Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dropping In For Lunch


This image generated a fair bit of conversation on our facebook page, so we thought we post it on our blog for even more people to enjoy.

Ken Fuhrer shot this image of our crew descending to the Berggasthaus Rotsteinpass (2120 meters) during one of last year's private hiking tours through the Appenzell region of eastern Switzerland.

The hut at the Rotsteinpass occupies a strategic position for climbing the Altmann (2435 meters), the second highest peak in the Alpstein mountain range. The climb is a relatively easy one, but as you can see from the photo, it is not for the acrophobe.

You can read more about the Appenzell region at our website, www.ryderwalker.com/self_appenzellerland.html

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday, December 09, 2011

Get Yours: The 2012 Catalog Is Here


For those of you on our mailing list, expect your catalog within the week. 

Not on our mailing list? Request your free copy. 

And, check out these new tours for 2012:

Join world-renowned photographer Ace Kvale for an exploration through northern India.
January 2012

Continue our four-stage hike across the length of Switzerland.
August 2012

Guided and self guided hikes through Germany's magical Bavarian Alps.
June-September 2012

Hike self guided across Ireland's stunning Dingle Peninsula. 
April-October 2012

Please give us a call, or drop us an email if you have questions about any of our tours. 

Within the U.S., 888.586.8365
Outside the U.S., +1 970.728.6481

See you on the trail!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Over 100 Images of Zanskar


The mountain scenery on our new Zanskar Chadar Trek will give you thousands of photos, but it’s the people that we meet during the trip that will give you a lifetime of memories.

Explore the Zanskar culture with world-class photographer Ace Kvale.  Ace is our trip leader on the Zanskar Chadar Trek, and he’s assembled more than 100 images of the people and landscapes that we’ll experience along the way. Click here to view Ace’s online Zanskar Photo Gallery.

Then give us a call, or drop us an email, to find out more about this once in-a-lifetime adventure.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful.


What are we thankful for?

Big mountains,
long trails,
and good friends, (like you), to share them with.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image: Guests hiking through Appenzell, Switzerland | Ken Fuhrer

Friday, November 04, 2011

Living Up To Our Name


The Global Trekking Specialists

Melanie Eggers
Managing Director, Ryder-Walker Alpine Adventures
Location: Italy, organizing a new hiking tour.

Ken Fuhrer
Lead Guide, Ryder-Walker Alpine Adventures
Coordinates: Africa, researching a new hike.

Staffan Björklund
Speed Man and Ryder-Walker Guide
Status: Racing La Ruta de Los Conquistatores.

Peter Walker and Daniel Sundqvist
Founder, Director of Trip Development (respectively)
Activity: Working on a joint project in Utah.

New tours on the horizon? Absolutely.
Sitting around eating potato chips? Certainly not.
When can we see the new tours? Stay with us to find out.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rush Hour


Engadine Summit Series, Switzerland | Ken Fuhrer

Friday, October 21, 2011

See The World Through Ace's Eyes


We mentioned earlier that Ace Kvale is in charge of our new Zanskar Chadar Trek. Ace is one of the world’s top adventure photographers whose work has appeared in dozens of books, magazines and movies around the globe.

While Ace’s photography put him on the map, it is his penchant for wild adventure that sets him apart from everybody else. Dangling from helicopters, climbing huge mountains and skiing first descents, places him in ideal positions to capture stunning photos. Additionally, having traveled to more than sixty different countries, including 25 expeditions to the Himalayas alone, it’s not cliché to say that, “Ace Kvale has seen it all.” He really has.

It’s worth taking time out of your day to visit Ace’s online photo gallery. You’ll find images of Alaska, the Himalayas, the Alps and more. Ace shoots the type of images that belong in National Geographic. In fact, Ace Kvale shoots images FOR National Geographic. Exotic places and vanishing cultures are his domain.


Ace breaks his portfolio into four categories:
We recommend viewing them all. Pay special attention to the images labled “Zanskar.” That’s where we’re going in mid January.

We’d also like to add that Ace will present every Zanskar attendee a signed commemorative work from the trip. Given Ace’s stature in the world of photography, this is a really special gift. If you love photography and wild places, then the Zanskar Chadar Trek is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity.

Images:
Ace Kvale striking a pose for his Sensai, Tibet.
Young monk, Lingshed, Zanskar, India.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Only TWO Days Left to Save!


REMINDER-Our special extended offer expires on October 15th, 2011. This is a great way to book early and save money on a 2012 hiking tour.

Thinking about a hiking tour for next summer? Give us a call today and lock in a lower price. Yes!

Image: Peak bagging above Sils Maria, Switzerland
Engadine Summit Series, Switzerland | Ken Fuhrer

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hiking in Appenzell-Day 6 | "With Songs They Have Sung for a Thousand Years"



This is a continuation of Ryder-Walker guest Lisa Allen's account of the Appenzell region of eastern Switzerland. Please also read "Hiking in Appenzell" days 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

I visited Appenzell, Switzerland for the first time, for a day, last year, with a group with whom I was touring Switzerland and I knew, long before we arrived, that I would fall deeply and fully in love with the area and the town. In fact, I adore it and feel as though perhaps, in another life, I was or shall be there. The neatly trimmed hills, with cattle quietly grazing, the superb chalets with barns attached, the colorful customs and traditions, tried and true, practiced and upheld through time, the buildings painted with ancient and spiritual trims combine to fill me with awe and as deep a sense of joy as one can experience without bursting at the seams.

When I am in Appenzell, I feel as though I have arrived home, finally and in totality. In Appenzellerland and the town, too, all that is Swiss and especially beautiful is epitomized and held dear.

Nothing pleases me more than to share my fun there, the childlike joy I experienced during my journey. I intend to make at least an annual "pilgrimage" to this place of miracles, where my soul becomes interwoven with countryside and custom until it is indistinguishable from them.

Lisa Allen,  SE Mass.



Monday, October 10, 2011

Hiking in Appenzell-Day 5 | "Under the Arch"


This is a continuation of Ryder-Walker guest Lisa Allen's account of the Appenzell region of eastern Switzerland. Please also read "Hiking in Appenzell" days 1, 2, 3 and 4

Let us return to the Cattle Show in Appenzell. We have learned about the attire of the participants and established that herd after herd are brought through the town, with white goats led by children often in the lead, under a well-decorated welcoming arch, to the grounds of the show, where the cattle are tied for part of the day, with hay and water available. Many visitors of many nationalities, too, come to admire them, with at least one delighted American!

