Switzerland Hiking: Eiger to The Matterhorn

From: $4,699

per person dbl occ

Dates: Jul-Aug - see all dates

Total Days: 9

Activity Level: 4

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Switzerland Hiking: Eiger to The Matterhorn

Price:

2014

REI member: $4,699

Non-member: $4,999

2015

REI member: $4,799

Non-member: $5,099

Trip Dates:

2014

  • Jul 17–25
  • Jul 24 – Aug 1
  • Aug 7–15
  • Aug 21–29

2015

  • Jul 16–24
  • Jul 23–31
  • Aug 6–14
  • Aug 20–28

Or, book a
private departure.

Group Size: 4-14

Activity Level: 4

Activities:

  • Hiking

Accommodations:

Hotels, 7 nights; mountain hut, 1 night

Trip Highlights

  • Hike by the natural masterpieces of the Swiss Alps from the Eiger to the Matterhorn
  • See stunning views of soaring peaks, cascading waterfalls, and green valleys
  • Visit the charming alpine villages and enjoy Switzerland's famous chocolates
  • Spend each day on vigorous hikes that are unparalleled in all of Europe

The beauty and majesty of the Swiss Alps have long beckoned climbers and hikers from around the world with their soaring peaks; tumbling waterfalls; lush, green valleys; and awe-inspiring vistas. Come to the mountain playground where climbing legends like Messner and Mallory made their names.

Our vigorous nine-day trip through Switzerland traverses classic routes from the Bernese Oberland, home to the legendary mountain trio of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, to the jagged Matterhorn. Each day offers expansive views of Swiss glaciers and peaks, with chance encounters at delightful alpine villages complete with colorful flower boxes and the faint tinkling of cowbells in the clear mountain air.

Travel in comfort as we trace our route between two stylish resort villages, Grindelwald and Zermatt, where we dine on delicious alpine cuisine and famous Swiss chocolates, and can fall into peaceful sleep after each exhilarating day on the trail!

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Settle in and explore Grindelwald beneath the Eiger North Face.
  • Day 2 - Trek to Kleine Scheidegg, with views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.
  • Day 3 - Hike to Mürren with views across the beautiful Lauterbrunnen Valley.
  • Day 4 - Cross the Sefeinenfurka (8,568'), a high and wild pass.
  • Day 5 - From Bundalp, hike over rocky Hohtürli Pass to Kandersteg.
  • Day 6 - Walk past the serene Daubensee to the historic Gemmi Pass.
  • Day 7 - Hike to Zermatt on a trail considered a masterpiece in the Alps.
  • Day 8 - Take the Höhbalmen trail for the most famous vista in the Alps.
  • Day 9 - Our Swiss Alps hiking tour draws to a close.

See full itinerary

Trip Itinerary and Details

Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.

  • Day 1 - Settle in and explore Grindelwald beneath the Eiger North Face.

    Arrive in Geneva, Switzerland by 11:00 a.m. to meet your trip leader and fellow travelers. A group transfer from the Geneva airport brings us to Grindelwald (3,390') one of the most scenic Swiss villages beneath the legendary Eiger North Face. The afternoon is free to relax or explore before our welcome dinner and group orientation. Dinner included.

  • Day 2 - Trek to Kleine Scheidegg, with views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

    Our spectacular journey begins with a close up view of the imposing North Face of the Eiger. After a short transfer from our hotel we ride a classic gondola to Holenstein (5,016’). From here the trail heads south along the eastern flank of Tschuggen Mountain (8,271’) alternating between forest and meadows, directly towards the notorious Eiger Nordwand (this “North Face” was considered not climbable before the 1930s). We continue hiking to reach the large saddle of Kleine Scheidegg (6,757’). This pass between the Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald Valleys provides a tremendous close range vantage point of the captivatingly savage rock and ice walls of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, rising 6,000 feet above the valley floor. A lively and bustling place, we’ll meet alpine herdsmen with their cattle, alpinists beginning their attempt to climb the Eiger, and hikers from all over the world. We continue up to Eigergletscher (7,611’) for a close look at the superb hanging glacier that descends the western flank of the Eiger. After lunch amid the breathtaking mountain scenery, we head down to Wengernalp with wonderful vistas that include the peaks Gspaltenhorn (11,275’) and Schiltorn (9,740’). Hiking northward we come to car-free Wengen (4,265’) where we sleep for the night. It is a lovely hamlet nestled beneath the massive North Face of the Jungfrau. Breakfast and lunch included.

