ISM-Exped-3-1400x300

Bernese Oberland 4000ers

The peaks of the Bernese Oberland form the northern rampart of the Swiss Alps. They have a wilder and more remote feel than the Swiss Valais, with more snowfall, bigger glaciers and fewer mountain huts.

Level 2 Guiding & Coaching

6 days, 7 nights

Ratio: 2:1

Prerequisites: Summits & Skills 4000m (Instructional Course) Or equivalent

Price: £2125*

* Fully inclusive price

 Course Dates

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 Gross Grunhorn (4043m), 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.

Dsc02996

As we go up quickly on this course and stay high, some prior acclimatisation is recommended. If you can climb with us the previous week that would be ideal, but we are happy to advise on ways you can acclimatise on your own safely before the course.

Dsc02956
Is This Course For Me?

This is a strenuous week demanding a good level of fitness and general mountaineering skills. 

Previous alpine mountaineering experience is essential, such as gained on our Summits & Skills 4000m, Classic Alpin-ISM or any of our 'classic' range of courses. This alpine mountaineering experience will then transfer across to the higher and more demanding peaks of the Bernese Oberland, with participants having a good level of competence in using an ice axe and wearing crampons on a variety of snow, rock and ice terrain. Many of the climbs are long and it's essential that you have a good level of stamina and general aerobic fitness to really enjoy this week. The high peaks and huge snowfields that make up the landscape of the Bernese Oberland offer the mountaineer a unique hut to hut journey and adventure more akin to the higher mountain ranges of the world and hence giving you very rewarding and unique alpine experience. Our exact itinerary is finalised after taking into account the weather and conditions at the time.

Course Description

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. 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.
Sample Programme

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.

Saturday evening
The course starts with participants and guides meeting at 6.45pm at Le Grand Chalet hotel in Leysin. This is a chance for your guide to give a thorough briefing and discuss the detailed plan for the week, sort the equipment for an early start on Sunday and for you to ask any questions you may have.

Sunday
After breakfast we travel by car NE 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 both of 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 that tried to climb it since the first ascent in 1858. You continue the train journey up to the Jungfraujoch, where we then 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.

Monday
Just before day breaks, we leave the Konkordia Hut and head down the ladders onto the Gruneggfirn Glacier. From here we first walk up the Gruneggfirn Glacier and then head north to a Col at 3500m which accesses the upper glacier and SW flank of the Grunegghorn. This leads onto the SW Ridge of the Grunegghorn (3860m). From here we have 2 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 you 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.

Tuesday
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 newly refurbished and very comfortable Finsteraarhorn Hut where you can enjoy some quality time sitting out on the huge terrace taking in the amazing scenery.

Wednesday
After a leisurely breakfast we head back down onto the Fiescher Glacier and walk back over the Grunhornlucke which gives fantastic views back to the pyramid shaped peak that is the Finsteraarhorn 4167m. Heading down from the Grunhornlucke it's a relaxing day taking in the scenery and as we again access the steep ladders and climb back up to the Konkordia hut where we'll spend a second night.

Thursday
After an early start, we head down the ladders and access the Konkordia Platz. From here we walk back up the Jungfraufirn glacier and head back towards the Jungfraujoch, we then head slightly NE to access both the Monchjoch hut and also the most accessible peak in the range the Monch 4099m. The climb up the Monch is short but very satisfying both after the journey you've taken to get there but also as it's an exposed snow ridge commanding some fantastic views of all the neighbouring peaks such as the Eiger and Finsteraarhorn. After the summit we retrace our steps back down to the Monchjoch hut where we'll spend our last night in a high alpine hut.

Friday
An early breakfast, we start our final climbing day head 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 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 ime to  relax back in the comfortable Grand Chalet.

Saturday morning
Breakfast at the hotel is included before departure.

Course Dates

Week Start Finish Price  
27 30 Jun 2018 7 Jul 2018 £2125
31 28 Jul 2018 4 Aug 2018 £2125
35 25 Aug 2018 1 Sep 2018 £2125