Alpine Pass Route (Lauterbrunnen to Adelboden) Trip notes: ECAP Validity: 01/01/2009 to 31/12/2010 Itinerary Disclaimer The information in this dossier has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and Babel Travel. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal in the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your dossier to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated trip notes please visit our website: www.babeltravel.com Itinerary Day 1 Basel-Lauterbrunnen-Murren-Grieslap Meet at 6.45am at the Basel SBB. The meeting place is inside the main hall, in front of the florist. Your tour leader will meet and greet you and provide a brief explanation of the trip ahead. You will need to bring with you your Swiss half fare card, trip payment (unless you have already paid) and a copy of your insurance policy. Important Note: it is a condition of joining our tours that you are in possession of a comprehensive travel insurance policy. Leaving Basel on the 7.01am train we travel through the picturesque countryside and mountain regions to Lauterbrunnen, arriving just after 9.25am. This is the eighth stage of the Alpine Pass Route, crossing from Lauterbrunnen past Mürren and over the Sefinenfurgge to Griesalp. Here it is described as a two-day hike, because the climb from Lauterbrunnen up to the pass would be too much to do in one day. As an alternative, our starting point is the top of the cable train at Grütschalp, which cuts 600m off the climb and makes the trek very much possible in 1 full day. Most of this route is on fairly easy tracks, apart from either side of the summit. Here, especially on the descent, it can be quite steep and a little slippery. The steps down from the pass look a bit scary but just take a bit more time to negotiate. The descent towards Griesalp is spectacular with dramatic rock formations and impressive panoramic views. Timings are as follows: (this includes food and rest breaks) 9.30am: Lauterbrunnen 800m 10.30am: Grutschalp (cable car) 1485m 12.00pm: Murren 1683m 12.30pm: Spielbodenalp 1793m 1.30pm: Oberlager 2051m 3.00pm: Sefinenfurgge 2612m 6.00pm: Grieslap 1408m Height: ascent 1127m, descent 1204m. Route: 8 hrs. Distance 20kms. Grading - medium to hard Day 2 Griesalp-Hohturli-Oeschinensee This is the ninth stage of the Alpine Pass Route, crossing from Griesalp over the Hohtürli (the little door), past the Blümlisalphütte and the Oeschinensee down to Kandersteg. We will stay overnight at the Berghaus Oeschinensee to break up the considerable descent. This we we also get to spend an evening (and breakfast the following day) chilling out by the tranquil, beautiful lake instead of down in the town. The scenery on this stage is breathtaking but somewhat rugged, as this pass is the highest on the whole Alpine Pass Route. In stark contrast to some of the grassy patches earlier on, this is steep and wild; a little daunting, but very exhilarating. Timings are as follows: (this includes food and rest breaks) 9.00am: Grieslap 1408m 10.30am: Bundalp 1840m 1.30am: Hohturli 2778m 2.00pm: Blumlisalphutte 2823m 4.30pm: Unterbergli 1824m 5.00pm: Oeschinensee 1613m Height: ascent 1415m, descent 1210m. Route: 8 hrs. Distance 15kms. Grading - medium to hard Day 3 Oeschinensee-Kandersteg-Bunderchrinde-Adelboden-Basel This is the tenth stage of the Alpine Pass Route, crossing down from the Oeschinensee hut to Kandersteg over the Bunderchrinde to Adelboden. Our previous stage over the Hohtürli made an overnight stop at the Oeschinensee, so the extra hour's descent down to Kandersteg will be added onto this Bunderchrinde crossing to make rather a long, but rewarding day. The scenery here is similar to that on the Hohtürli, and although it's quite a bit lower, at only 2400m, it still has the dramatic rocky cliffs and is hard to negotiate in parts, which makes things interesting. The large amount of up and down makes this a tiring day. Timings are as follows: (this includes food and rest breaks) 08.00am: Oeschinensee 1613m 09.30am: Kandersteg 1207m 12.00pm: Alpschelen 2094m 13.30pm: Bunderchrinde 2364m 15.00pm: Bunderalp 1755m 16.30pm: Adelboden 1348m Height: ascent 1415m, descent 1210m. Route: 8.5 hrs. Distance 18kms. Grading - medium. Upon arrival in Adelboden, we'll have time to explore the town and chill out a little! At around 5.30pm (later or earlier depending on the group) we’ll take 2 1/2 hrs to travel back to Basel. The tour finishes at the Basel SBB upon arrival. Arrival Complications If you have not made contact with your Tour Leader (please look for the Babel Travel Logo) by 6.50am, please contact our representative on +41 76 247 23 26. Give this person your exact location (find a landmark) and you will be attended to promptly. Please note; a partial refund will be given to those parties whom have booked the trip but not appeared at the train station for the 7.01am train. