Mannlichen-Kleine/Murren-Gimmelwald walk parents

Mannlichen-Kleine/Murren-Gimmelwald walk parents

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esskay8
esskay8
35 posts
active member
Jun 8, 2016 - 10:23 AM

Hello everyone,

After poring over all the information available, I would like your help with this dilemma:-

My parents will come with my husband and I on a trip this September. Both are over sixty, with dad having recovered from a brain stroke, he is back to normal life but won't be able to manage too uneven a road and non-stop walking. Mom has weak knees so needs to rest between prolonged walks. None of them will like to walk up inclines or too many stairs.

But I still wanted to take them on a walking trail, if possible. I have seen photos and liked the Murren to Gimmelwald trail (might have missed details about difficulty, steep climbing on any stretch?) which lasts about an hour?

I also like the Mannlichen-KS walking trail which is more popular (is the last part a steep climb on this one?).

Both walks are downhill and seem to have spots where my folks can rest while we carry sandwiches and water with us for refreshments...

I have only one day for this (will stay either in Wengen or Murren, most probably Wengen). So, can't do both.

Please let me know if I am off my rocker to even think of taking them on these trails? The scenic views of green meadows, villages with towering Swiss Alps behind them are so tempting.

Those who have done either or both, please let me know the ground realities. But kindly keep in mind I am talking about senior citizens who are not totally fit but don't lack in motivation.

My sincere gratitude

JennyK
JennyK
8 posts
new member
Jun 8, 2016 - 9:51 PM in reply to esskay8

I am currently in Wengen for 4 nights. The area is spectacular so it is well worth a visit. Considering the limitations you have, I recommend buying tickets to use the wonderful transportation system here. We have the 3-day Jungfrau pass which has been great (especially because the weather has not) but realize you are only here for one day (does that mean you are staying 2 nights so you have one FULL day?). Anywhere you go by cable car, train, gondola, will get you amazing views. You can do short hikes/walks around the stations without having to plan for a big hike from place to place.

I'm looking at the map as I write and I don't even see a trail from Mürren to Gimmelwald. It looks like a steep gondola ride. I think even the Männlichen-KS is likely too ambitious for your parents. Not to be discouraging because I think bringing them here is a great idea. The views are spectacular and you can't go wrong no matter where you end up.

Just come and play it by ear. Like you I tried to plan it out before my arrival but things look different once you're here. Again, you can't go wrong in this area. Everywhere you look is awe inspiring.

Enjoy!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2641 posts
expert
Jun 8, 2016 - 11:29 PM in reply to esskay8

Hi Esskay 8-

Welcome to My Swsis Alps.

You have certainly done your homework.

Not sure yet what to recommend, but, certainly, using the transport systems as JennyK recommended, will afford excellent access to great sights, without serious walks, depending on when you go.

What are your travel dates? It can make a real difference. For instance,check this thread:

Read down to the end.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/mannlichen-to-kleine-scheidegg-2016-closed-trails

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jun 8, 2016 - 11:30 PM by Slowpoke
esskay8
esskay8
35 posts
active member
Jun 9, 2016 - 5:29 AM

Thank you very much JennyK and Slowpoke.

Slowpoke, I had already bookmarked and copy-pasted your tips from the thread you mentioned even before posting here :) The bits about what to do if rained in seemed so practical for me as a first-timer. I will be travelling mid-week of September and straddle both the Bernese Oberland and Zermatt to be on the safe side (of the weather). Though, Nature will be what she will be, without my frenetic planning making a jot of difference.

Jenny, we would be getting the Swiss pass for a few days since we will enter from Austria and exit from Geneva.

I was thinking of making Wengen the base when in BOberland, though Lauterbrunnen might be easier for commute and on the pocket?

Thanks again.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2641 posts
expert
Jun 9, 2016 - 9:34 AM in reply to esskay8

Hi Esskay8

<<"Slowpoke, I had already bookmarked and copy-pasted your tips from the thread you mentioned">>

Glad you are finding the forum useful.

Perhaps you followed links back to this one, but, in case you did not, there are a bunch of pictures of different parts of the Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg walk posted well down in the thread. They are useful for the following comments in this post.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/lucerneaccom modationitinerary

The give a pretty good idea of the trail at its best- near the start, and also where it is narrower and a bit rougher. The ones of my daughter and granddaughter were taken in late September, 2009, on a gorgeous clear day. One of the clearest I have seen up there. I prefer September to visit the region....and, since school is back in session, it is a bit less crowded than in August or July. Hotel rooms are easier to get.

