Hiking in the Jungfrau region - late May?

Hiking in the Jungfrau region - late May?

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Posts: 16
dsa88
dsa88
5 posts
new member
Jan 10, 2018 - 11:17 PM

I want to go to Switzerland (specifically Berner Oberland) bertween May 18-28. It's the only time of the year where I can travel basically. From what I've read, it's an iffy time in terms of trails being closed due to some still being covered in snow.

Will trails at around the 2000 meter mark likely be open? I'd love to hike to the Oberhornsee and Rotstockhutte.

Also, when people say that a trail is closed, how exactly are they closed? Will I be seeing a physical barrier of some sort?

Thank you.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4004 posts
expert
Jan 10, 2018 - 11:42 PM in reply to dsa88

H dsa88 -

Welcome to My Swiss Alps -

<<"Will trails at around the 2000 meter mark likely be open? I'd love to hike to the Oberhornsee and Rotstockhutte. ">>

Bluntly, no. Politely, extremely unlikely. ;-(

<<"Also, when people say that a trail is closed, how exactly are they closed? Will I be seeing a physical barrier of some sort?">>

It isn't "people." It is the ski patrol or the equivalent office of the local government. They or an equivalent organization maintain the trails.

You will see signs, definitely in German, likely in English. If you go past them, and there is an avalanche, you might regret being buried in snow.

If you plan to do it anyway, I recommend joining the helicopter rescue service ahead of time:

www.rega.ch/en/home.as px

Slowpoke

dsa88
dsa88
5 posts
new member
Jan 11, 2018 - 12:16 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks for the reply. I have no intentions to disobey the "closed" signs. Do you have any suggestions for good low-altitude hikes in the Grindelwald-Lauterbrunnen area?

Any fun and relatively cheap activities? I already have the Pfinstegg toboggan in mind. I don't have the cash to spend on things like skydiving and paragliding.

Thanks.

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
150 posts
active member
Jan 11, 2018 - 1:58 AM

Hi,

South facing trails are more likely to be open than those on the other side of the valley because of the amount of direct light they get, so I would expect the trails above First like Bussalp, Faulhorn or the Schynigge Plaette to be open (no guarantees), but as you have seen, it all depends on the weather. It's unlikely paths would be physically blocked because there are so many of them, unless there is a high danger of avalanches (Lawinen Gefahr in german). Some paths may be snow free and still be closed because they need to be mended/inspected for winter damage, especially those with security cables or steps/ladders that have to be maintained. Paths through woods have the added danger of falling trees if they are still carrying snow. Following the advice on the signs will keep you out of trouble. The path menders do a great job, so any signs you see should be current.

From memory, the path to the Rotstockhuette is fairly open on a south facing slope and should be open when you are there.

The Rodelbahn (Toboggan) is a hoot! The Pfinstegg cablecar begins running again at the end of April, so I assume the Rodelbahn does too (Can anybody confirm this) It costs 5 fr a go, but it's a lot of fun!

Hope this helps

Have a great trip

Alan

dsa88
dsa88
5 posts
new member
Jan 11, 2018 - 2:17 AM in reply to AlanPrice

Thanks a ton for all the info. I really appreciate it.

Lucas
Lucas
3633 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 11, 2018 - 6:59 AM in reply to dsa88

Hi dsa88,

For suggestions on activities and hiking options in the Jungfrau region (Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen etc) look at our Jungfrau page here. Keep in mind the altitudes of the hikes there for attempts in May.

Cable cars etc can get expensive - I would look at the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland or the Swiss Half Fare Card to help with that. Also, see here for tips on how to save money while in Switzerland.

Last modified on Jan 11, 2018 - 7:02 AM by Lucas
Arno
Arno
9747 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 11, 2018 - 12:38 PM in reply to AlanPrice

Hi Alan,

As far as I know everything at Pfingstegg opens on May 5. This is also weather dependent however: it can be good enough for the cable car but not for the Rodenbahn for example.

kim11
kim11
389 posts
top member
Jan 12, 2018 - 11:57 PM

Unfortunately some of the things you want to do likely won't be available while you are there.

Rotstockhütte (2039 meters) doesn't open until sometime in early June, depending on weather. Hotel Obersteinberg (1800 meters) opens on June 1; Oberhornsee is further up past the hotel at 2065 meters and will likely not be reachable while you are there.

The Schynige Platte train starts running 26 May. The hike from there to First usually doesn't open until late June, sometimes early July. The other route to Faulhorn is up from First but that usually is closed until 15 June or later. The Faulhorn hotel opens 20 June.

Here is a clip describing some of the late spring hikes that should be accessible (note that this riff also includes hikes that only open in June)

Spring does not come early to the Bernese Oberland. Many of the higher elevation hikes are often closed by snow and/or mud until mid-June. During heavy or late snow years some of these trails don’t open until July 1. The earliest the higher elevation hikes open are when the transports to reach the trailheads are scheduled to begin operating. However, sometimes the trails don’t open for days or weeks later, it is entirely weather- and snowpack-dependent.

However, there are a number of lower elevation hikes that are usually open during April, May, and early June. These are all easy walks; the more challenging hikes are those higher up.

A beautiful valley walk begins in Lauterbrunnen and ends in Stechelberg (or earlier, depending on your inclination). It is about 4 miles long on a wide flat path. You can go as far as Trümmelbach Falls (about half way and highly recommended for a visit) then bus the rest of the way, go as far as the Stechelberg Schilthornbahn station, about 3.5 miles total, or go all the way to Stechelberg where there is a lovely inn that serves delicious lunches. You can take the bus back from any of these stops to Lauterbrunnen.