The cattle are often helped to maintain the proper route by dogs, several Appenzellers included! The sight of these cattle, the brown kind, for which Switzerland is known, their shepherds, the Swiss bells worn around their necks, the cattle dogs and more filled me with even greater excitement to be in such a land, where beauty is so natural and history and tradition so prized and valued.

The men herding the cattle, in full Swiss attire for this very major event, chanted and yodeled as they guided their herds down the streets to the show grounds. In one herd, each cow wore a tall "hat" made of flowers, lovely and artistically detailed. Bulls, who are "as big as houses" were usually assigned a single handler. Their mooing was music to my ears, a symphony of sorts. The family owning each herd hung their huge, signature Swiss bell, with wide and colorful straps, and their shoulder baskets, intricately woven and painted with herding scenery, for all to see. Judges carefully examine the cows and watch them as they are moved by handlers and place floral arrangements on the heads of the winners in various categories.

Vendors sell fresh food, cheese, milk shakes, pastries, and gifts. It is a tradition that on this day only, boys as young as six years old can "enjoy a smoke" and they all did.

In the mid-afternoon, the crowd again lines the streets of the town to watch herd after herd return to their farms in a procession as grand as that of the morning, and once the shepherds have bedded their cattle, the men return to Appenzell for an evening of music and to receive their awards. As is typical of the Swiss, who pride themselves on cleanliness, Appenzell public works officials almost immediately hose the streets to wash away "deposits" left by the cattle.

Never have I seen such a spectacle and it will forever fill my mind's eye!

Lisa Allen, SE Mass.



Friday, October 07, 2011

Hiking in Appenzell-Day 4 | "Dressing the Part"


This is a continuation of Ryder-Walker guest Lisa Allen's account of the Appenzell region of eastern Switzerland. Please also read: Hiking in Appenzell-Day 1 | "A Slice of Heaven"Hiking in Appenzell-Day 2 | "Until the Cows Come Home" and Hiking in Appenzell-Day 3 | "Until You Find Your Dream"

Let me describe what the men wear to the celebratory events. I shall try to "paint" an accurate picture for you.

Let us begin with the feet. Dark ankle high shoes have a buckle at the top, with a decorative Swiss design. White stockings reach to the knee and are held to the leg by short leather pieces which go around the leg, a thin belt of sorts, one might say with, of course, metal Swiss figurines on them. For "trousers," yellow three-quarter length "breeches" are worn. Or, for "formal" wear, such as the awards dinner for the cattle show, in the evening, the men wear brown trousers, instead of yellow breeches.

Around the waist is worn a very ornate silver chain type "belt" and a "kerchief," which is colorful and covered with Swiss symbolism, is tucked into the waist and a triangle section of the kerchief lies against the breeches.

White short sleeved shirts were worn and the handsome black leather suspenders decorated with herding, brass Swiss figurines, much like the typical Swiss belt or dog leash. Short red vests with embroidered flowers on them and other typical Swiss designs are worn and metal clasps fasten the sides of the vest, in front, to each other. Where a tie would hang is either a Swiss buckle or pin, not certain which of these two.

While the boys wear the Swiss caps with which we are familiar, the men wear regular black hats with floral "garlands" wrapped around them. All the men wear a dangling earring on one ear. I shall describe the lovely dresses worn by the women when my photographs are developed.

Lisa Allen SE Mass.



Hiking in Appenzell-Day 3 | "Until You Find Your Dream"


We recently sent Ryder-Walker guest Lisa Allen to the Appenzell region of eastern Switzerland. She's been having a blast! Please also read Hiking in Appenzell-Day 1 | "A Slice of Heaven" and Hiking in Appenzell-Day 2 | "Until the Cows Come Home"

Until you have spent time in Appenzellerland, been enchanted and moved by its special melodies, stood beside shepherds, keen and sturdy, and watched Swiss Cattle Dogs doing the work for which they were bred, you may not, cannot, in your soul, understand the most elemental joy of Maria from "The Sound Of Music," as when, with arms raised to touch the hands of God, she frolics around the deep green hills of her native country. She has realized, like me that, in the simple, one can discover the sublime and the extraordinary. The Swiss must preserve, especially, those rituals perfomed under the canopy of Mother Nature.

Last night, I fell asleep with the melody in my mind of the hammer dulcimer being played by a young man in traditional grab in the establishment where I had the most delicious salad I have ever tasted, made with apple dressing covered greens and fruits and vegetables which, it seemed, had been picked and prepared just then from Swiss meadows, for me. Then, very early this morning, Tuesday, I proceeded to one end of town where people began to line the streets. I stood next to Mona Lisa, a lovely and fit Appenzeller Mountain Dog and, of course, a photo of Piber was shown to her owner in which Piber is pulling a goat cart. Piber is my Appenzell Cattle Dog.

People from around the country and the world began to wait for the show to begin. Soon, Swiss ceremonial bells heralded the arrival of the first herd of cattle, trotting proudly through town with shepherds dressed in native costume guiding their charges with staffs and halters to the large field where each cow would be tethered to fences for the day, with hay and water readily available. The cattle, herd after herd, passed under a large arch which had been built, decorated with garlands and Swiss bells.

Appenzell Cattle Dogs abounded to keep their herds properly on the road. In front of many herds were little children moving white goats along the road and, of course, the children take this job quite seriously and were dressed as young shepherds and shepherdesses, in an only very slightly modified manner compared to the adult version. Swiss and cantonal flags waved proudly, high on poles, and the light fog soon was but a memory, with the hills shining in all their glory!

to be continued...

Lisa Allen, from Appenzell, Switzerland

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Introducing the Zanskar Chadar Trek


World-renowned adventure photographer Ace Kvale has done a lot of cool things. He's dangled from helicopters in the Alps. He's skied first descents in Alaska. He's traveled to more than sixty countries and participated in twenty-five expeditions to Asia and the Himalaya. So, when Ace calls something the "Wildest Trek on Earth," it means something.

Enter the Zanskar Chadar Trek.


