An early start is necessary from Interlaken for many reasons; You’ll never forget watching the sunrise on the Jungfrau group, cooler temps for the monster climb (less water needed), and to insure enough time to make the last train to Brienz.
A sea of clouds washing over the crest is beautiful, but pay attention to how wet the grass is getting!
The Hardergrat | Hiking & Trail Running
One of the most unique ridge trails in the Alps
Description : The Hardergrat has become a classic, and for good reason. There are few geographic features this defined, and this perfect, with a trail so long. All with stunning views of the Jungfrau Region’s highest peaks; the Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, Schreckhorn and Finsteraarhorn. It’s not just a trail, it’s a journey where you will have mental ups and downs when you see all that stretches out ahead of you. It looks impossible, but it’s not, it’s just very, very long. And because of its position high above the Brienzersee (lake), the next day you get to look at what you’ve done and marvel at your own experience. In this way, it’s more like having climbed a route, or a big mountain. It’s something that stays with you.
Of its 25km, about 18km are spent on a sharply defined ridge, with significant, even airy, drops on both sides, in some places, 1500 meters of drop… In places, the grassy ridge is more like alpine climbing. It’s not for those afraid of exposure, and should absolutely never be attempted when wet. The route is not an official trail, but a trail does stay on the ridge the entire length, with cables in place at the more exposed sections. However, the steepest section is unprotected, and it is a down climb. Trekking poles are highly recommended.
An early start is required from Interlaken so as to make the Brienzer Rothorn’s last train down to Brienz. The trail is slow going and parties take up to 10 hours to finish it. Do not underestimate this route!
Check in with the Brienz Rothorn Bahn to see what time the last train departs, or, be prepared to descend 1700 meters after what has already been a big day.
Start : Interlaken / Finish : Brienzer Rothorn Station, train down to Brienz
Distance : ~24km
Vertical : ~3000 meters
Effort : Very Difficult & Exposed
Dan’s Tip : Take enough water, there isn’t any on the ridge from the Harderkulm station all the way to the Brienzer Rothorn. Also, study the SwissTopo map, there are bail out options that will get you down on either side. And remember, ice cream awaits at the finish.
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Krissy Moehl on the Hardergrat at sunrise. April 2016 Trail Runner DIRT.