Visitors to the Lauterbunnen Valley, most often come to see the world famous Staubbach and Trummelbach Falls They will also take many photos of the Weißse Lütchine river that races almost down the middle of the valley getting wider and fatter as it is fed by the many contributing tributaries.
While the Weiße Lütchine river flows down from the Sefinen-Gimmelwald-Mürren side, there is another very magnificent but overlooked waterfall at the junction in Stechelberg. These two mighty rivers meet and just like the Stechelberg Hotel is a great place to meet up and enjoy a meal in the garden or terrace, you can sit there and be amazed at the waterfalls all around. Including this Other Waterfall.
This ‘Other River’, was made famous in art by artist Joseph Anton Koch (1821/1822) who captured the sensationalism of its waterfall. .Classifed in the Worldwaterfalldatabase.com as number 642, the stunning Schmadribachfall is a 270 metre waterfall with several steps in the Schmadribach behind Stechberg. The Schmadribach rises from the Breithorn glacier and the Schmadrig glacier at the foot of Grosshorn and Breithorn and plunges over limestone benches into the rearmost Lauterbrunnen valley.
It is possible to safely walk up along the steep side of this beauty of nature via the UNESCO mountain pathway from Stechelberg. It is around 12.9 kilometres out and back. Or make a longer day walk and climb from Stechelberg to the Berggasthaus Obersteinberg.
Here at this high moutain hostel retreat it is Ipossible to stay the night in this candle lit retreat if you book in advance, or you can walk the steep path back down to Stechelberg. A long but rewarding day.
Photo: Sylvia Furrer
When you visit the stunning Staubbach Falls that you have been watching mesmerized from the dining table of Eyhus 5, you will find a beautiful poem written on a plaque there.
Song of the Spirit over the Waters was written between 9 to 11th October 1779 when the author, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was on his second visit to Lauterbrunnen. It was published ten years later in 1789 as a six-stanza poem and is categorised in poetry terms as a lyric and thought genre.
Wikipedia says of the poem: "Goethe draws a comparison between the elements of nature and human existence; In concrete terms, he contrasts the human soul with the element of water and calls similarities between the two. The main theme is the transience of human life. The wind embodies the predestination of life. While the soul of man approaches the inevitable end of life, fate is alienated, and any attempt by humans to take it in their own hands can only fail."
Inspired by this poem, in 1820, the music composer Franz Schubert composed a compelling 10 minute orchestral piece; “Gesang der Geister über den Wassern" You can here the piece here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK20LMuCWx0
Do you know Actionbound? It is an interactive game in many locations. Download the Actionbound app and explore an area with a treasure hunt or trail like game called a Bound.
Ours is called Staubbach Stroll. A family friendly 40 minute stroll to find the best views of the Staubbach Falls and discover some interesting facts while you answer some questions along the way. If you get all 12 questions correct, you get a 5% discount on your next stay with us or your first stay if you have just found us. Simply email us your Team name.
EasyTime one-way: 30 min Lowest point :4472 ft (1363 m)
Highest point: 5576 ft (1700 m)
This wonderful little nature hike will take you up the pasture hillside above Gimmelwald and through a densely wooded forest to arrive at the cool, sparkling mountain cascade called Sprutz.
Note: You will follow signs pointing to "Schilthorn" but only as far as the forest, where there will be a sign for "Sprutz". This hike starts from the Mittaghorn Hotel (Walter's). Walk south (left when facing Walter's hotel) on the main road until you come to a fork where a signpost tells you to take the road on the right. Continue up this road for a couple of minutes until you come to a barn on the right side, where a path winds upward and a signpost points the way. You'll pass around another barn on your left as you hike up to another paved road. Turn right on this road, walk about 15 steps, and turn onto the path next to the barn on your left. Continue up this path until you come to the forest where a signpost prompts you to turn left to get to "Sprutz" ' (Going right would take you up to Gimmeln and eventually to the Schilthorn). Passing through a metal gate, you will enter the forest and continue on this trail as it gently winds it's way higher through the woods. After about 15 min. the path forks and you will hear the thundering roar of the invisible falls. As the sign says, take the path to the left. As the path curves down and to the right, just around the hill, "Sprutz" finally comes into view.
Be very careful as you continue down to the falls on this hazardous, unstable, dirt path. As you walk underneath and behind this waterfall you'll probably wonder how such a huge, continuous volume of water could come from such a small, placid lake like the Grauseeli, between the Schilthorn and Birg. Well, Grauseeli is only one of it's sources, as the Schiltbach, the river itself, is a collection of the runoff from the Schilthorn and the Schiltalp. From Sprutz you can continue up the other side and after about 15 min. arrive at Spielbodenalp where there is a restaurant and a superb view of the Schilthorn, Birg, and the Jungfrau massif.
Or you can go with a guide from the Murren Tourism office for a 2.5 hour walk every Tuesday. You need to book by email by noon the day before. It is free. Email: [email protected]
11.06.2019 - 08.10.2019, MÜRREN
Experience closeness to the impact zone on super hot day, after a walk from Lauterbrunnen, when the sky is stunningly blue and arrive along the path behind the cable car that goes up to Schilthorn to the signboard announcing these stunning Mürrenbachfalls. They spread down like a bridal veil and sound urgent.
These Mürrenbachfalls empty into the Weisse Luechine river that also gathers water from the Staubbachfall as it rushes along to Interlaken.
