After walking the Alpine Pass Route, from Sargans to Montreux in summer 2000, we decided to re-visit Switzerland the following year, but to base ourselves for a few days in different localities. This has the advantage of allowing the exploration of the walking possibilities of an area in a way that is not possible with a long distance walk. Several of the walks described on the "More Swiss Walks" would be quite demanding with a really heavy backpack.
Some of the walks are very easy, whilst others are much more challenging. However, all should be within the capabilities of a fit walker. I suggest you also read the introduction to our Alpine Pass Website which gives some guidance about preparing for the Alps! In a few cases the walks may be a little exposed, with steep drops, but none are likely to bother anybody with a reasonable "head for heights".
If you haven't walked in the Alps before start off with some relatively easy walks and become acclimatised, both in terms of summer heat and altitude. Remember that weather conditions in the mountains can be totally different at high levels compared to the valley. We always take waterproof clothing, for instance, even when the forecast may be good as weather conditions may change surprisingly rapidly.
Remember, you and you alone, are responsible for your safety in the mountains!
The walks are broken up into groups based around various small towns and villages in the, mainly, German speaking part of Switzerland. We stayed in small hotels in Kandersteg, Leukerbad, Saas Grund , Zermatt, Grindelwald, Klosters and Pontresina in 2001 and 2002. In 2003 we rented a "Ferienwohnung" - holiday flat - through the local tourist office and booked over the Internet in Saas Grund and Fiesch.
The following year, 2004, we spent three weeks in the Alps staying in flats in Grächen, Arosa and Neustift in Tirol. In summer 2005 our plans were somewhat upset when Fran suffered a serious problem with her back four weeks before we were due to go on holiday. Luckily she recovered in time for some interesting walks based around Kandersteg and the Lötschental. Our second week in Andermatt was a disaster as we both picked up a virus and were ill virtually the whole week. Fortunately, we were staying in a very comfortable appartment and , as the weather was terrible, the blow was softened.
Summer 2006 wasn't much better! We stayed in Frütigen and Andermatt. The weather was very poor for all of our two week stay in Switzerland with rain , low cloud and even snow down to 1800m on some days. There were only two or three pleasant days and it was often very cold. On many days temperatures at 2000m were forecast below freezing point. One early evening in Andermatt the temperature outside our flat was just 2 degrees Celsisus. The weather, and further problems with Fran's back, meant that really high level walking wasn't really a sensible option so most of our walks were in the valleys or slightly higher up.
The prolonged poor weather in August 2006 certainly brought home the unpredictability of walking in the Alps. It's important to have back up plans if the weather doesn't cooperate! We also found that the clothing we take (see the APR site) was only just sufficient this year.
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