Trip report by site editor Rick McCharles
Jungfrau hike – day 1
After completing the High Route in the Alps, what other destination there could not possibly be a let down?
Eiger North Face, of course.
The Eiger Sanction is a 1972 thriller novel by Rodney William Whitaker, written under the pseudonym Trevanian. The story was made into a film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood in 1975.
Click PLAY or watch the trailer to Eiger Sanction on YouTube.
Travanian (one of my favourite authors) thought the film vapid, by the way. The book is better.
Actually, because of the movie, the Eiger is more famous than dangerous. Just around the corner is the much more difficult Black Monk face.
“Dominated by the famous Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau (Ogre, Monk and Virgin) … the Jungfrau Region boasts the highest density of dramatic scenery. …”
Over the next 3 days I hiked left to right across the face of the Eiger.
It’s a scenic train journey just getting to Interlaken, the “adventure capital” of Europe. Many Jungfrau hikers base themselves out of this busy tourist trap, but I’d recommend you buy provisions at the huge super market across from the station, and catch the next train up to start at Grindelwald.
Early in my trip a Swiss hiker from Bern had recommended a route, jotting it down in my note book. Since I could not easily get my hands on either of the guidebooks I wanted in Grindelwald …
• The Bernese Alps by Kev Reynolds
• Tour of the Jungfrau Region by Kev Reynolds
… I decided to follow her suggestion using only tourist brochure maps. It turned out to be excellent.
I started by walking up to a ski chalet appropriately named “First” … Here’s the vista.
The Jungfrau region was everything I hoped it would be.
There are supposed to be 90km of signed hiking trails (and roads) about this resort. Intriguingly, for Switzerland, 48km of those are supposed to be hikeable year round.
I stayed up high so long that I actually did not get back to my tent until well after dark, getting lost on the way down. I needed my headlamp to find where I had stashed my pack.
I tucked into the trees discretely above Grindelwald. “Wild camping” is legal in Switzerland, but it’s best not to draw attention to yourself.