The Eggishorn is a peak south of the Aletsch glacier. We think it's the best viewing point to see the glacier.
The forum allows you to post your questions and discuss your plans.
Attraction type: Natural site, Mountain top, By cable car
Escort: independent (no guide)
Region: Upper Rhone valley (Valais)
Duration: 1 day or less
What exactly is the Eggishorn?
The Eggishorn is a wonderful location to view the Grosser Aletsch Glacier, which is the largest glacier in the Alps. The location you reach by cable car is a ridge at an altitude of 2869 m. The actual summit of the Eggishorn is located 500 m up north at an altitude of 2926 m.
The Eggishorn is located on the edge of the UNESCO Natural World Heritage property "Jungfrau - Aletsch - Bietschhorn": an extraordinary high-alpine region which includes the Bettmerhorn and the famous Jungfraujoch too.
What to see and do on the Eggishorn
This is what to expect:
- A beautiful high-alpine world with views of the glacier and the peaks of the Bernese Oberland and the Valais;
- A small restaurant, about 50 m from cable car station;
- In Summer: many hiking options, especially from Fiescheralp, the mid-way cable car station. But there are also trails from the Eggishorn down. One of the easy hikes is to walk to Bettmeralp and Riederalp. You'll also find a 20 minutes' circular themed trail with information about the glacier;
- Fiescheralp is one of the many locations where paragliders launch for their flight;
- In Winter: the whole area is a Winter sports paradise with many ski slopes around Bettmeralp, Riederalp, Fiescheralp and even one down from the Eggishorn.
The Grosser Aletsch Glacier
The Grosser ('Big') Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier of the Alps. It's about 23 km (14 miles) long and 1 km (3300 ft) wide on average. It originates from the Konkordiaplatz, which can be viewed from the Jungfraujoch. The Jungfraujoch can be seen from the Eggishorn. The weight of the fresh snow in that area causes snow to be pressed to ice. This is an all year round process. The ice is 900 m (2950 ft) thick here. This massive layer of ice moves down with a speed of up to 50 cm per day.
Global warming is causing the glacier to shrink: about 50 m in length per year, and it is also getting narrower. This process is expected to speed up over the next few decades. The glacier is still impressive, but it's sad to see how CO2 emission caused by humanity is tearing down this natural landmark. It's good to know that you can help though.
How to choose between the Bettmerhorn and Eggishorn?
The Bettmerhorn and Eggishorn have some similarities, so you may wonder which one to visit. Both mountains are located south of the Aletsch Glacier and offer magnificent views of the glacier and a 360° view of the Alps. If you're staying in the region, it's absolutely worth visiting them both.
If you want to visit one of them, this may help: we like the view from the Eggishorn slightly better, because the location allows to look "around the corner" of the curved glacier. So you'll see a bit more of it. On the other hand, visiting the Bettmerhorn is more varied: there's more to do on the top, and the short walk across the village of Bettmeralp, half way up the mountain, is really enjoyable.
Be sure to check the weather forecast as there's no point in going up if the glacier and the Eggishorn are covered in clouds or mist. Dress in multiple thinner layers so that you can adapt to the different temperatures throughout the day. Take along gloves, sun glasses and perhaps a winter sports hat. Solid shoes help to walk around a bit.
Allow at least an hour on the top to enjoy the view. If you take your time, count on 3 to 4 hours for the entire excursion from Fiesch in the valley and back.
The Eggishorn cable car station is located at an altitude of 2869 m. Anyone can suffer from (light) altitude sickness from about 2000 m. Usually it helps to take things slow and sit down for a while. Special precautions apply to children under 2 years old, as well as people who are pregnant or in poor health: before visiting areas over 2500 m, you'd better consult your doctor. In most cases though, staying at such altitudes for just a few hours is no problem.