Although the trail overall is modestly down hill, there are a very few mild short uphill stretches. The surface, with gravel, can be a bit slippery underfoot on some of the down hill sections which have a modest incline. So, as you can see from those pictures, hiking staffs are somewhere between very useful and a necessity if you want to walk easily and smoothly on those sections.

(The trail is not classified as a "mountain hiking trail." If it were so classified, boots or sturdy hiking shoes with grippy soles and a hiking staff would be appropriate). However, even with my hiking boots, which have lugged soles, sometimes my feet want to slip forward as I plant my weight on the next step forward, so I hold the staff at the ready or even brace it on the ground before me. If your Dad has strength in his arms, that can help him a lot on this trail if you try to go the whole distance.

You can rent hiking staffs at the sporting goods stores in the area.

You probably have checked this link:

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

I can add that about halfway along the trail there is a level place to step off to one side and sit on one of several benches. It is placed so that you can look at the Eiger directly into the North face. Many people, including myself, sit there for quite a while, just looking.

Jenny mentioned looking at at map.

If you are comfortable with topographic maps, this exquisitely detailed map can show exactly what the inclines are:

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=swisstopo&lang=e n&bgLayer=ch.swisstopo .pixelkarte-farbe&layers=ch.bfs.ge baeude_wohnungs_regist er,ch.swisstopo.swisst lm3d-wanderwege,ch.swisstop o.landeskarte-farbe-10&layers_visibility=f alse,true,false&X=1559 22.50&Y=634680.00&zoom =8

In the menu, I have selected the option to show an overlay with the marked hiking trails ( die Wanderwege.) Yellow are for sneakers, red for boots and staffs, blue for technical climbing.

www.alpenwild.com/hike -alps/trail-signs-swiss-alps

Note that the trail from Mürren to Gimmelwald is short with a straight line distance of just a bit over 1 km. The descent is from 1638 meters altitude above see level to between 1394 ( upper village) to 1363 ( at the cable car station. Roughly 300 meters in 1 km. That is perhaps a bit steep for your parents, but it is short and you can look at it before you take it.

My own experience with out-of-shape legs is that downhill walking is much harder on the knees than uphill. Up hill is more work, but downhill can kill your knees very quickly. Without knowing exactly the physical condition of your parents, I suspect that might be hard on them.

You can also use that Swisstopo map link to view the M-KS walk.

The M-KS walk has an altitude change from about 2229 to about 2061 meters, over 4+km of tail with a straight line distance of between 3 and 4 km. That is much less steep than Mürren to Gimmelwald. and, the steeper part is toward the KS end, as you note. The walk has the nickname "The Grannies' Walk" for good reason.

I think the views from Männlichen alone, on the first very easy part of the walk are much better than the views form Mürren/Gimmelwald. Of course, that is one man's opinion. From Männlichen you can look down toward Grindelwald or ahead and up toward the Jungfrau Massif. There is a good restaurant at Männlichen. I think the facilities in Gimmelwald are modest. Have not been there to see. Too many fellow Americans with Rick Steve's guide books in their hands or pockets. ;-)

The is a short descent (not very steep) on a paved path from the cable car station at Männlichen to the trail over to the restaurant. You can see that in the pictures in the link above. From there you can walk along the trail toward Tschuggen with very little altitude change for more than a km or two.

Then, you could turn around and go back with modest altitude burden.

You don't have to go all the way to KS, but after Tschuggen, you'd probably not want to come back uphill.

The floor of the Lauterbrunnen Valley provides level walking. Although the waterfalls are much less spectacular in September than in the spring, they still are a nice feature. And, there is a bus along the valley floor.

The walk from Mürren to Grütschalp is a possible candidate.... downhill.... but I find that I have to constantly stop and turn around to see the best views if I walk in that direction. Winteregg is part way along that trail, and has a restaurant with a terrace with great views up to the Jungfrau.

Slowpoke

esskay8
esskay8
35 posts
active member
Jun 10, 2016 - 2:27 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thank you so much Slowpoke. I will go through the links in detail, even the topographical map which reminded me of geography lessons in school and might take me sometime to figure out.

But the biggest help you have given me is taking the time to recollect your own experience in walking the trail such as how you had to hold back on a downward slide etc. It is almost like you are advising me in person, so thank you.

