The Aletschhorn is situated in the Bernese Alps, in the Jungfrau-Aletsch region,designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Surrounded by famous peaks such as the Gletscherhorn, Mönch, Jungfrau and Eiger, and located nearby the Aletsch glacier, the largest glacier in the Alpshas an amazing setting for an active holiday.
About the Aletschhorn
The Aletschhorn is a 4193-meter peak situated in the Bernese Alps. The second-highest in this region after the Finsteraarhorn,it lies in the middle of glaciers, including the Aletsch glacier, the largest in the Alps. This remote location is one of the reasons why the mountain is less frequently climbed. Another is the proximity of reputated peaks such as the Eiger, the Jungfrau and the Mönch, only 10 km to the north.
The Aletschhorn was ascended successfully for the first time nearly 50 years after the first ascent of the Jungfrau. It was in 1859 that Francis Fox Tuckett, JJ Bennen, V. Tairraz and P. Bohren reached its summit. As there were no options to spend the night on the mountain at that time, they passed the night in some holes in the rocks above the Mittel Aletsch Glacier, before continuing their climb the next morning.
Accommodations in the region of the Aletschhorn
The beautiful and car-free Bettmeralp has developed over the years into a tourist village. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage list since it is located near the famous Jungfrau. Nature lovers will absolutely adore the setting of this region; and with the proximity of a cabel car, hiking trails are just around the corner.
Grindelwald is a village in the canton Bern, located at the base of the Jungfrau. From the village center, one can take a train via Kleine Scheidegg to the railway station Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe. Not only is it a popular base for hikers, but climbers who have set their mind on the notorious Eiger North Face start their quest here as well.
Grindelwald has several types of accommodations. Besides hotels, there is the option to spend your nights at one of the three campsites: camping Eigernordwand, camping Gletscherdorf or camping Holdrio.
The Konkordia Hut is a mountain refuge in the canton of Valais, situated above Konkordiaplatz,where several glaciers meet in the Aletsch glacier system. It is located about 2850 meters above sea level and its remote location makes it a long way from villages. The shortest way to reach the cabin is via the Jungfraujoch railway station (4 hours).
This mountain hut at 3240 meters above sea level is often used as a base for ascents to Aletschhorn, Mittaghorn and Gletscherhorn. However, its remote location is such that hikers and climbers have to make quite a journey to reach it. It takes no less than 7 hours to attain the hut from the valley. However, most make a overnight stop at the Annenhütte or reach the cabin from Jungfraujoch or Konkordia (4-5 hours).
Few mountain huts have such an amazing setting as the Finsteraarhornhütte. The refuge allows visitors to enjoy splendid views typical of the Oberland region: huge glaciers and high mountain peaks. The hut is often reached by mountaineers looking for an overnight stay before summiting the Finsteraarhorn via the normal route. However, the location at 3048 meters of altitude, and the views that come along with it, make it a great goal to set for hikers as well.
Hiking in the Aletschhorn region
With peaks like the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch nearby, hikers cannot wish for a better setting for their hiking holiday. The charming villages of the Berner Oberland are a great starting point for day hikes or mult-day routes in the Aletschhorn region.
Hike to Konkordia Hut
Few mountain huts are more remote than the Konkordia Hut. It is located above the Aletsch glacier system where several glaciers meet, about 150 meters above the ice. The route from the Jungfrau railway station is the shortest and therefore the most popular. However, all access routes to the hut are over glaciated terrain, so experience of crossing it is necessary. Hiring a guide is another option.
The Eiger trail is a moderate mountain hike at the base of the notorious North Face. It’s a 2 to 3 hour hike leading from the Eigergletscher station (Jungfrau railway) to Alpiglen at 1615 meters or Grindelwald. It is well-marked and offers spectacular views of the north face. With binoculars it’s even possible to see daredevils climbing the face.
First to Bachalpsee
This popular, easy trail is very popular among travelers as it delivers jaw-dropping views of alpine peaks and glaciers. The trail, leading through meadows and alpine terrain, has close to no elevation difference, which means you can complete the hike in about 2 to 3 hours.
Murren to Grutschalp
Another popular day hike is the wooded stroll from the village Murren to Grutschalp, located high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The route goes along the western plateau and crosses forests and grasslands. If offers plenty of photo opportunities of the famous peaks in the region. The hike runs parallel to the railway between both villages, making it possible to continue your journey by train half-way.
Grosse Scheidegg to Meiringen
This hike leading through meadows and forests is a good option for hikers who need a bit of a challenge. The trail is more difficult than most options in the region as it gains about 1300 meters of altitude. Hiking time is about 4 hours, but make sure to provide lots of time as you will be stopping a lot to enjoy the views. The starting point of the trail is easily reachable by car or train from the village of Grindewald.
Things to do in the Aletschhorn region
While hiking in this part of the Alps is an unforgettable experience, there are many other activities to fill up your day. Whether your legs need a break or you just want to enjoy some alpine views without too much effort, the Jungfraujoch railway is a must when visiting the Jungfrau region. This scenic train journey brings you to the highest railway station in Europe (3454m). From this point you get tremendous views of the neighbouring peaks Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau. With a guarantee of snow and ice, a visit to the Top of Europe building is the ultimate activity during your stay in the Berner Oberland.
Just west of the saddle is the Sphinx station, one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world. The Top of Europe building a little higher up has several panoramic restaurants and hiking trails leading over the crevassed glacier to the Möncsjoch hut.
Along the way to the Top of Europe buildingis Kleine Scheidegg, another railway station at 2061m. It is situated directly at the base of the notorious Eiger North Face and the starting point of the Jungfraubahn.
The village of Interlaken, at a short distance of Grindelwald, is the closest city to the Aletschhorn. The name is derived from the fact that two lakes, Brienzersee and Thunersee are connected by the river Aare which flows through the city. Interlaken has a charming atmosphere hanging in its streets. From its center, it’s possible to see the summit of the Jungfrau. Especially the Höheweg, an avenue between both stations affords great views on the peak.
And ofcourse the Aletsch glacier is not to be missed during a visit to this region. There are several good lookout points to be enjoyed, like the Bettmerhorn above Bettmeralp. Another option is a panoramic view from Fiesh, reached by cablecar to Eggishorn.
Hiking with kids
Great views often come with great effort although that is not always the case. When traveling with children, families often look for hikes that don’t require too much exertion. But why give up on tremendous views? The hike to Cabane de Mönch might seem like a huge effort due to its location at 3650 meters, but the proximity of the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in the Alps, makes the hike an easy and short one (45minutes). It might well be the best option to combine amazing views of some notable peaks with a short trail leading to it.