Switzerland off the beaten path, part 4, Gemmi

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OHGeologist
OHGeologist
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Aug 22, 2017 - 11:24 AM

We left Bellinzona for Kandersteg via Goshenen, Andermatt, and Brig. We felt like we had come home again to the swiss part of Switzerland. Our stay at the Bernerhof Swiss Hotel was a delight...tea at 4, room with a balcony view toward the mountains. Gerhard and Claudia love their hotel and work incredibly well as a team.

We took off on a 10 minute walk to the foot of the Oeschinensee gondola. It became mistier and mistier as we drew closer to the lake (about a 1/2 hour walk down from the top of the gondola). LARGE cows. Waterfalls all around. Due to the rain, at least that was my excuse, we opted to take the bus back up to the gondola (10CH) and headed back down to Kandersteg.

We explored the town and found the Klettersteg that a friend would be doing a month later. Also found another pizza place. In Pontresina we found a pizza that we liked and tried to see if we could replicate the exact ingredients in other villages. It made for an enjoyable and affordable dinner with a glass of swiss wine.

Next morning we were up early for our longest day of hiking. We took the train to Brig, another train to Leuk, then a bus up the hill to Leukerbad. We walked through the old town to the Gemmi Pass Gondola. As we rose up the mountain we could see the old path (where they had to blindfold people in order to get them over the pass it was so steep); the famous Klettersteg/via ferrata...with vertical ladders, horizontal rope climbs and just a load of fun; and the top of the pass where you may see the Matterhorn and Mt. Blanc. There were large clouds playing hide and seek with the mountain peaks so we are not sure if we saw them or not.

We hiked down from the pass to the Daubensee (very low gradient down, lots of wildflowers, and gorgeous views of the mountains). We heard many, many cow bells, saw sheep and goats. And truly didn't see hardly any other people. About 2/3 of the way down is the hotel/restaurant Schwarenbach...we had a raspberry torte. We reached the Sunnbuhl gondola down to Kandersteg after about 4 hours of walking. On the way down the gondola ride we looked to the right and saw an incredibly green valley with water pouring right out of the rock walls. Gasterntal - we decided we would see if we could get to it.

At the base of the Sunnbuhl, across the back parking lot, is a sign for a "Wanderweg". The path goes up alongside a powerful waterfall. We hoped the top of it would connect to that gorgeous valley. Across a stone bridge and along a dusty narrow "road" that at some times of the day goes one-way up, and other times of the day, one-way down, we found the valley. It was so beautiful we just kept walking along the gravel road deeper in..."just a little further, please..." A post bus passed us every 1/2 hour or so, so we thought if we got tired we would just beg a ride. When we finally decided to head back, the bus came and it was full....so our little Gemmi Pass hike turned into a grand adventure...jogging down the one-way road to catch a bus back to the center of Kandersteg to our hotel. It felt so good to sit down and eat a nice dinner at the hotel.

Removed user
Removed user
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Aug 23, 2017 - 8:29 AM in reply to OHGeologist

Wow! That was quite a day. I haven't been to that area yet, but it sounds wonderful.

Alpenrose

hockeyfan
hockeyfan
21 posts
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Aug 23, 2017 - 9:49 AM

Thank you so much for posting your trip. Love this hike...it brings back wonderful memories.

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
202 posts
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Aug 23, 2017 - 10:39 PM in reply to OHGeologist

Magic stuff! Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your trip.

Alan

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
202 posts
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Aug 23, 2017 - 10:41 PM in reply to OHGeologist

I did the Allmenalp klettersteig a few years ago (My avatar is a photo of me on the long traverse). A fantastic area.

Alan

OHGeologist
OHGeologist
95 posts
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Aug 23, 2017 - 11:06 PM in reply to AlanPrice

Thank you Alan,

We have friends leaving tomorrow that want to do that particular Klettersteg...is there a website that he can link to for info? We saw the cable car up and could kind of make out the lines, but didn't know if there was more information available to provide to them before they leave.

