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.
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