Zanskar is a kingdom in northern India. Originally part of Tibet, and hemmed in by some of the tallest mountain ranges in the world, the region is extremely remote, insanely rugged, and almost entirely isolated from the outside world. Barring the use of a helicopter, (and even that's dicey), just getting to the place is an extreme undertaking. The mountain passes are too high and snow-covered for efficient travel, and the rivers are too swift for safe, reliable navigation.


Since no roads lead to the inner reaches of Zanskar, the local inhabitants wait until mid winter for the Zanskar River to freeze over and provide a temporary footpath to the outside world. The route can be treacherous for anyone unfamiliar with the river, with weak ice, frigid water and certain injury waiting around every corner. Yet the locals know the way, having traveled this route for centuries, pulling their wares on sleds, trading butter, and communicating with with their neighbors in Ladakh and Tibet.

A Special Tour for 2012


Ryder-Walker's Zanskar Chadar Trek, is a 25 day itinerary that explores the Kingdom of Zanskar. Ace Kvale will lead the expedition, in addition to a team of local guides and porters. We'll spend half our time hiking along the frozen Zanskar River, and the other half enjoying the treasures of a culture hidden at the top of the world.

Since part of the trip follows the river, we’ll spend a portion of the tour winter camping beneath the stars, sleeping in caves, and experiencing the locals’ life as they do what they’ve done for hundreds of years. Camp “luxuries” include, hot meals cooked over the open fire, lots of hot water for bathing and drinks and the most delicious chai tea ever prepared over the open flame. Away from the river, we’ll rest in comfortable guesthouses and the nicest establishments of the region, including 5 star accommodations upon the finish our tour.

While the route can be tough, the rewards are great. If you’re willing to make the journey to the Kingdom of Zanskar, then you’ll behold a fantasyland of thousand year-old monasteries, exotic animals, and a friendly people seemingly plucked from another time.

Reasons To Go Now
  • The river doesn’t freeze as long as it used to. Changing weather patterns have severely shortened the time frame for making this journey. There is a good chance that, in the near future, the river won't freeze at all.
  • Development pressures are slowly pushing a road into the Zanskar river gorge, forever altering this centuries old route to the kingdom of Zanskar.
  • Opportunities like this don’t last forever. Borders move. Governments change. Things happen.

Things to Know

The dates for this tour are January 19-February 12, 2012.

  • Since this is a winter trek, hikers should be prepared for winter temperatures in the mid 30's F during the day, with lows of -20 F during cold snaps.
  • This is not a trek for people unfamiliar with cold weather camping and less than comfortable sleeping conditions.
  • In addition to high elevation, the time spent on the ice makes the itinerary quite strenuous, taxing muscle groups in ways that many trekkers used to firm and predictable footing may not be used to.
The conditions underfoot change hour to hour and day to day, and un anticipatable detours are often necessary meaning that we cannot predict precisely where we will spend each night or in what kind of accommodations.

Note: We will only offer this trip in 2012. Please visit our website, then contact us for more details.

Click here for images of this trip.
Click here for a video of a previous Zanskar Chadar Trek.

“It’s not the places we go, it’s the people we meet when we get there. My focus now is on giving back to cultures I’ve come to love.”

-Ace Kvale

Hiking in Appenzell-Day 2 | "Until the Cows Come Home"


For more of the story, please read Hiking in Appenzell-Day 1 | "A slice of Heaven".

Never in my life have I made as thrilling a journey as this! I have taken cable cars up mountains where traditional Swiss farms dot the hillsides as do intimate places of worship. I began to plan my trip to Appenzellerland a year ago and it is greater than all my dreams! Stores in Appenzell sell the lovliest Swiss items and one can watch native craftsmen painting and doing leatherwork. I just watched a horse pull a wagon through Appenzell and two days ago, I saw an Appenzeller Mountain Dog and traditionally dressed herdsmen and boys moving cattle down a country road. I have listened to bands from all over Switzerland playing music for a competition in the town and they are mostly dressed in native attire. Tuesday, I shall enjoy the town's annual cattle show. I feel as though my entire life has been leading to this week and shall remember every detail, forever! I have taken hundreds of photos. In Appenzellerland, perhaps more than anywhere on Earth, one finds peace and spiritual healing! Oh, my! Too, the buildings are magnificent, with detailed drawings of Swiss shields, flowers, and herding scenes!

Lisa Allen, from hotel where I am staying in Appenzell.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Hiking in Appenzell-Day 1 | "A Slice of Heaven"


We recently sent Ryder-Walker guest Lisa Allen to the Appenzell region of eastern Switzerland. To say that she's enjoying herself would be an understatement. She sent us the following note. Enjoy!

I am in Paradise! No, not that one! The OTHER one! Yesterday, in a town near Appenzell, called Weissbad, I finally SAW IT! Shepherds and boys in FULL Swiss "dress" AND their APPENELLER MOUNTAIN DOG bringing cattle back to the farm!!!!!! IT WAS BREATHTAKING!!!! And, in Appenzell, on October 4, I shall be present for the CATTLE SHOW!!!! Today and tomorrow, there are Swiss choirs playing, in FULL SWISS dress, on traditional instruments, all over town and the music carries me to another realm. They are having a huge competition. The food, the coffee, the cheese, all AMAZING!!! Eleven men played alphorns in the center of town an hour ago!!!! I am wearing my Swiss Berner Club 100th Anniversary pin and carrying pictures of the Berners and Appenzeller! I LOVE IT HERE but, after 8 days, I must return to the USA next week.

Lisa Allen, from Heaven on Earth, Appenzellerland.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How To: Carry Trekking Poles on the Plane


We hikers have it pretty easy. If we want hike somewhere, we simply load our packs and go. Aside from good footwear and some basic clothing, we generally don’t need a lot of stuff. In fact, if we want to travel somewhere for a hiking vacation, and we’re efficient, we can load everything that we need for the trip in a single bag and carry it on the plane.

There is one exception, however. Trekking poles.

Since 9/11, trekking poles have been a challenge for hikers who fly. Intuitively, trekking poles should be off limits, but, in fact, they fall into a grey area with TSA, the Transporation Security Administration of the United States.

According to TSA, ski poles are not allowed as carry ons, but walking canes are allowed, provided "they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed."

