A tad off the beaten path, Gelmersee Switzerland

A tad off the beaten path, Gelmersee Switzerland

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Posts: 12
OHGeologist
OHGeologist
95 posts
active member
Aug 23, 2017 - 10:25 PM

After we stocked up on meringues in Meiringen and got on Post Bus 161 at the Meiringen bus/train station, we followed the Aare River southeast past Innertkirchen, dropped some folks off to hike to Trift Bridge, then went on to Handegg. We walked across the road & about 5 minutes uphill to the Gelmerbahn.

We had made reservations for the Gelmerbahn at www.grimselwelt.ch/en/ transport-lift/gelmer

for a specific time. The website says you need to be there 15 minutes prior to your allotted time slot. We were there even earlier; and there were openings on the funicular, so they let us go up early.

We also made reservations for the trip back down from the top, not knowing how crowded it would be. We gaged about 3 hours to hike, take pictures, and eat our pack lunches.

You face down the mountain as you go up in the funicular at a 106 degree angle...like a roller coaster ride. The whole valley opens up before you and within a few seconds your heart rate returns to normal as you move slowly up a few thousand feet. The mountains drop away and you can no longer see the bottom of the funicular track.

At the top you have about a 50 to 100m walk to the lake. There are restrooms, but no food available (at least when we were there). I would not take a child under 10 on this hike due to sharp drop-offs of a 100' or so. Though, I have read articles where younger children hiked. We had hiking poles which were helpful. You can go either direction around the lake, and it was not crowded AT ALL. We probably saw 15 people in the 3 hours we were walking on July 9th. The hike from the funicular to the dam was flat.

How to describe it...you hike over at least 2 large water falls, around a lake that is brilliantly blue green, flowers everywhere in vivid colors, cliffs hundreds of feet high where the path is cut in about 1.5 feet wide with nothing to hang on to, other places where they do provide a horizontal rope to guide you across a 1.5 foot ledge sticking out over the water, views of snow covered mountains that reflect like glass in the lake, views down into the lake where you can see the shadowy bottom, places to sit on a rock and put your feet in (and right back out due to the glacial water...). We saw one fisherman, one set of tent campers, and a couple folks wading (who rescued my pole when I dropped it off that 1.5 foot ledge). Intense quiet and views that leave you in awe.

There are rocks to climb over, most of it is not a flat smooth path. But it is very do-able - our average age is 60. We started over the dam, saving the narrow cliff walk for the last. We did not want to leave so we just sat down and soaked up the majesty. Finally, we took the funicular back down, then walked across the swinging bridge over the Aare River to the Handegg hotel. Behind the hotel there is a small shop where they make and sell a number of different homemade cheeses along with drinks. Fun to explore while you wait for the bus back to Meiringen.

As we evaluated our whole trip, this day...the funicular up and down with the hike around the lake, with all the incredible places we had the opportunity to visit, this was the highlight for both of us.

We returned by bus to Meiringen, ate our other "second required dinner" of Raclette, went back to the church we had visited the evening before. Going inside the building we found they had a grand piano which my husband had never played but always longed to...so he did.

We traveled the Sustenpass by bus the next day to Wassen, trains/buses to Fluelen and a beautiful trip on the Vierwaldsstattersee to Weggis where we spent the night (Hotel Seehof du Lac) after visiting Mt. Rigi. Took a boat our final day to Lucerne to visit the farmer's market, the bridges, the Lion Monument, and eat our packed lunch along the lake before taking the last trains back to the Zurich Airport. We did not want to leave...

Thank you so much for your help. We could not have done this trip without you. What an amazing forum.

OhGeologist

theTutor
theTutor
20 posts
new member
Aug 24, 2017 - 5:22 AM in reply to OHGeologist

Hi OHGeologist,

Gelmersee is one of our day-trip in 2-3 weeks time. I saw photos, I knew it's something almost not to be missed, but now, thanks to you, we're definitely going to do the hike and listen to the silence of the surroundings.

