9 Tuesday 15.8.00
The Gspaltenhorn from above Murren
The day started sunny and cloudless, although later in the day it became cloudy and then mist came down, slightly spoiling our views on the way down into Griesalp. We left Lauterbrunnen on the funicular to Grutschalp and then, to save time, took the train to Murren, saving an hour or so walking on the level path above the valley. Leaving Murren the path climbed fairly steeply through meadows and then very steeply up a ridge leading towards a corrie below the Shilthorn. The path levelled off and then fell slightly to the Rostockhutte, which is a mountain hut and café. We had milk and visited the first of the mountain hut toilets – not a particularly pleasant experience!
The path then started the climb to the Sefinenfurgge pass, initially steeply on a moraine and then more gently to the head wall of a corrie. The path then zigzagged steeply up the shale slope to the pass. Looking backwards we had views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau and, of course, the Shilthorn with its revolving restaurant on the top.
The approach to Sefinenfurgge from the east and yes, there is a path up there!
Looking back to the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau from just below the Sefinenfurgge.
The Sefinenfurgge (2612m) itself is almost an arête, with less than 2 or 3 metres of level ground and entirely composed of a grey shale-like rock, a rather frightening and forbidding place.
The extremely narrow Sefinenfurgge pass
We had lunch at the pass and tried to psych
ourselves up for one of the most difficult sections of the APR, the descent down
to Griesalp. The first 30 feet or so were rather exposed over a sloping rock
slab but a steel rope gave some help and then there was the
ladder…………… This is literally a wooden ladder about 400 metres long
set at about 30 degrees and laid onto the scree slope. It was put in place a few
years ago after the path became too eroded. A wire rope gave some extra security
but as rockslides had destroyed sections of the ladder it was a slow and tricky
Looking down the ladder from Sefinenfurgge towards Griesalp
Looking back towards Sefinenfurgge with its tremendous scree-slopes. The ladder can just be seen near the top.
the ladder the path continued to fall, less steeply, over shale and scree for
several hundred metres before coming onto vegetated land. There were several
sections of dry stream bed where the stream crossed porous layers of rock. The
path continued to fall steadily across alpine pasture until it reached a lane
that led down into the hamlet of Griesalp. We could make out the next day’s
route over the Hohturli and noted, with relief, the absence of snow.
Unfortunately patchy low cloud rather spoilt our impressions of the valley;
however, the next day’s weather allowed us to appreciate it.
Berghaus Griesalp was a pleasant old timber building and we enjoyed an excellent
3 course set meal. One surprise was the Post bus service provided by right-
hand drive midi-buses, the reason being the incredibly tight bends on the
road; a pity we didn’t have time
to go down to Kiental for the experience. We were rather concerned about the
next day’s walk over the Hohturli, especially after experiencing the state of
the ladders on the Sefinenfurkke, but a conversation with a young Belgian man,
who’d been up the Hohturli that day, convinced us that we should have no
problems, as long as the weather was good.