Months ago – while hiking with Doreen – we took a cable car from Leukerbad up to Gemmipass (2270 metres,central Swiss Alps). I was shocked to see a couple of guys on mountain bikes coming up from the other, north side.
I couldn’t understand how they got there. I thought it was impossible. But I added the pass to my list and decided to give it a try today. (long story short: bike store guy tells me 95% of cyclists up there have taken the cable car, there is no road up).
But I didn’t know that yet.
I started my ride in Fruitigen: down low on the north side. I enjoyed climbing a frequently very steep, but deserted, unpaved route finally reaching Kandersteg — a World Scout Center. At Kandersteg, I saw a different cable car heading in the direction of Gemmipass. But I had the only “road” I could find programmed onto on my GPS. Unfortunately, this “road” ended up being a very steep good quality hiking trail. Bah Google. I soon realised this would be hard work. But I am stubborn. And I never take cable-cars up when cycling.
Here is another ride above Kandersteg to the unbelievably beautiful Oeschinensee. Bring hiking shoes and go much higher.
I pushed/carried the bike for 80% of this stretch – labeled on map at bottom. 720 metres (2300 feet) of vertical – back breaking for an old guy like me. But it was scenic and I was in good spirits.
As I reached 1930 metres, I reached the plateau near the top of the cable car …. and the rest of the ride was a dream.
At 2206 metres I reached the Daubensee. Very nice lake:
It’s a fun, not too steep, ride beside the lake up to Gemmipass. As I arrived I saw some lazy bastards unloading their Mtb’s from the cable car from the Leukerbad side. 😉
I kept going towards Wildstrubel, the big peak/glacier at the end of another valley, This required a silly tunnel:
But it was worth battling my tunnel phobia as the other side was beautiful. I rode across, over, and through the river about 2/3’s of the way to the end.
A glacier river, an old lake bed, Wildstrubel behind:
Me being happy:
There is a trail from Gemmipass down to Leukerbad. Very steep, crazy hairpins, a great hike up. But bikes are not permitted – see small photo below.
As I headed down back towards Kandersteg I visited the other cable car station. It was twenty minutes until next departure. I am way too restless! So I decided to descend on trails.
There is a professionally groomed Mtb trail that runs along side the route I had climbed. Sponsored by Giant and other companies. I assume there is/was an event here. Serious stuff. Jumps, big corners, pads on trees everywhere. Crazy steep. Forever down. I briefly took this trail and realised I was risking death. Fell once … nothing bad, but I suck.
So I got off that and descended the track I had climbed. Some walking, but — my first MtB with disk brakes — a fair bit of descending on the bike.
This was hard work. But hard work in a beautiful place. Remember, even the strongest rider will be doing some pushing on the stretch that skips the cable car. But above it is great, great riding.
Quiet / No Traffic