Advice on circular walk from Grindelwald- Aug 2018

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SwissAlps1
SwissAlps1
4 posts
new member
Feb 19, 2018 - 12:43 PM

Hi

I belong to a walking club from Northern Ireland, around 15 of us, all with good hiking experience, we plan to do a few 7-8 hours hikes, at the end of August in the mountains above interlacken. One walk that we are looking into is from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg - onto Mannlichen and then back to Grindelwald (18km total). My questions:

a. Is this walk achievable and easily negotiated within 8 hours?

b. What draw backs, if any, are there with this walk?

c. From a cost effective point of view, including travel costs, where might be a good place to stay?

d. Will it still be too early to do a recci of this route at the end of March 2018?

Any other advise would be greatly appreciated

Ken Armstrong

Chantal
Chantal
944 posts
top member
Feb 19, 2018 - 4:55 PM in reply to SwissAlps1

Hi Ken, and welcome to MySwissAlps,

I'm not sure if I've got all the answers for you, but I'll let other forum members who know much more about hiking in this area jump in.

  1. I think it is. We have a similar hike on our website. This one starts from Wengen. You can read more about it here.
  2. It won't be an easy hike, but you said you all have good hiking experience so it should be fine.
  3. If your planning to do hikes in the Jungfrau Region, I would suggest to stay in Wengen, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen or Mürren. If you click on the different links you will also find a tab with hotel suggestions.
  4. I believe it's too early. The trail will still be covered in snow. I would say that's not the same experience and the trail might even not be the same as in summer. As of (mid) April the trail is not accessible and it usually reopens mid June.

You might be interested to have a look at the Jungfrau Travel Pass and Hiking in the Swiss Alps.

Last modified on Feb 19, 2018 - 4:56 PM by Chantal
Mark
Mark
202 posts
active member
Feb 20, 2018 - 3:28 AM

Hi Ken

The hike your considering has the following estimated hiking times. Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg is 3:50 hrs. From KS to Männlichen is 1:20 hrs. Then Männlichen to Grindelwald is 3:00hrs. So a total of over 8 hrs and the hiking times do not include any time for stopping to rest or take pictures. The change in elevation is from 1034 meters at Grindelwald to 2227 meters at Männlichen or a climb of almost 1200 meters. The hiking times are supplied by the local hiking maps and I have found them to be fairly accurate for a steady average pace. I think you might push it and do it faster but it is an ambiguous hike.

An alternative hike you may consider is from Schynige Platte to First. It is rated at 6:10 hrs and you might extend it a little by taking the panoramaweg route at the start from SP. it is a cliff top walk with Jungfrau and the Eiger on one side of the trail and Interlaken and the lakes on the other side. Two thirds the way to First you will ascend to Faulhorn summit at 2681 meters. The views along this hike are spectacular and considered among the best in the Jungfrau region. There is information about this hike on myswissalps website and you can google it as well for a fill description.

Personally if you are keen on hiking from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg, I would go by way of the Eiger Trail to the Eigergletcher and then down to KS then to Männlichen. That hike should be challenging enough and you could take the cable car from Männlichen back to Grindelwald. Mark

Mark
Mark
202 posts
active member
Feb 20, 2018 - 3:32 AM

Sorry ther were 2 typos. ambiguous should be ambitious and fill should be full

Mark
Mark
202 posts
active member
Feb 20, 2018 - 3:39 AM

I would consider staying in Wengen or Grindelwald both for the scenery and convenience with Wengen getting the edge especially in the scenery and quaintness. Mark

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
202 posts
active member
Feb 20, 2018 - 4:24 AM

Hi Ken.

This is one of the classic walks in Switzerland. I've done it several times, but have never been able to do it in the posted times. Folklore says the times are set by the local Grannies walking group, but I think they must have been on steroids, or something. You always have the option of shortening it by taking the train from Grindelwald to Alpiglen and following the Eiger Trail up to KS before proceeding to Männlichen and back down to Grindelwald, or walking all the way to Männlichen and taking the Gondola from there, or picking it up half way back down. There are all sorts of options

A Recce wouldn't really be possible as the ski season doesn't officially end until April.

