When people ask me “When is the best time for the Matterhorn?” I always answer…
Tim Robertson and his partner Monika Bischof have launched “Alpine Dreams”, offering a comprehensive alpine guiding service for the Bernese Oberland from their base in Interlaken, Switzerland. Tim is a highly qualified mountain and ski guide, while Monika is a skilled rock climber, hiker and professional florist.
Their goal is to help you share their wonderful alpine environment, to live your alpine dreams. If your goal is climbing the Matterhorn, Tim is IFMGA qualified, a Bernese Oberland guide with good local knowledge but is a native English speaker with a kiwi accent. Both are excellent skiers and Tim has the formal training to ensure your off-piste skiing – freeride or ski touring – is done wit h safety. If rock climbing in Interlaken is what you are looking for, they are just as keen as you and know the best spots. The same applies to hiking tours: let them show you their favourite places (or that alpine flower you have been dying to see in its natural surroundings).
Climbing the Moench
The Moench is a very popular climb, with an incredible drop off the North face. It can be climbed in a day from Interlaken and yet offers extreme exposure. At 4100m on a steep, narrow and exposed arête, it’s quite a challenge for the climber’s composure. Climbing the Moench is possible for much of the summer. It has been climbed in most conditions.
If you are not from Europe, it’s very unusual to be able to do a 4000m peak in a day, on a climb that is not simply hiking up snow. It has a good mixture.
A Moench ascent can be combined really well with a two-day trip including the Jungfrau. Climbers do need to be acclimatised or they will feel the altitude.
Climbing the Matterhorn
Climbing the Matterhorn, one of the world’s most recognisable peaks, is a goal for many climbers. The climbing is steep, complex and constant. You’re constantly having to climb rather than walk, using your hands and feet the whole time, having to be really careful about where you place them. Then you have to reverse that the whole way down. It’s quite a summit day: 1200 meters, 90% of which is climbing or scrambling.
It often takes people longer to climb down from the summit than it does to climb the Matterhorn. It can be a challenge to get up and down before mid-afternoon when the thunderstorms start to become active.
Climbing the Eiger
The Eiger is the most famous peak in the Alps after the Matterhorn. Because its limestone, the character of the climbing is quite different. Climbing the Eiger is difficult, so it gets a lot less traffic than the Matterhorn. The exposure traversing above the North face of the Eiger is extreme.
Other ascents in the Bernese Oberland or Valais
For those who want to get deeper into the mountain wilderness, the more remote Bernese Oberland offers many possibilities for climbing a number of 4000ers. Possible summits include the Finstaarhorn, Fiescherhorn, Grosses Grünhorn, but there are many others.
The Valais has some fantastic easy to moderate summits. The easiest 4000er’s, the Breithorn , Alphubel, Allanlinhorn and Lagginhorn, are located in the region as well the more involved Weismiss Traverse, Monta Rosa, Nadelhorn, Castor and Pollux summits. The area is great for link ups or getting more mileage in the high mountains.
The Matterhorn, Dofourspitze, Dom, Zinal Rothorn, Dent Blanche and Weishorn also tower above the Valais. All these summits are serious challenges, with their own character. Expect long days, covering lots of exposed ground and in many cases technical alpine climbing. Each requires different conditions and has its own climbing challenges
Ski touring with a Bernese Oberland Guide
The Bernese Oberland offers many options for ski touring. You can travel light by using the amazing Swiss Alpine Hut system where you can even enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner. After a cosy night in the hut you get the advantage the next morning of starting higher to ski off something. Travelling further into the mountains we can explore more terrain, skiing off peaks, down big glaciers and getting away from it all in the wonderful mountain landscapes.
Typical venues for ski touring would be Sustenhorn, Rosenhorn, Wildstrubel, Gauli Glacier, Aletsch Glacier, Louitor, Lötschenlücke, to name just a few.
If time is limited, a day’s freeride can be magic when the snow is right. Ski yourself to a standstill with an experienced guide to ensure your safety and maximise your runs.
For serious back country skiers, a Haute Route ski tour is high on the list of ‘must do’ trips. Most of it is in Switzerland and, when the huts are open, you can have someone else cook your food. With a guide to look after route finding and safety, you can concentrate on the skiing.
Rock climbing in the Bernese Oberland
Whether you simply wish to try rock climbing for the first time, or test yourself on world-class climbing areas around Interlaken, Neuhaus, Wilderswil and Lehn, Alpine Dreams can help you explore the vertical world with safety. Whether it’s basic skills or great technical walls, rock climbing in Interlaken is full of routes for all levels.
Hiking in the Bernese Oberland
Want to go hiking in the Swiss Alps? The cantons of Bern and Valais contain some of Switzerland’s most spectacular scenery and beauty. Monika would love to show you her favourite spots. There is a variety of tracks and paths to suit your level of fitness, with alpine chalets for rest and food.
Alpine flowers in their natural environment:
Some of Switzerland’s most beautiful flowers are found high up in the mountains. Famous blooms such as the edelweiss, a symbol of Swiss courage and resistance. Imagine slopes covered with the vivid yellow Globe flower, or the breathtaking Alpine Columbine, viewed against a backdrop of snow-tipped peaks.
Not only a highly skilled rock climber and experienced hiker, your guide is a professional florist and teacher. Who better to show you the wonderful Swiss alpine flora?