Hiking From Grindelwald to Zermatt – A Long Walk in the Alps Revisited

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.

Grindelwald and the Eiger

The start point was the village of Grindelwald beneath the peaks of the Fiescherhorner 4049m and the Eiger 3970m to the top right

Schilthorn from the Eiger Trail

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

Jungfrau from Wengen

The view from my balcony in Wengen. Evening alpenglow lights the 4153m Jungfrau peak while shadows overtake the Lauterbrunnen valley down to the right.

Bernese Oberland peaks

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

Bernese Oberland valley

After the heights of the Sefeinenfurka the route descends to the peaceful green pastures of the Kiental

In the Kandertal

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

augstbordpass summit

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.

Jungen in the Valais

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

Europaweg to Zermatt

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 Matterhorn in cloud

The famous peak of the Matterhorn 4478m scrapes the clouds as the Europaweg trail begins its descent to Zermatt

Schwarzsee and Maria Zum Schnee

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.

Matterhorn north face

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

About Pete Buckley

Hi I'm Pete and I'm a UK based outdoor enthusiast, part time writer and photographer. My work includes action adventure novel The Colonel of Krasnoyarsk as well as a couple of travel stories recounting firstly a campervan adventure around New Zealand and then a week on foot in the Swiss Alps, hiking from the Eiger to the Matterhorn. The subject of these pages is predominantly hiking in the English Lake District (which is near where I live), North Wales and the Scottish Highlands as well as cycling; from rides with the kids to trail riding in the Highlands of Scotland and other wonderful places... Thanks for visiting.
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6 Responses to Hiking From Grindelwald to Zermatt – A Long Walk in the Alps Revisited

  1. trailsnet says:

    I love some of the trail pictures you’ve got here. Thanks for leaving your comment about the recent U.S. Rail Trail court decision on the Great Plains Trail blog. It’s nice to know there are trail supporters around the world. I hope to enjoy England’s rail trails one of these days.


    • Pete Buckley says:

      Thanks – it was a good route that one. Many of the UK trails are part of the National Cycle Network which is still being expanded. They get a lot of use from hikers as well as cyclists


  2. Wow incredible photos! It looks amazing.


  3. LensScaper says:

    This sounds a fascinating multi-day walk, Pete. I’ve been to Wengen and Laternbrunnen both summer and winter – it’s where I learnt to ski back in the 1960s. The Europaweg is certainly worth walking – a few years ago I took my daughter on a three day walk of the section from Sass Fee to Zermatt. We stayed overnight at the Europa Hut on our last stop. The section from Grachen to that hut was a tough day across some massive boulder fields.


    • Pete Buckley says:

      The Europaweg’s certainly a stunning path – another great section was the Eiger Trail (Alpiglen to Eigergletscher above Wengen). It’s an easy route but the views are just awesome.


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