Want to do Bernese Oberland right!!

Me and 3 friends are visiting the Bernese Oberland for 4 nights in mid May. We have 3 full days there and are ready and willing to make the most of it. We are all mid 20s and very active and love a good challenge. We are coming into Interlaken Ost late at night so we have to spend a night there. One of our three days will be spent canyoning the Chili Schliere, but the other two days are open to suggestion. Ideally, we would want to do one long full day awesome hike and possibly get to the 'top of Europe' (hoping to combine those two). Since the tickets to top are more expensive from Interlaken we were thinking about biking or hiking starting very early in the morning as high up as we can go. What is the highest we can go by bike/hike and how long would it take? I was thinking Wengen or KS if its humanly possible, then take the train the rest of the way up. Once at the top, what sort of things are there to do? Can you ski, sled, zip line all up at the top? Or is it just picture taking and taking in the view? We are adrenaline junkies and want to push ourselves to the max (safely). We are not interested in hang gliding, skydiving, bungy as we have done all that in New Zealand. Thanks for the help in advance!!!

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Honestly, I do not think you will find anything up at Jungfraujoch that will match your adrenaline needs. You could bike up as far as Kleine Scheidegg, but not bayond. We have hiked that far and it is a pleasant easy hike, scenic but not exciting. As for the Jungfraujoch, it is interesting, but if you are a skier or mountaineer you have likely been to places equally beautiful and without all the tourists. The zip line is at the top of the First gondola out of Grindelwald. I don't know if that is open in May but you can check. What you might look into is paragliding; they do this in both the Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald valleys. It would be very different from anything you did in New Zealand. Frankly, I think anything up at the Jungfraujoch will be too tame for you. There is sleding, but in platters on a very short slope. No skiing. Plus it is expensive to get there, and 45 minutes of the ride is in a dark tunnel with no views. Just sayin. If you do go, the walk out to Monchshütte is nice, but won't get your heart racing. At leat not from excitement. The altitude ( nearly 11,000 feet) might.

Posted by Douglas
Austin, TX, USA
4 posts

Awesome reply Lola, just the sort of answer we were looking for. Do you know if you can hire a bike in KS or First or Gimmelwald and leave it in Interlaken? Like a one way trip? Because I was thinking maybe going up the mountain by hiking and race down biking. I think we are looking into some ice climbing on the third day...that seems unique. It is just hard to pass up the top since I hear its a something you must do before you die type thing. We don't necessarily need adrenaline...just something physical and different. Thanks for the advice.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9134 posts

Now the big downer. You may not be able to do any of those things at the time of year you have chosen to visit. Although April is usually the the worst time of year to visit, because spring has been abnormally cold this year, the snowpack has not yet started its yearly retreat. Barring a long streak of unseasonably warm weather, the start of the hiking season will likely be delayed significantly this year. I doubt you'll be able to do any canyoning or biking, other than on the roads in the valleys. When I last checked a few days ago, most of the ski runs were still open, whereas they're usually closed by this time of year. EDIT: As of today, almost every major ski resort in Switzerland and Austria is still open. Except for perhaps taking the train to the Jungfraujoch, I don't think you'll be able to do any of the activities you had planned.

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
495 posts

OK Douglas , coming from one Texan to another.......IF ....it's available in mid May....Via Ferrata. If you are an adrenaline junky, this should do the trick! Go to u tube and enter Via Ferrata, and remember, even Rick Steves has done this. Good Luck, you'll love the Berner Oberland.

Posted by Douglas
Austin, TX, USA
4 posts

Yea we were looking at this as well and it looks awesome but some places say its not necessarily going to be available, depending on how much ice there is. This is our first option for one day then just looking for backup plans if via ferrata doesn't work out. Hopefully it does. cross fingers Ok so it sounds like although the top of europe is breath taking, if we are looking for adventure and physical challenges and want to not spend a pricey ticket, to do do other things. Thanks everyone.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

OK, here is an adventure: a two day glacier trek from the Jungfraujoch (Top of Europe) across Konkordiaplatz to the Aletschgletscher, overnighting at a hut (Konkordia Hütte) and then exiting at Marjelenalp at the base of the Eggishorn, hiking over to Kuhboden, where you ride a cablecar down to the train at Fiesch. http://www.swissalpineguides.ch/english/glacier.htm Scroll down to the Aletschgletscher Trek. Scheduled hikes do not start until June, but they will take groups at any time. They provide the glacier travel gear. This is something you can do even if there is lots of snow left around (i.e., too much for the bike trails and via ferrata to be open). .

Posted by Douglas
Austin, TX, USA
4 posts

Yea, I have been speaking with swissalpineguides and they are unable to say whether or not we would be able to go until a week before we come at the earliest...bummer. Even bigger bummer was the other post, I hope we get lucky with the weather, seems like a lot of the trip is riding on it. Thanks for the advice.