Grosse Scheidegg

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Just above Grosse Scheidegg

I would happily put either side of Grosse Scheidegg on any top ten list of great Alpine cycling climbs. Both sides are very challenging …. and unbelievably beautiful.

This weekend I cycled the Grindelwald side (and up to First). Strangely (for me, at least), I cycled both sides last year and never blogged about it, so I thought I’d write a single post here outlining both sides.

Grosse Scheidegg (1962 metres) is a mountain pass in central Switzerland linking Grindelwald and Meiringen. Located in the Berner Oberland, the climb is dominated by some of the highest mountains in Europe including the Jungfrau, as well as the renowned Eiger north face.

The top part of the road on both sides is closed to car traffic, but regular Post Buses do come flying up and down every now and then.

For more routes in the Berner Oberland see here.

#1 West – Grindelwald side – & above to First

Three kilometres from the start in pretty but very touristy village of Grindelwald, the road becomes a narrow bike/bus only route:

Grosse Scheidegg

The climb is through untreed alpine pastures often with grazing cows, but it rubs up against high mountains the entire way up. There is not much more to say: it’s simply a steep, tiny, well-surfaced road to paradise. This weekend, I remembered, between gasps, to enjoy the fabulous environment.

A couple of photos of Doreen conquering Grosse Scheidegg in 2012:

Grosse Scheidegg
road to Grosse Scheidegg

Don’t stop at the Summit!
This weekend, I purposely brought a hybrid bike, so I could continue higher along one of the truly great paths I have ever pedaled. From the summit at Grosse Scheidegg there is a road along the ridge that leads to First. Some of it is paved, but much is bumpy gravel, especially the last very steep kilometre to First (2167 metres).

Much of this extension is fairly easy, but the views ……. I know …… I am repeating myself. Let me just show a few photos:

Route between First and Grosse Scheidegg Somewhere in paradise

Finally, there was some avalanche debris to negotiate before reaching First:
Cycling through Avalanche Debris ... nearing First

First is at the top of a cable car that starts in Grindelwald, and lots of hikers ride up for the views and a gentle hike to a nearby lake. Cycling is forbidden past this point due to all the walkers.


Bike route 2189421 – powered by Bikemap 
#2 East – Meiringen Side

Below is from a 2010 blog post

Perhaps it was the perfect weather or the fresh snow on the high mountains, but this is one of the most beautiful, big climbs I’ve ever done.

This is a very steep climb. Starting near Meiringen, there are two possible starts: The Route 8 National route (fine for road bike) or the Route 1 national mountain bike route (some gravel / quieter). Both are steep, narrow roads through the woods and soon join up with each other (see map below).

After surviving the first several kilometres, the views become staggering. High mountains and glaciers straight ahead.

Happy Bike

Most of the route climbs along side a mountain river – sometimes a babbling brook, sometimes a raging torrent, and sometimes an impressive waterfall (see below).

After a couple of easier kilometres about half way up, the road turns up again, with probably the steepest ramp of the climb in the high teens for a few hundred metres. But the ever improving views help ease the pain in the legs.

There were lots of cyclists around, some driving up and descending, some starting half way up, and the bravest starting from the bottom.

Route to Grosse Scheidegg

At the top is a nice little restaurant and views of more mountains including the famous Eiger north face (over my left shoulder in pic below). To see details of cycling up this other – also spectacular – side to Grosse Scheidegg, from Grindelwald, see here.

View of Eiger (and me)

It’s possible to do a great loop, continuing down to Grindelwald, then Interlake, then back to Meiringen – best done on a Hybrid or Mountain bike to enjoy traffic-avoiding trails lower down as well as a great route alongside the Brienzer see.

Reichenbach Falls Sherlock Holmes statue

But I wanted to head back down the way I came and have a look at the Reichenbach falls (marked on map).

This is where Sherlock Holmes was believed to have fallen to his death along with the evil Moriarty. It is a short hike from the road, with a walk to various look-out points. In Meiringen below, there is a Sherlock Holmes museum, statue, etc.


Bike route 697643 – powered by Bikemap 

For more routes in the Berner Oberland see here.

Sillerenbühl
Beatenberg and Above - Central Switzerland
10.0 Awesome

I would happily put either side of Grosse Scheidegg on any top ten list of great Alpine cycling climbs. Both sides are very challenging .... and unbelievably beautiful. The top stretches are closed to traffic. And with a mountain bike one can even go above Grosse Scheidegg for even better views. Truly Paradise.

  • Views 10
  • Difficulty 10
  • Quiet / No Traffic 10
  • Fun Factor 10
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About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill. More enthusiastic than talented, my 2014 Challenge is to cycle 50 great rides, slowly.

3 Comments

  1. Will mate, Kiwi Scott here, how are you? I am coming to Austria for Maters World in late August and may be able to come early and do some rides in the alpes! Are you around mid August? Love to come and see you and do some rides. Mail me and we can chat (sorry, lost you mail)

  2. Pingback: My Top Ten Routes / Photos for 2013 : Cycling Challenge

  3. Pingback: 2014 “Cycling the Alps” Calendars : Cycling Challenge

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