SUPER ALPINE
Grimsel Pass
Descent of the Grimsel pass
Valais/Bern

Grimsel Pass

The Grimsel was fought over for years and finally lost the battle to an unexpected victor - hydroelectricity


History

The pass is the only road crossing between the cantons of Valais and Bern and was used as far back as the 14th century. Often used by warring parties before Switzerland's cantons united, the pass's original route was diverted by the installation of the hydroelectric power stations and dams that give it a unique pylon-covered look. The original route and hostel were flooded in 1932 to create the first dam and hydroelectric plant.

Notes

From Gletsch it's a short steep climb to the summit with the lake Totensee - the Lake of the Dead, named after a battle between the cantons in the Napoleonic wars. On the descent are the dam and Grimselsee. The hostel sits on a peninsula with a single-carriageway cobblestone surface. A myriad of cables and pylons criss-cross the scenery creating an unusual landscape. The discovery of a large crack in the Spitallamm dam wall means that a new dam wall is being created. The new dam is scheduled to be completed by 2025.

Map
Statistics
Summit coordinates 46°33’43.2”N, 8°20’20.4”E
Summit Altitude 2165 metres
Distance 32 kilometres
Start Gletsch 1757 metres
End Innertkirchen 625 metres
Opens June to mid-October

If you enjoyed this story

The full story of the Grimsel pass is available in Issue 04 of the Super Alpine magazine.

Learn More

Swiss Passes