Ski touring and ski mountaineering in the Bernese Oberland is the quintessential Swiss Alps experience. Pro Guiding Service has guided on the Konkordia glacier, the Jungfrau and the Finsteraarhorn region for well over 20 years in many variations. We have many local connections there and speak the local language. The area south of the Jungfraujoch is the most glaciated zone in the Alps.
Ski touring and ski mountaineering in the Bernese Oberland is the quintessential Swiss Alps experience. Pro Guiding Service has guided on the Konkordia glacier, Jungfrau and the Finsteraarhorn region for well over 20 weeks in many variations. We have many local connections there and speak the local language. The area south of the Jungfraujoch is the most glaciated zone in the Alps. If weather and conditions allow, you will summit iconic peaks such as the Monch, the Jungfrau and the Finsteraarhorn, which involves some ski mountaineering.
Starting in the famous resort of Grindelwald, we will take the trams up to the Kleine Scheidegg, through the Eiger Tunnels and on to the Jungfrau Joch at 11,000 feet. From here we will work our way south to the Valais over the next six days. You will be touring on the biggest glaciers in the Alps, skiing in the immediate vicinity of the Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau and hopefully summit a couple more 4000 meter peaks in the vicinity. For a week you will be surrounded by rock and ice in the most alpine environment of Europe. Unlike many other ski traverses, you will do some climbing on easy, but exposed ridges and get introduced to the beauty of ski mountaineering. Conditions allowing, you will summit a peak almost every day.
Overall Difficulty Level: Difficult
Skills Required: Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience. Prior use of crampons recommended.
Fitness Level: Very Strenuous due to climbing and ski touring at high altitude.
Day One: From Grindelwald we will take the train directly beneath the North Face of the Eiger to the alpine village of Kleine Scheidegg, the viewing place for all the escapades on the Nord Wand. The next train tunnels right into the heart of the mountain, to the Eiger Wall Station, where an observation window allows us to look out onto the Nord Wand. Finally we will reach the Jungfraujoch and Sphinx Observatory at 3500 meter. From here, opitons abound. Most likely we will ski down to the Konkordia hut (2850 meters) via the Lowitor and the Kranzberg or the Trugberg. This will get us our first taste of the high altitude, but we will still sleep relatively low in the comfortable Konkordia hut.
Day Two: The Wyssnollen (3590 meters) is a great objective along the way to the Finsteraarhornhut. In order to get there, we have to tour over the Grunhornluecke, ski down to the Fieschergletscher and then ascend the gentle slopes of the Wyssnollen. After the descent back to the Fieschergletscher we have to tour up the short distance to the Finsteraarhornhut at 3048 meters. This day consists of several ascents and descents. This adds up to about 4000 feet of vertical gain.
Day Three: Perhaps the most impressive peak on the trip and also the highest peak in the Bernese Oberland, the Finsteraarhorn (4274 meters) ends with a short but fairly exposed ridge climbing section to reach the summit. The pre-dawn start sets off with a steep ascent of slopes right above the hut. From there we reach one of the tributary glaciers coming off the Finsteraarhorn. It takes about 2 hours to get to the so-called Fruehstuecksplatz (breakfast spot) at about 3600 meters. Here a short but exposed traverse on skins gets us onto the final slope to the Hugisattel at 4088 meters where we will depot our skis, put on crampons, rope up and climb the easy but exposed terrain to the summit. Round trip time from the ski depot to the summit and back is about 2 hours. The very direct descent brings us back down to the hut where we will spend another night.
Day Four: There are many options for the day, one option is that we tour up the Fieschergletscher across the Fiescherlucke and down to the Ewig Schneefeld. This involves again an early start. If conditions and time allow, we should have a good chance to summit one of the Fiescherhoerner. The descent off the Fieschersattel can be tricky depending on snow conditions, but once this is done, all we have to do is tour up the seemingly endless Ewigschneefeld back to the Monchsjochhut at 3624 meters. This is the highest hut we sleep in this week, but generally, being the 4th night, nobody seems to have a problem with the altitude anymore.
Day Five: We have to get to the Hollandiahut today and if conditions are superb, we can give the Jungfrau (4158meters), one of the most beautiful mountains in the range, a shot. We will leave our skis at the highest col right by the Rotthalsattel and climb the last few hundred meters with crampons and an axe. Once back at the ski depot, we will ski down to within an hour of touring of the Lowitor. The following spectacular descent down to the Grosser Aletschgletscher gets us to within 1.5 hours of our final hut. The beautiful Hollandia hut at 3164 meters.
Day Six: We are now in an excellent position for one of the best ski descents that we offer in the Alps. From the hut, we will tour the short distance up to the Mittaghorn at 3892 meters and then ski all the way down to Blatten at 1540 meters (that is a 7500 foot drop) in the beautiful Loetschental. What a finish. A short bus ride from Blatten will get us back to the train station in Goppenstein.
Snow Travel Gear
Two of the guides (Rinaldo and Martin) are Swiss guides and Rinaldo lives in Grindelwald. We know the area as well as anyone. We know the hut-keepers and have guided in this area for 20 years. We speak the local language, and have entered and exited the area from every possible direction and variation.
You can fly into Geneva or Zurich. Zurich is a bit closer, but Geneva works fine as well.
Both of the airports feature state of the art train stations right by the airports. Trains leave in every direction every hour. From Geneva, you would have to catch a train to Bern, from there to Interlaken and from there to Grindelwald. From Zurich, you would take the train to Bern, from there to Interlaken and from there to Grindelwald. Travel time from the airport to the hotel in Grindelwald is about 3 to 4 hours with transfers.
We will have reservations for you at an amazing B & B which is owned by very good friends of ours. You will be informed of the particular location well in advance. If the trip starts on a Monday, then a hotel room will be reserved for you on the Sunday before.
The key words are ski mountaineering. If conditions are on our side, we will be summiting a peak everyday and most of them involve a bit of basic mixed, roped climbing with crampons. You are also roaming in a smaller geographic area than on the Haute Route, but will summit more peaks at a higher elevation.
Mountaineering experience is not required, but we recommend having some basic mountaineering experience. Make sure you are fit, are a good skier, and have solid ski touring experience.
Although tipping is not a requirement, it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or a flat amount that you are comfortable with.