Hike Lauterbrunnen to Kandersteg or Bachalpsee?

Hike Lauterbrunnen to Kandersteg or Bachalpsee?

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mshmeljov
mshmeljov
2 posts
new member
Feb 7, 2018 - 8:01 AM

Hi!

Me and my friend are planning 3-day hike from Lauterbrunnen this july. There are two directions we can not choose from: Kandersteg or Grindelwald (including Bachalpsee). We have no hiking experience.

As I understand, Lauterbrunnen - Grindelwald - Bachalpsee is more easy. Cable cars and trains everywhere, so you always can cheat. On other hand, this way is more touristic and less native. Am I right?

So, how about Lauterbrunnen - Kandersteg? Is it a good choice for two guys without any experience? How about scenery: which direction is more beautifyl?

Thank you for your help,

Maksim

Arno
Arno
10358 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 7, 2018 - 6:25 PM

Welcome to MySwissAlps Maksim!

Lauterbrunnen to Kandersteg is quite something. Not for beginners to be honest. This thread discusses Mürren to Griesalp, which is shorter but partly the same trail, and already difficult: www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/wengen-to-kandersteg-to-hike. I'd stick to the other plan. It will be touristy, especially in July, but the scenery will be stunning nonetheless. If you walk for two days and think it was easy, you could walk from First to Schynige Platte the third day (provided the weather is good). If you still think that was easy, then come back for more. That would be my advice :-)

Last modified on Feb 7, 2018 - 6:25 PM by Arno
Mark
Mark
166 posts
active member
Feb 7, 2018 - 8:13 PM

Hi Maksim

The hike from First to Schynige Platte is rated as 6.10 hours. As you approach Schynige Platte I would strongly recommend staying to the right and taking the scenic panoramic cliff side trail. It doesn’t add much time or distance, maybe 30 minutes, but you walk along a cliff top trail with Jungfrau and Eiger on one side and Interlaken and lakes on other side. Absolutely stunning hike. Be careful to arrive at SP before the last train leaves for Wilderswil ( usually a little after 6 PM I believe). Mark

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Feb 8, 2018 - 3:15 AM in reply to Mark

Hi Marki-

<<"The hike from First to Schynige Platte is rated as 6.10 hours. As you

approach Schynige Platte I would strongly recommend staying to the right

and taking the scenic panoramic cliff side trail. It doesn’t add much

time or distance, maybe 30 minutes, but you walk along a cliff top trail

with Jungfrau and Eiger on one side and Interlaken and lakes on other

side. Absolutely stunning hike. Be careful to arrive at SP before the

last train leaves for Wilderswil ( usually a little after 6 PM I

believe). Mark">>

Six hours for the Swiss who somehow have it in their genes to hike a lot and go up and down hills just as fast as if they were on a level trail is a lot longer for an inexperienced hiker...even more so because it is a high altitude trail.

Since you have no hiking experience, you might wish to carefully consider the altitudes involved. This very detailed map is exellent for that :

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 35631.46&N=1160512.72& zoom=4

Red trails require good gear.

www.myswissalps.com/hi king

www.alpenwild.com/stat icpage/trail-signs-in-the-swiss-alps/

I have turned on hiking trails. You are talking about major altitude changes in your proposals.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Feb 8, 2018 - 3:22 AM by Slowpoke
Mark
Mark
166 posts
active member
Feb 8, 2018 - 4:29 AM

Hi Slowpoke

My wife and I hiked in the opposite direction from SP to First in about 6.45 hrs but it is more uphill in that direction and we stopped to look around Faulhorn for several minutes. In general I have found the hike ratings to be fairly accurate regarding the amount of time the hike takes although they don't generally differentiate between uphill vs down hill much. I easily hiked the Eiger trail in less than the 2.50 hrs allotted going downhill from Eigerglecher to Alpiglen but would have been hard pressed to do it in the reverse direction.We are in our mid 60s and reasonably fit but not extremely so. Personally I prefer to hike uphill due to knee issues and probably hike faster uphill than down.

