A very steep climb leads to First, a great overlook high above the west side of Kandersteg, with 360-degree views of the high peaks towering above Oeschinensee, Spittelmatte and the Adelboden (Engstligental) Valleys.
- Distance: 4.0 miles (RT)
- Elevation: 5,653-ft. at Trailhead
Maximum elevation - 8,360-ft.
- Elevation Gain: 2,707-ft.
- Difficulty: killer
- Basecamp: Kandersteg
- Region: The Bernese Oberland
Trail Description - Allmenalp to First
Some of the best views in the Kandersteg area are from the Bunderspitz and First summits, rising above the west side of the valley. Situated along the ridge between the Kandertal and Engstligental Valleys, First enjoys 360-degree views of the high peaks rimming the east side of the Kandersteg valley as well as the breathtaking cirque soaring above the Oeschinensee. Views extend south to the peaks towering above Gemmi Pass and beyond. To the west are fine views of the ridge, punctuated by Albristhorn and Gsur, rising above Adelboden to the west.
The path to First is not for the faint of heart. It climbs very steep grades to a knife edge ridge and then to the summit of First. The trail is exposed and not the place to be if the weather is threatening. Fit hikers will like the challenge and dramatic views as the trail gains elevation.
From Allmenalp to First
Take the Allmenalp cable car to the top station at Allmenalp (5,653-ft.). (See trailhead directions below.) Find the signpost outside the station and then follow the steep, broad track heading west toward Obere Allme and First. The path ascends along the north side of the valley, aided by a few switchbacks.
Behind you (across the valley) are grand views of the Doldenhorn, Bluemlisalphorn, Wyssi Frau and Dundehorn anchoring the cirque soaring above the Oeschinensee. At 0.6 miles reach a junction where our trail branches right toward First and Elsigenalp. The trail to the left leads to the Bunderchrinde and Bunderspitz. (See the Bunderspitz hike for more information.)
Soon the trail curves to the right (northeast) and angles steeply up the slopes beneath the Allmegrat ridge. The grade abates a bit as the trail crosses an avalanche chute and then reaches a small building at Steintal. Here the path turns left on a switchback and then resume the steep climb through rocky meadows.
The grade steepens at 1.3 miles as the trail turns north and heads straight up the slope toward the ridge. Switchbacks facilitate the climb through meadows and scree covered slopes. As you ascend enjoy ever improving views of the summits soaring above the Oeschinensee. Altels and Balmhorn rise to the southeast. To the west/southwest are views of the Ammegrat Ridge, Bunderspitz and Chylne Lohner.
The grade abates a bit at 1.8 miles as the trail swings to the right (northeast) and angles toward the Allmegrat ridge. Reach the ridge crest at 1.9 miles. Here views open to Adelboden, nestled along the valley floor to the west. A ridge of high peaks, anchored by the Albristhorn and Gsur, rim the valley to the west.
The path now ascends along the east side of the knife edge ridge to the summit of First at 2.0 miles. Find a perch atop the summit and take in the stunning 360-degree views. Across the valley are the rugged glacier-clad peaks forming the cirque soaring above the Oeschinensee. The Big Three – the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau rise beyond the cirque.
To the southeast Altels, the Balmhorn, Rinderhorn, Daubenhorn and Steghorn rim the head of the Kandertal valley. The Bunderspitz and Chlyne Lohner rises beyond the Allmegrat ridge to the south. In the distance, views stretch southwest to the Wildstrubel, the Glacier del la Plaine Morte and beyond. To the west views extend down the length of the Engstligental.
A trail continues beyond the summit, dropping below the west facing slopes of Howang, the summit to the north, and then ascends to the summit of Stand. Here a very steep path drops down to Golitschepass and then to Kandersteg, to the east, or Elsigbach, located to the north of Adelboden. This trail, only recommended for sure-footed hikers with a head for heights, requires some scrambling, is exposed in places and very steep. I recommend turning around at First and returning to the Allmenalp cable car for a 4.0 mile hike.
From Kandersteg to the Valley Station for the Allmenalp Cable Car: From the Kandersteg Bahnhof (train station), walk south along the paved pedestrian walkway paralleling the east side of the tracks. Turn right (west) when you reach Butschelstrasse, the street going under the tracks. Beyond the railway line the road curves to the left (southwest) and soon becomes Allmenbahnstrasse. Signs along the way point to the Allmenalpbahn (cable car). The walk should take about 15 minutes. See the Allmenalp Luftseilbahn for information on the schedule and prices.
- Trail Photo Gallery
- Trail Maps
- Basecamp(s) Information: Kandersteg
- Region Information: The Bernese Oberland
- Other Hiking Regions in: Switzerland