Win a camino trek for two! Enter our competition here

More Photos
Loading...
Holidays

Bernese Oberland Haute Route - West

Switzerland
3 reviews
Available Departures: Jul, Aug

8 days from

US$2,725

without flights
Mountaineer
Guided Group
CHALLENGING CHALLENGING

An exhilarating trekking and climbing holiday through the heart of Switzerland's Western Bernese Oberland

Trip Code: WBO
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Bernese Oberland Haute Route - West

Highlights

At a Glance
  • Group Size 4 to 6
  • 6 days trekking and climbing
  • Max altitude 3747 metres
  • Join In Plan Morier - Les Diablerets, End in Kandersteg

Accommodation & Meals
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 7 Dinners
  • 2 nights Hotel
  • 5 nights Mountain Hut / Refuge
Overview

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.

Is this holiday for you?

This is a demanding trek involving real mountain travel. We generally follow good trails to the snowline. Trekking above the snowline will involve snowslope climbing and glacier travel, where ropes, crampons and an ice-axe will be used. We will also encounter sections of easy scrambling on rock and walking on scree. We average 6 to 8 hours walking each day, with some longer days and challenging bu …

This is a demanding trek involving real mountain travel. We generally follow good trails to the snowline. Trekking above the snowline will involve snowslope climbing and glacier travel, where ropes, crampons and an ice-axe will be used. We will also encounter sections of easy scrambling on rock and walking on scree. We average 6 to 8 hours walking each day, with some longer days and challenging but technically easy climbs. A good level of fitness is required for this holiday. Previous experience of walking in crampons is useful but not a pre-requisite. The group will be led by English-speaking IFMGA guides and guiding is at a ratio of 1:6.   Please be aware that routes in the high glaciated mountain regions are subject to changing conditions and difficulties. The Alpine Guides may need to make changes to your planned route at very short notice.

Why KE?

We were the first to offer this fantastic and little-known route. Be led by our expert IFMGA guide and enjoy a genuine small group adventure, with a max group size of 6. This holiday can be combined with our Bernese Oberland Haute Route East to create a sensational complete traverse of the Bernese Oberland.


FREE equipment hire worth £100 is available for this holiday

Share
    

Itinerary

Meet at the hotel in Les Diablerets. The holiday begins with the evening meal.
Our guide will meet us in the evening, for an informal chat about the week ahead. This is also a chance for our guide to check out your clothing and gear. After this, it will be time to sit down to dinner.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

D

After breakfast at our hotel, we have a transfer of 20 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

Meals

B D

Ascent

560 M

Descent

1030 M

Time

5 - 6 hours walking

Distance

9 KM

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

Meals

B D

Ascent

820 M

Descent

1370 M

Time

8 - 9 hours walking

Distance

13 KM

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

Meals

B D

Ascent

1350 M

Descent

850 M

Time

7 - 8 hours walking

Distance

11 KM

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

Meals

B D

Ascent

1300 M

Descent

1000 M

Time

9 - 11 hours walking

Distance

15 KM

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

Meals

B D

Ascent

700 M

Descent

1000 M

Time

6 - 7 hours walking

Distance

13 KM

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

Meals

B D

Ascent

175 M

Descent

1500 M

Time

4 - 5 hours walking

Distance

18 KM

The holiday ends after breakfast.

Meals

B
Download Trip Notes
The Route
Point Point
Peaks Peaks
Direction Direction
Transfer
Trek

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

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

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


TRAVEL TO YOUR DESTINATION

In some cases you may choose to take a ferry and/or train to your holiday start and end destination. Please see further information on Travelling by Train.

If flying from the UK there are low cost airlines available to the start and from the end of your holiday.

To benefit from full financial protection, ease your holiday planning, and avoid dealing with airlines, we can book scheduled flights from the UK as part of a flight inclusive package. Scheduled flights are usually more expensive that low cost alternatives, however potentially less stressful if your flight is cancelled or delayed. If you book flights through KE Adventure Travel we will offset the carbon of your flight.