Of the 2 other couples I know who have hiked SP to First, one did it in less than 6 hrs (they are in their 30s).I would think how fit and generally active you are would matter more than experience. If Maksim was planning on hiking from Lauderbrunnen to Grindelwald to Bachalpsee, I assumed he was in reasonably good shape. At least for me, the altitude is not an issue until i get above 8-9000 feet, but of course that will vary from one person to the next.

The hike ratings I have been referring to are the ones posted on the Wandern Hiking Maps given out at the hotels in Wengen. The latest one I got this past September charts out 76 different hikes and their approximate hiking times.The first time I used these maps several years ago, it took some getting use to as there is no mention of distances or elevation change as a US hiking map would normally have. So I have come to rely on the estimated hiking times and at least for me they are reasonably accurate. Mark

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Feb 8, 2018 - 9:31 AM in reply to Mark

Hi Marki -

<<"We have no hiking experience.">>

We don't really know what that means. We don't know how fit Maksim and friend are.

<<"I would think how fit and generally active you are would matter more than experience.">>

Exactly.

<<"If Maksim was planning on hiking from Lauderbrunnen to Grindelwald to Bachalpsee, I assumed he was in reasonably good shape.">>

I would assume the opposite until I learned otherwise, and for advice on this forum, you can be providing it to people with a wide range of fitness.

As a result, the advice should differ if there are no " escapes" or "shortcuts" or "cheating" ( as Maksim calls it) available, compared to advice hikes where they are..

They can always provide commentary on their fitness in a conversation.

I figure that giving them a topo map is a good first step.

Although I am older than you, when I was considerably younger than you, I would find that exertion at elevations above " a mile high" to use our familiar American phrase , and certainly 600 to 700 meter altitude changes above 2000 meters would leave me short of breath and slow me down substantially on climbs. It got easier if I became acclimated to high altitude, low oxygen partial pressure exercise over a few days. 600 to 700 meter altitude changes above 2000 meters

You are in good shape if you make that trip in a time close to the posted times. I have friends who have done so, and others who have stayed at Faulhorn because their legs were not good for the downhill in the same day, after they had done the uphill.

Arno's advice and the link in My Swiss Alps were right on the spot as a way to judge capability.....and your advice as well about the last ride down at either end.

You comment about maps and trails is close to my experience....so, before I use one of the kinds of maps that you describe, especially in mountainous regionms, my practice before online maps, was to buy the 1;50,000 paper hiking maps, die Wanderkarten, and carefully look over the altitude profiles. Sometimes, 1:25,000 in tricky terrain. Now, you can do it online. However, I find paper maps better for planning a hike in unknown territory, because you can see a lot more of the alternatives and general lay of the land, while still having the detail at your fingertips.

shop.swisstopo.admin.c h/en/products/maps/lei sure/hike/hiking_maps5 0

Swiss topo offers their map in a smartphone app, for detail on the trail these days.

shop.swisstopo.admin.c h/en/products/maps/Swi ssMapMobile_Abo

Since I have collected those maps over many years, I have a lot of them, and arry them on the trail. Sometiomes the routes of the marked trails ( die Wanderwege) are chnaged, and usuallyu you can figure that out from the signage and a good map, in the lwlands. In thee high alps on steep slpoes. ytails suchas Schynige Plateto/from First are so clearly marked that you are safe without a map in those circumstances, but if you are on a lesser trail that is more demanding, it is important to be up to date.

The descent to Alpiglen on the Eiger Trail is 400 meters of switchbacks. My knees and legs in general always need a break for a Käseschnitte at the inn at Alpiglen.

Slowpoke

Mark
Mark
166 posts
active member
Feb 8, 2018 - 6:17 PM

Hi Slowpoke

Well it was actually Arno who first suggested First to SP. I did give some input on the hike including hiking time from my maps (myswissalps rates time at 6.5 hrs instead of 6.2).The hike is 9.3 miles with climb of about 1600 ft to Faulhorn then mostly downhill. To finish in 6.5 hrs, you need to average 1.4 MPH. Doable in my book.

certainly, I agree it is helpful to know you capabilities and even more so your limits. We just returned from a hiking trip to Patagonia, mostly around Uppsala Glacier and Fitzroy.(see attached photos) Several hikes were in the 10-11 mile range and 2000 ft elevation climb. Admittedly , in the upper area of my comfort zone. I have several friends my age, both male and female, back home in the Smokey Mts of Tennessee who regularly do day hikes of 20 miles or more. Well beyond my range. Of course I also have friends who would have trouble with 1 mile downhill as well. Bottom line, I have no idea what hikes Maksim is suited for but that will be up to him to decide. Hopefully, the information we have provided him is sufficient and accurate enough for him to make an informed choice.

