Over the Lötschepass

Gasterspitz on the way to the Lötschenpass
Glecksteinhütte special
START: Kandersteg
             Bottom Station Sunnbüel
FINISH: Fafleralp
              Lötschental
DISTANCE: 28.20km
VERTICAL: 1933m
HIGHEST POINT: 2690m
EFFORT: Hard
DIFFICULTY:  Hard

From the Bernese Oberland to the Wallis
A spectacular journey over the Lötschepass 

 

The Lötschepass is one of the oldest routes that connect the Valais to the the Bernese Oberland.

The trail will take us through the wild rugged Gasterntal with hospitable houses and  then steep up to the Lötschepass. From the highest point at the Lötschenpass Hut, the Lötschberg Panoramaweg is now descending gently towards the village of Lauchernalp  and then on the flowing beautiful trails all the way to the Fafleralp.

 

The start is at the car park of the Sunnbüel cable car station at the end of Kander valley.

We follow the no 56 Lötschberg Panoramaweg along the roaring river Kander through the narrow gorge into the the Gastern valley.

When we reach Waldhus the valley opens up to a beautiful forested landscape and the river is now winding its way gently downstream the way we just come. On a wide track, our trail gently climb through the Gasternholz forest until the Bletscheweidli.

 

After crossing the Kander bridge, the climb to the Lötschepass starts in earnest with 1200m of elevation ahead.   Bend after bend, the single trail climbs steeply along the Leitibach to Gfelalp. After a little breather, over the pastures at Schönbüel, the trail swings westwards under the glacier break and pulls up below the Gaschterespitze to the Balme. Here you can enjoy a great view east over the Kanderfirn to the Jungfrau.

Not on your daily trail run routine, the rocky trail changes to glacier firn. having to traverse the Lötsche glacier. On a well marked route ,white-red-white colour symbols and poles show the direction to the lateral moraine, over which a clear path now runs. Attention is required on the last climb over the rockface before reaching the highest point of our tour.. Follow the coloured signs in the scree - the path cannot be properly maintained because of the permafrost and the constant movement of the earth. The steepest is done and the wide depression of the Lötschenpass is reached.
Magnificent views from the top of the pass to the Valais snow giants, especially the Bietschhorn and Mischabel group.

A well earned rest is called for at the Lötschenpasshütte.

Now we can open up our legs again towards the Lauchernalp. Past numerous little lakes formed and honed by the glaciers, the single trail descends towards the pretty holiday village of the Lauchernalp.

 

From here the single trail is now changing to a wider well maintained path frequented by many hikers. Along the sunny Lötschental slopes, through fragrant flower meadows and forest, we gently descend towards the uppermost of the valley and our destination, the Fafleralp. If you need a cool down, the Schwarzsee is about as inviting as any, nestling in a dip amongst green flower meadows and fir trees.

Arriving at the Fafleralp we have reached our goal. The journey back to Kandersteg is on the Postauto down the valley to Goppenstein and then the short train ride back through the Lötschberg tunnel.

Balmhorn viewed from Lötschepass
Balmhorn viewed from the Lötschenpass
Wildelsigegrat
Wildelsigegrat
lotschenpass20_edited_edited.jpg
Bietschhorn
Hockenhorn
Hockenhorn Skyrunning Tour for another day!