and partly through the fields when we could find the track . At the Wetterhorn hotel we stopped for beer and tea. Descending further  towards Grindelwald we must have walked past our intended path to Pfingstegg. We finally found a turn to Milbach which we knew was on the path to Pfingstegg . It wound up a steep , but pretty track through the bush (just as well cause this was the hardest part of the day ), we picked a few wild raspberries along the way. When we reached the track junctions we realized we were coming from the other direction – no matter – now we were on the track to the cable car at Pfingstegg. I was looking forward to sitting down and then found that this was a car they fitted as many into as possible and you had to stand !

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Under the Eiger on top of Europe

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Some of the cloud is lifting and looks like a great day . A short run – 20 minutes up , with a pause to take a picture of the Eiger without cloud, 10 minutes down then it was down to Grund to catch a train to Alpiglen at 1600m .From there we found the Eiger trail . It is well marked but more like we would expect a mountain trail to be. It winds beneath the famous north wall of the Eiger and climbs to Eigergletscher at 2320 m . The view is spectacular all the way though the Eiger was mainly in cloud . After a little under 2 hours we reached the station at Eigergletscher and had lunch in the same restaurant as the previous day. With it looking like an OK day we took the opportunity to take the train to Jungfraujoch – the top of Europe. Our Swiss pass gave us half price tickets – which meant we paid 111 francs! I wondered how on earth a train was going to take us up a mountain from 2300m to 3500m – well it goes through the mountain . There are 2 stops on the way up and they have a tunnel going out to several windows you can look out of that are on the edge of Eiger north wall – it is a sheer drop from the windows. On reaching the top – where in the complex up there  is the “highest watch shop in the world” – we went up the elevator to the “sphinx” lookout. After that we went out on to snow and walked up to a restaurant/hut at 3620m – I presume the highest restaurant in Europe ? the world. It didn’t seem to be far away but altitude , snow and a few moderate slopes meant it took the full 45 minutes the sign says it would . There are a couple of peaks either side here which must be close to 4000m altitude and the one on the left looks doable ( with the right crew).  After a quick coffee/tea it was back down to catch the train . The weather had closed in with fog and light snow and we were walking the last part pole to pole. The carriage we boarded was full of a UK scouts summer camp group. It was interesting talking to the 11 year old well spoken lad opposite us . They had come by ferry to France then bus to Switzerland. They were staying down past Interlaken and come up from there for the day and spent many hours up the top. A couple of kids next to us were suffering – but it seemed to be more hyperventilation – one the female leaders had the good sense to grab a paper bag ,in the end there were 3 hyperventilating and one vomiting . Things seemed to settle as we got out of the tunnel. One of the scout leaders said he hoped it wasn’t contagious …. I suggested in a way it was ! Train back down to Grindenwald to the supermarket and back to Grund for tea in our room . People have told us the weather is turning bad tomorrow but all I can see sitting here typing this is blue sky and some fluffy white cloud above the snow line of the Eiger . Oh , and my new watch says the barometer is steady at 902hPA(1018 corrected to sea level) .         (I’ve done the usual with a google map and profile – looks like the gps is doing some funny things and not always recording – I’m sure we weren’t eating in the air)