Day 1
Meet at the hotel in Les Diablerets.
You should plan to arrive before 6pm on day 1 of the holiday itinerary.
There is a rail station in the airport and a regular train service to Les Diablerets via Aigle.

Day 8
The holiday ends in Kandersteg and there is a regular train service from here to Geneva.

We will provide hotel contact details and an emergency number for all clients, as well as (if requested) directions for those travelling by car.

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.

When in the towns and villages all tap water is drinkable. In mountain huts there is usually not a sustainable drinking water supply. Water in plastic bottles is brought in to the hut. All huts have a recycling point. If you have to purchase water in plastic bottles please buy the largest bottle you can so as to use less plastic. Please take purification tablets or a filter bottle (such as a Water-To-Go bottle) to treat your water if you can fill from a local stream. Bottled water is not provided. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles. Local authorities are working to find solutions to using plastic water bottles in huts. We monitor the situation carefully for updates.

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 drinkable. It is possible to fill water bottles with a refreshing weak tea available after breakfast, or bottled mineral water can be purchased (approximately CHF15 for a one and a half litre bottle).

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.

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

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. www.keadventure.com/page/altitude.html

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 (at an additional charge). We estimate that 250 - 350 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.

Approximately CHF 90 should be budgeted for cable cars - this is in addition to the above amount.

For this holiday you should take one piece of luggage and a daypack (of around 30 - 40 litres). For international flights please check your baggage allowance with your airline. Since group members will carry all personal equipment during the trek, it is important to keep the overall weight of this equipment to a minimum. Neither a sleeping bag nor a camping mattress is needed and it should be possible to keep the weight of your pack to under 10kg.

At the start of the holiday you will leave your main bag and travel clothes in the group’s hotel in Les Diablerets and these will be transported to your final hotel in Kandersteg. Luggage with wheels can be useful for this holiday.

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.

Europe

Your passport must meet 2 requirements. It must be:

  • less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’)

  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

For the latest details on visiting countries within the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA), please check the UK Government website

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

Vaccinations

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations.

GHIC / Medical cover

UK residents should carry a free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment when you're visiting an EU country or Switzerland. This is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is vital when travelling overseas.

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.

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.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov 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 FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

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

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

Please note that a paper copy of your travel insurance is required if you are travelling to Huaraz and the Huayhuash region.

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* (when hiring crampons a bag is automatically included / can not be hired separately)

  • Ice Axe*

  • Helmet*

  • Mountaineering harness*

  • Screw gate karabiner x 1*

  • Trekking poles x 2 (with baskets)

  • Gaiters

  • Socks – walking socks are best (2/3 pairs)

  • Trekking Trousers (i.e. not cotton)

  • Waterproof over trousers - with long leg zip designed to put on whilst wearing boots

  • Underwear

  • Thermal Base Layer x 2 (one long sleeved for glacier travel)

  • Fleece jacket

  • Waterproof jacket (with hood)

  • Extra warm layer – (primaloft or lightweight down)

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Sunglasses – category 3 or 4.

  • Thin gloves – leather or thermal

  • Very warm winter type gloves or mittens

  • Sleeping bag liner/sheet sleeping bag (silk is lightest)

  • Rucksack (30 - 40 litres should be sufficient)

  • Head torch with new batteries

  • Sun Protection (high factor for skin)

  • Lip salve – with sunscreen

  • Water bottle - 1 litre x2 (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)

  • Water purification tablets

  • Small, lightweight wash kit and pack towel

  • Dry bags(s) for daypack/kitbag contents (to ensure they keep dry)

  • Small hand sanitizer gel

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters, blister treatment (zinc oxide tape and ‘Compeed’).

The following items are optional:

  • Trekking poles x 2 with baskets (highly recommended)

  • 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

  • Travel Clothes (can be left at your hotel)

  • Travel Shoes (can be left at your hotel)

  • Small Padlock (for trek bag)

  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)

Notes

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.  Aluminium crampons are not suitable for this trip (they are not strong enough over mixed terrain).

