HIKING TO GLECKSTEIN HUT AND CHRINNENHORN PEAK
Gleckstein Hut (Glecksteinhutte) sits above Grindelwald with incredible views down into the valley, while dramatic glaciers loom behind in the mountains. It’s an incredible place to stay the night and enjoy the sunrise and sunset. A few hundred meters above the Gleckstein Hut is the Chrinnerhorn summit, a peak accessible without mountaineering experience but with epic views down towards Gleckstein Hut and over Grindelwald.
I created a pretty cool drone video during sunset from Gleckstein Hut, which you can find in the Chrinnenhorn Hike section below.
GLECKSTEIN HUT HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The distance from Hotel Wetterhorn to Gleckstein Hut is just over 5km one way.
Hike Duration: The suggest duration is 3 hours and 50 minutes according to the sign but I went up in 1 hour and 34 minutes and came down the next day in 58 minutes.
Hike Difficulty: The path is a red and white trail rating but has a few exposed areas. There is cable wherever the trail is exposed. 1,100m of incline will challenge many but there were quite a few older hikers making it up the hut so a slow and steady approach will mean most are capable.
Hike Incline: Starting point at Hotel Wetterhorn: 1,275m – Gleckstein Hut: 2,288
HOW TO GET TO GLECKSTEIN HUT
The starting point for the Gleckstein Hut is at the Hotel Wetterhorn. To reach Hotel Wetterhorn you will catch a bus from Grindelwald Grund. At the Hotel Wetterhorn, you can fill your drink bottle, go to the bathroom and then check out the signpost to head off in the right direction. Gleckstein hut is on the signpost and is signed the whole way. Once you are at Hotel Wetterhorn you are set!
I’ve attached my GPX map below, which you can download here for use on your Garmin, smartwatch or another app.
HOW TO BOOK A NIGHT AT GLECKSTEIN HUT
In order to book a night (or more) at Gleckstein Hut you will need to send an email, make a phone call or fill out the form on their website. They are not on other booking platforms, this is how the hut is booked.
To email Gleckstein Hut you can contact them here: firstname.lastname@example.org
To visit the website to make a booking you can do so here: www.gleckstein.ch
To make a booking via phone you can do so with this number: +41 (0) 33 853 11 40
WHAT IS INCLUDED WHEN YOU STAY AT GLECKSTEIN HUT
The way mountain huts generally work is that you reserve a bed and also your half-board is included, which means you get a great dinner and breakfast service. Depending on the hut you can also get tea and drinking water but some do charge for this pending availability. You can choose to stay overnight without half-board but understand that there is no ‘cafe’ around the corner. I think the only reason you would choose not to have half-board is if you arrived very late and left very early missing dinner and breakfast.
The price of one night at Gleckstein Hut with half-board (two meals) is: $85
If you are a Swiss Alpine Club member (SAC) your price will be: $70
Overnight stay without half board is: $45
WHEN TO VISIT GLECKSTEIN HUT
Gleckstein Hut is open throughout the summer period for about 4 months. It opens in the middle of June and ends in late October. The exact opening and closing dates depend on the weather because the trail needs to be accessible and safe for the cabin to accept guests. I visited in late September and the hut was not busy and the weather was perfect, if you have the ability to choose a period, I would suggest this time as you will avoid a more crowded time, which would be July and August. However, a full hut of hikers is always a good atmosphere also!
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING TO GLECKSTEIN HUT
I began my day in Interlaken and caught the train to Grindelwald where I then walked 100m to the bus terminal and jumped on the bus. From the Grund station, it took about 15-minutes to reach the Wetterhorn Hotel, which is also the name of that specific bus stop. Here I found the signs and from that point on the signs were easy to follow.
The sign at the Hotel Wetterhorn said 3 hours and 50 minutes but I decided to have a bit of a workout on the way up and pushed relatively hard with my hiking poles and actually went up in 1 hour and 34 minutes of moving time.
The trail begins along the road before veering off into the grassy fields where small cottages and cabins are scattered on both sides of the trail.
You quickly leave behind Grindelwald and soon all that can be heard is the occasional bell from a cow in the fields. The trail is a quick climb from the get-go with almost 400m of climbing in the first 1.5km’s. The first real point of interest on the trail is at the turning point onto the side of the cliff. Here we had to cross the small heavily-packed ice, which had been manicured nicely into a trail.
The trail now becomes a lot rockier and much more interesting. While there is always a clear dirt path, there is a little bit of rock-hopping involved, which makes for a fun little wrap around the side of the mountain. Grindelwald is now long behind us and has become the star of the landscape with the town clearly visible below.
There are several spots of exposure along the trail although if walking carefully you should never be in danger. There are cables to help you keep close to the wall. The trail follows the red and white painted markers the entire way, which lead you towards the glacier.
With the canyon on your right-hand side throughout this part of the trail, it’s interesting to note that this canyon was once a glacier. It’s not empty, showing the effects of climate change and the reduction in the glaciers of the Alps.
The most interesting point along this part of the trail is when you are forced to scurry underneath a small waterfall. Be careful not to slip as you are exposed during this section although a cable helps you get through safely.
The final ascent takes you on several switchbacks up the hill until you will emerge at the Gleckstein Hut after just over 5km’s. It was a great hike. Short, sharp and sweaty. I dropped my bags in the dormitory (pictured above), got changed and headed outside to enjoy the view from the outdoor seating area.
On one side we had the huge glacier that was pouring down into a waterfall. Every now and then, part of the glacier would collapse in a mini-avalanche. Behind us was the Wetterhorn and the Chrinnenhorn among other peaks. I would hike the small journey to the Chrinnenhorn the following morning. Other experienced mountaineers were in the cabin preparing for their morning summit of the Wetterhorn.
The family cat was entertaining but despite it’s best efforts it would not be the star of the show. Three Ibex (Steinbock) showed up at the door where the owner, Rosemary, often lays out some salt for them to lick. It was incredible to see these beautiful animals up close although they definitely weren’t tame and retreated if anyone ventured too near.
After the Ibex show, it was time for a lovely three-course prepared by Rosemary. All of the food and supplies come up by helicopter, which makes it so incredible when the host is able to put on such a wholesome and tasty meal. Satisfied from the dinner, I ventured outside to watch the sunset. The rays were searing through the peaks in the distance, spreading light across Grindelwald Town. Before too long, the whole sky was red in what was one of my favorite Swiss sunsets of all time. Even the peaks behind us gathered some pastel glow amongst the clouds.
After dinner, it was off to bed. I found the bunks comfortable and had a great nights sleep. Apparently, some people struggle to sleep at altitude in the huts but I haven’t experienced that during any of my hut experiences so far.
HIKING TO CHRINNERHORN PEAK FROM GLECKSTEIN HUT
I woke early and begun the hike up to Chrinnenhorn. I suggest heading up here for sunrise as it’s only 300m of incline and took me about 40-minutes to reach the top. You have incredible views back down towards Gleckstein Hut and as you get higher and higher, more peaks come into sight. These are some of my favorite shots from the sunrise and a video I made while flying the drone.
I took the following three photos with my DSLR from the summit of Chrinnenhorn. The pastel lighting had finished and I had made the most of that while flying the drone but it was still great from Chrinnenhorn after the best lighting. Cloud cover was filling the valley, which made it extra special.
That was the end of the journey and I hiked back down to Gleckstein Hut, packed my bag and headed back to to Hotel Wetterhorn the same way I had come up. It took me 20 minutes to reach Gleckstein Hut from Chrinnenhorn Summit and then 58 minutes (with a bit of running) down to Hotel Wetterhorn from Gleckstein Hut.