Bernese Oberland Haute Route - West

Challenging walk through the heart of the Western Bernese Oberland





From $1,940 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Ascents of six 3000 metre peaks including the Wildhorn
  • Views of the Eiger, Matterhorn and Mont Blanc
  • Comfortable mountain hut accommodation
  • Combine with `Bernese Oberland - East` for the complete traverse

This trek through the heart of the Western Bernese Oberland offers challenging walking, spectacular scenery, small and comfortable mountain refuges, and up to six summits above 3000 metres. This is a wild area, penetrated only on foot in summer or skis in winter. Less frequented than its southern regional neighbour - the Valais Alps - there are outstanding views of the French and Swiss Alps extending from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn. During this superb high Alpine traverse, we tackle several technically easy trekking summits including Les Diablerets, Wildstrubel, the Arpelistock and the region's highest, the Wildhorn at 3248 metres. There are classic views of the mountains of the Bernese Oberland including the Finisteraarhorn, Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch and to the south we can see the Matterhorn, Weisshorn and Dent Blanche, to name just a few of the 4000m Alpine giants. Away to the west we can also see Mont Blanc. This superb glacier trek from offers an excellent introduction to Alpine summits and short sections of glacial travel as well as providing one of the best 'off piste' traverses in the Alps. This trek can also be combined with our Bernese Oberland Haute Route - East, to create a two-week 'integrale' Haute Route across the Bernese Oberland.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Vers l’Eglise (1108m) near Les Diablerets.
  • Cable car to Sex Rouge (2945m), climb Les Diablerets (3212m) and descend to Cabane Prarochet (2555m).
  • Trek across the Col du Sanetch (2252m) & climb the Arpelistock (3035m). Descend to Gelten Hut (2003m).
  • Trek over Col du Brochet (2753m) and Col des Audannes (3886m) to the Cabane des Audannes (2508m).
  • Climb the Wildhorn (3747m). Descend to Plan des Roses (2350m) and trek to the Wildstrubel Hut (2791m).
  • Climb the Wildstrubel (3243m) and the Mittlerer Gipfel (3244m). Descend Cabane Lammeren (2501m).
  • Trek across the Gemmi pass (2270m) to the Daubensee (2205m) and take a cable car down to Kandersteg.
  • Departure day
Sat 02 Jul - Sat 09 Jul Code WBO /01/16/ Adult$1,940 Status Available Book now
Sat 06 Aug - Sat 13 Aug Code WBO /02/16/ Adult$1,940 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis and recommend that you book your flights to Geneva Airport which is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes by train from Aigle and approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes from Kandersteg. Please refer to the 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' section of the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Geneva. These include Easyjet who have flights from London, Manchester, Liverpool & Glasgow and Jet 2 who have flights from Manchester, Leeds Bradford & Belfast. Other airports may be available. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Vers l’Eglise (1108m) near Les Diablerets.

    The group hotel is 300 metres from the railway station of Plan Morier. The group will meet with the guide here in the evening. KE Land Only package services begin with a briefing on the week ahead given by the guide who will also check everyone's equipment. Following the briefing we can enjoy a dinner in the hotel's Italian restaurant.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Cable car to Sex Rouge (2945m), climb Les Diablerets (3212m) and descend to Cabane Prarochet (2555m).

    After breakfast at our hotel, we have a transfer of 25 minutes on a winding road which climbs to the Col du Pillon at 1546 metres. From here, we take the cable car to the Sex Rouge (2940m) where we begin our traverse of the Western Bernese Oberland. A short downhill section leads onto the Glacier de Tsanfleuron, where we will have a brief introduction to the techniques of glacier travel and the use of crampons. We then make the 2-hour ascent to our first peak, the Summit des Diablerets (3209m), a great viewpoint. We descend, intitially by the same route and continue to our overnight stop at the Cabane de Prarochet (2555m), a traditional stone-built Swiss Alpine hut with extensive views over the Bernese Alps including the Matterhorn.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 560m

    • Distance 9km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 1030m

    • Time 5 hours

  • Trek across the Col du Sanetch (2252m) & climb the Arpelistock (3035m). Descend to Gelten Hut (2003m).

