Photo: Alongside the Aletsch Glacier close to the ridge over to Bettmeralp.
Starting at one of the best viewpoints in the country and then walking alongside the mightly Aletsch Glacier.
I have done this a number of times, usually using Fiesch as a base in the region.
Route: Eggishorn – Märjelensee – Bettmeralp.
Length: 14.5 km, + 500m, -1540m. Estimated time 5 hours.
Date: Various. I have done this in July and August. The photos were taken from early July to early August.
Season: July-September. Possibly June or October depending on snow.
Arrival/Departure: Train to Fiesch, gondola to Fiescheralp, then cable car to Eggishorn. Cable car down from Bettmeralp to rejoin the train line at Betten.
Supplies: Restaurant at Eggishorn and Märjelensee, then nothing until Bettmeralp which has shops and restaurants.
Alternate routes/shortcuts: From Märjelensee you can return to Fiescheralp via the tunnel if the weather turns or you run out of energy. The footpath along the Bettmergrat going directly from Eggishorn to Bettmeralp is meant to be amazing. An easier option would be walking along the ridge between the Bettmerhorn and Hohfluh cable car stations, this would have great views still but you won’t get as close to the glacier.
Exposure/Hazards: The initial descent from Eggishorn is quite steep and might need to pass a snowfield even into July. There is almost no shade along the route so protect yourself from the sun.
Notes along the route
If you have a bit of time and go early in the morning then there is a Marmot colony just next to Fiescheralp.
Stepping out of the cable car station at the top to see the glacier stretching out before you is a stunning sight. It is worth the detour to climb the last few meters up to Eggishorn itself. You get a fantastic view of the glacier, and of a vast range of peaks all around you. It isn’t far but it is a little bit of a climb, and having just come up almost 2000m from Fiesch you might find the air a bit thin at first.
Doubling back to the cable car station a foothpath leads down behind the cafe. It is a bit steep at first and might be a bit tricky if you do this early in the season when there is still snow. Likewise the little valley it takes you down to often has snow until late into July.
The Märjelensee isn’t very interesting as far as lakes go, but the neighbouring Gletscher Stube does a very good cake (it can be very busy so you might find it hard to grab a spot).
The path towards Bettmeralp then runs alongside the glacier giving you plenty of time to take it in.
Watching sheep grazing above the glacier is a surreal sight.
Eventually the path climbs up to the ridge and you descend down to Bettmeralp via the Bettmersee (where you can take a VERY refreshing dip). Then it is simply a case of walking down through the village to the cable car which runs to the train station below.