Disclaimer

Hiking or climbing on routes in alpine terrain requires good physical health, meticulous preparation and technical skills in mountain sports. The routes presented here are undertaken at one’s own risk. If you want to safely practice mountain sports, taking training courses run by experts is highly recommended by the SAC. All the contents of the SAC Route Portal are put together with utmost diligence. However, the Swiss Alpine Club and the authors cannot guarantee that the information provided here is up-do-date, correct and complete. Therefore, the SAC and the authors cannot be held liable for possible errors.

From the Grimselhospiz (Normal route) Aarbiwak SAC 2731 m

  • Difficulty
    T5
  • Ascent
    7–8 h, 1000 m
  • Descent
    230 m

The long route to the Aarbiwak

The Aarbiwak is a secluded and comfortable high mountain hut in the middle of a wide glacial bowl at the foot of the Finsteraarhorn Ostwand. The first bivouac was swept away by a storm in winter 1974/1975. but it was rebuilt in 1977. It is owned by the SAC section Pilatus, sleeps up to 17 and has basic cooking facilities like pots and pans - cookers and gas cartridges you will need to take with you! It also has REGA radio for distress calls. The hut path is one of the longest in the Bernese Alps and leads from the Grimsel Hospiz over three glaciers: the Unteraar and Finsteraar glaciers and the Strahleggfirn. The Aarbiwak is the starting point for demanding alpine ascents of the Lauteraarhorn, Finsteraarhorn or Studerhorn, for a crossing of the Strahleggpass to the (partly marked), the Finsteraarjoch and the Agassizjoch.

Route description

Grimsel Hospiz 1980 m to the tongue of the Unteraargletschers ca. 1980 m

From the Postauto/ bus stop at the Grimselhospiz take the steps down onto the dam. Cross this, climb back up and pass through a tunnel. Now trace the north side of the reservoir towards the valley at the northeastern end of the reservoir; 1 to 1 ½ hours. Cross the glacier forefield onto the scree-covered Unteraar glacier ca. 1980 m.

From the tongue of the Unteraargletschers ca. 1980m to Aarbiwak 2733m

The path from the glacier's tongue over the Unteraar glacier changes from year to year. In the best case, you can climb directly over the tongue of the Unteraar Glacier. But this has not been easy in recent years (as of 2017). In fact, it has been better to start up the path to the Lauteraarhütte (well marked) to bypass the lowest part of the Unteraar Glacier on the right (north). Once the large central moraine is reached, follow this along the glacier's northern shore. At the broad glacial junction continue in a south-westerly direction onto the Finsteraarglatscher (from about 2500m you may find markings). At the confluence of the Strahlegg glacier turn to the right (northwest) and walk 500 m before leaving the glacier at around 2700 m (crevasses). Now climb moraine scree and granite slabs (cables and iron stakes) directly up to the bivouac

Additional information

Departure point

Grimsel Hospiz (1980 m)

Author

Marco Bomio

Marco Bomio worked as a teacher in Grindelwald for over 30 years before turning his part-time job as a mountain guide into his main job. In the Grindelwald Section of the SAC he was first the JO boss and later the president. He has headed the Grindelwald Museum for 10 years.

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