Last when discussing hikers and fitness , I can't pass up telling about a famous local hiker, Jim Huff. In 1929, he hiked to his cabin on top of Mt LeConte, the highest peak in Tennessee.About a 15-20 mile hike and 3000 feet or more climb. He lived in the mountains and was a "hillbilly". He did this while carrying his mother sitting in a chair strapped to his back with leather thongs.(see att photo). He did this every year for several years. My guess is he could have made it from First to SP in under 6.2 hrs. Mark

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Mark
Mark
166 posts
active member
Feb 8, 2018 - 6:26 PM

sorry the photos didn't go through, I'll try again

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mshmeljov
mshmeljov
2 posts
new member
Feb 8, 2018 - 7:12 PM

Hi, that's a bit difficult to discribe our level of fitness. But we are young (30) and slim.

I also plan to use cable cars on a way from Lauterbrunnen to Manlichen and Grindelwald to First. Route Mänlichen - Kleine Shedieg - Grindelwald we are planning to cover in 2 days. And First-Bachalpsee-First in a last day. Is it a good plan?

p.s. Thank you all for your answers, they are very helpfull.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Feb 8, 2018 - 8:11 PM in reply to Mark

<<"Well it was actually Arno who first suggested First to SP. ">>

That is what I said....credit where credit is due! ;-)

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Feb 8, 2018 - 8:38 PM in reply to mshmeljov

Hi Maksim -

<<"Hi, that's a bit difficult to discribe our level of fitness. But we are young (30) and slim.">>

How many km do you walk every day? Do you jog...how far, how often. Are you a runner? A measure common in Switzerland is -"How many meters do you climb every day?"

<<"I also plan to use cable cars on a way from Lauterbrunnen to Manlichen and Grindelwald to First. >>"

Will you climb up from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen and go to Männlichen. Then Männlichen to Grindel Wald Grund by cable ways. Then 1 km walk from Grindelwald Gund to the valley station of the cableways to First. ( short walk in Grindelwald) . Then cableways to First? Walk to Bachsee and return?

If so, the only hard part is the climb from Lauterbrunnen at about 800 meters up to to Wengen at about 1275 meters. The rest is fast and easy.

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/bachsee.

If you make the climb to Wengen in a couple of hours +/-, which should be within your capabilities and is at low altitude, then you have an easy day hike as far as time. Just, as Marki notes, watch out for the last cable way down from First.

This is a good one..full of detail.

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 42080.94&N=1165653.48& zoom=5

This one is simpler, but does not show altitudes:

map.search.ch/Grindelw ald,First?pos=644264,164528&z=32

Look in the menus under "Points of Interest/Traffic."

<<"Grindelwald- MRoute Mänlichen - Kleine Shedieg - Grindelwald we are planning to cover in 2 days.">>

One day. Unless you are used to long downhill walks, you will have very sore legs after you walk down to Grindelwald from Kleine Scheidegg, wheter you do the hike in one day or two days.. About a 1030 meter descent.h

<<"And First-Bachalpsee-First in a last day. Is it a good plan?">>

You can certainly do that. But, it is about a half a day trip. Maybe 5 hours RT from Grindelwald. Why would you not do that walk after or as part of your trip from Lauterbrunnen, as I explained above?

You seem to have different disconnected pieces planned, if I understand your comments correctly.

Please use maps to help understand the walks and cableways.

Slowpoke

Arno
Arno
10358 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 9, 2018 - 12:25 PM

Männlichen - Kleine Scheidegg - Grindelwald can be done in one longish day or two days. There are several routes to choose from, see Slowpoke's map. First to Bachalpsee and back is an easy walk. At altitude, I must add, but that applies to the other trail as well. It should not take more than 3 hours or so, including a break at the lake. On the way back, you could continue on from First to Grosse Scheidegg, then take a bus back down to Grindelwald.

