Bernese Oberland Glacier Trek • July 2 - 8, 2015

Kathy returned to the "back of beyond", that is the glaciers of the Bernese Oberland, this year. Joining her were Dana Paul, and Donna and Lou Duval.

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We began our trip in the Gasterntal, at a trail head about a half hour's drive from Kandersteg. Alpine meadows soon gave way to bouldery moraines as we quickly gained elevation.


On the snows of the Kanderfirn, with our first hut, the Mutthorn hut, already behind us. This photo was taken on day 2, as we crossed the Petersgrat en route to the Lotschental.


Once down into the Lotschental, we continued up through woods and meadows to the Anen Hut for our second night.


I have several photos of this unusual "hut" (more of a luxury hotel with a strenuous if short hike in as its only access). One of a new generation of mountain huts or lodges designed to be as efficient and self-sustaining as possible, the innovative design also stands out. Insulated aluminum panels are designed to mimic the look of rock.


The very pleasant interior at breakfast time.


The terrace just before sunrise. Our next hut, the Hollandia hut, is visible on a small bump on the ridge to the left of the deep U-shaped col in this photo.


After a long walk on rugged trail, boulders, slabs, glacial ice and finally snow, we arrive at the Hollandia hut.


The following day, a knee injury forced a change in plans. While still strong and able to hike to the train station at the Jungfraujoch, it was not sensible for Lou and Donna to continue the trek into still more remote and rugged terrain. We all had a final trek together up the Jungfrau firn, where Lou and Donna said goodbye for now to Kathy and Dana, while the latter headed to the Mönchsjoch hut. In this photo we're heading out in the morning to begin the long walk to the Jungfraujoch.


The Mönchsjoch hut, the interior of a well-maintained hut in a quiet afternoon moment between busy lunchtime and dinner.


The view from the hut at evening time, in a moment of calm between afternoon thunderstorms, and a night of high winds and sleety rain/snow.


The next morning eventually cleared off however, as Kathy and Dana descended to the Konkordiaplatz and up over the Grünhornlucke. Near the Konkordiaplatz, boulders temporarily insulate and slow the process of ice melting below, forming these fascinating pedestals.


Nearing the Grünhornlucke, we can still see the Hollandia hut, two days back.


Our next night's hut (day 5 now) is the Finsteraarhorn hut, accessible by steep rocks equipped with cables and chains.


The terrace of the Finsteraarhorn hut in early morning.


Flowers growing among the rocks below the hut.


Our day 6 was brutally hot and hazy, hence few pictures of the day's march, but Kathy couldn't resist capturing Dana's hamming it up on the ladders to the Oberaarjoch hut.


We had time and energy for a climb of the Oberaarhorn in the afternoon. A magnificent viewpoint, we nearly took a nap in the calm, warm weather at the top.


It was a different story the next morning. In fact, more rain and high winds came in once again during the night and made sleep difficult. Getting down the ladders and over the col in the fierce wind was also a challenge, especially for Dana, who sticks up a bit higher than Kathy.


Ever since the Mönchsjoch hut we had been travelling parallel to an international group of soldiers. We said goodbye to them for the last time this morning as they headed off toward the Scheuchzerjoch, while our path took us down to the Grimselpass.


Our descent of the glacier took us into a thick fog bank, where the world suddenly became rather lonely on our sea of ice.


This too proved temporary. By the time we left the ice behind for the last time, the clouds had lifted some, though it stayed gloomy all morning. Dana pauses to take advantage of the good flower photographing conditions.


There were plenty to photograph.






Reviewing the route and the week over a cup of coffee in the Berghaus Oberaar.


A taxi, a train, a final meal with Lou and Donna in Interlaken, and then it was au revoir to the Bernese Oberland. Thank you all, and here's hoping our paths cross again one day.

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