Via ferrata Kandersteg – Allmenalp (C, var D) Switzerland

Via ferrata Kandersteg – Allmenalp is a breathtaking climbing route located in Kandersteg, Switzerland. This via ferrata offers a scenic and thrilling experience, taking climbers up a high wall, characterized by pillars and gorges, through which the Allmibach river cascades down with four waterfalls. The route is known for its exposed sections and stunning views. After climbing the route, I consider it a hidden gem for advanced climbers, less popular than it deserves to be.

Summary

Grade: C, var Dview topo
Vertical: 370m ferrata, 450m total
Time: 15min approach, 3h ferrata, 15min descent, 3h30min total
Access / Parking: 46.4892,7.6614Google Maps or any Android maps app
Start via ferrata: 46.4909,7.6589Mapy.cz or any Android maps app
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Access

By car you need to arrive in Kandersteg.

By train, there are hourly InterCity and EuroCity connections to Kandersteg. It takes approximately 1 hour from Bern and less than 2.5 hours from Zurich and Basel.

In Kandersteg, head to the valley station (1181 m) of the Allmenalp cable car. In 2023 parking was 5 CHF until 18:00 and 20 CHF afterwards, with a few camper vans parked there.

Approach to start

From the parking lot in front of the cable car station, head to the right, passing a farmhouse and crossing the Allmibach river. Follow along the river and, after some time, slightly to the right on a marked path to reach the starting point at 1250 m. The final part of the approach is through the forest up to the base of the rock wall.

The route

It is graded C, with a separate D variant. Two approximately 30-meter-long Nepalese bridges cross the Allmibach river. Instead of the upper bridge, you can also fly over the water on a zip line. Another 110-meter long zip line leads from the via ferrata to a rock pinnacle and back to the route, but this one can only be used under the supervision of a mountain guide.

The route starts with a few ladders and traverses on pins. You reach the first bridge, equipped with 2 cables for hands and 2 thick cables joined together as one for the feet.

After this bridge you continue upwards on a short trail with no cable until you reach the start of the next section. Here you have two wooden benches for resting and the choice to continue on the regular route or the “Freude herrscht” D variant opened in 2020, on the left.

The regular variant continues with the spiral ladder. After a while you reach the platform of the longer, 110-meter zip line, but this zip line is blocked and can only be accessed with a guided tour.

After more climbing on interesting, diagonal stepping pins, a wooden ladder placed on the ground as steps, and a crisp traverse over a corner, you reach the second bridge and here you can choose between the bridge and the second zip line, 50-meter long.

In August 2023, this second zip line had a Petzl pulley attached to the cable and a rope loop used to pull the pulley to the start. Instructions on how to use it are available on a panel next to the starting end of the zip line.

A few more climbing passages afterwards and you finish this refreshing ferrata.

Descent

From the exit you go up for about 15 minutes, on the trail marked with blue/white, in order to reach the Allmenalp cable car (1723 m) and the Allmen-Beizli hut, where you’ll see refreshments in cold water right on the terrace, at least in hot Summer days.

You can either take the cable car down to the valley or add approximately 1.5 hours via Ryharts and Schneitböde to hike back down to Kandersteg.

On the hike down you will go through a few areas with ripe blackberries and raspberries, depending on the time of the year, and this might slow you down :).

Good to know

Photo with an overview of the two variants:

The via ferrata is typically open from the end of May to the end of October, coinciding with the operating months of the Allmenalp cable car.

To refuel after the climb, visit the Allmen-Beizli hut, where you can enjoy locally produced Swiss alpine cheese, snacks, and basic meals while taking in the panoramic view of snow capped mountains.

There’s a paragliding take-off spot a bit further up from the hut.

Via ferrata equipment can be rented from the sports shops in Kandersteg or directly at the Allmenalpbahn valley station.

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