Equipment hire: Equipment marked with a *can be hired from KE. This can be reserved when you book your trip or closer to your departure but we advise booking hire equipment as soon as possible to ensure availability - equipment hire must be booked through the KE office prior to your departure. Any hired equipment will be collected on arrival from your guide, 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 >>http://www.needlesports.com/

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

Reviews

4.3 out of 5 from 3 reviews

Beautiful traverse ★★★★★

I went on this trip in July 2017 and loved it. It was far less traveled than the more famous Haute Route, which gave us the trail to ourselves, and the huts were usually only half full, which gave us plenty of room in what can otherwise be close quarters. I did both the West and East trips to make a full traverse, and I thought it was beautiful and challenging. Together, I think the trips might be rated higher than an 8, especially the first week (West) which is quite challenging because you are rarely on actual trails, and the terrain is very diverse--scree, glacier, rocks, scrambling, ladders, etc., and because there is one very long day. I think the second week (East trip) was a bit easier, but has more time on the glaciers, which was my primary goal, and was well worth the effort. Just beautiful. Great leaders, great huts, and an overall awesome experience!
By Leslie from BROOKLINE | 19 November 2017

A bit disappointing ★★★

This looked a hard trip for me but I had psyched myself up for it. However we missed the two long days in the middle and the ascent of the Wildhorn. This was due to poor weather and reluctance of other group members to follow the Guide's proposal to ascend to the first col and take a look. This might or might not have been successful but at least we would have tried. This level 8 holiday ended up as three less than 5 hour days, and no day over 950m. Otherwise huts were good, scenery fantastic an d guide Kathy was excellent. So much depends on weather and who else is on the holiday.
By John from LYDNEY | 15 August 2016

Six peaks in six days in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland ★★★★★

