Steep wall, mystical atmosphere
During my last visit to the dapper mountain village of Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland, Beni Fahner, alpine guide and owner of the sports shop "Pollux Sport", told me about this long and beautifully situated via ferrata. He raved about its variety by listing some spectacular passages and I knew straight away it would be worth it - and it was!
The famous first via ferrata of Switzerland
In 1993, for the 100th anniversary of the Haslital Alpine Guide Association, the Tälli via ferrata was built and opened as the first via ferrata in Switzerland. It leads through the Gadmerflue, a gallery of rock walls above Gadmen by the Sustenpass. With its 600 metres it is one of the longest and most spectacular via ferratas - you have to count approx. 7 hours for the whole tour. This via ferrata is for experienced alpine hikers and climbers free from giddiness. Alternatively, do this tour togehter with an alpine guide.
On our journey there, we visited Beni in his sports shop. There you can do some last-minute equipment shopping or hire some and you can gather some additional information on the conditions. This is very important as the steep descent on the north side should be mostly free of snow. Furthermore, there must, by no means, be a tendency to thunderstorms as via ferratas are secured with wire cables.
Starting from the parking lot "Lägerrein" we gladly took the little cable car for the first 600 metres in altitude. Right next to the top station lies the idyllic Tälli hut/alpine house where we spent the night. Seraina and Sabrina are the friendly hosts of the hut and you can also hire climbing equipment from them. In the evening we enjoyed the view with rearing clouds. According to the weather forecast I assumed that it would be cloudy the next day and it might also rain. But I ruled out thunderstorms.
After a filling breakfast we ascended the wall through thick mist for 1.5 hours - the path was marked out perfectly. When we had reached the safety wire cables, we started to get our equipment out - climbing harness, climbing equipment for the via ferrata and helmets - and we started to secure ourselves. In the beginning, the ascent on the south side consisted of crossways and steeper parts. The crux lead via a set out rocky promontory and is thanks to its exposure very impressive. The weather kept changing between clouds and brightness but it did not rain. When we looked down, we realised that we were apparently the only ones who decided to take this route that day. The imposing cloudscape created a mystical atmosphere. The first ladders were not a problem for us - we took the chance to boost ourselves with chocolate and some water and also enjoyed the wonderful panorama view. As we were well aware of the remaining length of our tour, we soon continued our ascent on the wall and climbed via a ridge underneath the summit up towards the Gadmerflue. A fantastic scene: All around us different summits where the fog kept rising upwards and a breath-taking cloudscape. When we arrived at the summit cross, the clouds finally closed in and we hurried to get back down on the north side. The path downwards was very steep. Due to some remaining snow fields and dense fog the tracks are not easy to find in the snow. Back at the fork, this time on the northern side, the path lead us via a further ascent to the so-called Sätteli. And then back to the hut.
The photographer and I agree: A "highly" interesting via ferrata in the fantastic Grimsel region.
- multi-layered weather protection wear, sun glasses, sun screen
- climbing harness with climbing equipment
- hiking boots with good grip
- climbing helmet
- provisions and at least 1 litre to drink per person
- First-Aid Kit, mobile for emergency
- slim 30-litre backpack (Tatonka's Arkon EXP is perfect)
- telescopic sticks for the descent
Tälli via ferrata: first equipped via ferrata in Switzerland
Region: Bernise Oberland, Switzerland
Summit: Gadmerflue 2540 m a.s.l.
Altitude difference: 1,200 m (via ferrata 480 m)
Difficulty: T5 (medium), but rather exposed at times
Time needed: overall, including descent: approx. 7 hours
Starting point: Gadmen, starting Sustenpass. Parking lot: Lägerrain
Text: Michi Bösiger
Photos: © Caroline Micaela Hauger, OLYMPUS Ambassador