Hiking Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen early May

Hiking Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen early May

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IrishRover
IrishRover
2 posts
new member
Apr 10, 2018 - 9:12 PM

Grüezi,

My boyfriend and I are planning a hiking trip in the Berner Oberland the first week of May. We are aware it's shoulder season (it's the only week he has off work for many months) and we have read that "the Eiger Trail is closed until July" - but is someone able to clarify exactly what is meant by this? Is it strictly forbidden to even attempt it, or just a bad idea for people who don't have a lot of hiking experience? Perhaps something to ask a local with knowledge of current conditions once we get there?

How about the lower-level route from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg (the Via Alpina section)?

And then getting from Kleine Scheidegg down to Lauterbrunnen? I can see from the maps that there are plenty of trails marked; is at least one going to be passable? We aren't worried about high technical difficulty, that will be fine for us, we just don't want to get swept away in a flood of meltwater or a landslide! :)

If it helps, for context, we are both fit and active 20-somethings who like long, strenuous days (tend to plan 9-11h as standard, but 16+ hours is not unheard of if we really want to get somewhere!), with a fair bit of mountain hiking and scrambling experience up to about 3000m including full winter conditions; we both know our way around crampons/ice axes and emergency survival stuff, although we haven't ever done glacier walking. The Eiger Trail sounds very enticing for us, but we're not about to put our lives at risk to tick it off - but if it's the sort of thing that could be attempted at this time of year with the right skillset we'd love to go for it. Equally, however, if the weather is absolutely abysmal on the day we will just find the nearest pub in Grindelwald, followed by whatever public transport is to hand. No need for total misery! :)

Many thanks in advance! IR.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3339 posts
expert
Apr 10, 2018 - 10:54 PM in reply to IrishRover

Hello IrishRover and Welcome to MySwissAlps,

I’m not a hiker but you might find this useful www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/hiking-alternatives-for-april-2018.

Also www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/gondolarail-access-to-mountains-in-aprilmay-2018.

Happy roving. 😎

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4485 posts
expert
Apr 10, 2018 - 11:18 PM in reply to IrishRover

Hi Irishrover-

<<"that will be fine for us, we just don't want to get swept away in a flood of meltwater or a landslide! :)">>

Not much meltwater in early May, especially at high altitudes above 1800-2000 meters. Snowslides are certainly a concern. Don't think that landslides are. ;-)

The problem is that the trails will be blocked by snow and have the possibilities of dangerous snow slides. First week of May tends to have not so much good skiing snow, but plenty of snow to block trails. Meters deep in many case.

Lots of mountain transport shuts down until late May, specifically because neither hikers nor skiers have much to do up there.

It's not skill set, it's safety.

Trail grooming stops sometime before that. Not sure when. Doubt that the Eiger trail is groomed, but the easy trail from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg has a chance. Snow does hang on near Tschuggen, so even if part of the trail opens early, that section blocks the rest of it. Litttle or no sun there.

Even as late as mid-June, trails at 2300 - 2000 meters are just starting to open up. It's not regulations...its impassability and safety. Probably later this year...lots of snow this past winter.

Work with altitudes.

In early May, you probably are good below 1500 or so meters. Maybe a bit less.

Webcams-

en.swisswebcams.ch/web cam/1010222761

By the way, this map may 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 34960.81&N=1162689.89& zoom=6

plus this:

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

Slowpoke

Last modified on Apr 10, 2018 - 11:27 PM by Slowpoke
Arno
Arno
10304 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 11, 2018 - 7:47 AM

Hi IrishRover,

I've been in the area around that time and the trails around Kleine Scheidegg were not accessible then. I don't expect them to be this year, but the tourist agency knows the conditions. You can always walk up to Alpiglen, take the train to Kleine Scheidegg, another to Wengernalp for example, and then continue walking down.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4485 posts
expert
Apr 11, 2018 - 8:14 AM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno-

for reference-

Alpiglen is at 1616 meters. That whole north face does not get a lot of sun. However, at that altitude, it could be accessible.

Wengernalp is at 1874 meters. Do you think the trail will be accessible at that altitude? I don't remember from being there quite a few years ago, but the topo map suggests it may also not get the full sun exposure that Wengen gets. It seems to be sort of tucked in under the Lauberhorn.

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 39130.81&N=1159209.89& zoom=6

Slowpoke

Last modified on Apr 11, 2018 - 8:28 AM by Slowpoke
Mark
Mark
165 posts
active member
Apr 11, 2018 - 11:12 AM

Hi IrishRover

I expect you best bet is to check with the local tourist office in Wengen or Grindelwald to see which trails are passable. I wouldn’t be surprised if the valley hike from Grindelwald to KS is open but it may not be. The Lauderbrunnen valley trails will likely be open. As to the higher trails like the Eiger, even if your comfortable hiking in snow you may not be able to see the trail. We tried to hike to the Faulhorn after a mild 2 -3 inches of snow in September and couldn’t see the trail. Mark

IrishRover
IrishRover
2 posts
new member
Apr 11, 2018 - 5:12 PM

Many thanks everyone for the useful advice, tips and links - some sites I'd seen, some new. We'll do a bit more planning then and have plenty of ideas in reserve, and just see when we get there what's doable.

1960man
1960man
163 posts
active member
Apr 12, 2018 - 12:17 AM

The Wengen village side gets lots of sun, and may well be snow free by early May (it even is sometimes in Jan/Feb nowadays) , so I suspect you might get away with walking K-S to Wengen, but the path may be officially closed (even if physically accesible) which means you are in trouble if you get into any sort of difficulty.

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