It has helped me determine if the trail is suitable for dad or not. After his attack, there will always remain a problem of balance, so even the slightest issue of slipping is best avoided, notwithstanding me holding him at problematic stretches. I think I will give the Grütschalp to Mürren a try, as someone else also had suggested elsewhere. It has a train along the trail, so any time they don't want to do it, we can take the train.

Last modified on Jun 10, 2016 - 2:28 AM by esskay8
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2641 posts
expert
Jun 10, 2016 - 9:39 AM in reply to esskay8

Hi Esskay8

<<"It has helped me determine if the trail is suitable for dad or not.">>

Glad I could help.

The first and very scenic km or so on the M-KS trail is quite level and has very good surface. In my opinion, it is a better option than Grütschalp to Mürren. However, you have the best tools possible to understand the trails, if not all of the views from both options. They only other data are pictures of what you can see, and the physical condition of your parents. I know that there are webcams at Männlichen, but have not looked for them along the M-G trail. You know your parents' conditions. I did not take many pictures along the Grütschalp - Mürren trail, so I cannot help with that. I recall that at some stages there are trees along the trail. I recall some pretty good views of the Jungfrau , especially from the restaurant terrace at Winteregg. There is a good view of the Eiger from Mürren, but it does not give you the straight on almost eye-level view of the famous and notorious North Face ( die Nordwand.)

In contrast, I have taken hundreds, if not thousands of pictures along the M-KS trail and hiked it many times over the years. At every stage, the views are overwhelming. If they are able to make the walk, that is the first place that I take a visitor when it is time to see the Alps. Even the walk of a few hundred meters from the cable car station to just beyond the restaurant is extremely rewarding on a clear day. You might consider simply riding up in the large cable car from Wengen and only walking that very short distance. The trails are paved at that point.

Three additional images from photobook that I prepared after our trip in September 2009 are attached. Check the trail conditions. The view past my daughter toward Grosse Scheidegg was taken near the restaurant at Männlichen.

<<"I think I will give the Grütschalp to Mürren a try, as someone else also had suggested elsewhere. It has a train along the trail, so any time they don't want to do it, we can take the train.">>

It has been many years, but I recall a somewhat rough trail surface. Perhaps Arno and Annika can recall more details of the trail conditions. The total length is similar to the M-KS walk. The altitude change is somewhat less. It is at lower altitude, only about one mile high, so that "thin" air is not so noticeable as on the M-KS walk.

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/gruetschalp-muerren/route

There is only one intermediate train stop, at Winteregg. It is nicely placed about half-way beween Mürren and Grütschalp. If you wanted a "no walk" option you could take the train to and from Winteregg. In Mürren there is a short walk - about 0.6 km on paved surfaces between the train station and the lift station for Schilthorn or Stechelberg or Gimmelwald.

map.search.ch/?x=-26112m&y=-30856m&z=64&poi=bergba hn,zug

That map does not seem to give altitudes...at least, I have not yet figured out how to display them. But, I have turned on train stations and mountain transport, under "Points of Interest" in the menus.

Whatever you choose, including a walk near the bus route on the valley floor, it will be a special walk for your parents.

Slowpoke

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esskay8
esskay8
35 posts
active member
Jun 12, 2016 - 6:08 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thank you Slowpoke and apologise for not replying earlier.

What you said about the first kilometre about the Mann-KS route is interesting. Will keep that in mind, and take a call once there. It sounds so good that ruling it out might not be wise.

But I can't seem to see any photos attached, how do I find my way to trip photos of the trails you have posted on the forum?

Many thanks and my best wishes.

Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 12, 2016 - 8:02 AM in reply to esskay8

Hi esskay8,

You should be logged on to see the photos. If you are, you'll find the links just below Slowpoke's post.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2641 posts
expert
Jun 12, 2016 - 8:35 AM in reply to esskay8

Please make sure that you look at the images, as Arno has described. They make my point about the early stage of the Männlichen to KS walk better than any words can do.

On-site inspection is the best mode, however, as you note.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jun 12, 2016 - 8:36 AM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2641 posts
expert
Jun 12, 2016 - 8:40 AM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno-

If she can reply, she must be logged in......right?

Slowpoke

Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 12, 2016 - 1:51 PM in reply to Slowpoke

You are very right :-) Just wanted to make sure. One can overlook those links, read the thread on another device later while logged off, etc. You never know. But the links are there, I can see them and they give a good impression of what to expect there.

traveljet
traveljet
51 posts
active member
Jun 14, 2016 - 12:00 PM

Hi,

If your parents have walking difficulties but want to enjoy the beauty of the Alps - may I suggest that you make use of all the great mountain rail transport in the Jungfrau region. You get to enjoy the fresh air, jaw dropping beautiful views from one place to another. We were based in Wengen and in our opinion, these are some really great rides you can consider.

