Jungfraujoch


Click for larger image

The Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site, established in 2001, comprises 318 sq mi (82,388 ha) of the High Alps, including the most glaciated part of the mountain range and the largest glacier in Eurasia. The dramatic scenery, centered on the mountains Jungfrau (13,642 ft; 4,158 m), Monch (13,480 ft; 4,110 m) and Eiger (13,024 ft; 3,967 m), has influenced European art, literature, mountaineering and alpine tourism for well over a century.

Between Jungfrau and Monch is the plateau Jungfraujoch, containing a tourist building with viewing platforms, restaurants and exhibits. The complex bills itself as the “Top of Europe,” even though the Matterhorn viewing platform actually is higher. But Jungfraujoch is reached through the highest railway in Europe, the Jungfraubahn, and the highest railway station on the continent. Also at Junghraujoch is the dramatic Sphinx Observatory, pictured above. Established in 1937, it is one of the highest in the world at 11,716 ft (3,571 m) above sea level.

We reached Junghraujoch from Murren through a series of six connections: a train to Grutschalp, a cable car down to Lauterbrunnen, a train to Zweilutschinen, another train to Grindelwald, a gondola to Eigergletscher and finally a cog railway to Junghraujoch. We very much enjoyed the trips and the scenery along the way, particularly the new Eiger Express gondola to Eigergletscher.

And the scenery at Junghraujoch is absolutely amazing, with Jungfrau and Monch so close by and the Aletsch Glacier trailing away into the distance below us. At 14 miles (23 km) long, the Aletsch is the longest glacier in the Alps. We spent ages taking in the scenery from the various viewpoints, then made a fabulous 45-minute hike across the across Jungfraufirn Glacier, a tributary of the Alesch, to the Monchsjochhutte (Monchsjoch Hut) below the mountain Monch.

We returned to Murren through only four connections, taking the Jungfraubahn to end of the run at Kleine Scheidegg, and from there taking the scenic train to Lauterbrunnen, followed by the cable car to Grutschalp and the train to Murren. We had another excellent meal back in town, taking in the mountain views at every opportunity.

Below are highlights from June 29th, 2022. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a map with our most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

