Berner Oberland ski tour • April 28 - May 3, 2014

As is often the case, our last ski tour of the season was in the Bernese Oberland. The region had quite a dry winter up through the end of March, so we expected firm and bony conditions in places. Instead, a big storm with a massive snowfall ushered in a week of squally Spring weather, with several dumps interspersed with sunny periods, keeping the snow challenging and us on our toes.


Joining us were Scott Wood, George Privon, Jeff Hanks, Børre Johnsen, and Todd Noble.

Other Trips with some of these folks

Scott Wood - Albula - March 2014
George Privon - Ortler - April 2006
Jeff Hanks - Haute Route - April 2011

Return to all recent trip


The snow accumulating on the grassy fields below Wengen, from the train window.


A slight delay at Kleine Scheidegg, as the railroad workers cleared the 50+cm of new snow from the tracks.


In the train tunnel en route to the Jungfraujoch, the group looks a bit skeptical about the day's prospects.


As well they might! Starting down the Jungfrau Firn in a heavy snowfall, we roped up without hesitation for the descent.


The depth of new snow and the slowness of our roped travel, meant we skipped our usual first night at the Hollandia hut, and instead went straight to the Konkordia hut. The next morning was beautiful!


Morning sun and cloud shadow on the Aletschhorn.


And of course, Oh, the ladders!


Heading up toward the Grünhornlücke.


The view back toward the upper Aletsch glacier from near the Grünhornlücke.


At the Grünhornlücke, we are rewarded with a great view of the Finsteraarhorn.


Descending fresh but heavy snow toward the southeast.


En route to the hut, some of us took a detour to the summit of the Wyssnollen.


Todd nears the top.


Views of the Gross Wannenhorn, and the down tracks on the Wyssnollen.


More views of same, with "lentickler" clouds!


Heading up the Gross Wannenhorn on our next day, the glacier climb with "features".


The light went flat a couple of hundred meters below the summit, so, for that and other reasons (very heavy snow delaying our progress and promising difficult skiing for example) we turned back. The snow turned out to be quite nice up high, and we enjoyed several hundred meters of great, soft new snow before hitting saturated muck lower down. This photo is taken near our high point.


The following day we headed up to the so-called "Chamonix Spitze", a high point on the ridge called the Fieschergrat. The weather started out really beautiful!


Passing below some impressive séracs as the clouds gathered.


A pointy summit, above an incredibly steep wall! Avoiding the cornices, we transition to head down again. The mists thickened and made the difficult snow even harder to ski, but we powered through!


On our second-to-last day, we prepare to move over to the Oberaarjoch hut. We are suiting up for snowy weather once more.


Pretty much an address change in a blizzard! The hut looms into view above us.


The last steps in to the hut are via an avalanche-shedding tunnel.


Our reward in the cozy traditional Oberaarjoch hut.


The next morning, the hut keeper Gaia obligingly dug us a trench in the newly fallen and filled-in snow to the avalanche shed.


Through the shed...


... and down cliffs to the ladder and our skis.


But finally, we got some great snow, and decent visibility too! At the same time!


Much more like it!


The morning light was a beautiful backdrop.


900 meters from the hut, we are feeling pretty happy!


But then it's time to skin again,


into the gathering storm.


Our route took us across a couple of dams...


Looking back up toward the Oberaarjoch.


We also had a tunnel to traverse...


From the closed Hospiz at the Grimselsee, we followed our new friend Rolf, an Interlaken guide, who believed he could usher us along a detour he knew of, in the hopes of avoiding some steep slopes above the road. This turned out to be the most interesting part of the day, blindly going with the flow through the bowels of a Swiss hydro tunnel complex.


A call phone at the top of a cable car rousted "Mike", an employee of the hydro company. He started up the cable car to come fetch us, while we waited in the relative comfort of an unfinished parking garage.


After the journey down the small cable car, we still had a long way to go.


A short hike through a tunnel...


A very fast drive in a van down a labyrinth of yet more tunnels, and out into the daylight at.... we're not even sure where! All we knew is that eventually we ended up in the cafeteria of the hydro worker's base complex, where a taxi came and got us.


At last we know where we are... Meiringen! A short train ride from Interlaken.


Time for some treats before we arrived back at our hotel. A big adventure day to end a challenging and beautiful trip.

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