Six days, six peaks. A hike across the Western Bernese Oberland Haute Route, Switzerland. The train journey Geneva to Aigle was straightforward enough but how to get to the small halt that was Plan Morier? However, having met Howard and Cliff at Aigle station, identifiable to each other by our bright red KE kit bags, we worked out the dilemma together. Listening to their trekking tales, I knew our trip across the Bernese Oberland was going to be extraordinary. As the team assembled at the Mon Séjour Guesthouse I realised I’d brought the wrong boots, but our guide Kathy solved the problem by plucking a pair of crampons that would fit from her big bag of spare kit for wallies. The pizza was exceptional and most of us enjoyed our first and last shower of the week. Under Kathy’s keen eye, we edited down our kit to portable proportions, and saw for the first time Simon’s dark blue underpants as he packed and re-packed his bag. From the top cable car station on the Sex Rouge (2,940m) we embarked on our first test on the glacier, which we failed spectacularly, tumbling down a snow slope in disarray, with Simon and Kathy anchoring the rope at the top and me, nearly dragged over trying to photograph the mostly prone trekkers below. But with Kathy’s instruction, we mastered a safe and steady routine and were soon abreast our first summit, Diablerets at 3,209m, gaping at the expansive view of the Matterhorn all the way round to Mont Blanc. Our world contracted however when we saw the sleeping accommodation at the Cabane de Prarochet, where we would lie shoulder-to-shoulder on a large shelf. But as mountain huts go it wasn’t bad, and copious amounts of soup, cooked ham, rice and courgettes made up for first impressions, until we discovered the price of a bottle of water at 11 Euros. The second summit was Arpelistock at 3,035m, reached by plodding slowly up a steep and slippery shale ridge, eating our sandwiches at the top as the reward. What was more difficult was the rocky and long descent into the Furggetali Valley, made bearable by the beautiful waterfalls and, once in sight, the inviting red umbrellas of the Gelten Hut. Cold beer and hot water, in that order. Simon and I sunbathed feet up in deckchairs on the terrace, the only minor disturbance to this alpine paradise being an enthusiastic Swiss builder, pipe in mouth, digging foundations for an extension by driving a mechanical jump hammer. ‘Poles away, ice axes out, harness and crampons on,’ Kathy announced as we reached the edge of the Gelten Glacier after a long climb back up the valley to a point above the large waterfall. Roped up in a single line, we set off at an unrelenting pace up and across the deeply rippled surface of the ice. It was an effort to maintain our footing as well as keep the rope between us at the right tension; not so loose that we trod on it but not so tight that we dragged each other along. As the slope steepened, Kathy cut steps with her axe and we made our way up to a rocky ridge and eventually onto the exposed summit of Geltenhorn at 3,065m. While we huddled together for safety, Kathy nimbly pirouetted on the narrow ridge, photographing us, ignoring the steep drops on both sides. It was a long way across the glacier past the Col du Brochet and then a further descent of a rock-strewn slope into the Grand Gouilles Valley. Contemplating Kathy’s suggestion to call in a second guide to help us with the following day’s challenge, Sarah centred in on the key criterion; ‘Will he be good looking?’ Such frivolity was soon forgotten though as we zig-zagged our way slowly up the steep mountainside to the Col des Audannes. Sapped by the climb we arrived at the fixed (a relative term) ropes and ladders. When you think ‘Swiss’, what comes to mind are precision watches, efficient knifes, and trains that run exactly to time. So to clamber up a frayed rope (all of us heaving on it with Judith swinging like a pendulum at the end), then traverse a cliff face gripping wire that was definitely not firmly fixed to the rock was a scary surprise. After a series of ladders, the col behind us, it was long hike over the honey-brown dolomites, Judith explaining the complex geology on the way, to the shiny new Cabane des Audannes. The sleeping accommodation here was arranged as cosy compartments, which were peacefully quiet once Kathy had traumatised the children next door to silence. The carnivores amongst us enjoyed the big chunks of meat for dinner, whilst Judith had to make do with an egg on a pile of palanta, and four bowls of soup. 5am. It was tense at breakfast as we contemplated the big day ahead, at the same time trying to digest bread and jam, and drink copious amounts of tea when all you really wanted to do was go back to sleep. Hard work followed: a steep ascent to the Col des Eaux Froides (2,640m). An hour of scrambling across limestone slabs like giant paving stones. The steady plod up the glacier, Kathy maintaining the same pace whatever the gradient. This was all quite taxing but what really pushed up the heart rate was the traverse across the rocky ridge to the Wildhorn summit at 3,247m. The reward was the most amazing panorama – we just sat for a few moments to take it in, munching on Simon’s elderflower flavoured chocolate. ‘We’ll go down a different way,’ Kathy said, pointing along the ridge. Simon and I exchanged worried glances, unable to see any descent that looked humanly possible in that direction. Heart rate up again. But Kathy expertly guided our descent, anchoring the rope at the top, and we were soon stomping through the ‘Valley of the Rocks’, across snow patches and a boulder-strewn landscape. At the foot of the valley was Lake Tenchet, where Simon’s dark blue underpants reappeared as he led a swimming party in the glacial waters. Unsurprisingly, it was insanely cold but oddly invigorating, or perhaps that was just the effect of the underpants. After a pleasant hike along the Plan des Roses valley, the big day ended with a big ascent; a 400m climb up to the Wildstrubel Hut, tantalisingly perched on a promontory just below the secret but blindingly obvious Swiss Army camp. Simon charged up the final, steepest section in a record 26 minutes. Nick, with his long stride and strong pedal-pushing legs, wasn’t far behind. But most memorable was the strong finish by Howard, drawn almost to sprint the last few metres by a half litre of cold beer. We cleaned out the hut of cake so that they had to bake more. Then Sarah cleaned us out playing cards. That night on the 4 up/4 down shelf-beds, no one cared about the not-quite synchronised snoring; totally knackered, everyone slept deeply. Distances on the Glacier de la Plaine Morte (Plain of Death) are deceptive and it took over an hour at a constant pace to cross the vast 4km expanse of ice. At times it literally felt like ‘walking on thin ice’. As Nick and I conversed about cycling tours, I fell knee deep into a crevasse, for once glad I was safely clipped onto the rope. It was the first but not the last time I fell that day. Two summits followed: a steep climb up to the Wildstrubel at 3,242m, where Simon and I staged a video shoot, followed by a stomp down, across and up the Wildstrubel Glacier (which turned out to be more difficult than it looked) to the Mittlerer Gipfel, also at 3,242m. This, our sixth and last summit, was made memorable by a half-naked German appearing in all our team photos. Descending the far side of the Wildstrubel Glacier was at the same time exhilarating and frightening, with Judith bravely picking out the way, closely followed by Clive whose confident tread showed us he’d done this before. When we reached the moraine, I summersaulted out of sheer joy – in reality, I’d lost my footing and rolled to avoid spraining an ankle, Howard mistaking it for an SAS manoeuvre – if only! The red shutters of the Lammeren Hut were a much needed psychological boost that helped us finish the journey. Simon and I swam in the snow-encrusted lake and had to don fleeces and woolly hats to warm up again afterwards. Howard apparently spotted a marmot popping out of its hole playing a flute, but he had been drinking beers since we’d arrived. Double helpings of potatoes for dinner completed a perfect day. Without any summits left to conquer, the last day’s challenge as we descended from the mountain heights became one of eating: apricot tart at Schwarenbach, ice cream at Sunnbüel, and rösti (roast potatoes and bacon) in pretty Kandersteg, with the promise of more at dinner to replenish all those calories burnt on the way. And to enjoy the friendships forged as we slogged and sweated together crossing the glaciers and climbing the peaks of the Swiss Oberland. Peter Curran. July, 2013
By Peter from GUILDFORD | 15 March 2016