Click for larger image

220V
We’ve been using our travel kettle a lot since purchasing it for our road trip across the US. The kettle can operate on either 110V or 220V, but we’ve never used it outside the US until this morning in Murren because our first few Swiss hotels provided in-room coffee makers. It worked perfectly on 220V and we’re glad to have brought it along.
Click for larger image
Cargo Transport
Murren is not accessible by public road and most cargo arrives via one of the two cable car routes that serve the town. Here at the northern station Grutschalp, cargo is carried underneath the cable car. An application-specific forklift moves cargo directly from the cable car to the train and back.
Click for larger image
Cable Car
We’re taking the first train and cable car of the day from Murren down to Lauterbrunnen and only a few people are riding with us compared to yesterday afternoon’s crowds on the way up.
Click for larger image
Lauterbrunnen Valley
View to the Lauterbrunnen Valley from the cable car as we descend from Grutschalp.
Click for larger image
Lauterbrunnen Station
Approaching the bottom of the cable car run, with the covered tracks of Lauterbrunnen Station visible beyond.
Click for larger image
To Zweilutschinen
On board a train at Lauterbrunnen Station for our third leg of the day to Zweilutschinen, after taking a train from Murren to Grutschalp and a cable car down.
Click for larger image
To Grindelwald
On our fourth leg of the day, a train from Zweilutschinen to Grindelwald Terminal.
Click for larger image
Route to Jungfraujoch
From Grindelwald Terminal, we’ll be taking our fifth and sixth legs to reach our ultimate destination of Jungfraujoch plateau. The Eiger Express gondala will carry us from 3,093 ft (943 m) above sea level to Eigergletscher at 7,611-ft (2,320 m). Then we’ll take a train to reach Jungfraujoch at 11,332 ft (3,454 m). The plateau lies between 13,642 ft (4,158 m) Jungfrau and 13,480 ft (4,110 m) Monch.
Click for larger image
Gondola Cables
The Eiger Express is a new gondola cableway that opened in 2020. It uses a tri-cable system that allows for only 7 support towers over a distance of 4 miles (6.4 km). This display shows four of the cable types used. The diameter of the bottom cable is 2.2 inches (58 mm).
Click for larger image
Eiger Express
On board the Eiger Express, our fifth leg of the day, shortly after departing Grindelwald Terminal. We’re on the first run of the day and the car is about two-thirds full.
Click for larger image
Eiger North Face
The north face of 13,024 ft (3,967 m) Eiger viewed from the Eiger Express gondola. One of the biggest sheer faces in Europe, the north face of Eiger has long been a famous, and deadly, climbing destination. At least sixty-four climbers have died here since 1935.
Click for larger image
Silberhorn
A mountain peak burst into view soon after we passed the Eiger North Face. We believe this is 12,123 ft (3,695 m ) Silberhorn, a satellite peak of 13,642 ft (4,158 m) Jungfrau.
Click for larger image
Eigergletscher
Approaching modern Eigergletscher, the top station of the Eiger Express at altitude 7,611-ft (2,320 m).
Click for larger image
Jungfraubahn
On the Jungfraubahn, the highest railway in Europe, for our sixth and final leg before reaching Jungfraujoch. The narrow-gauge cog railway opened in 1912 and terminates at the highest railway station on the continent.
Click for larger image
Tunnel Viewpoint
The Jungfraubahn runs above the permanent snow line. To protect the railway from snow and extreme weather, the engineers built a tunnel through adjacent Eiger and Monch. Near the top, the train makes a brief stop at a viewing window cut into the tunnel for our first view to the Aletsch Glacier.
Click for larger image
Jungfraujoch
On the Sphinx observation terrace at Jungfraujoch in front of 13,480 ft (4,110 m) Monch. The scenery is absolutely amazing. At altitude 11,716 ft (3,571 m), it’s the second highest observation deck in Switzerland after the Matterhorn.
Click for larger image
Aletsch Glacier
View to the Aletsch Glacier from the Sphinx observation terrace at Jungfraujoch. The 14-miles (23 km) glacier is the longest in the Alps.
Click for larger image
Jungfrau-Aletsch
Jungfraujoch and the Aletcsh Glacier are part of the 318 sq mi (82,388 ha) Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also included in the site are the mountains 13,480 ft (4,110 m) Monch, partly visible at left, and 13,642 ft (4,158 m) Jungfrau at right.
Click for larger image
Ice Palace
The Ice Palace is one of several tourist attractions at Jungfraujoch. Everything including the floors is made of ice and the palace is full of ice sculptures, some quite elaborate. This sculpture depicts the outdoor concert the famous pianist Lang Lang gave at Jungfraujoch.
Click for larger image
Top of Europe
Jungfraujoch bills itself as the “Top of Europe” even though the Matterhorn viewing platform is higher. But we’ll play along :). Here Jennifer is standing on the plateau with 13,642 ft (4,158 m) Jungfrau behind.
Click for larger image
Jungfraujoch Buildings
Looking back from the plateau to the buildings at Jungfraujoch. A new building is under construction in the foreground, with the main visitor center and train station to the right. At top left is the Sphinx Observatory and observation terrace, where we took our first pictures at Jungfraujoch.
