Oberaarhorn ⇑

Oberaarhorn: A long and easy alpine day, the full package

Alpine trail access to the big mountains 

→ 23km   

↑ 1400m

Δ 3630M 

♦ Difficult

⇑ Medium

Θ Out & Back

We left the car in the faint pre-dawn glow and began running along the shore of the Oberaarsee. Far in the distance was a line up of big mountains, one of them was our destination.

I love these objectives that I call The Way Up. We had running shoes, small packs, the lightest of gear and a stable weather forecast. The smell of damp grass accompanied smooth singletrack to the west end of the lake, where we arrived to the snout of the Oberaargletscher. Here, one literally steps from stone to ice, transitioning into a whole new world.

The glacier pulled us right where we followed a lane of rock frozen into the ice's surface. The glacier steepens as you move west towards the Oberaarjoch, eventually requiring us to strap on crampons and rope up to continue moving quickly and safely. As we approached the Oberaarjoch more snow covered the glacier and crevasses began appearing beneath melting snow bridges.

Once at the joch, we removed the crampons and climbed the ladder accessing the hut deck. Behind the hut is the well worn trail to the Oberaarhorn, which leads to a talus field before snowfields beneath the summit. From the hut to the summit is little more than walking, allowing plenty of opportunity to stare at the Oberaarhorn's 600 meter higher neighbor, the Finsteraarhorn.

Overall, the Oberaarhorn is a perfect intro for trail runners wanting to add in an alpine peak, and some gear to play with while doing so. You can read the full trip report of our first time up at ALPSinsight's Oberaarhorn Story.

Learn more about the skills necessary to run Way Ups with ALPSinsight's Education pages for Mountain Running and Mountain Sport Fitness.

Detailed GPX Track

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GPX Track
  • Any routes on glacier are subject to change. The user is responsible for knowledge of glacier travel and personal safety. Track is one way, reverse for return.
Start: 46.54815, 8.27658
Town:  Grimsel Pass
Canton:  Bern
Country:  Switzerland

  • Get an early start for both weather reasons, and to see your objective lit with the day's first sun.

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Sunrise in the Swiss Alps

Your day is laid out ahead; follow trail, head up the glacier to the col, turn right at hut, go up peak.


Low on the glacier, it's solid ice and easy walking.


The glacier is steep enough for microspikes and depending on the snow cover, holey enough for a rope - take one and know how to use it.


On the summit climb the route is a mix of talus and nice trail

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