Bernese Oberland 4000ers
Level 2 : Guided Climbing
This week of adventurous climbing and mountaineering takes you into the heart of the huge mountain massif that is the Bernese Oberland in the Swiss Alps
The high, glaciated 4000m peaks and great oceans of frozen glaciers give this huge mountain massif a wild and committing 'greater ranges' feel and with few huts and big mountain days, every prize is hard won, making the climbing here especially rewarding.
Climb some of the most celebrated 4000m summits in the Bernese Oberland
Adventurous week of mountaineering in the high mountains
Expert instruction and guiding from experienced ISM Guides
All-inclusive price includes all food, transport and accommodation
Also includes the Jungfraujoch train which is a minimum of £200.00
Is This Course For Me?
This is a fantastic week of alpine mountaineering on anyones CV, exploring some of the most celebrated 4000m peaks in the Bernese Oberland. It's also a perfect progression if you have completed our Classic AlpinISM Level 2 course and would like to develop your mountaineering further. Or perhaps for those of you who have attended one of our Level 2 - Guided Climbing weeks and are looking to build your experience by challenging yourself on slightly more technical terrain and on longer mountain days.
Climbing in the Bernese Oberland
This is a strenuous week, demanding a good level of fitness and general mountaineering skills to safely experience this huge range, and climb some of the remote 4000m peaks in it. With the exception of relatively accessible peaks like the Mönch, the high summits of the Oberland are major undertakings and hard-won, making them especially rewarding. On this course we attempt some of the finest Oberland summits including four of the most celebrated 4000m peaks - the Finsteraarhorn (4274m), the Mönch (4099m) and the Jungfrau (4158m). To acclimatise and give us a reasonable objective to start the week we climb the classic Grunegghorn (3860m), situated in the heart of the range and providing a perfect viewpoint for all the giant Oberland peaks.
Peaks that can be climbed on this course
- Finsteraarhorn (4274m) PD. The Oberland’s highest peak, and one of the most remote, gained by a splendid and exposed mixed ridge climb. A commanding viewpoint for the whole of the Swiss Alps.
- Gross Grünhorn (4043m) PD. An important peak overlooking Konkordiaplatz, the ‘crossroads’ of the greatest glaciers in the Alps. Most easily climbed by traversing another excellent summit - the Grünegghorn - and continuing by the fine SW ridge.
- Jungfrau (4158m) PD. A fantastic and famous summit towering some 3000m above the Lauterbrunnen valley. The ascent from Jungfraujoch involves some quite steep and exposed sections.
- Mönch (4099m) PD. A delightful and popular summit with excellent climbing throughout, partly on snow or ice (depending on conditions) and partly on perfectly sound gneiss. Climbed in 2½ - 3 hours from the Monschjoch hut.
- Grünegghorn (3860m) PD. A perfect first summit to acclimatise and get the feel for conditions on the high peaks. Given good weather and a fast ascent it is possible to continue to the summit of the Gross Grünhorn.
This is a sample programme as there are many different ways to combine these ascents, largely depending on the condition of the glaciers and weather forecast.
The course starts with a briefing at 6.45pm at the Tour D'Ai hotel in Leysin. This is a chance for you to meet your team mates and Guide and go through the details of the course. There will also be time for you to sort out any equipment you need and for you to ask questions. Dinner will follow the briefing.
After breakfast we travel by car north east, over the Col du Diablerets, through Gstaad and on to Spiez, a very picturesque town overlooking the beautiful twin Lakes of Thunersee and Brienzersee, which are both fed from the huge glaciers and peaks of the Bernese Oberland. Sandwiched in between these huge lakes is the town of Interlaken at the base of the huge Lutschental Valley. We wind our way up the Lutschental Valley to the watershed that is the northern side of the Bernese Oberland. The huge peaks of the Eiger, Monch and Jungrau tower over the village of Grindelwald, which is where we start our journey into the heart of the Bernese Oberland. From Grindelwald we take the famous Jungfraujoch train through the Eiger, which includes a brief stop in the tunnel to look out of the glass observatory windows over the infamous North Face of the Eiger. You can take a few minutes to image what it must have been like climbing the North Face and the struggles of all those tho have tried to climb it since the first ascent in 1858. The train journey continues up to the Jungfraujoch, where we walk through tunnels in the mountain to access the huge snowfields and glacier that is the Jungfraufirn. From here, we put on crampons and rope-up for glacier travel as we head down the Jungfraufirn glacier to the Konkordia Platz which is the main junction of some of the biggest glaciers and snowfields in the Alps. Here we access the Konkordia hut (2850m) which sits on a steep rocky outcrop, via a set of steep ladders high above the glacier below, giving stunning views of the surrounding peaks and huge glaciated basin.