    Today we descend through spectacular karst scenery to the green of the Col du Sanetch (2252m) on the watershed between the river Rhine (flowing north to the North Sea) and the river Rhone (heading south to the Mediterranean). From this pass, we climb a long shale ridge, the Arete d’Arpille, with great views of Mont Blanc and the 4000-metre peaks of the Swiss Valais Alps. As we gain height, the path becomes rocky, clinging to the south-west slopes of the Arpelistock (3035m). It takes us around 3 hours to reach this summit, another good viewpoint, with the Alps of the Eastern Oberland now coming into view. From the summit, we descend in a north-westerly direction towards a small col which we cut off and head for the Gelten Glacier. Avoiding the ice on the left of the glacier, we reach a second col at 2685 metres after a section of snow and/or rocky down scrambling. Finally, we descend into the tranquil Furggetali Valley, crossing scree slopes and the remnants of on old glacier, to reach the Gelten Hut. This small and friendly establishment set in Alpine meadows and surrounded by magnificent waterfalls, has good food, draught beer, showers and hot and cold running water. 8 to 9 hours of walking, on rocky terrain with little sign of a path at times.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 820m

    • Distance 13km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 1370m

    • Time 8 hours

  • Trek over Col du Brochet (2753m) and Col des Audannes (3886m) to the Cabane des Audannes (2508m).

    After an early breakfast, we leave the hut on a well-marked trail taking us into the hidden Rottal Valley. The ground is level to start with and there is a massive waterfall on the left. We then climb a steep grassy moraine on a good trail, branching off at around 2300 metres at a large rock marked Col du Brochet. Crossing a river, we climb via scree slopes and rocky terraces to the Gelten Glacier at about 2600 metres. In suitable conditions, there is the opportunity to climb the glacier to the summit of the Geltenhorn (3065m). Traversing the glacier to the Col du Brochet, we now cross to the ‘Rhone side’ of the watershed. Beyond this pass we descend rocky terrain to the Grand Gouilles and from here pick up a good path that steeply zig-zags up to the Col des Audannes. The final ascent to this pass is steep and loose but is aided by some fixed ropes and ladders. We then drop down for close to 400 metres through some amazing geological terrain to the Cabane des Audannes. This is a modern, private hut, owned by local villagers built in a stunning location above the Lac des Audannnes. It has cold water only and no showers.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 1480m

    • Distance 11km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 980m

    • Time 7 hours

  • Climb the Wildhorn (3747m). Descend to Plan des Roses (2350m) and trek to the Wildstrubel Hut (2791m).

    This is the big day and an early start is essential! We leave the hut by a short descent, which takes us across the north side of the Lac des Audannes and gives us easy access to a steep zig-zag trail that leads to the Col des Eaux Froides (2640m). From here, we leave all beaten trails behind and scramble up low-angled limestone slabs until we reach the glacier at about 2900 metres. Donning our crampons, we ascend easy glacial slopes and reach the rocky summit of the Wildhorn (3247m) around 3 hours from the hut. Great views yet again from this, the highest summit in the western Bernese Oberland. After a summit celebration and photography, we descend the glacier in a north-easterly direction to an exit point at around 2800 metres. From here, we descend into the ‘Valley of the Rocks’ and this, eventually, leads us to join the main marked trail coming down from the Schnidejoch. A short respite from the rough terrain follows, with the beautiful Lake Tenchet below us, before a series of limestone pavements demand our attention once again. Finally, we reach the Plan des Roses (2350m) and have a section of straightforward walking along this long green valley, before a final ‘sting in the tail’ in the form of the 400 metre pull up to the Wildstrubel Hut (2791m). Here, we get a warm welcome from the guardian of the hut. This hut has washing facilities but no drinking water. Originally built in the 1920s it has been cleverly modernised to provide up-to-date accommodation whilst preserving many of the original features of early twentieth century huts.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 1770m

    • Distance 17km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 1500m

    • Time 9 hours

  • Climb the Wildstrubel (3243m) and the Mittlerer Gipfel (3244m). Descend Cabane Lammeren (2501m).

    We have a short climb up to the Weisshorn Pass, followed by a descent to the mass of ice known as Plaine Morte. Putting on crampons, we cross this huge flat 'snow lake' for close to 4 kilometres, to the base of the south-west ridge of the Wildstrubel (3243m). The climb of our penultimate peak now follows a good trail on shaley terrain with occasional snow patches to the summit. Time to relax on the summit and take in the view which extends all the way from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn. Of equal attraction to us will be the nearby Wildhorn. We now descend easy snow slopes for approximately 70 metres to a col where we begin the climb to our second summit of the day and the final peak of the holiday, the Mittlerer Gipfel (3244m). From this summit, we make an exciting descent of the crevassed Wildstrubel glacier, leading to moraine on the left bank. Off the glacier we pick up a good trail which takes us down to the ‘new’ Lammeren Hut – the old one (70 metres away) was destroyed by a winter avalanche in 1990. This is a lovely place to relax, with a good sun terrace and views of the Balmhorn and Bietchhorn.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 970m

    • Distance 13km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 1260m

    • Time 6 hours

  • Trek across the Gemmi pass (2270m) to the Daubensee (2205m) and take a cable car down to Kandersteg.