So where does that leave trekking poles? They’re virtually identical to ski poles, but it could be argued that they fall under the category of walking canes as well.

Here’s our experience:

1. Talk to the TSA officials at your local airport. We spoke with officials at three different airports and, in every case, they allowed us to carry on our trekking poles in their assembled forms. That said, there are two caveats. First, small, rural airports that border vacation destinations tend to allow items that larger urban airports may not. They’re used to people treaveling with sporting equipment and oddly shaped gear. Second, consider your itinerary. Just because your local airport allowed you to carry on your poles, doesn’t mean that the security personnel in Amsterdam will. Flying direct routes within your home country might be fine, but if you have to go through security in other cities and/or countries while changing flights, you might get screwed.

2. Dismantle your poles before placing them inside your pack. We’ve had good luck with this option so far. Simply pull the sections apart so that your trekking poles look like small tubes rather than a long collapsible unit. As it turns out, it’s not the pointy tip of the trekking pole that security personnel have a problem with. Rather, they want to confirm that you don’t have anything stashed inside your poles. The take home point: break down your poles for easy examination.

3. Consider the Z trekking pole by Black Diamond. We knew this pole would be cool when we first wrote about it, but we didn’t know how cool. Acting on a hunch they would be too weird to register on the TSA radar screen as a disallowed item, one of our staff members tested the Z pole by placing it in their carry on. The result: they cruised through the security zones in the U.S. and Europe without a hitch. The experiment was a total success. If you really want to carry your trekking poles on the plane, but you don’t feel talking to TSA, and you don’t want to dissamble your poles each time you fly, then consider the Z trekking pole from Black Diamond. It even comes with its own carrying case. Zuper cool.

Image: Willi uses his trekking pole to harness the power.
Berner Oberland, Switzerland | Chris Pranskatis

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Listen to Ryder-Walker Online




Do you find yourself experiencing trip withdrawal? Have you missed the sound of Kenny's spirited voice in the morning? Do you long for trail wisdom and positive reinforcement? Never fear. Now you can bring the voices of Kenny Fuhrer AND Peter Walker into the comfort of your own home.

Maribeth Clemente, a Telluride, CO-based author and travel expert, recently interviewed Ryder-Walker's own Peter Walker and Ken Fuhrer for her radio show, Travel Fun, and now you can replay the show as many times as you like. Listen through your smartphone. Play the show on your computer. Let the voice of Ryder-Walker ring through the woofers and tweeters of your home stereo system. A podcast of the program is now online at Maribeth’s website: bonjourcolorado.com.

You'll hear Peter and Ken talk about the founding of Ryder-Walker, the things that have made us successful, affiliate companies, summit champagne-toasts, and more. The show is a half-hour long, so pour something tasty, then sit back and enjoy! Oh, and don't worry about your trip withdrawal. It's a natural thing.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Video: Hiking with a Wild Steinbock



We like to boast that our hiking tours bring us "up close" to the wildlife. But how close do we actually get? Watch this video to find out. Mike filmed this gorgeous Steinbock during last week's Gran Paradiso Trek. What's the difference between a Steinbock, an ibex and a chamois? Read Those Dam Goats to find out.



Thursday, September 08, 2011

The 2012 Guided Hiking Tour Schedule is Online


Join us for a guided hiking tour through Switzerland, Italy, Bhutan, Colorado, the desert Southwest and more.

See the schedule here.

Note: The prices are valid until September 30, 2011. Book early. Save money. Spend the savings on chocolate and wine (or beer)!

Image: Willi and Finley toasting to a day well-hiked.
Kandersteg, Switzerland | Chris Pranskatis

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Björklund Finishes Top 10 at Ö Till Ö


Congratulations to Ryder-Walker Guide, Staffan Björklund, and his teammate, Jonas Andersson! They finished 8th at this year's Ö Till Ö endurance race.

The Ö Till Ö, Swedish for "Island to Island," traverses 19 islands in the archipelago of Sweden. The event includes 10 km of swimming and 54km of running with competitors entering and exiting the frigid Baltic Sea nearly 40 times during the course of the race. Race organizers call the Ö Till Ö "one of the toughest 1-day races in the world."

Staffan and Jonas finished the race in 10 hours, 52 minutes and 54 seconds, landing their team, Lag Sandhamn, a respectable top-ten finish.

Props to you Staffan, for your 8th place finish and for your outstanding dedication/training during the course of the summer. Congrats!

Image: Staffan "showing them the ropes."
Cortina and Lakes of the Dolomites Trek | Ken Fuhrer

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Book Early. Save Money.


There is a really good chance that our prices will increase for 2012. We hate to do it, but unless the currency gnome suddenly rearranges the markets, then it is what it is. That said, book any of our tours between now and September 30th and we’ll happily guarantee this year’s (lowest) price.

This deal applies to guided, private, and self-guided tours. Note: We’ll have the 2012 guided tour schedule up shortly.

What if you’re still working on dates for your private or self-guided tour? No problem. Just send us your deposit, and then let us know when you have your dates. We’re also delighted to help you with your itinerary. We know the best places to visit and the seamless ways to get there.

Let us plan your dream vacation! Just give us a call or drop us an email.

See you on the trail!

Image: Peak bagging the Ammertespitz (2613 m) between Lenk and Adelboden.
Eiger Trail: Gstaad to Grindelwald, Switzerland | Chris Pranskatis

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

RW Guide Staffan Bjorklund Tackles Toughest 1-Day Race


Staffan Bjorklund lives life to the fullest. He skis, he climbs, he travels, and when he’s not leading hiking tours for Ryder-Walker, he competes in endurance races like the Ö Till Ö, dubbed “one of the toughest 1-day races in the world” by race organizers.

Competitors in the Ö Till Ö, Swedish for “Island to Island,” traverse 19 islands in the archipelago of Sweden. They swim, they run, and they repeat, entering and exiting the frigid Baltic Sea nearly 40 times during the course of the race. The event includes 10 km of swimming and 54 km of running.

It takes discipline and a lot of training to enter a race like the Ö Till Ö, which is something that Bjorklund knows quite well. He’s been training for the race all summer, despite a heavy workload of guiding and research for Ryder-Walker.