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense. Starting point instructions Please note that no arrival transfers are included in the price of the trip. Starting Point Basel SBB Switzerland Finishing Point Basel SBB Switzerland Finishing Point details Please note that no departure transfers are included in the price of the trip. Style Babel Travel Adventurer Live and travel like a local. Stay in unique guesthouses, travel on local buses, trains or just about anything that moves. I count my pennies because I know the more money I save means the longer I get to travel. The best value adventures on the planet! On an Adventurer trip, you can expect some amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions or 'extras' that you may not want. These trips are ideal for first time travellers seeking fun and independence with the security of a Tour Leader at hand and for backpackers wanting minimum hassle and maximum flexibility at the lowest possible price. Group Size Minimum of 4, Maximum of 15 travellers per group. Accommodation Mountain Huts - dorm beds (2 nights) Some of the accommodation along the way are basic, staying in local guesthouses, mountain huts and home stays with ‘rural’ facilities. The style of accommodation described in the day to day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. Meals While travelling with Babel Travel you will experience the wide choices of excellent local food available in Switzerland. For us, we aim to provide you with the flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, and as a result not every meal is included in the trip price. Great, when you're on a budget! Usually, the large majority of our groups eat together, enjoying the wide array dishes, relaxing and enjoying each other’s company - and all those wonderful travel stories! Of course, you are under no obligation to join every dinner. Your group leader will recommend excellent restaurants and eateries throughout the trip for those of you that wish to go it alone. Please check the 'included meals' section of the trip dossier for details of which meals are included. You will find the meal plan for your tour clearly indicated in the brochure and on your Trip Dossier. Breakfast is often provided, and other meals are included in remote areas. Approximate costs for meals not included are shown below, Simple snack: CHF 2 Light meal: CHF 5-8, 2 course meal: CHF 20-40. Drinks: Tea and Coffee is always provided with breakfast. All other drinks (i.e. bottled water, soft drinks) are at your own expense. Approximate costs for drinks bought in a shop in the street are shown below. Note: Prices in restaurants, hotels, and in remote areas can be double those specified. 1l of water: 2 CHF 50cl bottle of soft drink: CHF 3-4, 50cl bottle of beer: CHF 5-8 Allow CHF 150 for meals and drinks not included. Included Meals No Meals Included Optional Meals Dinner at the Mountain Huts are between 20-30 CHF. We'll be able to purchase breakfasts and picnic lunches for the 3 day trek on arrival in Lauterbrunnen. Private Rooms If you require a private room you’ll need to notify Babel Travel at least 3 weeks in advance in order for us to secure these rooms. Please note that there will be a surcharge for private rooms. The same applies for couples. Please note that we cannot guarantee the availability of double beds. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis - where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. Getting Around Train, walking Included Activities This is a list of included activities on this trip. All other activities are optional and at your own expense. For a list of optional activities and sightseeing available on this trip, see the optional activities section below. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded. Services of a Tour Leader Guided trek from Lauterbrunnen to Adelboden All trains, bus and taxi fees (based on a Swiss half fare tax card) Alterations To Itinerary Please note that while we operate successful trips in Switzerland throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables. Important Notes The advertised price is based on everybody bringing along their Swiss half fare card. It is essential that you bring this with you on the trip. Please note that Switzerland (especially the mountain regions) can have extreme weather! Between mid April and mid September the temperature is generally between 10 and 30 c but expect rain (and lots of it!) at any given time. Mountain weather is notoriously fickle, where a sunny day can soon turn cloudy and wet. It’s all up to the gods! Physical Rating You are required to carry your pack on and off trains and buses, up hotel steps, etc. Your itinerary may include easy paced walks or bike rides, but these are on mainly flat ground. Local Transport Babel Travel uses every form of local transport available. We feel that this is the best way to get a feel for the country by travelling the way the locals do. Whether it’s by local train, bus, taxi, ferry; travelling the local way will not only give you a true taste of the country but will leave you with great experiences to last a lifetime. Accommodation Our main criteria for choosing accommodation is cleanliness. On Adventurer tours hotels are simple, but