    Hiking: 6 hours, 8-9 miles; Elevation gain: 2,595 ft.; Elevation loss: 3,346 ft. Please note that hiking distances and elevation gain/loss are estimates for all days.

  • Day 3 - Hike to Mürren with views across the beautiful Lauterbrunnen Valley.

    Our picturesque route from Wengen leads down to Lauterbrunnen where we take a cable car up to Grütschalp on the opposite side of the Lauterbrunnental. From Grütschalp (4,875’) we hike a high balcony trail via Allmendhubel to Mürren (5,400’). The trail offers awesome views of the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch across the Lauterbrunnen Valley, considered by even the most seasoned alpinists to be one of the most beautiful in Europe! An immense U-shaped glacial valley - the world’s deepest - with steep cliffs on either side rising over 3,000’and doused by over 70 waterfalls, it is utterly spectacular. This evening we stay in Mürren, another car-free village nestled high on a terrace beneath Schilthorn (9,740’). All meals included.

    Hiking: 5 hours, 6 miles; Elevation gain: 1,380 ft.; Elevation loss: 2,514 ft.

  • Day 4 - Cross the Sefeinenfurka (8,568'), a high and wild pass.

    From Mürren we follow the famous Alpine Pass Route via tranquil Spielbodenalp and onto the Rotstockhütte where we can enjoy refreshments amid the incredible scenery. As we walk we are treated to one view after another of soaring mountains, pleasant green meadows, and meandering streams. From the Rotstockhütte the path rises more steeply through a narrow valley between high peaks to reach the crest of the Sefeinenfurka. The descent towards Bundalp is steep and rocky but spectacular with dramatic rock formations and wide-ranging views of sparkling glaciers and plunging ravines. Tonight we rest in Bundalp (6,036’), a working farm that offers simple accommodations in the verdant Kiental Valley. All meals included.

    Hiking: 8-10 hours, ~11 miles; Elevation gain: 4,400’; Elevation loss: 3,600’. No vehicle access to Bundalp lodgings so participants must carry overnight items in their daypack.

  • Day 5 - From Bundalp, hike over rocky Hohtürli Pass to Kandersteg.

    From Bundalp we continue hiking the Alpine Pass Route over the rocky Hohtürli Pass (8,869’) to Kandersteg. The climb to the crest of this pass is one of the toughest of the trip. Today we will likely have the paths to ourselves. The scenery is stark but magnificent – high and wild, exhilarating but daunting. As we ascend there are great views back down the Kiental Valley and the lowlands beyond, as well as across to the Sefeinenfurka and the craggy Gspaltenhorn. The pass itself is a broad, stony saddle with awesome panoramic views in all directions. Dropping down the other side of the pass, the trail is barren, steep and rocky before reaching grassy meadows again. Continuing down, magical Oeschinensee Lake comes into view. Its shimmering blue-green waters are like a sparkling turquoise jewel amid rocky cliffs. From here we take the gondola to Kandersteg (3,857’), one of the quietest and most idyllic hamlets in Switzerland situated beneath the towering Blumisalp massif. The village and surrounding countryside are famous for the countless waterfalls that cascade off the peaks and cliffs surrounding the valley. All meals included.

    Hiking: 7-8 hours, ~9 miles; Elevation gain: 3,188 ft.; Elevation loss: 2,532 ft.

  • Day 6 - Walk past the serene Daubensee to the historic Gemmi Pass.