Last modified on Feb 9, 2018 - 12:26 PM by Arno
Mark
Mark
166 posts
active member
Feb 10, 2018 - 3:20 AM

hello again Maksim

If your looking for challenge, the longer hikes are fine but if you mainly just want a pleasant alpine experience with wonderful views you can string together shorter hikes with the options to do less or more as you go.

Everyone suggests Mannlichen to KS for good reason. When you reach KS, you might continue on to the Eigergletscher, a fairly short but uphill hike that has a great view with a small lake or reservoir . We usually take the train back down to KS to avoid the steep down hill. Once back to KS you may walk down a moderate downhill trail to Wengernalp and then the train back to your hotel. see att photos. Mannlichen to KS rated 1.20hr. KS to Eigergletscher rated 1.00hr. KS to Wengernalp 2.00hr

Another popular hike as Arno suggests is First to Bachalpsee. If you don't want to backtrack, I would suggest continuing on from Bachalpsee to Waldspitz. This is a gentle uncrowded trail with my personal favorite views. From Waldspitz you can take the bus back to Grindelwald or continue on a short set of switchbacks to Bort and then cable car to Grindelwald. see photos. First to Waldspitz rated 2.30hrs. Waldspitz to Bort 15-20 minutes.

For you third day of hiking, you might consider the classic Eiger trail from Eigergletscher to Alpiglen. Rated 2.50 hrs. But an alternative could be a train ride to Schynige Platte and hike the Panoramaweg loop along the cliff top and possibly climb the steps to Oberberghorn lookout.Possibly the most spectacular views in the Jungfrau region (personal opinion). the loop is rated 2.50 hrs. see photos.

As Slowpoke correctly noted the posted hiking times are approximations.

The att photos may give you some idea of the vistas you can expect Mark

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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Feb 10, 2018 - 8:17 AM

<<"For you third day of hiking, you might consider the classic Eiger trail from Eigergletscher to Alpiglen. Rated 2.50 hrs. But an alternative could be a train ride to Schynige Platte and hike the Panoramaweg loop along the cliff top and possibly climb the steps to Oberberghorn lookout.Possibly the most spectacular views in the Jungfrau region (personal opinion). the loop is rated 2.50 hrs. see photos.">>

Schynige Platte is an excellent suggestion. As you show, there is indeed a splendid set of views at Schynige Platte. You can view both the Jungfrau Massif and the lakes, as your photos show. It's been a while since I've been up there. All the discussions in this forum have convinced me to include inmy next Fall trip. Thanks for the reminder. ;-)

Tha SchuigePlatte Bahn -

The "bricks" that pass for locomotives are unique. Some were built in 1911 and 1914....and , it is a rare 80cm gauge line, of interest if you are a rail fan.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Schynige_Platte_Railwa y

When I looked at this set of pictures, I realized that they occasionally run steam-power, too.

www.google.com/search?q=schynige+Platte+Bahn &client=firefox-b-1&tbm=isch&tbo=u&sourc e=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKE wifxoTA8prZAhUPY6wKHTC aAPQQsAQIXg&biw=1790&b ih=1033

Slowpoke

Mark
Mark
166 posts
active member
Feb 10, 2018 - 3:42 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Yes the views along the panoramaweg trail at SP are spectacular. The photos are a small sample. There are excellent views of Männlichen,Jungfrau Monch,Eiger,Brienzeree, Thunersee, and Interlaken. Also a nice distant view of Lauderbrunnen valley. Even a good sized herd of Swiss cows adjacent to and on the trail with an accompanying chorus of cow bells. I would suggest,if possible, to pick the day with the clearest weather to see Schynige Platte. Mark

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Feb 10, 2018 - 5:16 PM in reply to Mark

<<"en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ L%C3%B6tschberg_railwa y_line">>

Indeed. And, that is why it s good to have more than one dayt o choose from, as the weather can be fickle.

Slowpoke

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