Click for larger image
Sphinx Observatory
The Sphinx Observatory, established in 1937, is one of the highest in the world at 11,716 ft (3,571 m) above sea level. We’ve visited a higher one: the Canada-France-Hawaii at 13,796 ft (4,205 m) atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The highest in the world is the University of Tokyo Atacama Observatory in Chile at 18,500 ft (5,640 m).
Click for larger image
Snack
Enjoying a snack with a view to Jungfrau from the Jungfraujoch visitor center. While we were there, a helicopter suddenly ascended into view, bringing supplies for a building under construction.
Click for larger image
Jungfraufirn
After exploring the visitor center, we set off on a 45-minute hike across Jungfraufirn glacier, a tributary of the Alesch Glacier, to the Monchsjochhutte (Monchsjoch Hut) below the mountain Monch. Here is the view back to Jungfraujoch from the trail (click image for a larger view). At left is 13,642 ft (4,158 m) Jungfrau and in the center is the Sphinx Observatory, atop the rocky crag of the same name. An elevator tunneled through the mountain connects the observatory with the station beneath (not visible behind the Sphinx). We’re among the first few hikers this morning, but a lot more are coming behind at bottom right.
Click for larger image
Sphinx Observation Deck
The Sphinx observation terrace, viewed from the trail to Monchsjochhutte. We were one the first few visitors of the day to arrive at Jungfraujoch this morning at 9:15am, and perhaps a dozen other people were there with us. An hour later, it’s getting pretty crowded on the terrace, and will keep getting busier until mid-afternoon. Jungfraujoch is a very popular destination.
Click for larger image
Crevasse
A deep crevasse just off the trail across the Jungfraufirn glacier to Monchsjochhutte.
Click for larger image
Climbers
Climbers ascending Monch just north of the trail to Monchsjochhutte.
Click for larger image
Jungfraufirn
The trail across Jungfraufirn is well-marked and well-trod, and easy to walk in just hiking boots. But the snow is quite deep just off the trail. This is the fabulous scenery looking back from near Monchsjochhutte. 13,642 ft (4,158 m) Jungfrau is at top right, and below it are visible the Sphinx and a few hikers (click image for a larger view).
Click for larger image
Monchsjochhutte
The Monchsjochhutte, owned by the Swiss Alpine Club, hung off a cliff on the edge of Monch at 12,001 ft, (3,658 m). The hut is used for ascents of Monch, Jungfrau, and other mountains in the area.
Click for larger image
Trugberg
Looking south to the 12,904 ft (3,933 m) mountain Trugberg. A group of explorers attempting to summit Jungfrau in 1841 initially thought this was their destination. After learning their error during the ascent, they named this mountain Trugberg, meaning Deceitful Mountain.
Click for larger image
Inside Monchsjochhutte
Enjoying a snack inside Monchsjochhutte with a view to Trugberg out the window. Our heart rates were surprisingly high given the hike was only 45 minutes and not very steep. The extreme altitude has a big impact.
Click for larger image
Hikers
Several groups of hikers sitting outside Monchsjochhutte as we left to return to Jungfraujoch.
Click for larger image
Jungfraujoch Station
Crowds lining the platform at Jungfraujoch Station around 1:15pm, waiting to descend.
Click for larger image
Kleine Scheidegg
Train arriving into Kleine Scheidegg as we approach from Jungfraujoch. Rather than get off at Eigergletsher and return on the Eiger Express gondola the way we came, we continued to the end of the line at Kleine Scheidegg and will take a scenic train ride from there back to Lauterbrunnen. This is our seventh leg of the day.
Click for larger image
Restaurant Eigernordwand
An enjoyable late lunch on the terrace at Restaurant Eigernordwand in Kleine Scheidegg before returning to Murren.
Click for larger image
Train from Kleine Scheidegg
On board the scenic train from Kleine Scheidegg to Lauterbrunnen. The platform at Kleine Scheidegg was super-crowded and we only barely got a seat together. This is our eighth leg of the day.
Click for larger image
Jungfrau Northern Wall
The fabulous view to the northern wall of Jungfrau as we descend from Kleine Scheidegg.
Click for larger image
Funicular
A section of the old funicular railway that ran from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp starting in 1891. The cable car we are riding replaced the funicular in 2006. This is our ninth leg of the day, and we have one more to go: the train from Grutschalp to Murren. We really enjoyed taking all the different modes of transport in the area.
Click for larger image
Hotel Eiger
Happy Hour on the terrace at our hotel, the Hotel Eiger, with its fabulous mountain view.
Click for larger image
Eiger Guesthouse
Another delicious dinner in Murren, this one at the Eiger Guesthouse near our hotel. The temperature was just warm enough to have our meal outside.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map. And a map of our most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


If your comment doesn't show up right away, send us email and we'll dredge it out of the spam filter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.