OhGeologist

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
202 posts
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Aug 24, 2017 - 1:48 AM in reply to OHGeologist

Hi Guys,

The start of the hike is a little way out of town and a if your friends have a car, it makes life a bit easier. The Allmenalp Cable car has it's own link which has some info on the Klettersteig, and there is another link with some more specific info on the Klettersteig. A couple of points for your friends, one section of the climb can only be done with a guide - the Nepalese Bridge. This is a variation from the main route and is just 3 cables - one to walk on and the other two for your hands. We didn't bother with this and didn't miss it at all.

There is a great little mountain restaurant a short walk from the top of the climb and the cable car will take them back to the starting point. The cable car leaves every 15', or if you have more than 5 people on-board and there is no operator there (normal), pick up the phone in the cabin and let them know you are ready.

The climb faces south and can get really hot this time of year, so take plenty of water and if you are prone to cramps, take something salty (chips, etc). The normal safety rules apply. Don't climb if the weather is bad, especially if thunderstorms are expected, and have or hire the proper gear.

www.allmenalp.ch/aktiv itaeten/klettersteig/?L=1

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-au/kandersteg-allmenalp-via-ferrata.html

Hope this helps

Alan

OHGeologist
OHGeologist
95 posts
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Aug 24, 2017 - 11:05 AM in reply to AlanPrice

Alan, this is wonderful. They are on the plane right now...so I forwarded the info to them to download once they arrive. Thanks SO much.

OhGeologist.

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
202 posts
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Aug 24, 2017 - 9:45 PM in reply to OHGeologist

Hi,

I hope your friends have a great day!

Alan

OHGeologist
OHGeologist
95 posts
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Aug 28, 2017 - 5:24 PM

First pics of the GemmiPass hike (not sure if the postcard is OK...but it sure shows why they used to tie folks to chairs and blindfold them to get them over the pass. Perhaps we saw the Matterhorn out there in the clouds?? One of the Thrill Walk -from where I am standing you can see the vertical ladders and horizontal traverse of the Gemmi Via Ferrata...amazing.

One along Daubensee...very pleasant walk down from the pass. Lots of sheep (if you can see them hiking among the white rocks) and cows...on my facebook page I have a video with cowbells from here. And another of the PostBus horn on the blind curves going over the pass from Grindelwald to Meiringen.

Gorgeous "folds" in the rock formations...

OhGeologist

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OHGeologist
OHGeologist
95 posts
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Aug 28, 2017 - 5:30 PM

Pictures from Gastertal Hike...I keep seeing different ways to spell it.

First is our view of it from the Sunnbuhl gondola coming down from the GemmiPass hike. Then 3 of hiking up the waterfall to get to the valley "the back way". A couple more from the gondola. Then some just taken as we walked along the road...waterfall hidden back in the crevice. The road goes right along the river, through pine trees and some open meadows. Gorgeous scenery!

OhGeologist

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AlanPrice
AlanPrice
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Aug 28, 2017 - 10:35 PM

Great Pics! Got any more?

Adelaidean
Adelaidean
108 posts
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Aug 29, 2017 - 11:26 AM

Stunning.

OHGeologist
OHGeologist
95 posts
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Aug 30, 2017 - 11:23 AM in reply to AlanPrice

Alan, Here are 10 more from the Gemmi Hike. The first 2 show the Via Ferrata... the vertical ladders...kind of hard to make out unless you can enlarge them. The third one is a person in pink on the horizontal traverse. The rest are from the hike down. The town photos are of Leukerbad..walking from the bus stop through the old town to the gondola up to the Gemmi Pass.

Does anyone know what kind of flowers the one picture contains? Maggie???

OhGeologist

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maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
642 posts
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Aug 30, 2017 - 11:52 AM

Hi

The somewhat unglamorous name of that flower is Bladderwort!

Maggie

OHGeologist
OHGeologist
95 posts
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Aug 30, 2017 - 11:57 AM

Thanks fo the quick reply...we kept seeing it, but didn't know ...chuckle. Nice name.

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
202 posts
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Aug 30, 2017 - 11:16 PM in reply to OHGeologist

Thanks for posting the photos OH,

I've never been to Leukerbad, but I think I will try to add it to our trip next year. I just have to find something for my wife to do while I do the Klettersteig.

Cheers

Alan

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