Alan

Mark
Mark
202 posts
active member
Feb 20, 2018 - 12:16 PM

I too suggested they might want to take the gondola from Mannlichen back to Grindelwald or Wengen if they hike the Eiger trail route from Grindelwald. It should be enough of a challenge one way. 10 of us did a version of that hike this past September. As we are all in our early to mid 60s, we did the old man version. We started at Eigergletscher and walked downhill to Grindelwald and took the train to KS then walked to Mannlichen before taking the gondola back to Wengen. It was the right amount of hiking for us.

I still think Schynige Platte to First might be the best option. It not only has the most impressive vistas but the scenery is quite varied along the way and it should be challenging enough.It too is a classic.

Attached are some photos of scenery they can expect on both hikes. Mark

Last modified on Feb 20, 2018 - 12:22 PM by Mark
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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5279 posts
expert
Feb 21, 2018 - 1:12 AM in reply to SwissAlps1

Hi Ken-

You've gotten good answers, especially those related to the concept that it snows in Switzerland, and the snows last quite a while into "Spring" ( ha!) at high altitudes...over 2000 meters.

Note that Carrauntoohil in Kerry is 1038 meters in elevation. Kleine Scheidegg is at about 2000 meters.

This map should be useful -

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visi bility=false,true&E=26 36255.52&N=1164033.43& zoom=4

Slowpoke

Last modified on Feb 21, 2018 - 1:28 AM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5279 posts
expert
Feb 21, 2018 - 1:19 AM in reply to AlanPrice

Hi Alan -

<<"Folklore says the times are set by the local Grannies walking group, but I think they must have been on steroids, or something. ">>

Swiss grannies routinely walk up steep mountains in the same time that ordinary people would take to go the distance if it were level ground. Although some of it may be in the genes, I believe that most of it is based on the quaint Swiss concept:

" Walking is a legitimate form of public transportation."

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5279 posts
expert
Feb 21, 2018 - 1:24 AM in reply to Mark

<<"Mannlichen">>

Actually, "Männlichen."

Pronounced differently.

This forum offers the special German characters to provide the correct spelling. Look in the options bar, under the omega.

Slowpoke

Mark
Mark
202 posts
active member
Feb 21, 2018 - 2:15 AM

Hi all

its easy enough to type the proper ä in Männlichen on my IPad,just hold down the a on the virtual keyboard. I haven’t figured out how to do it on my laptop with a fixed keyboard which I use to attach photos

i too find the method used to calculate hiking times on Swiss maps to be somewhat mysterious. I suspect but don’t know for sure that they simply divide the distance by an average hiking speed for Swiss hikers ( usually the speed works out to be 2.2-2.4 km/ hr). I don’t think they make any adjustments for uphill vs downhill and as stated on my maps there is no time added for stops. As we all know a hike that climbs 1000 meters is quite different from one that descends 1000 meters. And who wants to make these beautiful hikes without stopping to enjoy the scenery. Of course the Grannies Walking Group is legendary so who knows,maybe that’s the real answer. I have found the hiking times to be reasonable approximations for me especially for downhill or mostly level hikes. But I did see a trip report not long ago on this website where the hiker reported walking from First to SP in under 6 hrs and according to him fairly easily. We last did it in 6:45 hrs a few years ago. Mark

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5279 posts
expert
Feb 21, 2018 - 8:50 AM in reply to SwissAlps1

Hi Ken-

<<"d. Will it still be too early to do a recci of this route at the end of March 2018?">>

Chantal wrote:

<<"I believe it's too early. The trail will still be covered in snow. I would say that's not the same experience and the trail might even not be the same as in summer. As of (mid) April the trail is not accessible and it usually reopens mid June.">>

Here is some incomplete information that might be useful. Without disagreeing that at least some of the trails discussed in this thread are not passabale at the end of March, I have read somewher that some of them are groomed and suitable for winter walking during the height of the Winter season. Later, as the snow conditins deteriortae, they are no longer groomed, and they are not passable until the snow melts in June or later.

