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Easy walks near Interlaken (Switzerland) Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg

The fabulous, close up views of the North face of the Eiger and then the Mönch and the Jungfrau make this the most popular walk in the region. The wide, clearly sign posted, slightly downhill 4.5km path can be covered in about 1hour 20minutes. I have seen both the young and the elderly enjoying this walk.

Männlichen (2229m) is reached by cable-car from Wengen or by gondola from Grindelwald Grund. My preference is for the long, tranquil gondola ride. Getting from Grindelwald railway station to Grund involves a 15minute, quite steep, downhill walk. Alternatively you can connect by train or bus. Somewhat bizarrely the Swiss Pass allows a free bus ride, but only a reduced rail fare.

CIMG1911The path from Männlichen heads south, taking you along the eastern slopes of the Tschuggen. Below you stretches the green Grindelwald basin. Look to your left and you can pick out the Schynige Platte, Faulhorn, Schwarzhorn and Wildgärst. At the far end of the basin the Wetterhorn looms over Grosse Scheidegg. But directly ahead of you, getting ever closer, is the breathtaking, threatening north face of the Eiger. I am awestruck when I contemplate the achievement of the Swiss speed climber Ueli Steck, who recently scaled this monster in 2 hours 47 minutes.

Beyond a grassy picnic area, replete with blooming alpine plants if the season is right, a bend in the path brings the Mönch and the Jungfrau into full view. The looping path takes you past the Inberg gully between the Tschuggen and the Lauberhorn. Another change in direction leads you along the slopes of the Lauberhorn and then to the final short, steepish descent to Kleine Scheidegg (20161m).

Kleine Scheidegg has a strangely appealing atmosphere. It is a lively, bustling place, particularly when trains from either Wengen or Grindelwald disgorge their passengers who then jockey for a place on the waiting Jungfraubahn. The aroma of barbecuing bratwurst wafts past, and every so often the haunting sound of an alpenhorn fills the air.

CIMG1934Most of the early conquerors of the north face of the Eiger stayed at the Scheidegg hotels.

If, following a drink on the terrace of the historic Hotel Bellevue Des Alpes, you need to visit the toilet you will pass photographs of famous guests, including Clint Eastwood who was here for the filming of ‘The Eiger Sanction’.

There are regular trains to Grindelwald and to Lauterbrunnen (via Wengen). Holders of a Swiss Pass get discounted, but not free travel both to Grindelwald and to Wengen.

Walk extension

Kleine Scheidegg (2061m) to Wengernalp (1874m)

A 30minute, moderately steep descent down a well made, wide path takes you to Wengernalp, where you can board the train for Wengen. This path grants you stunning views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The majestically curvaceous Jungfrau dominates: it seems almost touchable, with every stream and snowfield clearly visible. This is surely one of the best mountain views in the region, perhaps in the whole of Europe.

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David Jackson

David lectured in Science at a Midland college (UK) for many years. He now writes about places he visits regularly with the intention of providing useful information for visitors.

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