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A guidebook to the Tour of the Jungfrau Region, a 111km trek from Schynige Platte to Wilderswil in 9-12 days through the Bernese Oberland under the Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau, exploring both well-known and hidden valleys, surrounded by soaring peaks, glaciers, lakes and ridges. A good first Alpine trek with plenty of bad-weather alternatives.
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The Tour of the Jungfrau Region is fast becoming one of the classic walks of Europe. During this 9-12 day trek, walkers travel amongst some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in all of the Swiss Alps. It visits pastures, ridges, summits and passes, skirts exquisite mountain lakes, and gazes on waterfalls, gorges and glaciers – all in the shadow of such iconic peaks as Wetterhorn, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
The Tour of the Jungfrau Region is described as a clockwise circuit, beginning at Schynige Platte and ending at Wilderswil, and is broken into 10 stages (with a number of alternatives offered), each of which equates to a day’s walking of uneven length. It makes a journey of around 111km through this area, in constant admiration of mountain and valley, of lake, river and feathery cascade. By choosing the most scenic trails and some of the most atmospheric places for an overnight stay, it has all the ingredients to ensure a memorable nine or twelve day trek. On most stages it’s possible to take an alternative route should the weather or conditions on the mountains suggest it would be unwise to follow the standard itinerary. These alternative options are described where they occur within the main route text.
Although the route described in this guidebook makes a journey through one of Europe’s most challenging mountain districts, no technical skills are demanded of the trekker tackling the Tour of the Jungfrau Region. However, there are several short exposed sections (mostly safeguarded with a fixed cable handrail), and a few places where metal rungs or ladders aid the ascent or descent of a rock slab or, as on the ascent of the Schilthorn, a steep section of ridge. Apart from these, the trails are mostly straightforward and well maintained, but if wet from rain or snowmelt or skimmed with a glaze of ice, there could be some potentially dangerous sections that demand extra care.
Please note that neither refreshments nor accommodation are available any longer at Busenalp on Stage 7 (page 99 of the 2nd edition - 2012 reprint) of the TJR.
The Guest House at Eigergletscher is now closed. The next opportunity is on the Kleine Scheidegg www.bahnhof-scheidegg.ch
Please note that Berghaus Des Alpes at Alpiglen, used on Stage 3, has changed its name to BERGHAUS ALPIGLEN - all other details remain the same.
|How to Get There|
|When to Go|
|Notes for Walkers|
|Safety in the Mountains|
|Wildlife and Alpine Flowers|
|Using the Guide|
|1 Schynige Platte to Stechelberg|
|Stage 1 Schynige Platte to First|
|Stage 2 First to Hotel Wetterhorn|
|Alternative Stage 2 First to Hotel Wetterhorn via the Gleckstein Hut|
|Stage 3 Hotel Wetterhorn to Alpiglen|
|Alternative Stage 3 Hotel Wetterhorn to Berghaus Bäregg|
|Stage 4 Alpiglen to Kleine Scheidegg/Grindelwaldblick|
|Stage 5 Kleine Scheidegg/Grindelwaldblick to Stechelberg|
|Part 2 Stechelberg to Wilderswil|
|Stage 6 Stechelberg to Obersteinberg|
|Alternative Stage 6 Stechelberg to Obersteinberg (direct route)|
|Stage 7 Obersteinberg to the Rotstock Hut|
|Stage 8 Rotstock Hut to the Blumental|
|Stage 9 Blumental to the Suls-Lobhorn Hut|
|Stage 10 Suls-Lobhorn Hut to Wilderswil|
|Appendix A Useful Addresses|
|Appendix B Accommodation Directory|
|Appendix C Language Primer|
|Appendix D Bibliography|
While there are literally hundreds of books devoted to the Alps, the following list has been selected for works relevant to the district explored on the Tour of the Jungfrau Region. Some volumes mentioned may contain no more than a small chapter of interest, but they all help add background to the trek. A few of those mentioned are long out of print, but may be available on special loan from a public library, or obtainable via Internet book search sites.
The Rough Guide to Switzerland by Matthew Teller (Rough Guides, 2nd edition 2003)
Currently one of the best and most entertainingly written of the travel guides to Switzerland.
