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Mürren to Gimmelwald Via Ferrata

Properly administered, adrenaline is the most addictive drug in the world.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 1.429 miles
Duration: Unknown

Overview :  “Come here,” my wife, September, beckoned. “I want to show you something.” I followed her into the sportzentrum in Mürren,... more »

Tips:  The via from Mürren to Gimmlewald is a great place for your first via ferrata experience. The route traverses the cliff that is ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Sportzentrum

The sportzentrum is a prominent fixture in the tiny mountain village of Mürren. There is a public indoor swimming pool, miniature golf, squash courts, but most importantly, you can rent everything you need to hike the via ferrata to Gimmelwald. You want the gloves.

We rented the requisite equipment for our climb from the sportzentrum in M&... More

2. Start Here

This via ferrata starts by way of a tunnel next to the tennis courts. Through the door and into the tunnel!

3. OK, this starts easily enough!

After passing through the tunnel, you are behind the tennis court. Surprise! The Swiss leave no space unfarmed. Behind the tennis courts is a field of what looks like alfalfa. No matter that it drops off sharply to a 1,000 foot cliff.

Here you can get a feel for the equipment and how to safely move the carabineer across the anchor points.

In... More

4. Inching closer to the edge

After leaving the area of the tennis courts, the trail descends steeply and, if you are like me, your anxiety level will start to rise.

It is impossible to get lost, because you are harnessed to the safety cable. Here we are making our way to the edge of the cliff.

5. Over the edge

Time to scale down this sheer face.

The safety cable is securely anchored into the rock. Every 3 to 15 meters you are required to unclip one carabineer and move it over the anchor point. Only when the first carabineer is moved past the anchor point is it safe to move the second carabineer.

Here you can clearly see the steps that give the via... More

6. 1,000 feet of air

By this point in the climb you should be feeling pretty confident about this via ferrata thing. With harnesses secure, you have been creeping along the edge of a cliff, moving your carabineers over the anchor points with ease and taking in the scenery and in general starting to get comfrotable with your surroundings.

Then you round the corner and... More

7. Funambulism!

Funambulism is the art of tight wire walking. Who woulda thunk there was a name for that? Luckily, they give you something to hold on to.

The Lauterbrunnen valley is encircled by 72 waterfalls that cascade down the cliffs and into the valley below. Here we cross the top of the largest waterfall that is visible from town.

Here you can see the lanyard that is specifically designed for climbing a via ferrata. Each harness has two lanyards (the red strap) that fasten to the safety cable.

In traditional climbing the distance you can fall is limited by the amount of rope between you and your anchor point. On a via ferrata, the distance you can fall is limited by the... More

There are a lot of anchor points along a via ferrata, and each one must be negotiated. These two photos shows the proper technique, as well as the inherint risk of a via ferrata.

In the first photo, Jordan is demonstrating transfering each laynard's carabineer across the anchor point one at a time. Ensuring that the first carabineer is securely... More

10. A Perfect View

There probably is no better place to get a bird's eye view of this postcard perfect valley.

Although there are lots of opportunities to see the valley from above, climbing the via ferrata affords the best views. The gondola ascents and paraglider descents are simply over too fast...

11. Omigosh!

At this point you have moved your carabineers perhaps 400 times (no, I did not count them). You can bravely wave to the people who are in the gondola that will soon return you to the valley floor.

But you still have to cross this bridge. It is scarrier than it looks.

Traffic on this via ferrata is one way, so there is no turning around. When we... More

12. The End

This via ends at the gondola in Gimmelwald. From here you can either take the gondola back to Mürren, or down to Stechelberg on the valley floor. From Stechelberg it is easy to make one of the frequent bus connections back to Lauterbrunnen.

There is also a well sign posted hiking trail back to Mürren (about 90 minutes at a leisurely... More