Monday, September 14, 2009

Hiking along the Aletsch Glacier

Aletsch Glacier

The Aletsch Glacier is the biggest glacier in central Europe. It builds together with the world famous summits of the Bernese Alps (Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau) and the Bietschhorn the Unesco World Heritage Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn.

We stayed in Fiesch, a touristic center popular for skiing in the upper Rhône valley. This part of the Rhône valley is also known as “Goms”.

Our first hike leads us from the top station of the Eggishorn aerial tramway to the summit of the Eggishorn (2934 m). From there we went down to the Märjelen-Lake and the border of the Glacier. We returned to the middle station of the Eggishorn cable car. If you take your time to enjoy the great views, the fauna and flora and if you spent some time taking pictures you might take 4-5 hours for the hike. The signs in the area show shorter walking times!

Trail to the summit of the Eggishorn

From the top of the Eggishorn you have a fantastic view on the Aletsch Glacier and you see on the horizon most of the summits with more than 4000 m of the alps, including: Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, Aletschhorn, Finsteraarhorn, Monte Rosa, Dom, Matterhorn, Weisshorn and Mont Blanc.

Aletsch panorama view (click to enlarge)

Details of the glacier surface

The way down to the Märjelen-Lake is accompanied by great alpine nature.

The Märjelen-Lake was formed in the 18th and 19th century when melting water was retained by the Aletsch glacier.

The edge of the glacier is quite impressive. Parts break down during the summer month.

Note the persons in the center right part of the pictures

On the way back to the middle station of the cable car you have a nice view towards the Fiesch Glacier, the second biggest glacier of the Alps.

Fiesch Glacier

The second hike on the other day started on the mountain station of the aerial tramway from Mörel to Riederalp, we spent most of the time in the area of the Aletschwald and returned to Riederalp.

The Aletschwald (Aletsch forest) stretches on the northern slope of the Hohfluh and Moosfluh mountains between 1600 m to 2200 m. Which are a part of the same range as the Egishorn and Bettmerhorn.

The forest includes some of the oldest trees of Switzerland, old larch trees and Swiss stone pines. The trails offer great views down to the lower part of the Aletsch Glacier whose glacier tongue is as low as 1700 m.

Summer vacation Switzerland and Italy

Recently we spent around ten days on a trip through Switzerland and northern Italy. Our stations were the upper Rhône valley, called Goms in the Swiss canton of Wallis, where we visited the Aletsch glacier. Then we drove south to Cinque Terre on the Italian cost of Liguria and finally we visited Treiso, a little wine village in the Langhe region of southern Piedmont.