Chilchbalm – Rotstockhütte

On the final day of my summer 2018 holiday in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, I was looking for a more relaxed hike but also one that would take me to an area I hadn’t previously explored.  I had to turn to my Wengen-Mürren hiking map mentioned in my previous post.   One spot that intrigued me was a location cryptically called Chilchbalm which seemed to lie at the end of a long trail (identified also with number 11 in black circle – bottom left).  Directly north of that on the map, another hut, Rotstockhütte, which I had never visited, and just like that a hike was put together.

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I would start from my Airbnb in Stechelberg, but I didn’t necessarily want to make a loop hike.  After doing several hikes now, I am beginning to strategize that if I have an opportunity to limit unnecessary downhill hiking, I should take advantage of it.  It is a weird thing about hiking.  When you are going uphill, you are thinking about going downhill.  But when you are actually going downhill, it is a huge pain in the butt.  I’d much rather handle the stress on the cardio from uphill hiking then the persistent pounding on the knees from downhill hiking.  So I decided to stretch the hike all the way to Mürren, which is a mere 400m lower than Rotstockhütte.  The remaining descent could then be handled by the gondola down to Stechelberg.

Hike Overview

  • Starting Point:  Stechelberg
  • Ending Point:  Mürren gondola station
  • Distance:  17.3 km
  • Time:  4 h 9 m
  • Eating Points:  Rotstockhütte (bring cash!)

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The Hike

The hike starts off getting your heart pumping right away with an uphill zig-zag climb to get from the valley floor of Stechelberg into the higher elevated valley stretching off towards the Chilchbalm.  After that though the walk to the Chilchbalm is one of the most relaxing, peaceful hikes you will find in this region.  My favorite spot on the hike is located at a place marked Im Tal right in the very center of the map section above.

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Im Tal

It is already possible here to get an idea that Chilchbalm will be a spot where this trail and the mountain stream running parallel to it meets the mountains in the distance.

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Finally at the location called Chilchbalm, a large bowl shaped valley appears.

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The stream originates from melting glaciers.  The water is literally ice cold.

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It is a short backtrack to get to the trail up to Rotstockhütte.  This starts the longest climb of the hike.  But the faithful climb is rewarded when the Rotstockhütte comes into view from this point.

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The Rotstockhütte is probably one of the easier huts to get to in the area.  Most people are coming from direction Mürren.  So you will find lots of hikers here.  What I didn’t notice before was that this is a good break point before hiking up to the Schilthorn peak.  So while I was enjoying my beer, I was making a mental note that this would be a high priority hike for the next visit.  This was also a nice opportunity to witness how important helicopters are to delivering supplies to these mountain hut restaurants.

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The Schilthorn peak overlooks the Rotstockhütte

After the hut, the hike is very easy going with wide open views of the mountains, including the Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger.  In fact, this part of the trail runs parallel but lower than the trail I covered in my Hiking down from the Schilthorn post.

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Then it is just a matter of making your way to Mürren and back down with the gondola.

Final Thoughts

After what was supposed to be a relaxing hike, this actually turned into the 2nd longest hike I had ever done.  For sure the difficulty level was not the same as the previous hikes on this holiday (Schwarzhorn and Schmadrihütte) but it was still quite a workout.  Rotstockhütte is a recommended easy level hike from Mürren for anyone wanting to get to a more remote location without heavy effort.  Chilchbalm is a highly recommended oasis which is probably not often visited by outsiders.  So another summer holiday in Lauterbrunnen comes to a satisfying end.  Already looking ahead to doing the Schilthorn hike from Rotstockhütte next year.

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