58: Arvenseeli – Schwarenbach – Schwarzgratli – Tallisee – Chindbettipass – Engstligenalp
A long walk from Sunnbüel over into the Engstligental via Tällisee and Chindbettipass
The view from Chindbettipass across Tällisee to the southern Alps:
This is a long walk that requires careful coordination with transport from the Engstligenalp to bring you back to Kandersteg. Starting from the top of the Sunnbüel cable car, you traverse two passes and three valleys.
From Sunnbüel, follow the Gemmi either along the main path or take the back path (signed as the Rundweg) through Arvenwald - this adds about 20 minutes. At Berghotel Schwarenbach, take the path to the right up the side of the mountain to Schwarzgrätli. This is a steep climb, rising 300m, but the path is excellent. Look out for the crystal blue lake just beneath Schwarzgrätli and for the stunning blue gentians. Schwarzgrätli is the pass between the Gemmi and the Ueschinental and offers superb views of both valleys.
Follow the path left around the black rock face (hence Schwarzgrätli!) - it is rather steep and narrow here and the path is not very good. You may do better to follow the path down into the Ueschinental a little way and then, at the fork, take the path back up for Tällisee. As you approach Tällisee the landscape becomes much more barren and there may well be snow around, even in high summer. Follow the path alongside Tällisee until it meets the path from Rote Chumme. The path to Chindbettipass and the Engstligenalp turns right and climbs the shale steeply, passing the alpine route to the Lammernhütte at the head of the valley. At the summit, the Engstligental is revealed along with magnificent views back the way you have come across Tällisee and to the southern Alps. You also get excellent views of Tschingellochtighorn (the 5-fingered rock). Note that there have been no refreshments available since Schwarenbach and there won't be any until you get down to the Engstligenalp.
The steep path lies down into the Engstligental and to the cable car at the Engstligenalp. The end of the walk is over the relatively flat bowl of the Engstligental valley with a short climb at the end back up to the cable car. You may well want to stop at the restaurant here.
The cable car descends down to Unter dem Birg where the 232 bus service meets it. To get back to Kandersteg, don't go right in to Adelboden (or you will miss the connection); get off at Oey, Schützenbrücke and it is only a few moments walk to the bus stop for the Adelboden - Frutigen bus. In Frutigen, catch either the bus or the train home to Kandersteg. In 2010, the Engstligenalp cable car runs every 20 minutes between 8:20 and 18:00. The bus service 31.232 ( http://www.fahrplanfelder.ch/bav_assets/files/2010/31.232.pdf
) shows the connections from Unter dem Birg at the base of the cable car, to Oey, where you change buses to catch the Adelboden - Frutigen service. The connection is good with a bus from Unter dem Birg leaving at 35 past the hour with a 7 minute change at Oey, reaching Frutigen at 22 past the hour to meet the Kandersteg train at 25 past, or the bus at 29 past and, you reach Kandersteg just over 1 hour after leaving the bottom of the cable car.
This is a long walk - we took at least 7 1/2 hours - with a rise of 700m but you do gain and lose some height around Schwarzgrätli so the overall climb is harder. The distance is about 17km. Beware that there is nowhere for refreshments between Schwarenbach and the Engstligenalp so you need to carry plenty of food and water and you need to time your day to ensure that the cable car and buses will get you home. That said, it's a magnificent walk!
- 2009-06-12 - 17:20