    A long but easy walk takes us down towards Kandersteg and the end of our journey. First descending to Lammerenboden and passing close to the ski lifts and hotel of the Gemmipass (2322m), we continue along the west shore of the Daubensee. At the northern end of this lake, we pick up a 4WD trail which takes us to a coffee stop at the Schwarenbach Berg Hotel. From here, we descend further to the wooded area of Arven Wald and the grazing pastures of the Spittelmatte. A final short, easy ascent leads to the cable car at Sunnbeil and we take this ride down to the floor of the Kandersteg Valley, with impressive rock faces on all sides.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 370m

    • Distance 18km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 1680m

    • Time 4 hours

  • Departure day

    The KE Land Only package services end after breakfast.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Professional IFMGA qualified guide(s) on a 1:6 ratio
  • Group mountaineering equipment
  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • All transfers required by the itinerary (except airport transfers)
  • All cable cars and uplift required by the itinerary

  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

You must join the group at the hotel in Vers l' Eglise (train stop: Plan Morier near Les Diablerets) by 7.00pm on day 1 of the holiday itinerary. Geneva is the most convenient airport for travel to the start of the holiday. There is a rail station in the airport and a regular train service to Les Diablerets via Aigle. The holiday ends in Kandersteg and there is a regular train service from here to Geneva. The journey from Geneva airport to Les Diablerets (train stop is Plan Morier) takes approximately 2 hours 20 minutes and from Kandersteg to Geneva is approximately 3 hours 15 minutes. We will provide hotel contact details and an emergency number for all clients, as well as directions for those travelling by car.

After breakfast we try to get a reasonably early start. Where we are faced with a long day, we will have a very early start. For food during the day, we carry snacks. Lunches can be eaten on the move if we are under pressure to complete the days walk whilst the snow conditions are good. We can often buy a hot snack (late lunch) on arrival at our next overnight stop. Afternoons are often free for relaxing in the sun on the terrace of our overnight refuge. A set 3-course evening meal is provided at the mountain huts and this is a great time for reviewing the days' events and for general socialising. After dinner our guide will brief us on the requirements and expectations of the following day and by 9.00pm most people will be tucked up in bed. Lights go out at 10.00pm in most Swiss huts.

This holiday involves going to moderately high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 2500 metres. Most people will have no difficulty with this level of altitude but before coming on the holiday, we recommend you read the advice on trekking at altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

During this trip the group will have a total of 2 nights in simple hotels at the beginning and end of the holiday. Accommodation here is in twin rooms. If you are travelling on your own you will be paired with another single traveller of the same sex. Whilst in the mountains, there are 5 nights spent in mountain huts where accommodation is on a non-segregated, dormitory-style basis. In some high mountain huts, washing facilities are limited. Single rooms are not available.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

As you might expect, the food available in restaurants, hotels and even in mountain huts in this part of Switzerland is excellent. Continental breakfasts and 3-course evening meals are included everyday. Lunches and/or hill snacks can be purchased from the mountain huts or sometimes it is possible to buy a late hot lunch if arriving mid afternoon at the hut. Note that the water from taps in the huts is not potable. It is possible to fill water bottles with a refreshing weak tea available after breakfast, or bottled mineral water can be purchased (approximately CHF12 for a one and a half litre bottle).

All breakfasts and all dinners are included in the holiday price. Packed lunches or hill-food can be bought in the huts. On some days there will also be the possibility of purchasing a late hot lunch when arriving at our overnight halt. We recommend you allow 20 CHF per day for packed lunches plus an additional 30 CHF per day for hot drinks and bottled water. Beer, wine and snacks are available in all the huts.

The package price includes all accommodation, guiding uplift costs and all meals except lunches. You should make an allowance for lunches / snacks, drinks etc and the final evening meal in Kandersteg. Beer, wine and soft drinks are available every night. We estimate that 200 - 300 Swiss francs should cover all personal expenses. Please note that this is Switzerland and the unit of currency is the Swiss franc although Euros will also be accepted in some places. There are cash point facilities at the Airport in Geneva, Les Diablerets and Kandersteg but none in the hamlet of Plan Morier.

The group will be led by an English-speaking IFMGA guide. Guiding is at a ratio of 1:6.

You will be carrying everything you need for the holiday with you, so it pays to spend a little time paring your gear down to the minimum. With care you should be able to keep the weight of your pack to below 10kg. Your guide can also offer advice on this at the first day's briefing in the hotel and any items not required for the trek can be left in your KE trek bag. The group's trek bags will be transferred to Kandersteg in time for your arrival there.