The only walk at elevation that's pretty sure to be open is the Grütschalp to Mürren route. Take the cable train from Lauterbrunnen to Grütshcalp then enjoy the 3.5 mile, mostly flat stroll to Mürren. Stunning views of the Eiger massif from here. You can also walk from Mürren down the paved easy trail to Gimmelwald then catch the gondola down to Stechelberg.

The Allmenhubel lift (from Mürren up to Allmendhubel) generally opens the end of the first week of June, walks in that area may be open that early or maybe not, entirely depending on snow levels. schilthorn.ch/en/Angeb ot/Timetable__Tariffs/ Timetable

The gondola from Wengen to Männlichen (where one begins the easy walk down to Kleine Scheidegg) is usually scheduled to begin operating in mid-May, but often the trail is obscured by snow or mud until mid June. If it is closed it is still well worth taking the gondola trip and walking around the top.

There is also a lovely easy walk along the river (starting in Lauterbrunnen) called the "Natur und Bahn" trail. You pick it up right behind (east) of the train station and follow it as far as you want. It runs to Wilderswil via Zweilütschinen, each of those segments is around 3 miles. You can catch the train back to Lauterbrunnen at either spot.

There are a number of loop trails around Wengen that are usually open before mid-June as well. The tourist information center in town can direct you to these.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4004 posts
expert
Jan 13, 2018 - 12:32 AM in reply to dsa88

Hi dsa88 -

For extremely detailed information on altitudes, topography, hiking trails, etc., this map cannot be beat:

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 35045.02&N=1161733.72& zoom=5

I turned on hiking trails in the menu. The guidance on altitude...you mentioned 2000 meters... is easier to understand if you have this map.

Slowpoke

dsa88
dsa88
5 posts
new member
Jan 13, 2018 - 2:22 AM in reply to Slowpoke

I've seen that map. It truly is a great resource. I wish all countries had a map like that. I only wish it showed which trails are open and which are closed.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4004 posts
expert
Jan 13, 2018 - 2:28 AM in reply to dsa88

<<"I wish all countries had a map like that. I only wish it showed which trails are open and which are closed.">>

For a first approximation, go by altitude. High trails ( 2000 meters and above) only begin to open in mid-June.

Normal, generic advice. Don't plan hut - to hut or high altiude hikes until July.

See. Simple.

All you have to do is rearrange your schedule. Somethings are important, after all. ;-)

Slowpoke

dsa88
dsa88
5 posts
new member
Jan 13, 2018 - 2:30 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Unfortunately due to work, I can only go in May. I'd love to go in July. I probably will eventually!

sharon0213
sharon0213
6 posts
new member
Jan 13, 2018 - 3:06 PM in reply to kim11

Jumping in on this thread, we are also going to be in Switzerland on these exact dates and plan to spend 3 nights in Wengen. In addition to the great advice we've already received, I really appreciate your tips on walks and hikes that are available to us at the end of May, Kim. This is exactly what we were looking for, and we will definitely use this information to plan our time in the Bernese Oberland. Thanks again!

stodgytj
stodgytj
12 posts
new member
Jan 16, 2018 - 12:57 AM

Following up on Kim11's post, are the trains not running to Schynige Platte until 26 May? Bummer.

How about access to Mannlichen? When do the gondolas start operating? Do they start operating from Grund or Wengen at different times? Was hoping to start at Mannlichen and hike to Kleine Scheidegg then down to Wengen and possibly to Lauterbrunnen. A full day, but possible.

Last question is Niederhorn access. Will it be possible to visit Niederhorm in late April?

We enjoy MySwissAlps forums very much and read many of the posts. We'll be staying in Interlaken from mid April to mid May. Hopefully we'll be able to do our Mannlichen hike before we have to return to reality. Rockoyster and Slowpoke are real resources and their contributions are appreciated.

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Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1378 posts
top member
Jan 16, 2018 - 3:49 AM in reply to stodgytj

>> Following up on Kim11's post, are the trains not running to Schynige Platte until 26 May? Bummer.

Unfortunately, yes.

>> How about access to Mannlichen? When do the gondolas start operating? Do they start operating from Grund or Wengen at different times?

Gondola Grindelwald Grund-Männlichen: 26 May–21 Oct 2018

Cable car Wengen-Männlichen: 1 June–21 Oct 2018

>> Was hoping to start at Mannlichen and hike to Kleine Scheidegg then down to Wengen and possibly to Lauterbrunnen. A full day, but possible.

Although the cable cars start operating between 26 May and 1 June, the trail from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg may not be open. The local tourist office can tell you what trails are open.

>> Last question is Niederhorn access. Will it be possible to visit Niederhorm in late April?

The gondola from Beatenberg to the Niederhorn operates daily from 21 Apr–11 Nov 2018, and then on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays until the end of the 2017-18 timetable period.

The funicular up to Beatenberg from the lake will also be operating during that period. There is also a PostBus (Route 101) between Beatenberg and Interlaken West if you would like to experience a different route on the way there/back. It runs all year.

www.postauto.ch/en/exc ursion-tips/beatenberg-route

Alpenrose

kim11
kim11
389 posts
top member
Jan 16, 2018 - 6:28 AM

I am sorry to say that I have never seen the Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg hike open before 12 - 15 June

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