May Ski Touring in the Bernese Oberland
A snowy winter and spring is giving excellent ski touring conditions on the high mountains and glaciers of the Bernese Oberland, Swiss Alps. May can give highly contrasting conditions in the mountains and indeed we experienced all weather conditions from warm & summery to winter blizzard. The Oberland also has a variety of styles of ski mountaineering styles from genuine ski - to the summit - peaks; big glacial journeys as well as mountaineering objectives with the long approaches completed on skis. Much more efficient than in summer! The constant theme however is the quality and hospitality of the mountain huts and this adds another real pleasure to any journey through the high Oberland.
We visited the Hollandia and Konkordia Huts and climbed the Mitagahorn and Aben Flue. Roaring northerlies, heavily laden with thick cloud and snow pinned us down in the Konkordia Hut with even a trip to the outside toilets feeling quite adventurous...many resorted to using a pee bottle!
Yesterday's journey up the Jungfraufirn from Konkordia to Jungfraujoch gave some substantial trail breaking opportunities as, despite the strong winds, up to 50cms of fresh snow had settled up high. We descended back to Grindlewald through the alpine meadows, green at the start of the week, now plastered in snow. Probably not for long. The North Face of the Eiger had also been plastered in fresh snow. On returning to the Rhone Valley via the Kanderstegg - Goppenstein railway we reverted to blue skies whilst the Northern side of the range continued to take a battering from the cold spring storms.
We will be running both a ski mountaineering and ski touring week in the Oberland in 2013 so please get in touch if you are interested in coming along.