The guests on our Cortina and Lakes of the Dolomites Trek might remember Staffan grabbing a quick swim in the icy waters of Lago del Sorapis during an espresso break.


Or maybe they recall him training between hikes on the Italian Dolomites Trek.


Did they know that he slipped out after dinner for a midnight climb on the Tour du Mont Blanc? (It can be pretty dark out there without a headlamp).


Here he is conducting research and training at the same time. (Those are the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks in the background).



This year’s Ö Till Ö takes place on Monday, September 5, 2011. Follow Staffan’s training progress, learn more about the race, and read about his life as a Ryder-Walker guide at his blog: staffanbjorklund.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Best Months for Hiking Ireland


The four best months for hiking Ireland's Dingle Peninsula are April, May, September and October. You can certainly hike during the other months, but, in our opinion, these four months offer the best chance for minimal rain, agreeable temperatures and good visibility.

April and May might seem a long way off, but September and October are just around the corner. Looking for a fun fall getaway? The time is now! Check out Ireland | The Dingle Way.

Image: Branford Walker explores Dingle's rugged coastline.
The Dingle Way, Ireland | By Karen Walker.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Save 10% On Fall European Hikes


Yes! You read it correctly. Book now and save 10% on our fall European guided hikes. Click here for more details.

What if I'm already registered for one of these trips? Great! Just give us a call. We'll give you an even bigger discount on one of next year's guided tours.

The heart of the Dachstein, the Alps' northernmost high limestone range.
Heart of Austria, Austria | George Ringer

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

There's an exciting world out there...


just waiting to be explored.

Be a kid again.
Berner Oberland, Switzerland | Ken Fuhrer

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

40 Ryder-Walker Trips...and counting


From Our Guests:

Hi Peter,

I've attached a photo to give you all a laugh. I call it "The New Jersey Trek." We went to the Grounds for Sculpture near Princeton with the Whitears, Nanette and Cathy Lee, (all R-W regulars), when they visited the Snyders and us in New Jersey.

From left to right your happy repeat customers are: Jim Snyder, Ray Fortin, (the guy who's part of the sculpture), Diane Whitear, Cathy Lee, Aubrey Whitear, Nanette Hull, Blythe Fortin and Sarah Snyder. This group has been on a total of over 40 R-W treks.

There is something so special about bonds formed on the trail. We have all become great friends, despite seeing each other only every year or so. It's the magic of Ryder-Walker and the Alps!

Thanks again,

Blythe

*To Blythe and the gang,

Our thanks to you too! It's the guests like you that make our treks truly "magical." Here's to another 40 more trips.

Friday, July 08, 2011

What About Bugs?


It’s a question that we hear quite often. In short, the flying biters that cause the most irritation with people are not a problem on our hiking tours. The environments that we traverse are typically too high and/or dry for the propogation of mosquitoes, black flies, biting gnats, midges, etc. There are a couple of exceptions, but those hikes take place during the shoulder seasons, and long after the bugs have already died off.

That’s not to say that we won’t see ANY bugs at all; we will. The bugs that we do see, however, usually don’t amount to more than a few flies in a cow patty or a bee in a geranium pot. Swatting and itching simply isn’t a part of our program.

Leave the bug spray at home!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Celebrate Your Independence


Hike into a quiet mountain valley, kick off your shoes, and do absolutely nothing. You've earned it. Happy 4th everyone!

Image: Life in the slow lane. Val Susauna, Switzerland | Engadine Trek

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Amuse-Your-Bouche | Mouthwatering Pre and Post Hike Recommendations



Many of our guests travel before and after their hiking tours and they ask us for recommendations on things to do, places to stay, and good food to eat. In response to those requests, we’re starting a new series of blog posts called “Amuse-Your-Bouche.”

Amuse-Your-Bouche is a play on the French term Amuse-Bouche that, literally translated, means to entertain, or amuse, the mouth. In the culinary world, an amuse-bouche is a sort of appetizer served at the chef’s discretion. The portions are usually small, but intensly flavored, and, in the words of celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten “they’re the best way for a great chef to express his big ideas in small bites.”

In the spirit of haute expression, our pre/post trip recommendations showcase the very best that a region, village, hotel, restaurant or wine cellar has to offer. We won’t limit our Amuse-Your-Bouche posts to food, though delicious food is an important part of virtually every pre or post trip excursion. We’ll also include day hikes, tourist attractions, festivals and more.

For our first Amuse-Your-Bouche post, the spotlight falls on the La Brasserie du Grand Chêne in Lausanne, Switzerland.


An elegant, Parisian style brasserie, the Grand Chêne celebrates the art of traditional French-inspired cookery served in a refined, yet comfortable, setting.

Walk through the wood and glass doors, or enter from the adjacent Lausanne Palace Hotel, and you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to La Belle Epoche, an era of fashionable Paris cafes at the turn of the 20th Century. Tall mirrors, and shiny brass knobs exude brilliance. The waitstaff stand up tall and straight, with crisp white shirts and black ties. The air carries an aroma of lovingly prepared stocks, aromatic sauces and seared vegetables.

The managers of La Brasserie du Grand Chêne go to great lengths to uphold the feel and tradition of the original brasseries, and they do so in a way that is decidely Swiss. The décor is fresh, the clientele young and diverse, and the food is delicious.

Have a look at the carte, and you’ll find a dish for almost every taste, from Vichyssoise and moules frites, to chicken curry and ravioli with sage butter. The fare is simple, but well prepared, and as appetizing for budget-minded locals as for the well-moneyed gourmands of the jet set crowd.

I’ve had a number of the salads, but my favorite meal is the grilled fillet of beef with peppercorn sauce and pommes frites. All the dishes are delicious. The brasserie takes particular pride in their fish, which I haven’t tried, but which friends assure me, is delectable as well.

For dessert: Try the mousse au chocolat. It’s mouthwatering.

If you’re looking for a fun, relaxed restaurant that harkens back to the glory days of joie de vivre, art, and French cuisine, then look no further than La Brasserie Du Grand Chêne in Lausanne. Just 50 minutes by train from the Geneva Airport, the brasserie makes a great stop for lunch, dinner or an apéritif. Go ahead, Amuse Your Bouche!

Price: 12-50 Euro



Friday, June 24, 2011

Three Dreamy Hikes Through the Central Swiss Alps


I love the Berner Oberland.

