23: Selden - Heimritz - Kanderfirn - Selden - Gasterntal - Eggenschwand (start 9:00)
The Kanderfirn glacier feeds the river through Kandersteg and down to Lake Thun.
The Kanderfirn glacier:
Start the walk to the Kanderfirn by taking the Gasterntal Bus
from the railway station in Kandersteg, up to Selden. In 2009, possible buses leave Kandersteg at 7:50, 8:50 and 9:50, arriving at Selden at 8:13, 9:13 and 10:13 ( http://www.kandersteg.ch/deutsch/sport/pdf/gasterebus_09.pdf
). The path starts with a gentle rise from Selden to Heimritz where there is a small restaurant - but this is the last opportunity for food and drink other than what you carry! There are paths either side of the river between Selden and Heimritz - you may find daphne growing wild around here, generally finding it by its wonderful scent. Beyond Heimritz you cross a stream and there may be the remnants of winter snows to cross; then it is an easy walk through flower-strewn alpine meadow, close to the ever-decreasing Kander.
There is a distinctive moraine on the right side of the valley which you walk along the top of, rising steadily. At the end of the moraine the way gets harder and steeper (though the path is still good). The flowers are much smaller here but they are still there. Eventually you arrive at the start of the glacier itself where there is a sign pointing away across the ice to the Mutthornhütte - you definitely need ice axe and crampons to go any further. It is a magificent view, especially if the sun is shining on the snow. We have been known to find a barbecue among the rocks here, complete with a pack of sausages one year!
The return journey simply retraces your steps along the moraine and through the meadow to Heimritz and Selden. For a shorter day, book a return trip on the Gasterntal Bus which leaves Selden in 2009 at 15:15, 16:15 and 17:15, arriving in Kandersteg 25 minutes later. Alternatively, walk back down the Gasterntal, leaving the road about 20 minutes beyond Selden to turn left down a woodland path. At the base of this short, fairly steep section, you cross the stream and it is a 1 hour walk along the largely flat Gasterntal; watch out for some amazing waterfalls, especially on your left, fed by the Balmhorn above. At Waldhus there is a restaurant and the possibility of catching the bus home from here, provided you have booked it. Otherwise, continue through the small woodland and down the Kander Klus
waterfall, comparing this raging torrent with the majestic ice of its source at the Kanderfirn. At Eggenschwand, either walk back down the road to Kandersteg or, if it is convenient, take the Kandersteg Village Bus
This walk makes a fairly long, hard day with 3 hours up from Selden to the Kanderfirn and about 2 hours 30 minutes back. To walk back to Kandersteg from Selden is at least another 2 hours 30 minutes but the walk down the Gasterntal is well worth it. The climb up to the Kanderfirn is hard in the latter stages - you gain almost 900m between Selden and the glacier; if you walk right back to Kandersteg you have a total descent of over 1200m.
Be aware that there is nowhere to get refreshments beyond Heimritz so carry plenty of water; the little restaurant at Heimritz is very welcome on the way back!
- 2009-06-10 - 15:10