GRINDELWALD

GRINDELWALD

Grindelwald (pop. 4,500), the launching point to the only glaciers accessible by foot in the Bernese Oberland, crouches beneath the north face of the Eiger. The town has all kinds of hikes, from easy valley walks to challenging peaks for top climbers. The Bergfuhrerburo (Mountain Guides Office), in the sports center near the tourist office, sells hiking maps and coordinates glacier walks, ice climbing, and mountaineering. (853 12 00. Open June-Oct. M-F 9am-noon and 2-5pm.) The Lower Glacier (Untere Grindelwaldgletscher) hike is moderately steep (5hr.). To reach the trailhead, walk up the main street away from the station and follow the signs downhill to Pfmstegg. Hikers can either walk the first forested section of the trail (lhr.), following signs up to Pfmstegg. or take a funicular to the Pfinstegg. hut (July to mid-Sept. 8am-7pm; mid-Sept. to June 8am-4pm; 9.80SFr). From the hut, signs lead up the glacier-filled valley to Stieregg. a hut that offers food.

The Jungfraubahn runs to Grindelwald from Interlaken’s Ostbahnhof (40min. 6:35am-10:30pm, 9.80SFr). The tourist office, located in the Sport-Zentrum to the right of the station, provides chairlift information and a list of free guided excursions. (854 12 12. Open July-Aug. M-F 8am-6pm, Sa 8am-7pm, Su 9-llam and 2-6pm; Sept.-.June M-F 8am-noon and 2-6pm, Sa 8am-noon and 2-5pm.) Hotel Hirschen O, to the right of the tourist office, offers comfortable beds and a bowling alley. ( 854 84 84. Breakfast included. Reception daily 8am-10pm. Singles 90-135SFr; doubles 150-220SFr.) To reach the Jugendherberge (HI) 0, head left out of the train station for 400m, then cut uphill to the right just before Chalet Alpenblume and follow the steep trail all the way up the hill. ( 853 10 09. Breakfast included. Reception daily 7:30-10am and 3pm-midnight. Dorms 28-30SFr; doubles 70SFr, with toilet and shower lOlSFr. Nonmembers add 6SFr. AmExMC.) Hotel Eiger 0, near the tourist office, is a huge complex of middle crust eateries and bars. (Open 8:30am-l:30am.) There’s a Co-op supermarket on Hauptstr. across from the tourist office. (Open M-F 8am-6:30pm, Sa 8am-4pm.) Postal Code: CH-3818.

VALAIS

The Valais occupies the deep and wide glacial gorge traced by the Rhone River. Though its mountain resorts can be over-touristed, the region’s spectacular peaks and skiing, hiking, and climbing make fighting the traffic worthwhile.

ZERMATT AND THE MATTERHORN

The shape of the valley blocks out most of the great Alpine summits that ring Zermatt, allowing the monolithic Matterhorn (4478m) to rise alone above town. The area has attained mecca status with Europe’s longest ski run, the 13km trail from Klein Matterhorn to Zermatt, and more summer ski trails than any other Alpine ski resort. A one-day ski pass for any of the area’s mountains runs 60-

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