Jungfraujoch - Lötschenlücke - Blatten

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Jungfraujoch - Lötschenlücke - Blatten

Started by Ise in Switzerland - 17 Replies

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Ise posted May-2009

This is a local or Swiss thing, the route over the Lötschenlücke is reckoned to be a sort of Swiss vallee blanche which might be about right as a Swiss version would probably involve a couple of hours climbing and the use of public transport. The Lötschenlücke itself is a high pass between the Bernese Alps, connecting the Lötschental valley to the Aletsch Glacier in the canton of Valais.

I decide to leave my car in Spiez and take the 0556 train to Interlaken before switching to the Jungfrau trains changing at Lauterbrunnen and Kleine Scheidegg, this makes sense as on the return I can hop off the train at Spiez and be home earlier. This being Switzerland of course there's a fair few ski tourers boarding the train already.



This is a pretty casual but popular trip loosely organised, the basic plan is everyone meets outside the door from the Jungfraujoch complex after the first train of the day, kits up, drops into some loose groups and away you go. There's around 30 or 40 people, mostly local, turned up today so we gear up and size each other up )



It's a big glacier and the run down to Konkordiaplatz can be pretty good but today it's a bit tricky, we encounter two problems, first, the snow is boilerplate, about 10cm of ice with softer, old snow underneath and it's hard to ski, the second problem is more serious though, the visibility is so poor that some micro-navigation is needed to avoid the two large crevasses near the top of the glacier, so for a short section we're all in a line picking our way through.



Having cleared the worse of the dangers the sun comes out and we can see Konkordiaplatz and let skis run easily down to it. Konkordiaplatz is a remarkable place, it's the junction of four glaciers, the Aletschfirn, the Jungfraufirn, the Ewigschneefäld and the Grüneggfirn, it's also the start of the Aletsch glaicer and gives it's name to the "Konkordiaplatz Charter" an agreement between the local governments to protect the unique environment of the Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage site. The Aletsch Glacier is the largest in the alps in fact.



Now the climbing starts, we all stop to fix climbing skins, shed layers, top up sun cream and take a drink.



We climb for a couple of hours breaking the climb at one point to have a picnic lunch where the old boys inevitably produce hip flasks with assorted rocket fuel probably knocked up in their sheds.



Arriving at the Lötschenlücke it's pretty cold as the wind whips up over the pass so it's on with extra layers and off with the skins before starting the descent.



The descent here is marginally better than the other side, it's possible to turn without jump-turning but the snow gets progressively heavier as we're descending.



You can see (above) how the snow, acting like a fluid, has flowed over the landscape leaving patterns like the sea does on a beach.




The debris of older slides (above). We also pass the new Anenhütte which has opened up since I was last here, back in March 2007 the old hut was destroyed by an avalanche, I've not stayed at the new one but the photo's look fantastic.




By my reckoning we're able to ski about 4km further than my last time on this route, we skied to Faflenalp at 1800 or so before and called a taxi to get to Blatten, this time the road is snow covered and closed so we ski down it to Blatten, have a beer, take the bus to Goppensten (predicatably full of tourers) and hop on the train through the Lotschberg to Spiez.

Not a bad day out, something around 27 km of skiing, approx. 700m of climbing and 2500m of descent.
Edited 1 time. Last update at 03-May-2009

Pablo Escobar
reply to 'Jungfraujoch - Lötschenlücke - Blatten'
posted May-2009

That's awesome, I am sad to be leaving 'your' country

RoseR
reply to 'Jungfraujoch - Lötschenlücke - Blatten'
posted May-2009

Thats brilliant Ise, what a way to spend a Bank holiday weekend. Very jealous
I'm a laydee

Ise
reply to 'Jungfraujoch - Lötschenlücke - Blatten'
posted May-2009

RoseR wrote:Thats brilliant Ise, what a way to spend a Bank holiday weekend. Very jealous


what's a bank holiday?

Bandit
reply to 'Jungfraujoch - Lötschenlücke - Blatten'
posted May-2009

ise wrote:
RoseR wrote:Thats brilliant Ise, what a way to spend a Bank holiday weekend. Very jealous


what's a bank holiday?


Like Labour Day, St Sigismund's Day and St John's Day, or the 1st of May as you may otherwise know it

Good photos, though the conditions, didn't look ideal. You went up to the Aletsch glaicer, a couple of springs ago AFAIR, it looks pretty flat going, was it?

Ian Wickham
reply to 'Jungfraujoch - Lötschenlücke - Blatten'
posted May-2009

Great story ise...

RoseR
reply to 'Jungfraujoch - Lötschenlücke - Blatten'
posted May-2009

ise wrote:
RoseR wrote:Thats brilliant Ise, what a way to spend a Bank holiday weekend. Very jealous


what's a bank holiday?

I usually ask 'whats a bank holiday', I nearly always have to work. But off this one......miracle. So managed to make a quick £500 selling all our unwanted tat at car boot sale.
I'm a laydee

Ian Wickham
reply to 'Jungfraujoch - Lötschenlücke - Blatten'
posted May-2009

RoseR wrote:
ise wrote:
RoseR wrote:Thats brilliant Ise, what a way to spend a Bank holiday weekend. Very jealous


what's a bank holiday?

I usually ask 'whats a bank holiday', I nearly always have to work. But off this one......miracle. So managed to make a quick £500 selling all our unwanted tat at car boot sale.


Must have had some posh tat to raise 500 spondolies

Topic last updated on 17-September-2009 at 16:19

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