With summits such as the Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch a little to the north of the peak, visitors tend to spend the summertime in other places. Those who do spend their holiday in the region of the Gletscherhorn will find themselves alone, which makes the mountain experience even better.
About the Gletscherhorn
The Gletscherhorn does not have the same appeal to travelers as the Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch which are located north of the peak. With an altitude of 3983 meters, the Gletscherhorn is an impressive peak, but not making it on the list of 4000-meter peaks. The mountain is located in the Bernese Alps on the border between the Swiss cantons of Bern and Valais. The Gletscherhorn forms the eastern edge of Lauterbrunnen Wall, a mountain wall located south of the Jungfrau.
The Gletscherhorn is rarely ascended. One of the reasons is that it is surrounded by more reputated peaks surpassing the magical border of “4000 meters”. On the other hand, all routes leading to the summit are extremely demanding. Normal routes lead over the southeastern and western ridge and offer similar difficulties. Possible bases for a summit ascent are the Lötschenhütte Hollandia at 3240 meters above sea level or the Konkordiahütte at 2850 meters.
Places to stay around the Gletscherhorn
Due to the proximity of the Gletscherhorn to famous peaks such as Jungfrau and Eiger, the holiday bases are prettysimilar. While these villages might be crowded in the summer, it is easy to escape the crowds by hiking in the Gletscherhorn region instead of the surroundings of the Eiger and Jungfrau.
The Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of the most impressive in the Alps. With villages such as Lauterbrunnen surrounded by gigantic mountain faces and peaks, it is an idyllic place for a holiday. No less than 72 waterfalls make their way down to the valley bottom while alpine meadows and sole mountain chalets make the valley one of the largest protected nature reserves in Switzerland.
The village of Wengen is located in the canton of Bern, close to the border of Wallis. There are several hotels in the village and even a youth hostel. A train leading from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen continues its journey to Kleine Scheidegg, where you can change trains to Jungfraujoch. The traffic-free village center with its traditional charming wooden chalets make for a perfect holiday setting.
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 of the Aletschhorn, Mittaghorn and Gletscherhorn. However, its remote location iss tough for hikers and climbers who have to make quite a journey to reach it. It takes no less than 7 hours to reach the hut from the valley. However, most visitors make a overnight stop at the Annenhütte or reach the cabin from Jungfraujoch or Konkordia (4-5 hours).
Situated at 2358 meters;the Annenhütte is a great goal for hikers. Not only is it a great place to spend the night, but there are good options for hikes around the area as well. Via ferrata routes are available suitable for families, glacier hikes and even a 5-minute hike to the nearby located Anen lake.
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 and the views that come with it make it a great goal to set for hikers as well.
Cabane de Mönch
This mountain refuge is located at the base of the Mönch, one of the famous peaks in the region. Since it is located close to the arrival station of the Jungfraujoch (45min) and the upper part of the Aletsch glacier, it is a wonderful place to stay or have lunch.
Hiking in the Gletscherhorn region
With peaks like the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch, 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 multi-day routes in the Gletscherhorn region.
Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg
This is a short and easy hike in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. You will be granted an almost continuous view of the surrounding rock walls and pass by some beautiful waterfalls, including the famous Staubbach Fall, situated just outside Lauterbrunnen.
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, offering 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 if you like.
Hike to Konkordia Hut
Few mountain huts are more remote than the Konkordia, 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 an experience of crossing is necessary. Hiring a guide is an option.
The Lauberhorn trail is a 3h30 minute summer hike of the track that is the longest downhill of the alpine ski world cup, one of the true classics from the starting area, all the way down to the village of Wengen. Information boards along the way provide interesting facts about the racetrack.
Things to do in the Gletscherhorn region
While hiking in this part of the Alps is unforgettable, there are many other activities to fill 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 of Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau. With a guarantee of snow and ice, a visit to the Top of Europe building is the ultimate experience 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 Mönchsjoch Hut.
Along the way to the Top of Europe building is Kleine Scheidegg, another railway station at 2061meters. It is situated directly at the base of the notorious Eiger North Face and the starting point of the Jungfraubahn.
The village of Interlaken, a short distance from the Lauterbrunnen Valley, is the closest city to the Gletscherhorn. The name is derived from the fact that two lakes, Brienzersee and Thunersee, are connected by the river Aare that flows through the city. Interlaken has a charming atmosphere. From its center, it’s possible to see the summit of the Jungfrau. The Höheweg, an avenue between both stations, affords great views of the peak.
Hiking with kids
Great views often come with great effort, though that is not always the case. When traveling with children, families often look for hikes that don’t require too much experience. But why should you 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 it an easy and short one (45minutes). It might well be the best option to combine amazing views of some notable peaks along theshort trail leading to it.