Traveller Reviews
4.3 out of 5 from 3 reviews

Beautiful traverse
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I went on this trip in July 2017 and loved it. It was far less traveled than the more famous Haute Route, which gave us the trail to ourselves, and the huts were usually only half full, which gave us plenty of room in what can otherwise be close quarters. I did both the West and East trips to make a full traverse, and I thought it was beautiful and challenging. Together, I think the trips might be rated higher than an 8, especially the first week (West) which is quite challenging because you are rarely on actual trails, and the terrain is very diverse--scree, glacier, rocks, scrambling, ladders, etc., and because there is one very long day. I think the second week (East trip) was a bit easier, but has more time on the glaciers, which was my primary goal, and was well worth the effort. Just beautiful. Great leaders, great huts, and an overall awesome experience!
By Leslie from BROOKLINE | 19 November 2017

A bit disappointing
★ ★ ★
This looked a hard trip for me but I had psyched myself up for it. However we missed the two long days in the middle and the ascent of the Wildhorn. This was due to poor weather and reluctance of other group members to follow the Guide's proposal to ascend to the first col and take a look. This might or might not have been successful but at least we would have tried. This level 8 holiday ended up as three less than 5 hour days, and no day over 950m. Otherwise huts were good, scenery fantastic an d guide Kathy was excellent. So much depends on weather and who else is on the holiday.
By John from LYDNEY | 15 August 2016

