Waldhaus - Balmhornhutte - WaldhausWalk 8022
Canton - Bern / Berne - Kandertal
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 10.0 km / 6.3 miles
Ascent - 600 metres / 1980 feet
Descent - 600 metres / 1980 feet
Time - 4.75 hours
Grade - moderate
This is a challenging route with steep ascents, fixed cables, short ladders and other obstacles to overcome. There is also a section where you cross beneath the ice cliffs of the Balmhorn Glacier with risk of ice-falls. It is also worth noting the hut does not have a full time guardian except at weekends so do make appropriate arrangements for food and drinks.
Start & End - An infrequent bus service runs from Kandersteg railway station to Selden in Gasterntal. At busy times of the year reservations are required to obtain a seat. Alight at the stop for the Waldhaus, which is located a few hundred metres upstream from the southern end of the Klus (Chluse) gorge. See Transport Map for the Kandertal Region.
After alighting from the bus, cross the river and take the clear track to the Waldhaus. This small guesthouse also provides food and refreshments. Continue along the signed track to Selden and the Balmhornhütte following the river upstream.
Approximately one kilometre from the Waldhaus, turn right at the beautiful wooden sign to follow a narrow path that heads through shrubs and trees towards the foot of the steep crags on the southern side of the valley. Before going any further it is worth spending a few minutes trying to decide how the path is going to find a suitable route through the cliffs to reach the hut, which is located high beneath the prominent 'nose' clearly in view ahead. The chances are that you are unable to solve this mystery, so continue ahead and start the ascent.
Almost immediately you are confronted with rough ladders and some cable protection as the path wends its way upwards. This scenario is typical for much of the ascent as obstacles are confronted and overcome in an ingenious manner. If you do not have a head for heights then this walk is probably not a good choice as there are sections where there is a degree of exposure although the majority of these situations do have some protection.
Eventually the path levels out and you enter a cirque. The Balmhornhütte can be seen ahead with the Balmhorn Glacier above to your right. There are warning signs of potential danger and you are advised to make quick progress over the next section before reaching the safety of the hut. The return follows the outward route although careful timekeeping is necessary to connect with the buses back to Kandersteg.
Landeskarte der Schweiz - 1:50000 - Sheet SW 5004 - Berner Oberland
Landeskarte der Schweiz - 1:50000 - Sheet SW5009 - Gstaad - Adelboden
Kandersteg Wanderkarte - 1:25000
Trekking in the Silvretta and Rätikon Alps
This guide describes three treks, between 5 and 8 days, in the Silvretta and Rätikon Alps starting near Klosters, and 12 half-day hut-to-hut routes. These contrasting ranges form a line on the borders of Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein. The Tour of the Silvretta, the Prättigauer Höhenweg and the Rätikon Höhenweg.
The Swiss Alps
A comprehensive guidebook to every mountain area in the Swiss Alps. This handy resource includes information for walking, hiking, trekking, climbing and ski mountaineering. Access, accommodation and facilities in the valley bases and full information about Swiss mountain huts is included to help you make the most out of a trip there.
Do enjoy yourself when out walking and choose a route that is within your capabilities especially with regard to navigation.
Do turn back if the weather deteriorates especially in winter or when visibility is poor.
Do wear the right clothing for the anticipated weather conditions. If the weather is likely to change for the worse make sure you have enough extra clothing in your pack.
Do tell someone where you are planning to walk especially in areas that see few other walkers.
Do take maps and other navigational aids. Do not rely on mobile devices in areas where reception is poor. Take spare batteries especially in cold weather.
Do check the weather forecast before leaving.
Do do not exceed your capabilities.
Please Note - These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that Walking Sitzerland is not held responsible for the safety or well being of those following the routes as described. It is worth reiterating the point that you should embark on a walk with the correct maps at the most detailed scale where possible. This will enable any difficulties with route finding to be assessed, and corrective action taken if necessary.