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

A passport with 3 months remaining validity is required. Passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any EU countries do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the respective consulate in their own country.

Whilst we keep our information up to date, you should be advised that visa requirements can change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in case of recent amendments.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your pack to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Mountain Boots (see notes below)
  • Crampons – MUST be fitted with anti-balling plates*
  • Crampon bag
  • Ice Axe*
  • Mountaineering harness*
  • Screw gate karabiner x 1*
  • Trekking poles x 2 (with baskets)
  • Gaiters
  • Socks – technical walking socks are best (2/3 pairs)
  • Trekking Trousers (i.e. not cotton)
  • Waterproof Overtrousers
  • Underwear
  • Thermal Base Layer x 2 (one long sleeved for glacier travel)
  • Fleece jacket or pullover
  • Waterproof, breathable jacket (with hood)
  • Extra warm layer – (prima loft or lightweight down)
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Eye wear – sunglasses – category 3 or 4.
  • Thin gloves – leather or thermal
  • Warm gloves/ski gloves or mittens
  • Sleeping bag liner/sheet sleeping bag (silk is lightest)
  • Rucksack (30 - 40 litres should be sufficient)
  • Head torch – with new battery
  • Sun Protection (high factor for skin)
  • Lip salve – with sunscreen
  • Water bottle x minimum 1 litre
  • Small, lightweight wash kit and pack towel
  • Plastic Bag to keep essentials dry
  • Small hand sanitizer gel
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters (band-aids), blister treatment (zinc oxide tape and ‘Compeed’), insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Change of shirt and trousers
  • Long johns
  • Shorts (for non-glacial travel)
  • Rain cover for Rucksack
  • Earplugs (particularly if you are not the one snoring!)
  • Repair kit – (eg. Pocket knife, needle, thread, duct tape etc.)
  • Camera, media, batteries
  • Travel Clothes (can be left at your hotel)
  • Travel Shoes (can be left at your hotel)
  • Small Padlock (for trek bag)


Mountaineering Boots:Recommended boots for this trip are comfortable, warm and sufficiently stiff to take a crampon securely (a sturdy B1 or a ‘worn in’ B2 boot is ideal). Rigid B3 boots are NOT suitable for this trek.

  • .

    Crampons: Modern strap on crampons are perfectly acceptable for this trek and will fit any boot. All crampons MUST be fitted with anti-balling plates. Grivel Crampons - G10 or G12 with a strap system are excellent and they come fitted with anti-balling plates. We do not recommend semi-automatic crampons for use with softer boots since with this system, the pull on the heel can lead to blisters.

  • .

    Equipment hire: Equipment marked *can be hired from KE. This can be reserved either when you book your trip or closer to your departure but we advise booking hire equipment as soon as possible to ensure availability. We do not hire mountaineering boots, but there are several shops in Chamonix renting boots that are suitable for this trip.

  • .
  • Sleeping bags are NOT required as bedding and hut shoes/slippers are provided at mountain refuges. However, you should bring a sheet sleeping bag.
  • Needle Sports (specialist mountaineering equipment shop)

    • Needle Sports is the English Lake District's foremost specialist climbing shop supplying mountaineering, rock, ice, alpine and expedition equipment worldwide. Internationally recognised as among the very best of the UK's top technical climbing gear retailers. They have a good range of equipment appropriate for this trip and offer knowledgeable advice both on their website and in store.
    • View >>

    We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    Know before you go

    As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

    KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

    It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking or climbing trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. This is a demanding trek and we suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Long days in hill or back-country is the best preparation for the holiday but regular excersise such as jogging, squash and swimming are also good for developing better stamina. Previous experience of using crampons while not essential is very useful. The techniques of glacier travel required for this holiday will be taught as you go.

    You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. No special vaccinations are required for this trip. UK residents should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travelling. The EHIC covers any medical treatment (except in Switzerland) that becomes necessary during your trip. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care. You can obtain an EHIC from the Department of Health by phone, online, or at the post office.

    The temperatures that we can expect to encounter during the day will be reasonably warm, ranging from 10 to 25 degrees Centigrade. It can be cool in the evenings at our highest overnight stopping places, falling close to freezing point at night. The weather is usually stable during July and August, but mountainous areas do generate their own weather systems and occasional rain and even stormy weather cannot be ruled out. You should be prepared for all eventualities.

    Switzerland has four official languages, traditionally spoken in different regions of the country; German, French, Italian and Rumantsch. In addition, many people speak a reasonable standard of English. We recommend that you learn some simple French and German phrases and greetings. This is part of the fun of travelling and will be appreciated by the people that you meet.

    Bernese Alps - Switzerland: A Walker's Guide. Kev Reynolds. Cicerone.

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