A search by Google of the phrase:

"Which trails are groomed in the winter for hiking near the Jungfrau?"

produces a goodly number of hits. Perhaps there will be something useful in them.

Here are some examples:

www.theglobeandmail.co m/life/travel/activiti es-and-interests/taking-a-winter-hike-on-a-groomed-trail-in-the-serenity-of-the-swiss-alps/article28761183/

www.parkhotelschoenegg .ch/en/experiencing/wi nter-activities/winter-hiking.html

www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/jungfrau-ski-region/jungfrau-region-hiking-and-sledging-pass/

Slowpoke

SwissAlps1
SwissAlps1
4 posts
new member
Feb 21, 2018 - 9:56 AM in reply to Chantal

Dear All

Thank you very much for the feedback, its all very helpful. I put back my recci until mid june and look into the alternative hikes suggested, namely the Schynige Platte to First ((around 6:10 hrs ) and the Eiger trail up to KS before proceeding to Männlichen and back down to Grindelwald.

Some further queries include:

1. In August what would be the cut off time in the afternoon/evening for taking the gondola from Männlichen back down to Grindweld or Wengen ?

2. Can you recommend any accommodation in Grindelweld or Wengen, where cost might be kept around 100-120 CHF a night and which would accept 3 night booking instead of 5 or a week? We have been use to sleeping in dormitories which sleep 6-8 persons.

Our club is really excited about visiting this beautiful country. All this great advice is very much appreciated.

Ken :)

SwissAlps1
SwissAlps1
4 posts
new member
Feb 21, 2018 - 9:57 AM in reply to Chantal

Thank you Chantel

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5279 posts
expert
Feb 21, 2018 - 2:12 PM in reply to SwissAlps1

Hi Ken-

Learn to use the SBB timetable.

This link has some useful instructions.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

The "Advanced" is the SBB timetable:

www.sbb.ch/en/

Lots of useful information buried in the menus.

Keep an eye on your spelling: Grindelwald, Interlaken.

One way to check last trip times is to enter the journey with a late afternoon time, and then keep clicking on "Later Connections." Eventually, it will shift to the next day. That is a clue. ;-) See attached.

Here are some links for lodging:

www.myswissalps.com/ac commodation

The hostels are usually quite nice. Dormitories ( Matratzanlager) are common in mountain regions.

www.myswissalps.com/ho tels/budget

Slowpoke

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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5279 posts
expert
Feb 27, 2018 - 11:40 PM in reply to SwissAlps1

Hi Ken-

We were too busy getting you oriented to deal with this following issue.

The easy hike from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg (referred to by some locals as "The Grannies Walk") is best done from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. While some are noncommittal about that, I am not. If you don't do it in that direction, you are missing a very special experience.

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

If you walk the mildly uphill hike from KS to M, you will find that you are stopping every few minutes to look behind you, or else you will learn to twist your neck 180 degrees, while walking up a modest incline on a gravel path.

Seriously, one of the special experiences of the region is to walk from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, after the trail is open for the hiking season sometime in mid-June. Even my least favorite travel author, Rick Steves, suggests that .

Why?

Because you walk toward the Eiger, and it grows over you. You probably know the history of climbing on the North Face, which is what you walk toward. "Eiger " translates to "Ogre." The mountain is grim as you walk toward it.. I and others find it an emotional experience.

At the risk of suggesting a downhill walk, hard on the knees, you might consider taking the cableway from Grindelwald to Männlichen, walking from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg (mildly downhill) , and then walking down toward Wengen, or, hiking up a modest distance from KS ( or ride the train) to Eigergletscher, then walking across the base of the North Face, on the Eiger Trail, then down 400 meters to Alpiglen, stopping to enjoy the famous Chäseschnitte at the inn at Alpiglen, and then walking or riding from there to wherever you wish , with a full stomach.

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.swisst opo.swisstlm3d-wanderwege&E=2640217.2 5&N=1161011.13&zoom=6

If you don't understand that option, check some maps before your reconnaissance. Or, ask.

Slowpoke

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