Six peaks in six days in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Six days, six peaks. A hike across the Western Bernese Oberland Haute Route, Switzerland. The train journey Geneva to Aigle was straightforward enough but how to get to the small halt that was Plan Morier? However, having met Howard and Cliff at Aigle station, identifiable to each other by our bright red KE kit bags, we worked out the dilemma together. Listening to their trekking tales, I knew our trip across the Bernese Oberland was going to be extraordinary. As the team assembled at the Mon Séjour Guesthouse I realised I’d brought the wrong boots, but our guide Kathy solved the problem by plucking a pair of crampons that would fit from her big bag of spare kit for wallies. The pizza was exceptional and most of us enjoyed our first and last shower of the week. Under Kathy’s keen eye, we edited down our kit to portable proportions, and saw for the first time Simon’s dark blue underpants as he packed and re-packed his bag. From the top cable car station on the Sex Rouge (2,940m) we embarked on our first test on the glacier, which we failed spectacularly, tumbling down a snow slope in disarray, with Simon and Kathy anchoring the rope at the top and me, nearly dragged over trying to photograph the mostly prone trekkers below. But with Kathy’s instruction, we mastered a safe and steady routine and were soon abreast our first summit, Diablerets at 3,209m, gaping at the expansive view of the Matterhorn all the way round to Mont Blanc. Our world contracted however when we saw the sleeping accommodation at the Cabane de Prarochet, where we would lie shoulder-to-shoulder on a large shelf. But as mountain huts go it wasn’t bad, and copious amounts of soup, cooked ham, rice and courgettes made up for first impressions, until we discovered the price of a bottle of water at 11 Euros. The second summit was Arpelistock at 3,035m, reached by plodding slowly up a steep and slippery shale ridge, eating our sandwiches at the top as the reward. What was more difficult was the rocky and long descent into the Furggetali Valley, made bearable by the beautiful waterfalls and, once in sight, the inviting red umbrellas of the Gelten Hut. Cold beer and hot water, in that order. Simon and I sunbathed feet up in deckchairs on the terrace, the only minor disturbance to this alpine paradise being an enthusiastic Swiss builder, pipe in mouth, digging foundations for an extension by driving a mechanical jump hammer. ‘Poles away, ice axes out, harness and crampons on,’ Kathy announced as we reached the edge of the Gelten Glacier after a long climb back up the valley to a point above the large waterfall. Roped up in a single line, we set off at an unrelenting pace up and across the deeply rippled surface of the ice. It was an effort to maintain our footing as well as keep the rope between us at the right tension; not so loose that we trod on it but not so tight that we dragged each other along. As the slope steepened, Kathy cut steps with her axe and we made our way up to a rocky ridge and eventually onto the exposed summit of Geltenhorn at 3,065m. While we huddled together for safety, Kathy nimbly pirouetted on the narrow ridge, photographing us, ignoring the steep drops on both sides. It was a long way across the glacier past the Col du Brochet and then a further descent of a rock-strewn slope into the Grand Gouilles Valley. Contemplating Kathy’s suggestion to call in a second guide to help us with the following day’s challenge, Sarah centred in on the key criterion; ‘Will he be good looking?’ Such frivolity was soon forgotten though as we zig-zagged our way slowly up the steep mountainside to the Col des Audannes. Sapped by the climb we arrived at the fixed (a relative term) ropes and ladders. When you think ‘Swiss’, what comes to mind are precision watches, efficient knifes, and trains that run exactly to time. So to clamber up a frayed rope (all of us heaving on it with Judith swinging like a pendulum at the end), then traverse a cliff face gripping wire that was definitely not firmly fixed to the rock was a scary surprise. After a series of ladders, the col behind us, it was long hike over the honey-brown dolomites, Judith explaining the complex geology on the way, to the shiny new Cabane des Audannes. The sleeping accommodation here was arranged as cosy compartments, which were peacefully quiet once Kathy had traumatised the children next door to silence. The carnivores amongst us enjoyed the big chunks of meat for dinner, whilst Judith had to make do with an egg on a pile of palanta, and four bowls of soup. 5am. It was tense at breakfast as we contemplated the big day ahead, at the same time trying to digest bread and jam, and drink copious amounts of tea when all you really wanted to do was go back to sleep. Hard work followed: a steep ascent to the Col des Eaux Froides (2,640m). An hour of scrambling across limestone slabs like giant paving stones. The steady plod up the glacier, Kathy maintaining the same pace whatever the gradient. This was all quite taxing but what really pushed up the heart rate was the traverse across the rocky ridge to the