The Gleckstein Hut as seen coming around the last bend. Photo by c.van.walbeek
The Gleckstein Hut at 2317m is the starting point for the normal ascent route to the Bernese Oberland mountain Wetterhorn. Located at the lower south-west slope of Wetterhorn on a rock spur the hut overlooks the Oberer Grindelwald glacier. The walk up to the hut, offering nice views of the Eiger and the Schreckhorn group, is an exciting tour in itself.
The present modern hut from 1978 has 116 beds. In the winter season there are 32 beds available.
The hut (red point) can be spotted from Gindelwald. Photo by apenkalb
The year 1854 marked the beginning of the so-called "Golden Age" of mountaineering. In August that year the Englishman Alfred Wills with a party of five left Grindelwald to ascend the Wetterhorn. Later in the evening they camped up the mountain in the Gleckstein cave, then a rough bivouac site. Wills did not sleep well since he had to chase fleas in his blanket during the night. The next day they teamed up with the famous Gridelwald guide Christian Almer and his nephew whose intention it also was to make the first ascent of the Wetterhorn. They reached the summit together and celebrated the victory by putting up a fir tree. However, they mistakenly believed their ascent was the first since it was not well known that J. Haun and M. Banholzer had climbed the 3701 m high Wetterhorn already in 1844.
In 1870, sixteen years after Wills had slept in the cave, a real hut for 10 persons was erected at the location called Gleckstein (huge boulder). Winston Churchill slept in this hut 13 August 1894 and together with three guides he climbed the Wetterhorn the following day.
After WWI in 1920 a new hut was built taking 60 persons.
Getting there and Routes
View from near the Gleckstein hut. The hut path is visible on the near side
Drive from Grindelwald by car or take the bus to the Hotel Wetterhorn. Walk or take the post-bus to Grosse Scheidegg. From there a track leads to the hut. Allow 3 hours from to Gross Scheidegg and one additional hour from the Hotel Wetterhorn. The path to the hut meanders beautifully above the glacier on its east side. One or several small waterfalls must be negotiated on the way. The track is exposed at places with drops down to the glacier.
Many mountains with routes of various difficulties are on the menu with start from the Gleckstein Hut: Wetterhorn, Mittelhorn, Rosenhorn, Bärglistock, Gwächta, Nässihorn, Schreckhorn, and Lauteraarhorn.
A walk to the hut and climbing the Wetterhorn in 1994.
Maps and Books
1:25.000 Nr. 1249, Finsteraarhorn
1:50.000 Nr. 264, Jungfrau
Swindin, Les: Bernese Oberland, Selected Climbs, Alpine Club Guide Books, 1993
Munter, Werner und Margrit: Berner Alpen, Rother, München, 1984
Rubi, Rudolf: Im Tal von Grindelwald, Band II, Verlag Sutter Druck, Grindelwald, 1986.
Wills, Alfred; Wanderings Among the High Alps, 1937