comfortable. Bathroom facilities may sometimes be shared and rooms may sometimes be multi share rather than twin. Please bear in mind that hotels can sometimes suffer from minor problems and technical difficulties. At each hotel your Tour Leader will try to organise the rooming arrangements to suit everyone's requirements. Early check-in throughout the trip Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, however this is not always possible which means we will not be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. Arrival and Departure Transfers Please note that no transfers are included in this trip. Insurance Our tour prices do not include insurance. However, it is a condition of joining our tours that travellers are fully insured for any medical expenses they might incur while travelling. At the start of your tour the Tour Leader will ask to see your insurance documents and will note down the policy number and emergency contact number. We recommend a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers repatriation and evacuation in case of a medical emergency, cancellation and curtailment as well as covering baggage and valuables. If your tour involves certain adventurous activities (i.e. trekking, white-water rafting, house building or scuba diving etc.) you will need to make sure your policy specifically covers these activities. You may also need specific cover for expensive camera equipment. Any clients unable to provide proof of adequate travel insurance cover will be required to purchase a policy or will not be allowed to join the tour. Please also make sure you have access to an additional CHF 500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, avalanche etc.) necessitate a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence but it is well worth being prepared! Health All travellers joining our tours are assumed to be in good health and to have a sufficient level of fitness to complete their chosen itinerary. If you have an existing medical condition or disability you must make this known at the time of booking. If accepted on the tour, you must also make your condition known to the Tour Leader. When selecting your trip please carefully read the Babel Travel brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please contact us at email@example.com should you require any clarification on what is involved on your itinerary. For travellers over 70 years a completed Babel Medical certificate is required. Babel Travel reserves the right to turn away, without recompense, any person who is found, at any time during their trip, to have concealed an existing medical condition. We also reserve the right to turn away any person who we consider incapable of completing the trip. If you are taking any form of medication, please make sure that you bring with you an adequate supply to last the duration of your holiday and inform your Tour Leader at the start of the tour. You might not be able to obtain suitable medication in the countries you are visiting. Although, there are no particular health requirements for this trip, is it important for you to get an update from your family doctor or health clinic on what vaccinations may be required. It is your responsibility to bring a small supply of items such as insect repellent, aspirin or plasters for small cuts and abrasions. Some travellers like to bring along their own emergency medical kit which may be used by local medical staff in the case of accidents or illness. Your group leader is fully trained in basic first aid and will carry, at all times a very well stocked First Aid Kit which can be used in emergencies. Money Switzerland: The local currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF) Current exchange rate as of April 2009 Switzerland: EURO $1 = 1.5 CHF (Swiss Franc) While travelling with Babel Travel we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services and tips. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can to make group meals easier to pay for. For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothing. Spending Money Each and every traveller differs when it comes to how much money they spend on their holiday. Some may spend more on shopping, souvenirs or food and drink. Please keep in mind your spending habits when deciding upon how much money you should set aside as spending money. Each trip has specific extra costs that pertain to that particular trip. Please read the trip dossier for more information. Any tip that you wish to give your group leader, local guides or drivers in recognition of service is always appreciated. Optional Excursions All of our itineraries include some free time, the amount of which usually depends on the style of tour you are travelling on. Although we do not arrange any specific optional excursions in Switzerland, there is plenty of free time for you to undertake activities not covered specifically in the itinerary. Emergency Contact In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Babel Travel’s Switzerland Office can be reached on +41 76 247 23 26. Your Fellow