Super Alpine

Susten pass

The most modern Swiss pass, the Susten was built for the age of tourism

The Wassen end of the Susten pass
The Innertkirchen end of the Susten pass
Road at the summit of the Susten pass
Susten pass sign at the summit
A tunnel on the Susten pass
Glacial lake on the Susten pass
The road on the descent of Susten pass

The Susten pass is one of only few mountain passes developed after World War II. The pre-war plan was to develop a tourist itinerary for carriages bringing people to the mountains but the arrival of WWII slowed that development. By the time work started again those carriages had become cars. The pass opened in 1946 and runs from Innertkirchen to Wassen with its modern development evident in the many short tunnels where the mountains overrun the road.

Starting from the village of Innertkirchen, the road is long and sweeping with only a few tight bends. Climbing through valleys and pastures you pass through the occasional hamlet or ski lift. The view ahead is always impressive. As you climb and climb, the Sustenhorn and Stein Glaciers slowly get closer and more imposing. As you near the top, the Stein Glacier appears sitting below the Sustenhorn, its melted remains are visible in the lake at Steinsee. In 1992 six people were killed by an explosion inside the Stein Glacier's underground military store of armaments. The explosion registered 3.7 on the Richter scale and caused part of the mountain to collapse. Large pieces of the facility were found over 600 metres away from their original location.

At the summit is a large car park, a small lake and a hostel. A small road leads you even higher to another hostel. The views back down are worth the climb. The Susten is blessed with sweeping panoramas throughout its length and even at 45 kilometres long, it is a fantastic drive.

From the summit, a tunnel delivers you to the next valley and the descent to Wassen begins. The views on this side are just as good and looking down the hairpins, a bridge and open pastures make for a bucolic vista. The Susten pass is a modern road with flowing bends, a good road surface and a well-marked carriageway, making it an easy but rewarding drive. The road continues down through some small hamlets before a final few bends into Wassen.


Map of the Susten pass

Susten pass figures

Location Bern/Uri,Switzerland
Distance 45 kilometres
Altitude 2224 metres
Start Innertkirchen 625 metres
End Wassen 930 metres
Opens June to mid-October