THE MURREN TO GIMMELWALD VIA FERRATA
The Via Ferrata from Murren to Gimmelwald is one of the most epic adventures in Switzerland. Traverse ladders and steps on the edge of a cliff overlooking Lauterbrunnen, but don’t worry you are strapped in with a harness!
WHAT IS A VIA FERRATA
For those who don’t know what a Via Ferrata is, it’s basically a series of ladders, steps, and rock climbing that leads you up a wall. You are wearing a harness and clip into a strong wire at the start of the Via Ferrata. From that point, you are always clipped in with at least one clip. Ever 10 steps or so, you reach a new section of wire and you unclip one Caribiner clip from the old section and attach it to the new section. Once it is firmly secured, you unclip the second clip from the old section and also add it to the new section so you now have two Carabiner clips in the new section and you move another ten steps. I created a little vlog-style video and posted it below so you can understand what that explanation actually looks like visually.
You can actually buy your own Via Ferrata gear for pretty cheap on sites like Amazon and then you don’t need to rent it at each Via Ferrata course. They usually cost about $20-40 USD to rent per day and can be bought for about $200 for a full kit such as this Petzl Via Ferrata Kit.
HOW TO GET TO THE MURREN VIA FERRATA
The via ferrata is located in Murren, which is a car-free town. The best way to get there is by the cable car. Depending on where you are coming from the route will be slightly different. I came from Interlaken and the entire journey took about 1.5 hours.
- From Interlaken, you will need to catch the train Lauterbrunnen
- Once in Lauterbrunnen take the Grutschalp cable car, which is right next to the train station. This will take you all the way up to Grutschalp station where you can switch onto the historic, Murren Railway.
- The Murren Railway is one of the most scenic rides in Switzerland with views of Eiger and the surrounding peaks along the journey.
- Once you arrive at the Murren Train Station turn left out of the station and walk for 10-minutes past Hotel Edelweiss and you will arrive at the sports chalet on your right and Intersport on your left for the hiring of the gear.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MURREN VIA FERRATA
Starting Point: The starting point for the Murren Via Ferrata is next to the Sportchalet in Murren, which is where you will find the clay tennis courts. It is also diretly across from Intersport, which is where you will likely hire your gear. You then follow the signs that say Klettersteig, as they lead you down a path through the town and then into a tunnel. The cable starts at the end of the tunnel.
Ending Point: The end of the Murren Via Ferrata is in Gimmelwald. It ends right at the Schilthornbahn station so you can either cable back down to Stechelberg or up to Murren to return your gear.
Length: The entire Murren Via Ferrata is 2.2km in length with several lengthy sections, which are pretty much just a hiking trail.
Duration: I did the trail in 1.5 hours but could imagine it would take others up to 3 hours especially if you are in a bigger group.
Difficulty: The Murren Via Ferrata is rated as a K3 difficulty, which is on a scale of K1- K6
Cost: Like all of the via ferratas in Switzerland it is free unless you need to hire your gear. The route itself is free to enter.
Guide: You don’t need a guide but if it is your first ever via ferrata I suggest you take one just to learn the basics. It’s a safe activity but can be very dangerous if you are making mistakes with your equipment set-up or panicking on the edge of the cliff.
WHERE TO RENT YOUR GEAR FOR THE MURREN VIA FERRATA
To do the Murren Via Ferrata you will need a helmet, harness, and carabiners. It is advised to wear shoes with good grip and many people opt for gloves. However, the only real requirement for gear is the helmet, harness, and carabiners. If you have all the gear you are good to go. If not, you can rent it for 25 USD at Intersport. I rented it from here and they were helpful and even offered to rent out Salomon hiking shoes if I wasn’t comfortable in my trail shoes. After the via ferrata you need to return your gear to the Murren Store OR if you pay 5 USD extra you can leave it at the end of the track at the Gimmelwald store.
MY MURREN VIA FERRATA VLOG
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE MURREN VIA FERRATA
I began my day in Interlaken and took the train to Lauterbrunnen, transferred to the Grutchsalp cable car and then finally rode the train to Murren from Grutschalp. I think my transit to Murren might have been equal to the time I was on the via ferrata!
After walking my way down to Intersport, I hired my helmet and harness for $25 USD and the lady pointed me across the road to the sports chalet. I followed the Klettersteig signs for a couple of turns before I arrived at a small tunnel, which was more or less the starting point of the Murren Via Ferrata.
Once on the other side of the tunnel, the cable was there on the left and it was time to clip in with the carabiners. The via ferrata started off with a very low difficulty, likely for guides and instructors to use the first 100m as a warm-up for beginners. However, there were many parts where the via ferrata was less dangerous than most hikes I’ve been on in Switzerland. During those parts, it is a little tiring clipping in and clipping out every few steps when you are just walking on a flat path. Nevertheless, there were some epic moments also.
After about 15-minutes we began to pass alongside some cool caves and other rock formations before finally, we had reached some exposure. The highlight of the Via Ferrata is surely the cliff-edge traverse over Lauterbrunnen early on in the trail. Here you are hanging fully over the edge, inching your way along on small metal rungs. It’s a fear-factor moment and was definitely an epic little section as you toe your way across while hundred meters above the valley.
The next section was a cable tight-rope above a waterfall. You did have two cables to hold onto but you needed to balance yourself on the single cable as you walked your way across the waterfall. You can check that one out in the vlog I posted below. I’d never seen this type of via ferrata at the others I had tried so it was cool to see a new style of cable introduced in this one.
The trail now headed into the forest for a while and I actually unclipped for a bit as it was truly just a hike. However, the drop-off is still there and still big so stay clipped in would be my advice. Next up were some vertical ladders. These were actually quite physically demanding, especially doing them with one hand as I filmed the whole thing! Again, you have views down into Lauterbrunnen while on these ladders and they are a great photo spot. Many of these photos are simply screenshots from the GoPro video I recorded.
After the ladders, we again dove into the forest for more easy trail navigating before finding one more little cable tight-rope over a waterfall. There were quite a few waterfalls on this trail, which was really nice and the whole landscape was just incredible. Waterfalls, cliff-edges, views of Lauterbrunnen. What more can you ask for?
The final part of the course is quite spectacular. It is the suspension bridge. I initially thought this would be quite simple and was even planning to run across but of course, the sections are only a few meters at a time and it is very wobbly. This will be quite a scary part if you are afraid of heights because the bridge is shaking a lot! Because you hook in every 10 steps, it is very safe and you can enjoy the danger from the comfort of your harness.