During the summer of 2007 I hiked through the Swiss Alps from Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland to Zermatt in the Valais and wrote A Long Walk in the Alps about my experiences along the way. The story’s been out as a paperback for ages but I just got around to dragging it into the 21st century and publishing it as an e-book so there was a good excuse to look at all the old photos from the trip and share a few of them on here.
The start point was the village of Grindelwald beneath the peaks of the Fiescherhorner 4049m and the Eiger 3970m to the top right
Looking across the depths of the Lauterbrunnen valley from the top of the Eiger Trail above Eigergletscher. The Schilthorn is just right of center above the village of Murren with the pass of the Sefeinenfurka to its left which the route crosses
The view from my balcony in Wengen. Evening alpenglow lights the 4153m Jungfrau peak while shadows overtake the Lauterbrunnen valley down to the right.
Looking back from the top of the 2612m Sefeinenfurka Pass to the Wetterhorn, Eiger Monch and Jungfrau as the route leaves the spectacular Jungfrau Region and descends to the Kiental
After the heights of the Sefeinenfurka the route descends to the peaceful green pastures of the Kiental
Tranquil lake right behind my hotel at Kandersteg
The wild high country of the Gemmi Pass where I crossed the Bernese Oberland from the Kandertal to the Rhone Valley. This pass at 2314m is on the continental divide between northern and southern Europe
The village of Gruben in the beautiful and unspoilt valley of the Turtmanntal. This valley is the closest one gets to a wilderness area in the alps and is the start point for the Augstbordpass
At 2894m the Augstbordpass was the highest point of my route from Grindelwald to Zermatt. From here the route descends to St Niklaus in the Mattertal.
The alpine village of Jungen on its grassy shelf high above the Mattertal.
Garden at Randa in the Mattertal. The pace of life in this Valaisian village is well represented by the sleeping goat
The spectacular path known as the Europaweg which contours high above the Mattertal heading to Zermatt at its head. The view here is looking back along the trail towards the Dom which at 4545m is one of the highest peaks of the Alps
The famous peak of the Matterhorn 4478m scrapes the clouds as the Europaweg trail begins its descent to Zermatt
The tiny chapel of Maria zum Schnee – Maria of the Snows – nestles at 2583m beside the atmospheric Schwarzsee at the foot of the Matterhorn’s final pyramid. This is the top end of the Matterhorn Trail and the end of my route.
Walking down the Matterhorn Trail from Schwarzsee to Zmutt and finally to Zermatt. Here at just above the midway point are spectacular views of the Matterhorn’s north face
Looking back it’s easy to forget the hardship of carrying my pack up the Sefeinenfurka in the blazing sun of a mini heatwave only days after shivering in the snow atop the Schilthorn but on balance I’d do the route again tomorrow – well not tomorrow as it’s still winter but sometime soon.
The rest of the photos are on my alpine trails blog along with a page per day route description while the full story is now available on e-book (with free preview of course) from Amazon (kindle) in the UK and US or from Smashwords if you need another format. In the meantime instead of wandering the hills for days on end I have been helping to look after the kids whilst working on the Yuri Medev stories; the first of which, The Colonel of Krasnoyarsk is now available with a free preview on this blog as well as at the US and UK Kindle stores.
As for more trips like this… well it’s harder to organize with the kids the ages they are but I’ve had the maps out again and the Pyrenees are looking a possibility… then again I haven’t been to Austria yet. For the immediate future though it’s me in front of the TV for the next two weeks as it’s that Winter Olympics time again – Enjoy SOCHI 2014 and I’m very jealous of anyone who’s going!
Pete Buckley February 2014