Switzerland by Damien Simonis, Sarah Johnstone & Lorne Jackson (Lonely Planet, 4th edition 2003)
Good coverage, in typical Lonely Planet style.
Blue Guide Switzerland by Ian Robertson (A&C Black, 4th edition 1989)
Comprehensive and informative, if rather ‘dry’, it includes many places missed by other guides, and as such is well worth having.
The Green Guide to Switzerland (Michelin Travel Publications, 2000)
Gazetteer-style layout, with plenty of colour photographs, but contains a number of errors.
The Bernese Alps by Kev Reynolds (Cicerone Press, 3rd edition 2005)
A walker’s guide to the whole range that includes most of the individual trails tackled by the TJR.
Walking in the Alps by Kev Reynolds (Cicerone Press, 2nd edition 2005)
A guide to the whole Alpine range, it has a chapter devoted to the Bernese Alps, with a summary of the TJR.
Walking in Switzerland by Clem Lindenmayer (Lonely Planet, 2nd edition 2001)
Contains sections of walks that make up a portion of the TJR.
Alpine Pass Route by Kev Reynolds (Cicerone Press, 2nd edition 2004)
A guide to a classic long trek which crosses Switzerland from east to west, and passes through the Jungfrau Region, but largely on trails not used by the TJR.
Classic Walks in Europe by Walt Unsworth (Oxford Illustrated Press, 1987)
The second book in the ‘Classic Walks’ series has a chapter by the late Andrew Harper on what he called ‘The Grindelwald Cirque’ which described a tour similar in part to the TJR.
Classic Walks in the Alps by Kev Reynolds (Oxford Illustrated Press, 1991)
Another large-format hardback in the same series as the previous book, this contains a description of the walk from Schynige Platte to Grindelwald largely followed by the first stage of the TJR.
Walking & Climbing in the Alps by Stefano Ardito (Swan Hill Press, 1994)
Another large-format hardback with lots of fine colour photographs. The author outlines a crossing of the Oberland from Meiringen to Kandersteg, largely following sections of the Alpine Pass Route as he passes through the Jungfrau Region.
Alpine Points of View by Kev Reynolds (Cicerone Press, 2004)
A selection of 101 full-page colour photographs of the Alps, plus evocative text, including a number of images taken in the region covered by the present guide.
The High Mountains of the Alps by Helmut Dumler & Willi P. Burkhardt (Diadem, 1993)
A beautifully illustrated book describing all the 4000m peaks of the Alps, including the Jungfrau, Mönch, Schreckhorn, Gross Fiescherhorn and Finsteraarhorn, all of which are seen from the TJR.
The Mountains of Switzerland by Herbert Maeder (George Allen & Unwin, 1968)
Another large-format mostly photographic book depicting several regions of the Swiss Alps. A series of very fine monochrome photos, with instructive text, reveal the Jungfrau district from a climber’s viewpoint.
Alps 4000 by Martin Moran (David & Charles, 1994)
The account of Moran’s and Simon Jenkins’ epic ascent of all the 4000m summits in one summer’s activity.
Wanderings Among the High Alps by Alfred Wills (Blackwell, latest edition 1939)
The account by Wills of his ascent of the Wetterhorn effectively marked the start of the so-called Golden Age of Mountaineering.
The Playground of Europe by Leslie Stephen (Longmans, 1871; latest edition by Blackwell, 1936)
Victorian adventures in the Alps, this book is often cited as one of the best in mountaineering literature, and it includes an account of climbing the Jungfrau.
The White Spider by Heinrich Harrer (Rupert Hart-Davis, 1959; latest edition by Granada, 1983)
A history of climbing the Eiger’s North Face by a member of the team that made its first ascent.
The Eiger by Dougal Haston (Cassell, 1974)
Another Eiger history, this carries the story up to the date of publication. Haston was one of the climbers who made the first direct ascent of the North Face in winter.
World Mountaineering by Audrey Salkeld (editor) (Mitchell Beazley, 1998)
In this large-format harback, Victor Saunders gives a run-down of major routes on the Eiger’s North Face, while Anderl Heckmair describes the first ascent of that face on which he was one of the leading climbers.