Hiking the Via Ferrata Murren-Gimmelwald in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Via Ferrata is an Italian term for "iron road" or in Switzerland it's klettersteig.
How to get to the start of the Via Ferrata - Mürren to Gimmelwald:
Once in Lauterbrunnen, exit the train station and cross the road to the Lauterbrunnen / Grütschalp cable car. Take the 4 minute ride up to the next transfer to the Murren train.
The train departs from the same building about 2 minutes after the cable car arrives. Take a seat on the left side of the train for an awesome view of the valley.
In the alpine town of Mürren (1640m), look for the via ferrata sign klettersteig. The sign for the hike is down the road from the Intersport shop or near the Sportchalet.
The entrance to the start of the hike is under the tennis courts. Look for a sketchy door, enter and walk through a dark tunnel. Once you exit the tunnel on the other side, you're at the start of the hike. The cables are attached to the tennis court wall to your left. The start of the hike is mellow and on a dirt path.
- A must have for me on this hike was gloves! Rent or buy, but bring gloves.
- Helmet. On busy days, other hikers can drop rocks onto you. Or keys. Or cellphone.
- Climbing Harness
- Lanyard and two karabiners - two arms which connect to the cable with the karabiners
There is nothing technical about this hike. However, you must be comfortable with heights and hiking downhill or down climbing. I believe the rating for this via ferrata is K3 (easy).
Here is my favorite part of the hike. The Lauterbrunnen Wall. I did this hike solo and started at 3:30PM to miss all the morning traffic. I was able to enjoy the beautiful views by myself. You must start the hike before 6PM. There is no charge for this hike, but there are rules.
Here on the Lauterbrunnen wall, some of the steel brackets are missing. Hold on to the cable and walk slowly to the next 'u' shaped steel bracket. This section is only about 40m long, but it's the best part of the hike.
Here you pass right above the cable car. I think I'm in 30 or 40 tourist photos. Below I'm looking at the village of Stechelberg and the river Weisse Lütschine
This is a better photo of hike right above the cable car from Stechelberg. Some suggest taking the bus from Lauterbrunnen to the Stechelberg cable car, but it takes longer and cost more. The affordable way is from the new Grütschalp cable car then train to Murren.
Don't rush! If you go in the afternoon, you'll have the whole hike to yourself. Enjoy the moment! I'm taking a 'selfie' with my iPhone. Don't drop it... it's a long way down and could kill someone. It's about 1000m drop to the valley.
BASE jump exit. Cool. You might be lucky and see some of the BASE jumpers leaping off this exit. Today it was very quite.
Great views from the Lauterbrunnen Wall.
Looking down you'll see:
- The lovely valley that receives 136.5 days of rain or snow per year. View towards Lauterbrunnen
- Homes and farmland,
- The river Weisse Lütschine,
- Two lane road that ends in Stechelberg, a small village in the glacier carved Lauterbrunnen valley of the Bernese Oberland. Stechelberg sits at the base of the Jungfrau mountain.
Some of the steel u shaped footholds on the Wall - it's very safe if you keep clipped in. Follow the rules and you will have a beautiful hike. Safety first.
Below is the Weisse Lütschine river.
I guess I'm not the only one out this afternoon. I ran into a German father and his son while crossing the waterfalls on the tyrolienne or slackline. It's a very tiny waterfall and I can't find the name
The crossing is easy. Clip karabiners on the top two cables and shimmy across the bottom cable. You're clipped in!
Pool of water from the waterfall - cool right?!
I asked the German father to take a photo of me. They seemed a little put off. I guess we all wanted our peace and quite on the hike
Easy down climb on the steel latter. Take your time, go easy and stay clipped in to the cable. It's a long latter and an even longer fall down to the valley. In the afternoon, this is in the shade and much cooler than the morning direct sun.
Hike is almost over. The last bit of fun is on the suspension bridge or what I think is called the Nepalese Bridge. I'm waiting for the other two hikers to pass before I start my crossing.
A mountain guide informed me this hike is one-way only; Murren to Gimmelwald. These two guys are not following the rules and hiking Gimmelwald to Murren. On a much busier day they would have to turn around and follow the hikers in the proper direction. It's not safe to pass other hikers or unclip from the cable to try to pass.
After crossing the bridge, walk up a grassy trail to the cable car in Gimmelwald. Now it's time for a beer while you wait for the ride down.
View of the suspension bridge or Nepalese Bridge from the cable car down to Stechelberg