Last summer, Janine and I posted a story about our experience on the Hardergrat (aka Brienzergrat). In German, a “grat” is a ridge, while Harder is just a name. However, in this case it is appropriate – it is indeed a hard ridge. It is also one of the best experiences I have ever had in the mountains.
The blog about our day was a huge success while the images we made were picked up by several magazines throughout the US and Europe as a Destination Feature. Since then, I have been contacted about 100 times by people who either did it because of our report, or were about to.
This summer, we once again found ourselves headed out our door at 3 a.m. to start the Hardergrat. This time we were with two great friends, Brendan Leonard of Semi-Rad fame and Hilary Oliver, of The Gription.
Why post about the Hardergrat again? This year the weather made for an interesting comparison of photos and how we document a day in such an amazing place. Last summer, Janine and I had nothing but blue sky and could see huge distances. This year we were mostly engulfed in clouds, yet our highpoints were like small islands in a sea of clouds. Brendan and Hilary never really had the experience of seeing the full length of the ridge line, one of the single most impressive parts of the trail. But, this years ever present clouds made for added drama and mystery.
The trail literally rises from the town of Interlaken, at the Harderkulm Station. It ascends 1700 meters to the Augstmatthorn where it finally levels off, only to go up and down for the rest of the day, until the Brienzer Rothorn.
Total Distance : 27km | Total Gain : 3100 meters
Hints : Be sure to make the last train down at the Brienzer Rothorn station on the other end or you’ll be descending 1700 meters. There is no water anywhere on the trail, carry enough. Do not do the trail if it is wet. The trail is, in many places, a narrow path with enormous drops on both sides, people have fallen off and been killed. Anyone attempting the trail should be very accustomed to heights and comfortable in this terrain. It is a serious trail. At least one hiking pole is recommended. Escape from the trail is possible in only a few places and include big descents to either the north or south.
For more complete information, visit our ALPSinsight running and hiking the Hardergrat page.
A 3 a.m. start insures a lot of headlamp time.