There. I said it.

I love the huge snow-covered peaks and glaciers. I like the tranquil valleys and bucolic farms. I adore the blackened timber chalets with their colorful kitchen gardens, sunny decks and Swiss flags flapping in the breeze. Maybe it’s my German heritage that drives me, but I find the tall glasses of Weiss beer refreshing, and I crave the flavor of rösti when a cool wind blows down from the peaks.

The Oberland is a magical place, and it offers everything a mountain lover could ask for. Not only can you hike, climb, bike, parasail and raft, but you can also bed down in a quiet chalet while the sounds of bells and bleats softly lull you to sleep. Everything is clean. Everything runs on time. Cute little trains, trams and buses whisk you away to every enchanting place you need to go. It’s a Disneyland for adults, though I’ve known a lot of kids that love it too!

Since one trip through the Berner Oberland just wouldn’t be enough, we offer three guided tours through the area this summer. And, while all three trips explore the exact same region by foot, they each offer something unique and special.

Eiger Trail: Gstaad to Grindelwald
July 13-21, 2011

By starting in Gstaad, on the western-most side of the Berner Oberland, the Eiger Trail gives meaning to the word “anticipation.” We’ll start out at a relaxing pace, hiking eastward through remote valleys and sleepy villages, crossing ever-taller passes as the week unfolds. Each night, we’ll settle into cozy chalets and rustic mountain houses, contentedly drifting off to sleep and dreaming of the moment when, on day 6, the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks explode into glorious view.


We’ll spend the last 3 days hiking through, quite arguably, Switzerland’s most famous and visually satisfying region. That’s not to say that we won’t enjoy eye-popping mountain views during the entire hike. We will, but the fact is, there is something to be said for saving Switzerland's most prized and stunning mountain peaks for last.

Jungfrau Trail: Beneath the Mighty Eiger
July 25-31, 2011

This hike offers a number of special elements. First, it’s centered specifically on the Jungfrau region, the most dramatic locality within the Berner Oberland. Each day we’ll hike within full view of the sparkling Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks. Second, this trail is a loop hike, meaning that we’ll enjoy unparalleled flexibility to amend the itinerary to our heart’s delight. We can eat, drink, hike and repeat in proportions that satisfy the desires of the group.


We’ll also take in famous side attractions including Interlaken, bustling hub for all things Swiss and outdoorsy chic, the Schilthorn, filming location for the James Bond film On her Majesty’s Secret Service, and the Schinigge Platte railroad, one of Switzerland’s oldest and most attractively positioned railways. The Jungfrau Trail is also our shortest Berner Oberland itinerary, making it perfect for travelers that would like to hike the Swiss Alps in the shortest period of time.

Via Alpina Stage 2: The Heart of the Swiss Alps
August 3-12, 2011

At 10 days/9 nights, the Via Alpina Stage 2 is the longest of our Berner Oberland expeditions, and it’s a great way to de-stress from everyday life. If you want the grandaddy of hikes through the central Swiss Alps, then this trip is for you.

Beginning in the mysterious little village of Meiringen, the birthplace of meringue and the setting for the fictional death of Sherlock Holmes, we’ll progress through the bustling Jungfrau region before continuing westward and slowly leaving civilization behind. Put simply, it’s a magical experience to walk away from the tourists and delve into the peaceful heart of Switzerland’s alpine land. You’ll also get bragging rights. Not many people can say they’ve walked nearly the entire width of Switzerland’s most famous mountain region.

*Note: All three tours offer Ryder-Walker’s signature sampling of traditional Swiss alpine food, drink and accommodation. The Eiger Trail is almost sold out, but we still have space on the Jungfrau Trail and Via Alpina Stage 2. Please contact us if you're interested in any of these tours.

Images:
Lauterbrunnen Valley | Carol Dempsey-photoseek.com
Jungfrau Hikers (Eiger Trail and Jungfrau Trail) | Porter Teegarden-porterteegarden.com
Hiker's Reflection | Tom Dempsey-photoseek.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Early High Mountain Photography in Switzerland


We love old mountaineering photos, so we’re pretty excited about the Photographic Balancing Acts exhibit at the Swiss Alpine Museum in Bern. The exhibit runs through September 25th and features 1,200 alpine images shot at the turn of the 20th century by photographer Jules Beck.

Beck spent nearly a quarter decade lugging his heavy plate glass cameras up and down the mountainsides of the Swiss Alps. The result: he captured the very first images of Swiss mountaineering.

Just reading about some of the photos in this collection makes us drool. The exhibition would be a great pre or post hike treat.

Image: 'Unter Theodulhotel and the Breithorn' (1890), Jules Beck's last picture. Jules Beck was Switzerland's first mountain photographer. | Courtesy of the Schweizerisches Alpines Museum

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gear: Black Diamond Z Trekking Poles


How To Video: Black Diamond Z-Poles from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

It was only a matter of time before someone would look at a tent pole and say, "Hmmm, zat tent pole is very nize. We can use z same technology in our trekking polez."

Enter the Black Diamond Z, Z trekking pole that collapses like a tent pole, making it zuper compact.

Things to know about these poles:
They come in three different models:
Ultra Distance- Super lightweight carbon and winner of Backpacker Magazine's Editor's Choice Award.
Distance FL- Aluminum shafts with FlickLock adjustability.
Distance- A great pole that's easy on the wallet.

Things we like about these poles:
Kevlar inner cords for durability.
Über compact.
Strong.
Crazy light.
Interchangeable rubber and carbide tips.
Signature Black Diamond quality.

Things we'd like to see from these poles:
An integrated tent/tarp system. An umbrella attachment (for the carbon model).

If you're in the market for a new set of trekking poles, or you just bought a pair of z's and you'd like to familiarize with your new sticks, then check out the vid. It's cool.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Käseschnitte: The Ultimate Grilled Cheese


From our Facebook fans: What is the name of the local lunch you recommended between Murren and Wengen; baked egg over cheese, over a slice of bread?

Great question. It’s called Käseschnitte, and it’s a popular dish of the Valais and Bernese Oberland regions of Switzerland. French speakers call it croûte au fromage.

