From snow-capped giants to radiant alpine meadows, and from impossibly-jagged ridges to relaxation-inducing villages, the Aletsch Arena region is the Swiss Alps at its superlative best.
Its gently-curved shape, backed by a serrated skyline of towering peaks, is eye-catchingly handsome - but the glacier, which is retreating and melting at an alarming rate, has a deeper meaning too. Views of the Aletsch Glacier from the Eggishorn cable car station My four-day trip to the region included visits to a trio of mountain villages — Riederalp, Bettmeralp and Fiescheralp — that serve as the gateway to the Aletsch Glacier.
The focus of the itinerary was a guided trekking excursion on the glacier itself, but our group also found time for hiking, downhill karting, nature walks and much more. But, first, the basics and background It currently moves at a velocity of m per year at its source Concordia Place and m per year at its snout sydney escorts cheap terminus the Aletsch Forest. This slow, viscous movement downhill has shaped the geography of this stunning region of the Swiss Alps since the last ice age, around 18, years ago.
It begins at Concordia Place — a large, flat area of snow and ice to the south of the Jungfrau, where four smaller glaciers converge — and flows south-east, south and south-west in a curving, banana-like shape for 23km.
The nearest large town is Brig, while three mountain villages - Riederalp, Bettmeralp and Fiescheralp also known as the Fiesch-Eggishorn area — are more commonly used as bases to explore the region. Getting to this trio of quaint and charming villages is simple and hassle-free. To get to Riederalp, oloking example, take a train from Zurich Flughafen airport train station to Brig 2hr 30 encpunter approxchange at Brig and take a train to Morel 10 mins approxbefore hopping on the cable car to Riederalp 10 mins approx.
Glacier trekking gives you a closer, more intimate interaction with the ice giant, and a greater understanding of its complex yet intricate beauty, power and balance.
Donning crampons and roping up to team-mates, you will be led by your professional guide into an otherworldly landscape: a mesmerising place of ubiquitous sheets of icy whiteness, rising and falling like a raging sea of wintry clefts and folds, broken only by the lunar-like deserts of moraine debris. You will follow babbling streams of icy purity, peer into azure blue fissures piercing the icy surface like portals loooking another realm, and edge along icy crevices, close enough to get the adrenaline pumping, but safe enough ruby morgan escort never feel the end is nigh.
It is an intrepid, exciting enncounter memory-forging mini expedition.
The full-day excursion began at Moosfluh cable car and involved a rather long walk to and from the glacier, as well as few hours on it. Our grey-haired guide Martin — a somewhat cantankerous but lovable character, who has been leading trekking trips on the Aletsch Glacier for decades — educated our group on the rapid changes to this iconic icy landmark.
It was a touching moment — and one that seemed to inspire amongst our group a mixture of reed sadness, as well as determination to take action. Glacier trekking Once on the glacier, with our group safely roped to each other, we trans escort los angeles off.
Our crampons crunched into snow and ice, gripping without any problems, and we slowly completed a circular route, dodging chasms and crevices and generally looking for husband in new new westminster the easiest line. It was surprisingly cold with a nippy breeze, considering Mossfluh had been bathed in 30C sunshine, yet that simply added to the sense of adventure.
But ultimately I was in a world of my own, relishing the chance to pretend I was a polar adventurer or Arctic explorer from a bygone era — and, most of all, I left the excursion with a deep respect for the sheer grandeur and almighty power of the Aletsch Glacier. Arguably a better way to experience its vastness and drama is from above, on one of the surrounding ridges or peaks that provide a higher, more complete perspective.
The Aletsch Arena is blessed with a myriad of hiking options, from simple strolls to strenuous full day hikes, and many provide grandstand vistas of the Aletsch Glacier. The ridgeline running north-east from Riederalp to the summit of Bettmerhorn 2,m delivers the most spectacular of these views.
You can dip in at leisure, taking a cable car to either Moosfluh or the Bettmerhorn station at 2,m, but for the real experience why not hike the whole ridge? Lookong at Riederalp, in fine if not slightly too hot conditions, I encountee north-east on good, well-posted trails to a small lake at Blausee. A Swiss flag ruffled in the wind, flying proudly above the water, as I watched families whizz down a rough, dusty track on mountain karts which looked like a hybrid between a go-kart and a sledge I tried this later during my trip and it was epic fun.
Blausee Lake After a rest at the lake, I climbed the apex of the ridge at Sparrhorn and continued over undulating terrain towards Moosfluh. My eyes were drawn to the west, where grey-toothed ridges of brutal spikiness soared into the blue sky, and port colborne escorts domineering corries looked like icy cauldrons of snow. From Moosfluh onwards, the climb was rocky and steep, but easily achievable and without any technical sections.
At Biel I was dazzled by the mirror-like reflections in a small tarn, the inversion so crystal clear it was difficult to separate reality from reflection; but, ultimately, it was the Great Aletsch Glacier that captured my attention and imagination.
Every step I took the view seemed to crescendo and improve. The glacier curved sumptuously into the distance, its gentle meanders encoknter to the eye, backed perfectly by the snow-capped Walliser Fiescherhorner massif.
Take the gondola from Fiesch via Fiescheralp to the Eggishorn viewpont at 2,m and you will be rewarded with glorious degree views. A delightful trail, suitable for all ages, provides a quick and simple journey of discovery, taking you to endounter viewpoints and information displays. You looling hike north from the gondola station to conquer the 2,m summit of Eggishorn, which is adorned by a cross, or head south-west on the looling, alpine ridge to the Bettmerhorn scrambling skills required.
Complete with bronzed roof, shimmering towers and turrets, and distinctive black-white wooden finishes, the house itself is undoubtedly grand — but the views of verdant valleys and craggy mountain tops are the real show stopper. Villa Cassel, which is located at Riederfurka, about 1km to the west of Riederalp village, was built in by English banker Sir Ernest Cassel, martinsburg personals chose this remote, rural spot for his mountain retreat.
During Sir Ernest Cassel's lifetime, illustrious guests came and went from the ostentatious timber-framed villa, including Sir Winston Churchill. But since his death, the Villa was run as a hotel for several decades before finally being taken over by Pro Natura, a Swiss charitable organisation.
It is now home to an environmental and education centre, which is dedicated to protecting the unique flora, fauna and natural landscapes of the Aletsch Arena, as well as a hotel. Villa Cassel I spent two nights at the hotel. The view from my room was simply magnificent, the afternoon tea was delicious, and the vibe of the place — a friendly, communal atmosphere with an almost hostel-like feel — was immediately 24 escort bloomington. We enjoyed a history tour of the building, a guided exploration of the surrounding nature gardens a veritable oasis of alpine plantsand — best of all — an early-morning wildlife hike, during which we spotted red deer and chamois in their natural habitat.
A trio of villages My visit to the Aletsch Arena was mostly based at Riederalp, a rustic, car-free mountain village at the lofty altitude of 1,m.
But I also explored both other villages, Bettmeralp and Fiescheralp. Family-orientated Bettmeralp is far bigger, with a good selection of restaurants and bars, a perfect-for-Instagram chapel of unrivalled quaintness, Bettmersee lake for watersports and evening strolls, and views over 4,m peaks including the Weisshorn, Dom and Matterhorn. Fiescheralp, conversely, is very small and quiet, with a sportier and more outdoorsy feel.
Located at around 2,m and accessible by cable car, I spent one night in Escorts in roanoke at the delightful Hotel Alpina.