Hiking on Via Alpina - Weather advice please!

Hiking on Via Alpina - Weather advice please!

Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Google+ Share this page on Twitter Print this page
Create an account to receive an e-mail when someone replies to this thread
Posts: 7. This thread is closed.
olifac3
olifac3
4 posts
new member
Apr 16, 2014 - 2:40 PM
Hi,

Myself and a group of friends will be Hiking/camping along the Via Alpina Green trail from 18-25 June.

As this is the first time we have been there, we have no idea what the weather is like so we don't know what clothing or type of sleeping bags to bring.

We will be hiking from Meiringen to Montreux, making stops to spend the night in a campsite at the following towns: Grindelwald, Murren, Kandersteg, Lenk, Gsaad, and La Lécherette.

If anyone has had experience hiking and camping near or in any of these areas, could you please advise us about the temperatures and climates. How cold does it get at night? What season sleeping bags would be best? What's the average daytime/nighttime temperature? What about rain?


Your advice would be much appreciated!!


Thanks,

Novice hikers/campers
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 18, 2014 - 7:54 AM

Hi olifac3, welcome to MySwissAlps!

We just had a weather related discussion here that might interest you. More about weather and climate can be found in the About Switzerland section, and specifically the weather page, which also has links to statistics by the official Swiss meteorological services.

The short answer to your question is that you can expect anything: from cold rainy days to warm sunny days. Things can change quickly too. Altitude and wind have a major impact on the temperature, and they can change quickly as you are walking in mountains. Even some fresh snow and night temperatures just above zero are possible, but it would be an exception in late June. The towns you have listed are mostly at an altitude over 1000 m (except for Meiringen and Montreux). The higher you are, the colder it gets, with a 1 C drop per 100 m gain in height as an extreme (usually much less). The nights could be chilly, the days can have highs of just 15 C, but also 30 C if Summer sets in. Dress in thinner layers to be able to adjust, be prepared for rain, but also bring your sunglasses, a cap/hat and suntan. I'm not a camper so I don't know about sleeping bags.

I hope this has helped you out!

olifac3
olifac3
4 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2014 - 9:57 AM in reply to Annika

thank you very much, your reply is very helpful!

kim11
kim11
320 posts
top member
Apr 21, 2014 - 9:31 PM in reply to olifac3

Hello olifac3,

Your signature of "novice hikers/campers" makes me concerned about your attempt of this hike.

We have hiked the entire via Alpina from Sargans to Montreux. We are very experienced Alpine hikers with 16 treks in Switzerland and a home high in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.The section you have chosen is one of the most difficult as it takes you over the very highest passes on the APR: the Sefinenfurgge, Hohtürli, and Bunderchrinde.

Weather is an issue, certainly in June. It was August when we went over these passes and we had ALL of our heavy mountain weather gear on. Layers and layers of undersilks, fleece, vests, waterproof down jackets, waterproof pants, heavy hats and gloves. It was frigid. You are almost guaranteed to get snow in June. In fact, it will be unusual if these passes are passable at all during that time. Rain is always possible even at lower elevations so you must have very good water repellent garments and boots regardless of your route.

The second issue is the difficulty of these ascents/descents. They are very steep and exposed (i.e. steep drop offs) in places, also with some difficult and slippery footing even in perfect weather. The days are long and hard and there is no "bail out" point along the way. These passes are nothing that "novice" hikers should attempt in any weather.

The third issue is camping. In Switzerland, you just can't lay your sacks down anywhere and camp out. You must camp only in designated camping grounds. But it sounds like you may already be aware of this as you mention "campsites".

I don't want to be a downer but it's best you know what you are getting yourself into.

olifac3
olifac3
4 posts
new member
Apr 22, 2014 - 9:08 AM in reply to kim11

Your concern is very much appreciated. Clearly we're under-prepared.

In light of this, is there any alternative that you would suggest i.e. a less difficult trail that could bypass the higher passes? Or perhaps instead, there is an option of taking transport to skip the high passes and sticking to the lower altitude trails?

Your advice on clothing is also duly noted, we will prepare accordingly.

kim11
kim11
320 posts
top member
Apr 22, 2014 - 7:08 PM in reply to olifac3

Well, the objective of the Via Alpina route is to go over higher passes therefore that IS the routing.

Pretty much anything that involves hut to hut or village to village hiking involves going over passes that will still be questionable, weather-wise. Taking transports to miss the passes and to stay at lower elevations means spending quite a bit of time every day on trains and busses to arrive at a village and do day hiking from there. Then packing up and doing the same thing the next day.

My recommendation is to stay in one base and do day hikes from that base. That way you can adjust your daily plan based on the weather and you won't spend lots of time riding trains and busses on days the weather doesn't fit with a more structured plan (which you need to have if you want to go from base to base).

If you are wanting to camp, I recommend Camping Jungfrau at Lauterbrunnen http://www.camping-jungfrau.ch/en/ueber_uns/default.asp?Kategorie=Aktuell. If you are novice campers you will find this campsite to have good features for you.

Lauterbrunnen is in the heart of the Bernese Oberland which, in my opinion, is the total eye candy of Switzerland. The number of day hikes one can do from this base is mind-boggling. There are hikes ranging from easy to extremely challenging. If you are novice hikers most of the hikes that will appeal should be accessible during your trip.

I am going to attempt to attach a document I have written about the region after our 16 visits there. It will answer a lot of your questions and some you likely haven't thought about yet. It is pretty long so I don't know if the "add attachment" feature will work. If it doesn't come through, post up again and we will figure out another way to get it to you.

olifac3
olifac3
4 posts
new member
Apr 22, 2014 - 8:44 PM in reply to kim11

Thank you for your advice, we have mapped some alternate routes around the higher passes if the situation really calls for it, of course we would like to at least climb one of them for the view. I am aware now that it requires a lot of preparation.

If you attached your document to your most recent reply, then I'm afraid I don't see it. Might I suggest compressing to a .zip file and uploading to Mediafire to share?

ALL SWISS RAIL PASSES

Find out how the several passes work, what they cost and where to buy.

More

HOW TO PICK THE BEST PASS

Having trouble finding the right rail pass? Learn how to pick the one that best fits your plans.

More

THINGS TO DO IN SWITZERLAND

Suggestions for day trips and hiking trails in the Swiss Alps.

More

THE HOTELS WE SUGGEST

Browse the hotels that we like. Budget hotels, hotels near the rail stations, mid class hotels, luxurious 5-star hotels, airport hotels and more.

More

More on MySwissAlps.com

Swiss tips in your mailbox

Sign up to receive our newsletter and the latest forum messages. The best way to prepare for your trip!

Sign up

Get a customized itinerary for your trip

Let Swiss travel consultants create a customized itinerary. They can arrange for your entire trip.

More
© MySwissAlps.com 2002-2016