1) Based in Wengen, take the gondola up to Mannlichen. Up at Mannlichen, enjoy the beautiful views for around 15 mins. Then walk towards the cable car a short distance away that takes you all the way to Grindelwald Grund. This is a very long cable car ride and you get to see the green meadows and alps along the way (take note there is an intermediate station which you dont get off. Ride to the end for Grindelwald Grund.

2) From Grindelwald Grund, take the train to Kleine Scheidegg. Then change trains to get up to Jungrau or return to Wengen. The ruggedness and majestic views of the alps are jaw dropping,

I did some trip reports with photos taken mostly from the gondolas, cable cars and trains.

Please log in to see the photos in the links:

www.myswissalps.com/ forum/topic/part3-trip-report-mannlichen-grindelwald-grund

www.myswissalps.com/ forum/topic/part-2-trip-report-2012-wengen-jungfrau

esskay8
esskay8
35 posts
active member
Jun 15, 2016 - 3:04 AM in reply to traveljet

Yes, Arno and Slowpoke. Checking the thread from my phone must have hid the links. I saw them on my desktop, so many thanks.

Thanks Traveljet, for directing me to those photos. The majestic views from train rides is certainly not to be trifled with or brushed aside. This gives me a rounded picture, literally, of what to expect at these places.

One of the biggest reasons for me to choose Switzerland for my parents, besides the years of yearning, of course, is that relative to the Himalayas, closer home, the altitudes might be more forgiving.

When my husband and I had gone to Ladakh, even after physical preparation for the trip, we could feel the shortness in breath and the first night it was a challenge to sleep. But with medicines to check altitude sickness and acclimatisation, the trip was heavenly.

What are your experiences when taking these train rides and walks? How much acclimatisation is needed and how acute is the lack of oxygen/ low pressure?

Thanks for your help.

traveljet
traveljet
51 posts
active member
Jun 15, 2016 - 3:22 AM in reply to esskay8

Hi Esskay8,

The only place we had a little altitude sickness was in Jungraujoch itself - not the train ride but inside the area. Actually everything was fine and the altitude wooziness crept in only after we had a meal at the restaurant. I think it may be due to all the blood flow going down to the digestive system and so the head was more light headed than normal. It was a weird feeling trying to climb the stairs after the meal. Haha. But we were fine after 15mins. It's important not to rush around once you reach Jungraujoch.

As for all the other transportation in Wengen, Mannlichen and Grindelwald Grund to KScheidegg, you really don't need to worry about altitude sickness at all. As Jenny mentioned, there are some simple walkarounds near the transportation stations which are good enough as you enjoy the majestic views. So there is really not need to tire your parents on a long hike or worry whether there is a place to rest.

If you get a clear day, all the views you get from riding the transportation is really good and fun. But as you can see from my photos, even if you think Mannlichen is in the clouds just go up and you will be rewarded with some surreal heavenly experience. But avoid KScheidegg and Jungfrau if its covered in clouds.

It's a pity you only have one day. We were there for 7N and still found it wasn't enough - so we are hoping to return next year.

Last modified on Jun 15, 2016 - 3:25 AM by traveljet
esskay8
esskay8
35 posts
active member
Jun 15, 2016 - 3:36 AM in reply to traveljet

Ok, KS to be avoided if cloudy. But Mannlichen is worth taking a chance on. Thanks! Jungfraujoch, am not planning to go so that should be fine. Yes, that photo of the floor of clouds with the mountains peaking out is fantastic.

We are actually there for three nights, so should be a little better than one day...

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2641 posts
expert
Jun 15, 2016 - 8:30 AM in reply to esskay8

Hi Esskay8 -

<<"Yes, Arno and Slowpoke. Checking the thread from my phone must have hid the links. I saw them on my desktop, so many thanks.">>

Glad you found those pictures. How do you feel about the surfaces and the nature of the walk near Männlichen itself?

The various photos that I linked to can give you a good perspective of the area near the lift stations on top of Männlichen, in addition to the images from Traveljet. The cluster of buildings is visible in some of the pictures such as attached to this post.

<<"What are your experiences when taking these train rides and walks? How much acclimatisation is needed and how acute is the lack of oxygen/ low pressure? ">>

Wengen is at about 1300 meters altitude above sea level. Most people barely notice that altitude, unless they are exercising strenuously.