Best regards,

Daniel

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1231 posts
top member
Aug 24, 2017 - 7:20 AM in reply to OHGeologist

Wow, what an incredible hike! I'm not sure about tacklíng the hike myself, but the Gelmerbahn is definitely going on to my list!

Alpenrose

Lucas
Lucas
3460 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 24, 2017 - 7:58 AM in reply to OHGeologist

Thanks again for a great report.

If you have any pictures (under 1 mb unfortunately) we'd love to see them!
Lucas

Adelaidean
Adelaidean
87 posts
active member
Aug 24, 2017 - 12:33 PM

That sounds fantastic.

I hope it's okay to link a website here, the author gives good details and photos on the many walks she describes, very helpful in planning.

www.momstotszurich.com /2011/10/gelmebahn-steepest-funicular-in.html/

Have very much enjoyed following your travels OHGeologist.

Lucas
Lucas
3460 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 24, 2017 - 1:29 PM in reply to Adelaidean

Hi Adelaidean,

It is no problem at all - thanks!

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1231 posts
top member
Aug 25, 2017 - 3:12 AM in reply to theTutor

Hi Daniel,

>> Gelmersee is one of our day-trip in 2-3 weeks time.

There was a rockfall on the Gelmersee last Sunday, so the section of the trail around the rockfall is closed until further notice.

The Gelmerbahn is operating as usual, but it might be worth checking its operational status before heading out there:

www.grimselwelt.ch/bah nen#anchor

Anyone who can read German can read about the rockfall here:

www.20min.ch/schweiz/n ews/story/21152699

Alpenrose

theTutor
theTutor
20 posts
new member
Aug 25, 2017 - 5:10 AM in reply to Alpenrose666

Hi Alpenrose,

Thanks for the heads-up. I already read about the rockslide, so perhaps we'll do a return hike only on one side of the lake. Regarding the Gelmerbahn time schedule, I'll ask about it when purchasing the Regional Pass. Hopefully, they'll provide as much info as they can.

Despite all this, for our 6 days there, I already created at least two alternative day trips, so, basically I got it covered.

Thanks again.

Daniel

rockoyster
rockoyster
1048 posts
top member
Aug 27, 2017 - 1:44 AM in reply to OHGeologist

Hello OHGeologist,

Thank you for your wonderfully interesting and informative chronicles on your recent trip. I saved them all up a read them back to back so as to get the flow. A very enjoyable read it turned out to be.

Earlier this year we did the “scenic train” tourist route with stopovers in major towns. It was something of a reconnaissance mission and left us with an abiding passion to return to see more.

Your trip report has definitely reinforced our desire to spend more time “off piste” next time.

Location of recommended pizza purveyors duly noted. 😀

Look forward to seeing some of your photos when you master the resizing operation. There are many ways of doing it. If you let me know what sort of camera you have, what program you use to import/store your photos (the same program will almost certainly have an export function which will allow you to easily generate a reduced size copy of any photo) and whether you have a PC or Mac I may be able to offer some tailored advice.

Last modified on Aug 27, 2017 - 1:48 AM by rockoyster
OHGeologist
OHGeologist
95 posts
active member
Aug 28, 2017 - 4:50 PM

RockOyster and Arno...thanks for your photo sizing suggestions/offers of help. I ended up using Picassa, which was free. Delay occurred due to sons/daughter-in-law and grandkid visits which trump anything else.

The pics include Handegg Bridge; the top of the funicular looking down; across the valley by the Handegg Cheese House looking back at the little red funicular headed up; view of the end of the lake with waterfall; large rock monolith with the path looking like a thin slice across near the bottom; ledge over the water between the 2 main waterfalls; reflections back toward the dam; prize picture!; and the path along that narrow slice of the monolith.

OHGeologist

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Lucas
Lucas
3460 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 29, 2017 - 5:33 AM in reply to OHGeologist

Really great pics!

Adelaidean
Adelaidean
87 posts
active member
Aug 29, 2017 - 11:04 AM

Just so lovely. And what a great postcard shot you have.

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