Babel Travellers On group trips you will be exposed to all the wonderful things that comes with experiencing a destination with like-minded people. Your fellow Babel Travellers will most likely come from all walks of life, and from different countries. We ask you to patience will all travellers for the sake of group dynamics. We want every one of you to have the best travel experience of your life. Being punctual helps the group. If you are asked to be in a place at a particular time, please ensure that you do so. Being late may mean you’ll miss that special cultural performance, spend less time with a local family, or in some cases completely miss a local bus or a train journey! The best groups are the ones that work together as a happy Babel Travel team! Tour Leader Your Babel Travel tour leader is there to ensure that all aspects of the trip run smoothly. He/she will share their local knowledge, advise on how to fill your free time and co-ordinate the day to day running of the tour, although occasionally he/she may need your understanding if things do not go according to plan. If you have any problems on the tour, please let your Tour Leader know so that steps can be taken to put it right. Sustainable Tourism We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. What To Take What you luggage you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. As a guideline, you should pack as lightly as possible (under 10kgs is a great idea!) On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage over short to medium distances (no longer than 20 minutes) Due to this nature of our trips, suitcases and wheelie bags are not recommended for Babel Travellers! Most group members carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags with wheels are acceptable (if it has carry straps) but you will need to carry these bags up and down stairs, over bumpy roads etc. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day/overnight trips or walking tours. It is very important that your bags can be locked, as on public trains and buses it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag is the better for you and other passengers on local transport, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains its usually only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your seat or on your lap. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat essential in the summer months. Checklist The following is a guide to what you should bring along on your holiday and is not meant to be a complete and absolute list. You are welcome to bring less, or more than what is mentioned below. Travel documents Health requirements and any necessary medication Money: cash/credit cards money bag or pouch Lightweight travel towel Sunscreen (with high sun protection factor and lip balm) Day pack to carry your personal needs during the day Comfortable shoes with good grip and ankle support Light fleece Trekking sandals Wet weather jacket (a poncho at the very least) Please check recent temperatures before your trip departs What To Wear As a general guideline, clothing should be lightweight, loose fitting, hard-wearing and easily washed. In Switzerland’s warmer months, cotton clothing is much more comfortable than man-made materials like nylon. Your Safety By choosing to travel with Babel Travel you can be sure that your safety and well-being is our prime concern. Enjoy your time in a new environment – don’t worry yourself sick. Conversely, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. The best advice is simply to take the same precautions you would when travelling in your own country. Your Belongings Although it can be traumatic and distressing to lose personal belongings, remember that almost everything can be replaced. Your valuables are your responsibility so look after them. Keep items like cash, traveller's cheques, tickets and passports on your person in a hidden money belt or stored in the hotel safe. Leave all non-essential jewellery at home. Once on the road you will find that most of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. Your group leader will be with you on all included activities, however you will have some free time to pursue your own activities and interests, chill out or explore in your own time. Please be aware that the optional activities you undertake are not part of your Babel Travel itinerary, and Babel Travel makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. We simply recommend them and not endorse them. Saying that, we will warn you if we feel that an activity is dangerous or an operator isn’t reputable. Please use your own good judgment when choosing these optional activities. Please also note; that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling. Participation Form All group members on a Babel Travel trip are required to sign a participation form on Day 1 of the trip. This will take place during the all important welcome meeting. Please be aware that signing this form is an essential part of travelling with Babel Travel and is a requirement of all travellers.