    From Kandersteg we travel by tram up to Sunnbüel and begin hiking past the serene Daubensee toward the historic Gemmi Pass (7,616’) which is thought to have been used as far back as the Bronze Age. From here we take time to enjoy our first views of some of the major peaks in the Valais (Pennine) Alps, such as the Dom, Matterhorn, Weisshorn and Dent Blanche. The descent takes us on an impressive trail carved in the cliffs overlooking the town of Leukerbad at the head of the lovely Dala Valley. From Leukerbad we transfer directly to Grächen for the night (1¼ hours). Grächen (5,314’) is a village perched on a sun-drenched terrace overlooking the Matterhorn Valley. From now on our route remains with the Mattertal, following the valley to the south towards the snow and ice of the Valais (Pennine) Alps - the highest mountains in Switzerland – including the Matterhorn. All meals included.

    Hiking: 5 hours, ~7 miles; Elevation gain: 1,300 ft.; Elevation loss: 2,900 ft.

  • Day 7 - Hike to Zermatt on a trail considered a masterpiece in the Alps.

    Today we begin hiking toward the valley bottom. From Grächen, we pass the charming village of Gasenried, and continue along a refreshing “bisse” or irrigation canal that brings glacier water to fields. From the small town of Herbriggen we meet up with our transfer vehicle for a short drive to the hamlet of Täschalp (7,175’) where we enjoy a picnic lunch. The next section of the trail is considered a hiking masterpiece in the Alps, filled with magnificent scenery and easier hiking. The jagged Matterhorn is like a beacon at the end of the valley. Once at Sunegga, we take a gentle downhill trail through very picturesque Swiss hamlets, hiking into the vibrant mountain town of Zermatt (5,315’). Surrounded by nearly forty of Europe’s most impressive 4,000 meter peaks (greater than 14,000’), Zermatt sits against a backdrop of the iconic Matterhorn (14,692’), which rises almost 9,000’ directly outside of town. All meals included.

    Driving: ~ 45 minutes; Hiking: 6 hour, ~10 miles; Elevation gain: 416 ft.; Elevation loss: 3,630 ft.

  • Day 8 - Take the Höhbalmen trail for the most famous vista in the Alps.

    Another phenomenal hike awaits us today! We hike from Zermatt on a steep path that takes us up along the Triftbach gorge, then eventually through beautiful meadows to the Trift alpine hut (7,712’). We continue hiking on switchbacks up for another hour to reach the very scenic Höhbalmen trail. The difficult climbing is behind us as the trail now undulates between the altitude of 8,250’ and 8,580’. At this point, we are facing the most impressive and famous panorama in the Alps: the north face of the Matterhorn, the Dent d'Herens, the Mischabel range, the Breithorn, Lyskam, Castor and Pollux, and Monte Rosa! We bask in the views of this stunning scenery before beginning our final descent along an occasionally steep trail to Zermatt. The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore before we gather again for a farewell dinner and toast to an excellent hiking adventure. All meals included.

    Hiking: 6 hours, ~7 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 3,465 ft.

  • Day 9 - Our Swiss Alps hiking tour draws to a close.

    Our trip ends after breakfast at our Zermatt hotel this morning. Continue to explore charming Zermatt and the surrounding area on your own, or take advantage of excellent rail connections to transfer back to Geneva or onto other destinations in Europe. Breakfast included.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including weather and terrain conditions.

Air Travel

Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.

Price Includes

All accommodation and meals as noted in the daily itinerary; all land transportation and luggage transfers; cable car rides as noted; skilled bi-lingual guides; group airport transfer from Geneva to Grindelwald.

Not Included

Airfare to Geneva, Switzerland; 1 lunch and 1 dinner; optional cable car rides; airport transfer from Zermatt; excess baggage charges; airport taxes (if any); travel/evacuation insurance; alcoholic beverages and soft drinks; laundry fees; internet access; optional guide gratuities and items of a personal nature.