Just before day breaks, we leave the Konkordia Hut using the ladders onto the Gruneggfirn Glacier. From here we first walk up the Glacier and then go north to a Col at 3500m which accesses the upper glacier and SW flank of the Grunegghorn (3860m). This leads onto the SW Ridge of the Grunegghorn. From here we have two options, one is to retrace our steps back down onto the Gruneggfirn Glacier and then head NE over the Grunhornlucke, a col which will access the Fiescher Glacier and the Finsteraarhorn Hut, or continue on from the summit of the Grunegghorn and tackle the higher and more challenging Gross Grunhorn (4043m). If acclimatised well enough and we have good weather and conditions, then the SW Ridge (PD) of the Gross Grunhorn will give you a fantastic big 4000m experience in the heart of the Bernese Oberland. From the summit there are a number of options to descend to end the day at the Finsteraarhorn Hut.
Another early start, but the route this time heads off from behind the Finsteraarhorn hut up the SW flank of the Finsteraarhorn to access the classic NW Ridge (PD+) and then the beautiful rocky summit of the Finsteraarhorn (4167m). You descend by retracing your steps back down to the very comfortable Finsteraarhorn Hut where you can enjoy some quality time sitting out on the huge terrace taking in the amazing scenery and spending a second night at the Finsteraarhorn hut.
After a more leisurely breakfast, we head back down onto the Fiescher Glacier and walk back over the Grunhornlucke Pass which gives fantastic views back to the pyramid shaped peak that is the Finsteraarhorn 4167m. It's a long day on the glacier walking down from the Grunhornlucke Pass to the Konkordia Platz and then back up the impressive Jungfraufirn glacier to spend the night at the Monchjoch Hut.
After an early breakfast, we start our climbing day by heading over the top of the huge snowfield that is the Jungfraufirn Glacier to access and attempt the classic SE Ridge (PD) on the Jungfrau (4158m). A great summit, and one of the classic 4000m peaks in the heart of the Bernese Oberland. Descent is via the same route, dropping back down onto the Jungfraufirn glacier and then a short distance back to the Monchjoch hut, where we'll spend a second night.
Today is our last day in the mountains and we'll attempt to climb the classic 4000m peak that is the Monch (4107m). The start of the climb is very close to the Monchjoch hut and a fantastic final objective to your week in the Bernese Oberland. We will attempt to climb the SE ridge on the Monch. The views across to the Eiger and down to Grindelwald are spectacular and the summit ridge is a perfect snow arete and not for the faint hearted! A great summit and fantastic finish to the week of high summits and great adventure through the heart of the Bernese Oberland. Descent is via the same route, dropping back down onto the Jungfraufirn glacier and then a short distance back to the Jungfraujoch train station. From here we'll descend on the train back to Grindelwald and after a short break in the town, we'll drive back to Leysin for a well-deserved rest and have time to relax back in the comfortable Tour D'Ai.
Breakfast at the hotel is included before departure.
Course Dates & Booking
Meet the Team
IFMGA Italian Mountain Guide
Born in NW Italy in a region surrounded by mountains, Paolo started to ski and trek as a kid, always wanting to explore 'beyond the next hill'.Read More
IFMGA Italian Mountain Guide
Tommaso is a an experienced Italian mountain guide and regular year-round ISM team member. He loves the mountains and helping people to connect and find happiness in nature.Read More
IFMGA British Mountain Guide
Perhaps the most experienced British guide working in the Alps, Steve has lived in Switzerland for more than 30yrs. He is a member of the Swiss Guides association as well as the British Mountain Guides.Read More
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Testimonials For ISM
“What an incredible week learning the basics of Mountaineering. The course is perfectly balanced between summiting high alpine peaks and learning rope, climbing and glacier skills.
What a brilliant week we had! I really enjoyed the fact that the course was very hands on and we were given freedom and responsibility to look after ourselves. I really like the fact that the price was all-inclusive, the the course was excellent value for money!
Summits & Skills 4000m (Instructional Course)
Thanks for a fantastic week. It was really one of the best things I have ever done. I learned a lot during the week, not only about climbing technique, but also about attitude.
Bernese Oberland 4000ers