We’ve often said that Käseschnitte is to toasted bread and cheese what filet mignon is to steak, a divine upgrade. The dish comes in many varieties, but the basic version is nothing more than toasted bread covered with locally available cheese and white wine. The whole thing is broiled and often served with a slice of ham, tomato or both beneath the cheese. The Swiss like to eat Käseschnitte with a fried egg on top, adding cholesterol insult to injury. To order a Käseschnitte straight up, without egg, ask for it “ohne ei” (oh-nah eye).

Käseschnitte is a very warming dish during the winter, and a great hiker's repast during summer. Incidentally, our secret lunch spot between Murren and Wengen serves up some of the best Käseschnitte found anywhere in the Alps.

Here’s an easy recipe to make your own Käseschnitte.

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

4 slices of french bread, ½ “ thick, cut from a boule or large batard.

4 Tablespoons of clarified butter.

¼ cup dry white wine (more if you’ve had a long day).

8 slices of cheese, emmentaler, raclette, or fontal for traditional flavor.

4 slices of ham. (Optional)

2 eggs. (Optional)

Paprika, pepper, or seasoning of your choice.

Optional garnish: Gherkins and pickled onions.

Directions: Put 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter in a frying pan and toast the bread on both sides. Place 2 slices of the toasted bread in a baking or casserole dish and sprinkle liberally with the white wine. Place a slice of cheese on each slice of bread, add a slice of ham, and top with the remaining cheese. Bake the whole thing in the oven until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Place a fried egg on each portion and season with a dash of paprika (for traditional flavor), pepper, or the seasoning of your choice.

Serve with a garnish of gherkins, pickled onions and a glass of white wine from Switzerland. Bon App!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Forecast Alpine Weather, Ryder-Walker Style


There are two ways to check the weather in the Alps, the standard way and the Ryder-Walker way. We all know the standard way. Glance at the smartphone, read the newspaper, watch the televison. It’s easy, and it works. But is it fun? I’ve never heard anyone say they had fun while checking the weather, until now.

Enter the Ryder-Walker way:

Start by pouring yourself a glass of wine. (Better yet, let us pour YOU a glass of wine). Step outside. Position yourself with an eye-popping view of the chalet-studded alpine landscape. Breathe in the fresh mountain air. Then wait for the alpine herders to cut the grass. When they start cutting, you know you’ve got two-to-three days of clear weather ahead.

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, the mountainside pastures of the Alps exist as extensions of low-lying farms. Cows, goats and sheep migrate to high pastures for summer grazing, while villagers grow grass and store it away for winter fodder down low. It’s this process of growing and storing that offers clues to the weather ahead.

In general, alpine farmers need at least three consecutive days of sunshine to harvest their fodder. They can sometimes get away with two, but three is best. The farmers spend day one cutting the grass and spreading it out in the sunshine to dry.



On day two they turn over the grass, again spreading it beneath the sun so that everything dries evenly.


Day three, they harvest the grass, either stashing it away in barns or wrapping it up in large plastic pillows. In some regions, it's still possible to find people raking hay with traditional methods.


It’s a funny thing to hike into a remote alpine village and find little mountain men all cutting the grass on the same day. It’s almost as though everybody gets together and says, “Hey, let’s make Thursday grass cutting day,” which, believe it or not, they sometimes do.

A few years ago, the Berner Oberland region of central Switzerland got hit with a ton of rain. I was pretripping one of our hiking tours at the time, and I remember the local farmers getting a bit stressed out. The grass kept growing and growing, but, because of the ongoing rain, they couldn’t get out and cut. Every few days they’d get a full day of sun, but the rain still threatened, so the farmers waited. Finally, there was a three-day break in the weather, and, like clockwork, everybody started cutting the grass. It was the same story throughout the entire Bernese Oberland. Grass cutting day had arrived, and I knew that I’d have at least three good days of sunny weather.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

From Our Guests: Soglio



Hi Folks,

I hope you are all doing well. By way of introduction, we (Ken and Marilyn Koll) took an Engadine self-guided trek last year. A wonderful experience to say the least.

I wanted to share a photo of Soglio with you. I have seen several Soglio pix on your site but nothing from this perspective. It really captures the hill town structure. I liked it enough to have a large print made.

Anyway, I wish we were traveling with you this summer. The Engadine Trek really raised the vacation bar for me.

Best,

Ken

Editor's note: This is the view looking toward Italy. Spin around 180 degrees and you'll see the rugged Sciora Range in all its glory. Thanks Ken!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ryder-Walker | ON THE AIR!


Tune in to KOTO Radio, Tuesday night, May 17th at 6:30 pm (Mountain Standard Time), to hear RW Founder Peter Walker, and Guide Extraordinaire Ken Fuhrer, talk about all things Ryder-Walker. They'll also talk about Ryder-Walker's sister companies, Alpenglow Ski Safaris and Telluride Mountain Guides.

Maribeth Clemente, a Telluride, CO-based author and well known travel expert, will host the program. Get more info at her site: bonjourcolorado.com/travel-fun

For those outside the listening area, you can stream the show live at koto.org
Just click "Play Now."

See you on the air!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Daniel Sends a Mountain "Hello"


Ryder-Walker Guide Daniel Sundqvist lives and breathes adventure. When the hiking trail ends, he goes climbing. When the rock gives way to snow, he goes skiing. When the snowpack turns to dirt, he goes...well, you get the picture. Like all RW guides, Daniel loves the mountains, and he spends every spare moment exploring them.

Daniel heads to Bhutan tomorrow to guide our Chomolhari Trek, but he took a break from packing to send us this note:

One of the driest winters in Europe...

Except if one checked into the hotel Fletschhorn in Saas Fee, Switzerland, the 16th of April and climbed the distance of a full ski lift, plus another 15 minutes above the ski lift to 4000 meters, then pointed the ski-tips north. Well, then it was actually not so dry any longer but rather pleasant!

"I hope to be able to live these moments with you all, as I know you are people whom really know how to appreciate them.

Best,

Daniel

P.S. Well , tomorrow I am off to Bhutan to do more exploration so we can go more places together.