Qualifications

This trip is rated as Vigorous [4]. All trip members should be strong, experienced hikers in excellent physical condition capable of hiking 6 - 8 hours a day (8 - 12 miles) with steep ascents and descents. Trails are often rocky and elevation gains/losses of 1,500' - 3,500' daily are common. We hike at altitudes of 3,000-9,000'. The trails over mountain passes and the Europaweg (Days 7 and 8) are demanding trails with sections that are steep, rough, rocky, and exposed (many of these sections are secured with steel ropes or other aids). We strongly recommend an exercise regimen beginning at least 3-6 months prior to departure consisting of hiking (with as much elevation gain and loss as possible), walking/running, cycling and/or swimming. The fitter you are upon arrival, the more you will be able to enjoy the fabulous scenery that this spectacular alpine region has to offer.

Weather

Summer daytime temperatures along our route typically range from 60 to 75°F. Evening temperatures generally drop into the 50s. As we are in the Alps, participants must be prepared for variable weather conditions that can change suddenly and include hot, sunny days, prolonged rainfall and even an occasional dusting of snow.

Single Travelers

No single rooms are available for request on this adventure. All group members are paired with a roommate of the same gender when possible. There is a maximum of two forced singles per departure.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

Switzerland Hiking: Eiger to The Matterhorn Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering.  To obtain maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection.  This gear list has been created to help you choose equipment for the trip.  Try to bring only what is necessary - this will help you and the field staff. 

Gear Checklist

Official Papers
  • Valid passport
  • Airline tickets
Luggage
  • Large duffel bag or soft sided rolling suitcase
  • Daypack, large enough to carry your camera, water bottles, lunch, extra clothing and overnight items you will need on Day 4
  • Daypack rain cover, waterproof
  • Luggage tags and luggage locks
  • Passport pouch or money belt
City Clothing
  • Bring a few casual, lightweight, easily washable items for travel and city wear
Outerwear
  • Rain jacket, waterproof and breathable
  • Rain or wind pants, waterproof and breathable
Clothing
  • Midweight fleece or wool sweater
  • Down or fleece vest
  • Lightweight fleece pants
  • Lightweight thermal underwear top and bottom, synthetic or wool
  • Hiking pants, lightweight and synthetic (zip-off legs are great!)
  • Hiking shorts, lightweight and synthetic
  • Long-sleeve shirts (quick-drying, synthetic)
  • T-shirts (at least 2 synthetic)
  • Hiking socks
  • Liner socks
  • Casual socks
  • Underwear
Clothing Accessories
  • Sun hat
  • Wool or fleece hat
  • Bandana
  • Lightweight liner gloves
  • Warm gloves or mittens
Footwear
  • Sturdy hiking boots, waterproof, broken-in, aggressive tread
  • Comfortable shoes for evenings and travel
Travel Accessories
  • Lightweight travel towel and washcloth
  • Two (2) one-quart water bottles or hydration system
  • Trekking poles (highly recommended)
  • Gaiters (ankle to mid-calf)
  • Headlamp or flashlight and spare batteries/bulb
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Sunblock and lip balm (SPF 15+)
  • Toiletry kit
  • Personal first-aid kit
  • Watch with alarm or travel clock
  • Toilet kit: ditty bag containing 1 roll toilet tissue, Ziploc bags, and hand sanitizer gel or Wet Ones
Optional Field Gear
  • Knee supports
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera, memory and spare batteries
  • Plug adapter, converter, battery charger
  • Small binoculars
  • Altimeter
  • Favorite energy snacks and/or drink mixes
  • Spare contact lenses or glasses
  • Reading and writing materials
  • Electrical adapter plug
  • Ear plugs/eye mask
  • Shower thongs/sandals

Things to Consider

  • Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, medications, hiking boots and a change of clothing in your carry-on baggage in case your luggage is delayed.
  • Sarongs make excellent lightweight, quick-drying and compact travel towels. Another good option is the REI MultiTowel Lite (available in various sizes) or similar. See www.rei.com for details.
  • Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool or synthetics such as Capilene, MTS and Thermax.
  • Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
  • Make sure boots are broken-in. Bring moleskin or blister remedies for foot treatment. Thin liner socks made of silk or synthetic fibers worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
  • There is no vehicle access to our accommodations on Day 4. Each guest will carry their daily necessities, as well as their overnight items in their daypack on Day 4. The mountain hut provides beds, blankets, sleep sheets and pillowcases but you must bring your own lightweight towel, soap and shampoo if you wish to use the showers.
  • Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes/colors to differentiate the contents.
  • You may not have access to a toilet when you need one while hiking during the day. We suggest bringing a "toilet kit," a small ditty bag that includes a Ziploc bag of clean toilet tissue, a spare Ziploc to dispose of soiled tissue, and a small bottle of hand sanitizer. Note that toilet tissue must be discarded in a waste basket and not along a trail.
  • Since some accommodations do not have elevators, please be prepared to carry your luggage between your room and the reception area.

Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
REI AdventuresSwitzerland Hiking: Eiger to The Matterhorn
 
5.0

(based on 2 reviews)

Reviewed by 2 customers

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(12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Epic

By presenescence

from Pittsburgh, PA

About Me Avid Adventurer

See all my reviews

Site Member

Pros

  • Activity Level
  • Crazy Weather
  • Exceeded Expectations
  • Great guides
  • Group Camaraderie
  • Guides
  • Incredible locale
  • Once in a Lifetime Experience
  • Well Organized Itinerary

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about REI Adventures Switzerland Hiking: Eiger to The Matterhorn:

      The trip was Epic due to combination of amazing scenery/the region, the arduous physical activity, the superb guides, the wonderful travel companions I met on the trip and the 5000 ft. vertical gain day I described. There is real (although not excessive) danger at times; snowy steep descents on icy trails (in july!), rocky trails maybe three feet wide with thousands of feet of sheer drop waiting for a misstep, you must keep your wits about you at all times. Having said that, I never felt that the danger level was excessive particularly given how scrupulous our french guides were. The local french alpine guides were consummate professionals in every way and added immeasurably to the whole experience. An added bonus was the opportunity to burnish my high school french with them, and there patient tolerance of me while I did it! Accomodations are comfortable although not luxurious, occasionally primitive and there are no single rooms if you are a solo traveler, and the food ranges from good-excellent regional cuisine to rustic/hearty Swiss (think potatoes, potatoes, potatoes and meat, meat , meat - in truth perhaps the perfect meal after a big trail day). After all, I didn't come for the food, although the lunches provided to us on the trail were excellent and locally derived with a great french flair (our support person was french too). All-in-all just a superlative experience if you are looking for adventure travel in this region. If that is what you seek, I cannot reccommend this REI trip too highly.

      • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
      • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
      • Why did you choose this trip?:
      • Have hiked the Alps before and wanted to explore this region.
      • What was the highlight of your trip?:
      • 5000 vertical foot climb on next to last day of trip
      • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
      • Be aware, the weather in the Alps is crazy (which adds to the adventure) and this is a very demanding trip physically (I'm in excellent shape but still found certain days to be the hardest physical activity I've ever done). In retrospect I should have done more stair climbing to prep. We had snow, rain, fog, sun; sometimes all in the same day. Therefore, bring EVERYTHING on the trip gear list.

      (16 of 16 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Fantastic scenery

      By rjuricich

      from Sacramento, CA

      About Me Avid Adventurer

      Pros

      • Activity Level
      • Amazing scenery
      • Exceeded Expectations
      • Food

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about REI Adventures Switzerland Hiking: Eiger to The Matterhorn:

          This was the most civilized hiking I've ever done. There was always a mountain hut to stop at for a hot tea or a cold beer. There was a range of overnight accommodations from cozy to cramped depending on remoteness. You need to be flexible and want to have fun.

          This was not a straight trek in that we were provided car support through out to haul luggage and took a few gondola rides as short cuts.

          If I was do do this again I would arrive a day or too early at Grindelwald at the beginning. I spent an extra day at Zermat at the end and had a great time.

          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
          • Active Adventures, I Liked the Itinerary
          • Why did you choose this trip?:
          • I've always wanted to visit the Swiss Alps. It's been on my bucket list forever, and I wasn't disappointed.
          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
          • Walking along a trail with amazing views of Eiger with clouds swirling around it.
          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
          • Forget about the cost, this trip was worth it.

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