Berner Oberland Haute Route

The Swiss Berner Oberland wanders among the Jungfrau, Mönch, Eiger and other famous peaks at the source of the longest glacier in Europe, the Aletschgletscher. In recognition of its importance and uniqueness the glacier has been designated as a UNESCO world heritage natural site. The settings here are spectacular with tremendous vertical relief and giant valley glaciers more similar to Alaska than normal accounted for in the Alps. It is a great place for those seeking a bit more solitude and more options for varied ski ascents and descents. The tour is perfect for both skiers who have some experience of high altitude touring to the more expert one or even a fit all-round mountaineer with ski touring experience. The skiing, in an incredible setting, is what this area is all about.

The nights we spend in typical huts of excellent Swiss standard situated on strategical places between the mountains, offering hearty and simple meals that satisfy most visitors and permits us to enjoy the skiing as only traveling light can. It is a ski journey with a small pack containing only clothing and personal effects and for most people it is truly a ski expedition adventure.

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We will use an alpine ski touring setup, skins and binding that allow you to hike with a free-heel upwards. A normal day on the tour is intense, you start quite early and continue by hiking up and skiing down for 6-9 hours, so you should have a good level of fitness. However, there will be plenty of time every afternoon to enjoy the mountain scenery, dry the wet clothes and to take care of yourself by having a rest.

Prerequisite skills
You need to have a good level of cardiovascular fitness since it is an intense week with many meters up and down to cover every day at high altitude. It is suitable for skiers who have previous experience of backcountry and multi-day ski touring skiing, in order to be able to cope with variable off-piste snow conditions. Previous mountaineering skills are useful, but not required. Of course if you feel you lack some of those experiences or uncertain of your own level, please feel free to contact us. We will do our best to give you the best experience possible.

Season
This ski tour is suitable for the later part of the season. The mountain huts open mid March and the best season is from late April to the beginning of May. This is a wonderful time in the Alps with lots of snow in the high mountains, cold temperatures at 3000 m, while at the same time warm and pleasant down in the valleys. It is not uncommon that we often enjoy powder skiing or spring firn up in the mountains before we descend to the valley or huts and sit outside in the Sun with a beer in our hand.

Program for the week
The following program is a typical week. There might be changes due to weather or snow conditions with alternative routes and huts to be used.

Day 1 Sunday : Arrival day in Grindelwald – Meeting
Arrival day in Grindelwald. The hotel will be available for check in the afternoon and in the evening we have a gathering to discuss the plan for the week. If you want to spend additional days before or after the tour please let us know.

Day 2 Monday: Grindelwald – Konkordiahütte
We take the Jungfrau Railway up to the Jungfraujoch, at 3454 m it is Europe’s highest altitude railway station in a world of rock, ice and snow. It is a pioneering masterpiece among railways and the cogwheel railway takes us through in a tunnel hewn in the rock of the notorious Eiger and Mönch. A short ski descent of the upper Jungfraufirn and then up towards the col below Louwitor (3676 m). A wonderful ski descent of Kranzbergfirn and then up to the Konkordiahütte (2850 m), using the famous ladder, where we try to calculate the number of steps.

Day 3 Tuesday : Konkordiahütte – Finsteraarnhornhütte
An early start puts us back on the glacier below the hut and we start by ascending towards Grünhornlücke (3280 m). Together with the morning Sun we make a nice ski descent down to the Fieschergletscher and after a short break we do the final climb of the day up to Wyssnollen (3590 m). Another lovely ski descent, most probably in spring conditions, leads us back down to the glacier, we continue over the plateau and after a long day of hard work we can finally relax in the cosy Finsteraarnhornhütte (3048 m) and share the days adventure among us.

Day 4 Wednesday : Finsteraarnhornhütte – Konkordiahütte
Today we have a long day ahead with an early start in the morning. Depending on the conditions we can either do the Grosses Wannerhorn (3905,9 m), which offers some excellent skiing possibilities also considered one of the finest ski descents in Oberland, or a tour towards Fiescherhorn (4048,8 m) with a very spectacular glacier environment. In any case we have to make the ascent back up to Grünhornlücke (3280 m) in the afternoon and we finish the day by a ski descent back to the Konkordiahütte (2850 m).

Day 5 Thursday : Konkordiahütte – Hollandiahütte
The goal for the day is the Hollandiahütte (3164 m) and today we do a fabulous stage in the heart of the mountain range. In front of us we have the Kranzberg massif, followed by a nice ski descent on spring snow towards Grosser Aletschfirn, and a beautiful glacier traverse below the giants Dreieckhorn (3810,7 m) and Aletschhorn (4193 m). After a long day we finally arrive at the Hollandiahütte where we spend our last night.

Day 6 Friday : Hollandiahütte – Grindelwald
The last day of the tour and this day offers one of the longest ski descent of the week, almost 2000 m verical descent to the village Blatten, followed by a bus or taxi transfer back to Grindelwald. With our last reserves we start the day with a ascent of Äben Flue (3962 m) or as an other option Mittaghorn (3892 m). In good weather and snow conditions it can for sure be one of the weeks highlight. After having enjoyed the stunning views we had back down and a long ski run takes us down to Blatten past the Hollandiahütte. After a week of hard physical work with stunning views, new experiences and excellent skiing we return to Grindelwald, of course after the obligatory bratwurst and beer.

Day 7 Saturday : Departure day
Day of departure back home.

Small groups
We only take 4-6 skiers/guide during these weeks. Some weeks there are two guides with independent groups working together. However, we travel independently so that the groups can ski different lines.

Personal equipment
The following is an equipment list. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. Equipment marked with * can be provided by your guide when needed.

• Skis with AT bindings (Dynafit or Diamir type) that should be light but stable for the downhill skiing.
• Climbing skins adapted to your skis.
• Poles, adjustable with big baskets that can be mounted on a backpack.
• Ski crampons
• Ski touring boots
• Backpack, 35-45 liters, with straps for skis and poles.
• Ice axe, straight classic model 40-50 cm.*
• Crampons, light but durable. We do not recommend aluminum crampons.*
• Avalanche transceiver*
• Shovel*
• Probe*
• Harness, light with adjustable leg loops.*
• Ski goggles, “orange/yellow” lenses to be used at bad weather.
• Sunglasses, category 3-4.
• Gortex jacket or similar.
• Gortex pants or similar with ventilation possibilities.
• Down jacket lightweight.
• 2 pairs of base layer, synthetic or wool.
• 2 pairs of ski socks.
• Mid layer
• Thin gloves
• Insulated gloves
• Hat and balaclava to protect your face in bad weather.
• Sun hat to protect you against the Sun.
• Head torch with spare batteries.
• Sun block
• Water bottle (1-2 liters), since we do not recommend Camelback systems.
• Travel sheets to sleep in at the huts.
• Small repair kit.
• Small medical kit.

Included
• Professional Mountain Guide authorized by UIAGM/IFMGA.
• All transport during the week including return to Grindelwald area.
• Ski passes (except train to Jungfraujoch).
• Hotel accommodation in twin double rooms including breakfast before and after the week (a single room can, where possible be arranged at additional cost).
• Nights at mountain huts including breakfast and dinner.
• Fantastic views and excellent skiing.

Not included
• Lunch and drinks up in the mountain huts.
• Train passes to Jungfraujoch.
• Personal ski touring equipment (see list above).
• Travel to/from Grindelwald area.
• Mandatory insurance to cover mountain rescue costs.

Number of days: 5 days ski tour, 6 nights accommodation.
Price: Please contact us.


Please use the form if you have any questions or want us to contact you.

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