Berner Oberland: Klein and Grosse ScheideggBy Will • Aug 14th, 2008 • Category: Climbs, Cycling
The Jungfrau region of the Berner Oberland in the Central Swiss Alps is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also easily the most beautiful place I have ever cycled.
While Doreen and the in-laws did whatever in-laws do – I went cycling.
I love it here!
For the evening even harder and equally stunning east side of Grosse Scheidegg – see here.
We were staying in the picture perfect car-free ski resort of Wengen (it hosts a World Cup Downhill event every year). Part of the Swiss National Mountain Bike Route One passes through here.
The pictures understate everything – it is truly stunning and awe-inspiring. First, I rode up to Klein Scheidegg (2,070 metres). Hoping to meet the gang I then hiked towards Mannlichen, finally bumping into them.
After a nice picnic lunch, I decided to keep going. Descending from Klein Scheidegg to Grindelwald is an amazing experience as it is under the famous Eiger (ogre) north face. This was the last great mountain to be climbed in Europe. Before World War 2, the Swiss authorties closed it due to the large number of deaths. Finally, four Austrians climbed it – including Heinrich Harrer (Brad Pitt played him in the film “Seven Years in Tibet”).
If you like Mountain Climbing Books read Harrer’s “The White Spider” detailing the ascent and history of the Eiger. A true classic and still very readable. Or for the TV generation, you can watch Clint Eastwood in the Cold War thriller “The Eiger Sanction.”
After descending below Grindelwald, I cycled up to Grosse Scheidegg. STEEP! I was using a mountain bike but the route is fine for a road bike so I have included an elevation profile. A pretty epic climb.
The last several kilometres are car free – BUT local bus service is provided. It’s only a single lane and full of hairpins. And there are loads of warning signs to cyclists to descend carefully to avoid the
buses. Yikes, it was clear why these signs were necessary!
After descending back to Grindelwald I followed the easy valley route to Lauterbrunnen (fantastic rapids the whole way) and took the train back up to Wengen.
A great day!