FATMAP difficulty grade
The Bernese Oberland is simply immense.
It is huge.
This was my first visit to this ski touring and high mountain Mecca and it truly didn't disappoint. With 8 4000m peaks in the area I wanted to head over there on skis to start exploring this massive mountains.
With the Mönch and the Jungfrau towering over the valley below, they seemed like a good place to start.
Add to that the opportunity to spend a few days in the high mountains with Jon Gupta, who could say no? Taking the (eye-wateringly expensive) Jungfraujoch train up, you are transported from 1000m to 3400m in 40 minutes and step out directly onto a high mountain glacier.
Not far from the station, we decided we would start with the Jungfrau. A short ski descent and before we knew it we were putting our skins back on to start climbing up.
The size and scale is really hard to express but take it from me, everything is just bigger there - the mountains, the crevasses, the glaciers, all of it. Climbing as far as skis would allow, an easy transition to boots and crampons and we started the final climb to the summit.
Good snow cover and a solid freeze made for quick progress and it wasn't long before Jon and I made it to 4,1508m and were having a summit hug. But that was just our first objective! Returning to our skis we enjoyed a few steep turns before we set our eyes on the second target, the Mönch. Did I tell you it was big up there? Well, it is.
and climbing back up the way we came to start climbing the Mönch highlighted out planning error of starting with the Jungfrau.. But, never ones to let a little slog get in the way, we climbed back up and made it to the Mönchsjoch where we transitioned again to crampons to climb to the summit. The Mönch starts quite chill but finishes with a breathtaking summit ridge.
As we edged our way up, you can't help but stop to look around at the stunning world around you. Then, well, we made it.
We reached the summit of the Mönch at 4,110m.
With 1800m of climbing in our legs, we were both starting to feel it and looking all the way down the glacier to the Konkordiahutte looked a long long way - it's big up there, don't you know? Needless to say, once we clipped back into skis and could enjoy the afternoon soft snow, the fatigue quickly vanished. Dinner hasn't tasted that good in a long time.