Feb 10, 2018 - 3:39 PM
I spent yesterday (Feb. 9) at the Glacier 3000 mountain (about 30 minutes from Gstaad by bus) which I just found out is pronounced “shtad” in English. Haha. I always pronounced the G and no one corrected me until yesterday. To be fair (to me) I think all English speakers do that...
Anyway, this is a LONG day trip from Zurich and I don’t really recommend it from there. There are much closer mountains that are just as good…but if your trip is focused on South-Western Switzerland (Montreux for example) and you want a big mountain trip, it was a great experience. Even from Bern this trip is pretty decent and includes part of the Golden Pass route.
My trip went like this: Zurich – Lucerne – Interlaken – Zweisimmen – Gstaad – Col Du Pillon – Glacier 3000(6 hours & 5 connections to get to the top of the Glacier 3000)
I went the scenic route here via Meiringen to take the Luzern-Interlaken Express train but the fastest route is Zurich – Bern – Zweisimmen – Gstaad – Col Du Pillon – Glacier 3000. This is still a 3h 45min trip one-way with 4 connections.
Between Zweisimmen and Gstaad you can board the Golden Pass panoramic trains (or between Montreux & Gstaad depending on where you are coming from).
The leg from Gstaad to Col Du Pillon is by Post Bus (about 30 minutes). The bus picks up right at Gstaad train station & stops in front of the Gondola at Col Du Pillon to take you up to the top of the Glacier 3000.
The first Gondola, from Col Du Pillon takes you to Cabane station at 2525 meters. If you aren’t skiing you would immediately transfer to the 2nd gondola up to Scex Rouge (2971 meters). They are large gondolas for up to 125 people.
At Scex Rouge you have a self-serve restaurant, a gift shop and in the summer, an Alpine Coaster (world’s highest, open roughly April to October).
The main attraction is the Tissot sponsored “Cliff Walk” between 2 peaks. The starting point is located just above and behind the Scex rouge station. You can see the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Eiger etc. Great panoramic views. The bridge is 80cm wide and 107 meters long. This is a free attraction.
Other than skiing, you can also do some winter hiking, dog sledding, ride on the snow bus or ride a helicopter. Dog sledding, the snow bus and helicopter rides must all be booked in advance. The Snow Bus operates without booking in the summer season only.
As I didn’t pre-book the Snow Bus, which takes you across the glacier to Quille du Diable (viewpoint and small restaurant) I did the panoramic glacier walk to get there instead.
You can start the hike from Scex Rouge station but the walk down to the Glacier is fairly steep and has skiers on it so I took the Ice Express chairlift down to the Glacier (1-2 minutes). From here the hike is about 45 minutes each way. It is mostly flat – a very nice walk in the sun.
I was wearing good hiking boots with wool socks which I would recommend for everyone. I was also wearing thermal underwear (pants & shirt) under my jeans and sweater and was quite comfortable. Temperatures were around -10/12 and mostly sunny. I didn’t wear my ski gear – I just layered well under my regular clothes; but many people were wearing ski pants and jackets. This depends on how well you do in the cold and how windy it might be. The wind gusted up from time to time which got me a little cold but overall it was great weather. If the wind is above 10-15km/h I would have worn ski clothes.
On my return, I had a quick bite to eat at the restaurant right beside the Col Du Pillon gondola station as I waited for the bus (it runs once an hour). It was a very charming Alpine style restaurant (where I tried and failed to use my French skills learned many years ago (under duress) in Canada. Gstaad is mostly German speakers but by the time you arrive at Col du Pillon everyone is speaking French.
This trip is covered by a Saver Day Pass which included everything except the trip up to the Glacier 3000 itself. No reservations were made. The trains in the morning were very empty but the trains home, starting about 4pm on a Friday were VERY busy (with skiers and commuters) but I still always found a seat.
Some pictures attached.
Last modified on Feb 10, 2018 - 3:47 PM by Lucas
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