A scenic pass, the dazzling Bluemlisalp glacier and jaw-dropping views of the stunning cirque towering above the beautiful Oeschinensee are ample rewards for this very strenuous hike over the highest pass along the Alpine Pass route.
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- Distance: 4.1 miles (one way) to Hohturli and Blumlisalp Hut
9.1 miles (one way) to Kandersteg (Complete Hike)
- Elevation: 4,630-ft. at Trailhead
9,350-ft. at Hohturli and Blumlisalp Hut
5,530-ft. at Kandersteg (Complete Hike)
- Elevation Gain: 4,720-ft. to Hohturli and Blumlisalp Hut
-3,820-ft. to Kandersteg (Complete Hike)
- Difficulty: strenuous-difficult
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Griesalp / Kandersteg / Bernese Oberland
Why Hike Griesalp to Kandersteg via the Hohturli Pass
This very strenuous hike over Hohturli Pass, the highest pass on the Alpine Pass Route, features splendid views of the Kiental Valley, the glaciers spilling down the flanks of the Bluemlisalp massif and the Oeschinensee, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Swiss Alps.
The hike starts with a steep climb through forests and pastures to Bundalp where the grade steepens as the trail ascends rocky meadows and then scree covered slopes along the southwest side of the Kiental Valley. Views extend from the peaks rising above the head of the valley to the Thun River in the northwest. Wood steps, fix ropes and chains facilitate the final extremely steep climb to Hohturli Pass at 9,114-ft., where great views encompass the Kiental Valley, the Oeschinen Valley and the Bluemlisalp glacier.
At the pass take a detour to the Bluemlisalp Hut, perched on a rocky knoll above the pass. Beyond the hut a use-trail leads to overlooks with wonderful, bird’s-eye views of the Bluemlisalp glacier.
From the pass the trail to Kandersteg drops steeply down scree-covered slopes, descends along the crest of a moraine wall and then drops to Ober Bergli, cradled in a lovely hanging valley high above the Oeschinensee. Views along this stage of the trail extend down the Oeschinen Valley to the high peaks rising above Kandersteg.
From Ober Bergli, a spectacular trail contours high above the north side of the breathtaking Oeschinensee with stunning views of the magnificent cirque of rugged peaks, draped with glaciers, towering above the lake’s turquoise waters. Waterfalls, fed by glacial melt water, cascade down the peaks sheer walls.
The trail’s final leg drops down to and ends in lovely meadows near a lift station where a gondola whisks tired but happy hikers down to Kandersteg.
This hike should only be attempted by well-conditioned, acclimated hikers. Do not start the hike during bad weather or if the weather looks threatening. The presence of snow and ice on the trail can turn this into a technique climb. Ask about current conditions at the guest houses and inns in Griesalp or talk to other hikers.
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