Wikipedia says "According to studies from the year 2009 the Mürrenbachfall with a fall height of 417 meters is considered the highest waterfall in Switzerland. In this case, the Mürrenbachfall, which had previously been regarded as a cascade, was redefined by geographers into a single case, since they could not find any horizontal planes typical of cascades in the case."
If you have time before catching the Schilthorn cable car up to Gimmelwald, Muerren, Birg and Schilthorn, go closer to this magnificent water monument.
It is possible to climb up the grassy slope to the right behind the track and be lured by these giant falls. Coming within about 30 meters to the impact zone one can feel the exhilaration of the spray mist. Experience the roaring in the ears from these waters pounding their destination after such a long fall. Why not Picnic under the shade of a tree facing the falls and also enjoy the view to the opposite side of the valley to see the impressive Mattenbach falls that are 840m high and almost unknown.
Photo taken from balcony of Staubbach bursting over the cliff edge into the Weisse Luetschine
The name Luetschine derives from the Celtic name leucos or leuca , meaning "white" or "bright, shiny" and so for clarity it became the "Weisse Luetschine". Flowing 8.6 km through from the Stechelberg area through the Lauterbrunnen Valley to Zweilütschinen (two Lüuetschine). Here it joins the Schwarze Luetschine, or Black Luetschine that has flown 12.3km from Grindelwald. Folk tales say that the villagers of Lauterbrunnen never even washed so their could remain white.
Made up of rain, snow melt and ice, each of which has its own footprint in the river water makeup, researchers can determine the origin of the waters from the to the catchment area of the shiny Weisse Luetschine (165 km2). Researchers also consider the influence from soil and geological features over which the waters flow and have found that snow melt dominates between April and July with an annual total of almost 40% of the run-off at that time. This glacier melt occurs mainly between July and September and reaches a quarter of the annual total outflow of the Weisse Luetschine. The researchers say that the rain component measured and isolated between May and October is striking and contributes a third of the waters for the Weisse Luetschine. (Source: Gabriel Peier, 20.12.2016 Hydrology Group, Bern University http://www.hydrologie.unibe.ch/projekte/poster/Poster_PEIER.pdf)
Where is the source for this impetuous Weisse Luetschine ? From 72 and more waterfalls and streams flow over the massive magnificent walls surrounding the luminous Lauterbrunnen valley into the rushing, bustling Weisse Luetschine. From the Schilthorn side these include the Sefinenlutchine, Schiltbach and the mighty Muerrenbach Falls. The Staubbachfall also feeds into this gurgling busy river.
From the south, high up are 5 or 6 contributing streams from the direction of the Mittaghorn, Grosshorn, Tschingelhorn, Gspaltenhron (the pyramid-like shape) and Breithorn (German for "broad horn". Breithorn is the huge conical shining mountain peaked with translucent ice at the southernmost part of the valley. The Breithorn (3,780 m) can often have the mystical pinkish aurora or optical phenomenon at sunset called Alpenglow. This massive straddles the Cantons of Bern and Vallis and is part of the border between Lauterbrunnental and the Loetschental valleys. This Breithorn is not to be mistaken for the other Breithorn near Blatten at 4,164 m and part of the Pennine Alps mountain range.
At Stechelberg, the fervent torrents of the higher up Schmadibrunnen purge into a 60m cascade and force their way from the Breithom Glacier roaring downwards with a noise like thunder to the hydro station. Managing the power of these waters is a constant concern for the valley authorities as they move the rocks around and yet the majesty of these roaring pure waters have their own willfulness and draw attention, almost demanding to be watched.
At the curved wooden bridge near the power station in Stechelberg one can be lured by several gushing, racy white waters, seemingly always is a hurry to become the impetuous waters of the Luetchine waters that come from the Sefinenlutchine and Schiltbach. Walking upward from Stechelberg towards Gimmelwald is enchanting to watch playful and forceful waters making rock sculptures on their way. The Spiessbach above Gimmelwald pours over a monstrous rocky outcrop under which one can stand and lookout through the curtain of water raging from overhead. A slippery but worthwhile side path from Gimmelwald to Muerren.
Below the apartment is a lovely little offshoot stream from the larger Luterbach (meaning clean creek). The Swiss German language often adds a sweet diminutive “lei” sounding like the English “lee” to objects that are small, for example, a small Hund (dog) becomes a Hundlei.
Our Luterbachlei is also a cool delight for tired feet after long mountain walks and to sit on the grassy island and contemplate the Stuabbach Falls opposite. Or one can look for trout making their way up stream. It is mostly about 30 cm deep and flows into the larger White Lütschine at the Tal Museum.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Rivendell, Sindarin, Imladris, “deep valley in a cleft”, is located on the eastern edge of Eriador, at the foot of the Misty Mountains. Set in that deep valley, which was formed by the action of the river Bruinen (Elvish for “Loudwater”), was besieged on several occasions throughout its lifetime and survived to be the last refuge for the Elves on that side of the mountains. While "lauter" means louder in High German, In Swiss German this would be "luter ". So Lauterbrunnen could mean Clean Well, Brunnen meaning Well or Fountain.
Balcony view of ‘our’ Rivendell. We think it is a close comparison and when walking up to the BBQ hut toward the farm road from the Heliport, it becomes more real.
What about that stone bridge? We think that in Binn a village just 2 hours away, there is a bridge built in 1664 that was quite possibly the inspiration for J.R.R.T., what do you think?
Where dreams begin for outdoor adventures in the inspiring Jungfrau region