Saturday 23rd June - Saturday 7th July
Details of the Oberland Meet are now confirmed. Aimed at all members, both aspirant members who are looking to gain more experience with a view to completing their AC 20 alpine peaks, and full members who might have taken a break from alpine climbing and are looking to return to the action. The meet is aimed at all skill levels, and the Bernese Oberland is a great location for picking off numerous PD routes, and for developing an alpine CV.
We will base ourselves in the picturesque Lauterbrunnen valley which is located to the SW of Grindelwald. The Oberland is a huge massif with a large concentration of 4000m peaks. Extensively glaciated, the area includes the Aletsch glacier, longest in Europe at over 23 km in length.
The valley is flanked by iconic mountains such as the Jungfra, Monch and (of course) the Eiger, but behind that wall lies many more peaks to discover. An extensive range of SAC and independent huts serve the area. The mountain huts give a discount if you show a club card (eg AC or AAC).
We will be starting our trip relatively early in the traditional alpine season. Some huts will not be open until July, however important huts (such as the Konkordia hut) are opening mid-June this year. As a consequence, it may be necessary to use the winter rooms for certain ascents. However, the upside of going early in the season is it improves our chances of good snow conditions and of finding fewer people on the routes. Some typical ascents might include:
- Wetterhorn (3692m) PD. The first confirmed ascent from Grindelwald in 1854 marked the start of the ‘Golden Age’ of alpinism.
- Gwächta (3164m) PD+ traverse Gleckstein hut to Schreckhorn hut. Wild and wonderful.
- Finsteraarhorn (4274m) PD. The Oberland’s highest peak, long approach but well worth it. From Finsteraarhorn hut.
- Jungfrau (4158m) PD+. From the Mönchsjochs hut
- Mönch (4099m) PD+. From the Mönchsjochs hut
- Grünegghorn (3860m) PD. Good warm up from Konkordia hut
- Gross Grünhorn (4043m) PD+. From Korkordia hut
The mountains are accessed from the NW by the Jaungfrau railway. Highest railway in Europe, this line provides easy access to the mountains but at a cost (see below).
- Arrive on Saturday 23rd or Sunday 24th at the campsite
- The meet officially commences in the evening of the 24th and lasts until 7th July.
- Minimum 1 week attendance, departure day flexible
- Priority may be given to those wishing to come for the full two weeks as places are in demand.
We will be basing ourselves at the Camping Breithorn in Stechelberg. https://www.campingbreithorn.ch/
CH – 3824 Stechelberg
This campsite has its own small grocery store (open in the morning), sanitary facilities (WC, showers), washing machine/dryers, is located opposite the bus stop and price includes free WiFi. Stechhelberg is 3.7 km south of the station at Lauterbrunnen, but a short distance from the Schhilthorn Cableway. Costs:
Adult/Night CHF 4.50 + CHF 2.50 (tax)
Plot/night CHF 12.00/15.00 (presumably based on the size of your tent).
SAFETY / MOUNTAIN-CRAFT TRAINING
No training will be provided on this trip.
MINIMUM ABILITY / FITNESS
Fitness, enthusiasm and balance (mental and physical) are more important than technical experience. But to get the very best out of the meet, the following pre-requisites are recommended:
- stamina to last 12 hours in the hills over rough terrain, and some experience of navigating and descending with headtorch in the dark
- legs that can ascend 1000m in 3-4 hours over rough ground
- body that survives on 2 litres of water per day or less
- ability to climb (with protection) trad UK VDiff in big boots
A few months of fitness training in the UK hills is strongly recommended
A recommended kit list is provided separately
Camping costs as above.
Huts ~CHF 26-28/night or CHF 64-66 (including evening meal).
Jungfrau railway CHF 189.60 return (£145.00)
Climbing in Switzerland is by no means cheap. The Jungfrau railway provides excellent access, but is very expensive. Hence, I anticipate that we might make one or two sorties into the mountains staying in hut(s) over multiple nights before returning to the valley. During the second week, (and dependent on consensus) the group might consider moving to another valley or accessing the massif from the south.
By air to Zurich or Geneva, then train and bus. One ticket takes you the whole way – www.sbb.ch/en.
Some may be driving and offering lifts – we’ll work this out later.
Alpine mountaineering insurance is essential – eg from www.thebmc.co.uk or www.aacuk.org.uk
Also take the reciprocal rights EHIC medical card – from www.ehic.org.uk These are free.
If you aren’t already a BMC member, then the Austrian Alpine Club offers one of the best value deals for membership plus insurance.
Hochtouren TopeFuhrer Walliser Alpen – 3. Auflage 2016. ISBN 978-3-033-02431-1.
The 4000m Peaks of the Alps. Selected Climbs. Alpine Club & Martin Moran.
Bernese Oberland, Selected Climbs. Les Swindin. Alpine Club (2003). This is now quite an old guidebook.
Swiss Plaisir Alpin , Jurg von Kanel. Nice topo style guidebook of the routes mountains in the area.
The Alpine 4000 metre peaks. Richard Goedeke. Published by Baton Wicks & Menasha Press.
Downloadable for free from www.map.geo.admin.ch, but also available in hard copy from www.stanfords.co.uk and other good bookshops. The standard Swiss Topo 1:25.000 sheets for the area are: 1269, 1249, 1229, 1268, 1248. Individually they cover smaller areas than our standard OS maps, but Swiss Tope also produce larger sheets (such as 2520, 2527 and 2516) that may also meet your needs.
Applications should be sent to me enclosing the booking form. If accepted, you will then be asked for a deposit of £50. Forms can be returned by email - and if you can't scan the signature, then simply send back with a covering email that states you agree to the conditions on the form.
Please let me know ASAP should you need to do this. If I am able to fill your place (there is normally a waiting list) then I will refund your deposit.