Wildhorn summit at 3,247m. The reward was the most amazing panorama – we just sat for a few moments to take it in, munching on Simon’s elderflower flavoured chocolate. ‘We’ll go down a different way,’ Kathy said, pointing along the ridge. Simon and I exchanged worried glances, unable to see any descent that looked humanly possible in that direction. Heart rate up again. But Kathy expertly guided our descent, anchoring the rope at the top, and we were soon stomping through the ‘Valley of the Rocks’, across snow patches and a boulder-strewn landscape. At the foot of the valley was Lake Tenchet, where Simon’s dark blue underpants reappeared as he led a swimming party in the glacial waters. Unsurprisingly, it was insanely cold but oddly invigorating, or perhaps that was just the effect of the underpants. After a pleasant hike along the Plan des Roses valley, the big day ended with a big ascent; a 400m climb up to the Wildstrubel Hut, tantalisingly perched on a promontory just below the secret but blindingly obvious Swiss Army camp. Simon charged up the final, steepest section in a record 26 minutes. Nick, with his long stride and strong pedal-pushing legs, wasn’t far behind. But most memorable was the strong finish by Howard, drawn almost to sprint the last few metres by a half litre of cold beer. We cleaned out the hut of cake so that they had to bake more. Then Sarah cleaned us out playing cards. That night on the 4 up/4 down shelf-beds, no one cared about the not-quite synchronised snoring; totally knackered, everyone slept deeply. Distances on the Glacier de la Plaine Morte (Plain of Death) are deceptive and it took over an hour at a constant pace to cross the vast 4km expanse of ice. At times it literally felt like ‘walking on thin ice’. As Nick and I conversed about cycling tours, I fell knee deep into a crevasse, for once glad I was safely clipped onto the rope. It was the first but not the last time I fell that day. Two summits followed: a steep climb up to the Wildstrubel at 3,242m, where Simon and I staged a video shoot, followed by a stomp down, across and up the Wildstrubel Glacier (which turned out to be more difficult than it looked) to the Mittlerer Gipfel, also at 3,242m. This, our sixth and last summit, was made memorable by a half-naked German appearing in all our team photos. Descending the far side of the Wildstrubel Glacier was at the same time exhilarating and frightening, with Judith bravely picking out the way, closely followed by Clive whose confident tread showed us he’d done this before. When we reached the moraine, I summersaulted out of sheer joy – in reality, I’d lost my footing and rolled to avoid spraining an ankle, Howard mistaking it for an SAS manoeuvre – if only! The red shutters of the Lammeren Hut were a much needed psychological boost that helped us finish the journey. Simon and I swam in the snow-encrusted lake and had to don fleeces and woolly hats to warm up again afterwards. Howard apparently spotted a marmot popping out of its hole playing a flute, but he had been drinking beers since we’d arrived. Double helpings of potatoes for dinner completed a perfect day. Without any summits left to conquer, the last day’s challenge as we descended from the mountain heights became one of eating: apricot tart at Schwarenbach, ice cream at Sunnbüel, and rösti (roast potatoes and bacon) in pretty Kandersteg, with the promise of more at dinner to replenish all those calories burnt on the way. And to enjoy the friendships forged as we slogged and sweated together crossing the glaciers and climbing the peaks of the Swiss Oberland. Peter Curran. July, 2013
By Peter from GUILDFORD | 15 March 2016

DATES & PRICES

Private Departure?

Gather a few friends, family or club and take over your own departure.

2024

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • Bernese Oberland Haute Route - West
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: WBO /02/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 27 Jul and ends on Sat 3 Aug
  • This departure is available and departs within 2 days. Secure your place today with full payment by contacting the KE office
  • Download Trip Notes

Land Only Information

We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis allowing you the flexibility to choose the travel method which best suits you. The holiday starts at the hotel in Les Diablerets. Geneva has the nearest airport.

ZEN_HOLIDAY_DATES_PRICES_LAND_ONLY_USD_NOTICE


Changes to flights

Please be aware that the flight industry is experiencing a high level of service fluctuation and changes to your flights may occur. This may also require amends to the transfers and joining arrangements. Thank you all for continuing your patience and understanding.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure is a fully bonded tour operator. We hold an ATOL license (No: 2808) and are bonded with ABTA (Membership No: W4341)


VISAmastercard
Download Trip Notes
Field Required
Field Required
Field Required
Footer logos
Your Wishlist
No Wishlist Items

Start your next adventure.

Click the heart icon on the search or holiday pages to save a holiday to your wishlist.

Holiday Search