The Jungfraujoch or “Top of Europe“…
is a train station at 3454 meters, the highest in Europe. The line starts in either Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald with a scenic ride through the forest before rising above the trees to jaw dropping views of the region’s three iconic peaks; the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
At Kleine Scheidegg, famous for being the viewing platform for the Eiger Nordwand, you switch trains for the Jungfraujoch itself.
Shortly after leaving Kleine Scheidegg, the real fun begins. The train literally enters the Eiger and climbs at what seems an impossible angle. Inside the Eiger, the train will stop twice for people to get off and peer out the famous “windows” that open out from the Nordwand itself. The second stop is on the southeast side of the Eiger with stunning glacier views.
The Jungfraujoch Station…
is a unique combination of tourist attraction and alpine access. It’s well worth taking a tour of the station and especially a visit to the viewing platform. But for mountain sport people, you’re likely to be here for the start of a tour, at the head of the Aletschgletscher, the Alp’s largest glacier.
Once outside, the Mönchsjoch Hut is a 45 minute walk, during which you’ll pass the start of both the West Ridge, and the Regular Route (East Ridge, PD) of the Mönch, one of the Alps most popular climbs.
Ski tourers will launch down one of two glaciers, the Ewigschneefeld, or Aletsch, while summer groups begin guided glacier exploration walks.
In summary, the Jungfraujoch is a place to see, year round, whether it be a rest day activity, or the start of some big mountain fun. But remember, the glaciers are serious business with horrifyingly large crevasses. Either be very, very familiar with glacier travel, or go with a guide.
The Jungfraujoch is at the head of the largest glacier in the Alps, the Aletschgletscher (gletscher is glacier). Stretching 23 kilometers south, the glacier has recorded depths to an astounding 1000 meters, and is the largest glaciated area in western Eurasia. In 2001, the region was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On a clear day from the Jungfraujoch it is possible to see down the length of much of the glacier before it turns slightly west just beyond the Konkordiaplatz, a massive flat area where four glaciers merge into one.
It is possible to book multi-day hiking tours on the glacier with mountain guides during which you will stay in a Swiss Alpine Club Hut, the Konkordia Hut.