When you get up to Männlichen you are at about 2300 meters. I walk around there and take the slightly downhill walk to Kleine Scheidegg with no noticeable reactions to the altitude. If you or your parents have any medical conditions that reduce their lung capacity - such as emphysema - they might wish to check with their doctor before the go up to those altitudes. As noted, Jungraujoch is considerably higher, and is likely to produce some symptoms.

Climbing the approximately 100 meters higher from Männlichen lift station to Männlichen Gipfel (peak) makes the altitude very noticeable for me. I don't feel dizzy, but to make that climb is slow work. I stop to catch my breath several times, especially on the last few meters which are a bit steep.

This map can perhaps help you understand the relationships between the locations and the transport options:

www.swissholidayco.com /Public/Assets/User/fi les/Map-of-Jungfrauregion1.jpg

It incudes altitudes, but the print is bit small....

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jun 15, 2016 - 8:46 AM by Slowpoke
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traveljet
traveljet
51 posts
active member
Jun 15, 2016 - 8:41 AM in reply to esskay8

Personally I really recommend the Mannlichen rides. Also agree with Slowpoke that it will a little strenuous for your parents to walk up to that little peak (Gipfel) in Mannlichen . So just stroll around when you reach Mannlichen and walk to the cable car station that takes you to Grindelwald Grund. Then from Grindelwald Grund, take the train to KS. Have a cup of coffee before changing trains back to Wengen.

If you have more time and you want to have the mts very close to you, a 2nd trip is to take the train from Wengen- Lauterbrunnen. Then cross the road, change to the gondola (?) up to Grutschalp and the little train to Murren. In Murren you can just walk around the little town (see pic) to enjoy the close mt views. Then return to Wengen. The stations are all close by so very easy on the legs as no hiking is needed but you still get great views.. I didnt mention the Lauterbrunnen valley walk in this post, as I am not sure if that walk may too long for your parents even if its on flat terrain. My report:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/pt4-trip-report-lauterbrunnen-murren

Here is a live webcam for Murren. If you scroll down that page, you can also select KS, Wengen. www.webcam-4insiders.com/en/Mürre n/11588-Mürren.php

The live webcam for Mannlichen is: m.maennlichen.ch/en/li ve-cameras.html

Last modified on Jun 15, 2016 - 9:06 AM by traveljet
esskay8
esskay8
35 posts
active member
Jun 15, 2016 - 12:44 PM

Thanks both of you, Slowpoke and Traveljet.

Traveljet, I was planning to divide the two days between Mannlichen-KS and the Grutschalp-Winteregg trails. And, thank you for the handy web cam references and the detailed description. The mid-way coffee makes me want to go right now.

Slowpoke, the shot of Gipfel with those towering white giants look surreal. But will admire them from a distance as the next shot proves the steepness.

The first three photos you had sent earlier of the trail reveal it as somewhat gravelly, ripe for slippage. But like both of you have mentioned walking around a bit, even for a kilometre down the trail or near the station could be tried. Will see if we can get a hiking staff for dad and mom...but as long as we get the views, even a little majesty will fill our hearts.

Not planning to go to Jungfraujoch as these experiences should be satisfying in themselves. We will be in Zermatt later for two nights, so should get plenty of chance to go higher up then.

traveljet
traveljet
51 posts
active member
Jun 15, 2016 - 1:02 PM in reply to esskay8

I have not done the Grutschalp-Winteregg trails because I felt the views from the train journey from Lauterbrunnen-Grutschalp-Murren are pretty jaw dropping and we get to see the views at a faster rate in comfort. If I am not mistaken, when you arrive in Murren, you can take the gondola up to Almendhubal for some more views (but I havent tried that). I think the station is a few minutes walk from the Murren station.

There are already so many places near each station eg Wengen, Mannlichen, Murren, KleineS, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen to stroll around. You get to see so many different views at a faster pace compared to hiking especially when your parents may have difficulty. Hiking is great when you have the energy and no walking issues but it takes longer on one particular route. So if you only have 2 full days for the lovely alpine Wengen region, do the trains and cablecars for a very good overview of the majestic alps. I think their mt transport is truly unique and truly gives you great views.

I feel strange giving advice considering I am in Singapore. Hahaha. But the amazing experience in Sept 2012 is still etched in my memory and if nothing has changed much, then hopefully my trip reports and sharing from others like Slowpoke and the wonderful moderators Arno and Annika will help you plan further :):)

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