On our Bernese Oberland 4000m Peaks week, we traverse the largest glacier system in the Alps and use an extensive hut network to climb well known 4000m peaks. This is an area well suited to linking several consecutive days in huts, climbing different peaks along the way whilst travelling through the range.
Please visit our Covid-19 Climb Information page for Covid FAQs, details of our new participation requirements, travel advice and what to expect on your trip.
A week of guided mountaineering in the Bernese Oberland climbing technical alpine 4000m peaks. This is a strenuous weeks climbing, linking successive summits and huts by traversing through the range on large scale glacier terrain. Please tell us of any 4000m peaks you have already climbed, so we can plan accordingly. Typical grades are in the range PD to AD.
Trip Reports >> Report 1
This is an intermediate level trip. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 3 and Tech Level 3 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines below). You need some previous AD alpine climbing experience in order to get the most out of this week. Good levels of fitness are required as typical routes involve 6-9 hours climbing each day (see fitness level 3-4) so we advise you to prepare well in advance with regular exercise and training.
One IFMGA guide climbing with 2 clients.
Included in price
- 6 days of guiding
- All guides expenses
- 2 nights accommodation in Grindelwald, including breakfast
- 5 nights accommodation in mountain huts, including breakfast and evening meal
- Local travel in the guide’s vehicle to complete the course itinerary
Excluded from price
- Evening meals in Grindelwald
- Trains and cable cars
- Lunches and drinks
- Travel to resort
- Equipment hire
We work with a number of 2* hotels and chalets in Grindelwald that provide an ideal base for mountaineering activities, with a good breakfast and evening meal and simple yet comfortable shared rooms. Rooms are provided on a twin (or occasionally 4-6 person) sharing basis, but If you prefer a single room please let us know at the time of booking and we will provide a quote. Storage facilities are available, so any extra luggage can be left in the accommodation during your time spent in huts. Hotel details can be found on our Accommodation page.
For overnights in the high mountains, we will use mountain huts. For more info please read the Using Alpine Huts article which provides an overview of typical facilities, average costs to help you budget for lunches/drinks, and general info on hut etiquette.
There are several different ways we can organise the week in order to fulfil peoples’ climbing ambitions – so our itineraries remain flexible and vary on each trip. Subject to weather and conditions, a couple of examples are shown below:
SAMPLE ITINERARY 1
You should arrange outward travel on Saturday, arriving by 5-6pm latest in time for the briefing at your accommodation. Discuss plans, sort equipment and overnight in valley.
AM Take the Jungfraujoch Railway up to 3500m, then trek down to the Konkordia Hut (2850m) with some skills, axe/crampon refreshment en route – the day finishes by climbing the famous ‘endless staircase’ up to the hut!
Ascent of the Gross Grunhorn (4044m) via the SW Ridge, descent to the Finsteraarhorn Hut (3048m).
Ascent of the Finsteraarhorn (4274m) via the SW Flank and Hugisattel, return to the Finsteraarhorn Hut.
Relocation Day – Glacier Trek from the Finsteraarhorn Hut across to the Monchjoch Hut (3627m) – traversing the Grunhornlucke (3280m) en route.
Ascent of the Jungfrau (4158m) via the Rotalsattel, return to the Monchjoch Hut.
AM Ascent of the Monch (4107m) via the SE Ridge. PM Descent to Grindelwald on the train.
SAMPLE ITINERARY 2
The following itinerary is one way of climbing the Aletschhorn during the week, but there are numerous other ways of organising the trip.
PM, meet in Grindelwald – discuss plans, sort equipment and overnight in valley.
AM Take the Jungfraujoch Railway up to Kleine Scheidegg. PM Ascent of the Rotstock Via Ferrata (2663m) on the edge of the Eiger North Face. Overnight at Kleine Scheidegg (2061m).
AM First train up to the Jungfraujoch, ascent of the Monch (4107m) via the SE Ridge. PM Trek down to the Konkordia Hut (2850m).
Ascent of the Gross Grunhorn (4044m) via the SW Ridge, return to the Konkordia Hut.
Glacier Trek from the Konkordia Hut, down the Aletsch Glacier and up to the Mittelaletsch Bivouac Hut (3013m).
Ascent of the Aletchhorn (4193m) via the SE Flank/NE Ridge, return to the Mittelaletsch Bivouac Hut.
Walk out to Bettmeralp, cable car down to Rhone Valley. PM Return to Grindelwald on the train.
Return travel should be arranged on Saturday morning, after your final nights accommodation.
Your course starts and finishes in Grindelwald, one of the historical centres of Swiss Alpinism, famously situated below the North face of the Eiger. The most common way to reach Grindelwald is fly into Geneva, Zurich or Basel, then take a train (approx 3hrs travel).
Flight and transfers
- Fly to Geneva, Basel or Zurich with numerous budget airlines, for an overview of the best options check out the excellent Sky Scanner website: www.skyscanner.net
- Trains from all airports to Grindelwald: https://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html (integrated Swiss travel website)
- If you plan to arrive by train, then purchasing a Swiss Travel Pass (details on website above) could save you some money on this course, as you get half fare on the expensive Jungfraujoch railway that we use to access the range. If you purchase a Swiss card the journey from the airport to Grindelwald and back will also be included.
- Alternatively hire a car at any airport (all 3-4 hours driving time): www.arguscarhire.com / www.holidayautos.co.uk
For flights and other travel options, including train, coach and driving, visit our Travel Planning page.
To enjoy this trip you should be comfortable operating at Fitness Level 3, and Tech Level 3 (as appropriate for the style of climbing on this trip ie Alpine, rock climbing or ice climbing).
Fitness Level 3
You do 3-4 hours CV training/sport per week. At this level you are happy doing a 5-6 hour hillwalk, 50 mile cycle or 3-4hr mountain bike ride without being totally exhausted. If you are into challenges – then the thought of doing a road sportive, or training to do a 1/2 (or maybe even a full) marathon, wouldn’t seem too ridiculous. Eg: you should be able to do the full Langdale Horseshoe: Langdale – Pike of Stickle – Angle Tarn – Bow Fell – Crinkle Crags – Pike of Blisco – Langdale in a day without finishing up exhausted.
Tech Level 3
Intermediate climber. Leading single or multi pitch trad rock climbs at Severe – VS / ice climbing experience seconding routes to Scottish grade 2 – 3 / familiar with multipitch abseil descents / alpine peaks at PD – easy AD standard.
To view all climbing Technical and Fitness Levels, and for advice on trip preparation and training, please visit our training advice page.
Summer Alpine Kit List
Above all, alpine climbing kit needs to do the job, but be as light as possible. We work with various manufacturers including Arc’teryx, whose products we can thoroughly recommend.
- Wicking thermal top – long sleeved and light colour is ideal!
- Softshell Jacket – mid weight, wind resistant, light insulating layer (or a mid weight fleece jacket)
- Spare warm layer – lightweight synthetic/down jacket or other warm layer
- Waterproof jacket – lightweight breathable model
- Mountain trousers – light/mid-weight windproof softshell model
- Overtrousers – with long side zips
- Socks – warm ‘Smartwool’ type, plus thin liner socks and spares
- Gaiters – made from breathable material (or trim fitting trousers with ankle volume adjuster)
- Thin gloves – windproof ‘hardfleece’ model is good
- Warm insulated gloves – wind and waterproof
- Warm hat – must fit under a helmet
- Water Container – at least 1 litre
- Headtorch and batteries
- Map, compass and whistle (optional, but a good idea)
- Personal medications and blister kit – zinc oxide tape, compeed, painkillers etc
- Sun Glasses – CE rated 3 or 4 with side protection
- Goggles – for windy/snowy conditions
- Sun and lip cream – factor 30+
- Sun hat
- Wallet and passport
- Alpine Club/BMC card (if you are a member) and insurance docs
Hut Overnight Items
- Small wash kit
- Spare lightweight t-shirt/socks/pants
- Silk sheet sleeping bag liner
- Ear plugs
- (Hut slippers for indoor use, and blankets/duvets and pillows are provided by the huts)
- Rucsac – 35/45l is perfect for general use
- Rucsac – superlight 15/20l model, for taking on long multi-pitch rock routes (for technical courses/private guiding)
- *Rigid mountaineering boots – Axe, Boot and Crampon advice
- Rock climbing shoes – must be comfortable enough to wear for several hours (can be hired in resort if nec)
- Approach shoes or trainers
- Trekking poles
- Harness, locking karabiner and belay device
- 2 prussik loops + karabiner – if in doubt, bring 3m of 6mm climbing cord!
- 120cm sling + locking karabiner
- Climbing helmet
- Crampons with antiball plates
- Ice Axe classic type for intro and general mountaineering courses
- Technical Ice Axe and Hammer – required for parts of the Tech Alpine/Cham Alpinist/Ice and Mixed/North Faces courses
Your guide will have ropes, climbing rack, first aid and survival equipment.
*Boots: These are VERY important to the success of your trip! Its best to have your own boots and break them in well before the start of the trip – see advice below.
Recommendations and Advice
Visit the Knowledge Base section of our website or our blog for equipment advice. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch!
Backcountry UK in Otley offer an excellent mountain boot fitting service and general equipment advice.
Please see our Equipment Hire page for more details.
For this trip you must have specialist travel insurance providing medical, emergency search/rescue and repatriation cover for climbing and mountaineering activities as outlined in the course itinerary. We also strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury. Please arrange your insurance as soon as your trip is confirmed to run.
Please find further details on our insurance info page.