Ciao!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Artisan Foods Made in France


If you're looking for locally-made artisan products from the Mont Blanc region, then look no further than the Seracs grocery store in Argentiere, France. Just a stone's throw away from our hotel, Les Seracs offers authentic local specialties from the Haute Savoie region including meats, cheeses, wines, cookies, jams, and one my favorite drinks, genepy. Genepy is a liquor unique to the Mont Blanc region. It's distilled from a special high alpine flower, and there are two types of this unique drink-a strong schnapps and a sweetened liqueur. Les Seracs carries both.

Genepy is normally served as an after dinner digestif, but some our guests recently discovered that the sweetened version also tastes good in green tea. They were right. It's delicious. Thus, a new tradition was born.

If you find yourself on our Tour du Mont Blanc or Hiker's Haute Route then stop into this shop. Tip: They also sell produce and breads, so it's a great place to assemble your picnic lunch. Look for it on the main street in Argentiere. You're sure to find something delectable.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Art: Celebrating Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula


Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula comes alive with these pieces by June McIntyre.

Inspired by the rolling hills and sparkling seas that grace this rugged corner of western Ireland, McIntyre’s work transports the viewer into a colorful world of lively pubs, tranquil harbors and cozy stone cottages.

It’s no surprise that Ryder-Walker founder, Peter Walker, gravitated toward McIntyre’s work upon his return from our new self-guided Dingle Way.

“I wanted some souvenirs of the trip for the office, so I looked into local art from the region. I landed at dingleartworks.com and got three prints - one of the Slea Head Road, one of the Dingle mainstreet and one of Dick Mack's pub,” said Walker.




Dingle Peninsula

The Dingle Peninsula beguiles. Atlantic surf crashes upon rocky shores. Ancient castles dot the lanscape, and lone fishermen still head out to sea. This is a place where working the land still matters, and farmers tend their sheep on windswept hills.

While English is spoken in this part of Ireland, Gaelic (Irish) is still the predominate language. You'll see it on the street signs, you'll hear it in the pubs and you'll see it at small-town pre schools that advertise, "All Gaelic."

The Irish government calls the Dingle Peninsula a Gaeltacht, a federally protected region of Ireland that maintains traditional Irish ways. They could have easily dispensed with the designation and simply planted a sign that reads, “The Real Deal.”




Dick Mack's Pub

Dick Mack died a few years ago, but this cozy pub in the tiny harbor town of Dingle, (days 4 and 5 on our itinerary), still bears his name.

From the outside, Dick Mack’s looks more like a peddler’s shop than a pub. Antique lamps adorn the front windows while old bottles and bootstraps invite shoppers to “Make Offer.”

Step through the weathered doors, however, and you’re likely to find spirited locals, with pints of Guiness in hand, enjoying live music laid down by traditional fiddle and bodhran players.

There’s a reason why celebrities Robert Mitchum, Timothy Dalton, Julia Robers and Paul Simon made the effort to visit this unpretentious outfitter on the windswept coast of western Ireland. This tiny haberdashy cum watering hole is the perfect place to grab a pint and experience authentic Irish culture.

Be forwarned: Don’t plan on going to bed early when you visit Dingle. You’ll quickly discover why we stay for two nights during our 11 night/12-day itinerary.





Dingle Town

The buildings in Dingle are as colorful as the characters that occupy them. They offer a vibrant contrast to the greens and blues of the neighboring hills and sea.




Slea Head Road

Jutting from Ireland’s remote southwestern corner, the Dingle Peninsula is Europe’s closest point to North America. The Slea Head Road follows the winding shoreline of this rocky frontier.



History

Rugged and isolated, the Dingle Peninsula offered refuge for a group of monks that fled the dark ages of Medieval Europe. They built stone huts like this one, weathering the cold, damp nights and preserving literacy that was all but extinguished from mainland Europe. Today, the Dingle Peninsula resembles an open-air museum, replete with artifacts and architecture dating back to the Bronze Age. In this photo: The Gallarus Oratory. Archeologists believe the oratory served as a 6th-9th century church. There is an old legend that if a person climbs out of the oratory window, their soul will be cleansed.

If you're an Irish fan and you like art, then please visit June's online gallery for more images. Better yet, join our self-guided Dingle Way and stop at her gallery in person. She's on Green Street in downtown Dingle.

Images used with permission by Dingle Artworks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stunning Mont Blanc


Click image to enlarge.


The Grand Balcon Sud hiking trail traverses the north side of the Chamonix valley, France. With views like this one, it's no wonder why the trail is so popular. If we had to pick just one hike delivering awesome views of Mont Blanc, the Grand Balcon Sud would be it.

Tip: Hike from the Grand Balcon Sud to a place called Lac Blanc. Spread out your picnic lunch, and pull out your wide angle lens. Enjoy the memories of a lifetime.

Ryder-Walker Guide, Ken Fuhrer, shot this photo on the last day of the Tour du Mont Blanc. He enjoyed these views again on day one of the Hiker's Haute Route.

Such is the life of a guide.

Image: On left; l'Aiguille du Midi (3842 m). Right; Mont Blanc (4810 m).

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A Snapshot of the Legendary Eiger


Our Eiger Trail begins in the famed resort village of Gstaad and finishes in the chalet-studded hamlet of Grindelwald, Switzerland. The primary advantage of this west-to-east itinerary is that hikers walk toward, rather than away from, the most stunning peaks of the region. In short, the famed Jungfrau region of Switzerland grows larger as each day unfolds.

In this picture, Kristen wanders the high alpine trails above Mürren, Switzerland. This hike begins on the doorstep of our tranquil mountain house in Griesalp (1440 m), climbs over the Sefinenfurgge (2612 m), then descends via the Rotstockhütte (2030 m). A long descent to Mürren (1650 m) offers views like this one, with the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks dominating the skyline.

Looking from left to right: The first pointed peak is the Eiger. Notice the dramatic north face (Eigernordwand) dropping precipitously on the left hand side of the peak. The ridge at the bottom of the face is called the Kliene Scheidegg.

The high, glacier-covered ridge connecting the Eiger and the Mönch (next peak to the right), is called the Jungfraujoch. The Jungfraujoch rail station sits up there and, at 3454 meters (11,322 ft), is the highest rail station in Europe.

Kliene Scheidegg is the last staging point for trains en route to the Jungfraujoch. Upon leaving Kleine Scheidegg, the trains ascend, via tunnels, the inside of the Eiger.

Tours that explore this region: