Kandersteg, Switzerland, July 2013

 

Kandersteg is in the Berner Oberland region of the Swiss Alps. We spent two weeks there walking (with some drinking) and climbing (with some drinking). When we arrived at Basel airport the weather was poor: low cloud and rain. It was raining when we arrived at Kandersteg… However, that was the last rain we had until the day we left Kandersteg!

 

Here is a selection of photos from the holiday:

 

Getting the booze photos out of the way first!

 

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 “Where ever you go you’re sure to find a Blue Star”: those Geordies old enough, will remember this phrase from Scottish and Newcastle breweries TV advert during the 1960’s. I was unable to ascertain how a Newcastle Brown Ale glass ended up in a rather remote part of Switzerland!

 

Kandersteg is located just outside the northern boundary of the UNESCO World Heritage site within the Berner Oberland. We stayed for two weeks at the hotel Ermitage located immediately adjacent to the gondola station to Oeschinensee.

 

Oeschinensee is a large lake located deep within mountains: a stunningly beautiful lake, and is very popular destination for both Swiss and foreign tourists.

 

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We did three walks around Oeschinensee. The photo above is from our third walk: we climbed high above the lake to Frundenhutte; a base camp hut for climbers doing the high peaks in this region of the Berner Oberland

 

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The route to the hut takes you through a beautiful landscape

 

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We stumbled across Alpine Ibex

 

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When the going gets tough, the tough get going

 

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Finally the hut, and time for a beer

 

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A couple of photos of our decent back to Oeschinensee

 

It is impossible for a photo to do justice to the sheer floral beauty of the Alps. Here is a selection of photos attempting the impossible:

 

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Flowers are everywhere, and in great abundance

 

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Gentian and a flower I have not been able to identify

 

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Two different forms of aquilegia

 

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And orchids everywhere!

 

Back to our walking:

 

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On our last day we climbed a summit that dominates the valley of Kandersteg: Gallihorn

 

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We climbed out from Kandersteg, through fields of flowers, with Gallihorn our destination

 

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The summit of Gallihorn provides stunning views!

 

The valley seen on the right-hand side of the photo above is Gasteretal, where we did a couple of walks during our holiday

 

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The route into Gasteretal takes you through a narrow ravine, where all of the valley’s water drainage has to pass

 

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A flood the previous year had swept away the footbridge, we therefore used the road to continue

 

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Within the ravine the sound of rushing water is deafening

 

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The going finally eases, and we enter a beautiful valley

 

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We climb higher and higher above the Gasteretal valley

 

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And eventually the Balmhornhutte comes into view (far right in this photo)

 

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Refreshments at the Balmhornhutte

 

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We start our decent back to the valley floor

 

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For a rest day we explored the Choleren gorge near Adelboden

 

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The gorge is very impressive, and it’s free entry!

 

We reached two summits on the holiday: Gallihorn (seen earlier) and at 2549m First was the highest summit we climbed

 

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Julie doing her Heidi impression: for some reason the sheep would not leave her alone!

 

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The summit of First is reached by an airy ridge

 

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Even at this elevation flowers abound

 

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We make our decent to the Golitschen pass

 

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Through high alpine meadows

 

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On another day we drove back to Adelboden to climb to Engstligenalp via the Engstligen waterfall

 

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It was here that we had our only sighting of edelweiss (left-hand photo) amongst other blooms

 

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Engstligenalp is a unique feature in the Alps: a large flat area that we guessed to be a drained lakebed

 

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We descended via a different route

 

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Being further from the waterfall allowed us to see it in full. The earlier photos were of the top section only

 

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It wasn’t all walking and climbing!

 

We had a great holiday in the Alps, and no doubt we’ll be back again

 

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