Kleine Scheidegg

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Kleine Scheidegg
Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.jpg
Kleine Scheidegg (right) overlooked by the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau
Elevation 2,061 m (6,762 ft)
Traversed byRail
Location Canton of Bern, Switzerland
Range Bernese Alps
Coordinates 46°35′06″N7°57′40″E / 46.58500°N 7.96111°E / 46.58500; 7.96111 Coordinates: 46°35′06″N7°57′40″E / 46.58500°N 7.96111°E / 46.58500; 7.96111
Switzerland relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Location in Switzerland

The Kleine Scheidegg (English: Little Scheidegg) [1] [2] is a mountain pass at an elevation of 2,061 m (6,762 ft), situated below and between the Eiger and Lauberhorn peaks in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. The name means "minor watershed", as it only divides the two arms of the Lütschine river, both converging at Zweilütschinen, while the nearby Grosse Scheidegg divides the Lütschine from the Rychenbach stream. [3]


The pass is traversed by a walking trail and the Wengernalp Railway, which both connect the villages of Grindelwald with Lauterbrunnen, passing through Wengen between the pass summit and Lauterbrunnen. In winter, Kleine Scheidegg is the centre of the ski area around Grindelwald and Wengen. In summer, it is a popular hiking destination, and is one of the passes crossed by the Alpine Pass Route between Sargans and Montreux. The Jungfrau Marathon, a mountain race that takes place every year in early September, ends at Kleine Scheidegg. [3] [4]

The Kleine Scheidegg railway station is sited at the summit of the pass. Besides being an intermediate stop on the Wengernalp Railway, the station is also the lower terminus of the Jungfrau Railway, which climbs steeply through tunnels inside the Eiger and Mönch mountains up to its terminal at the Jungfraujoch, the highest point reachable by rail in Europe. Both railways operate year-round, and any passengers travelling to the Jungfraujoch must change trains at Kleine Scheidegg. The pass is linked to the summit of the Lauberhorn and to Arvengarten, on the approach to the pass from Grindelwald, by chairlifts. [3] [5] [6]

There are also several restaurants and hotels at the summit of the pass, including the historic Hotel Bellevue des Alpes that dates back to 1840. [7]


Hotel Bellevue des Alpes and the Eiger from Kleine Scheidegg railway station KleineScheidegg.JPG
Hotel Bellevue des Alpes and the Eiger from Kleine Scheidegg railway station

Prior to the coming of the railways and the introduction of tourism to the area, the twin passes of Kleine Scheidegg and Grosse Scheidegg provided access for local livestock and dairy farmers to the important export route to Italy over the Grimsel Pass. With the coming of tourism and the opening of the first mountain hotels in the 1830s, the transit of the Kleine Scheidegg became busier, and more important than the Grosse Scheidegg. [8]

In 1840, Christian Seiler built the inn Zur Gemse on the summit of the pass. Guests and supplies reached the inn by mule train over the pass tracks, and the inn grew into the internationally famous Hotel Bellevue. The Wengernalp co-operative opened the competing Hotel des Alps alongside the Hotel Bellevue, but sold out to the Seiler family, thus creating the merged Hotel Bellevue des Alps. [9]

In order to satisfy tourist demand, construction of the Wengernalp Railway across the pass commenced in 1891, and the line opened in 1893, as a steam hauled summer only service. The line was electrified in 1909/10, and year-round operation started in 1925 (to Lauterbrunnen) and 1960 (to Grindelwald). Construction of the Jungfrau Railway started in 1896, and it opened in stages from 1898 to 1912. [8] Since the 1930s, Kleine Scheidegg has been the base of expeditions on the north face of the Eiger.


Kleine Scheidegg is among the most celebrated mountain passes in the Swiss Alps because of its position just north of the point where the Bernese Alps makes a salient angle, whose apex is the Eiger. From there, a series of high peaks rise in line towards the northeast, on the left side of the trail that follows a direct route from Meiringen, southwest across the Grosse Scheidegg, to Kleine Scheidegg. On the south side of the apex at the Eiger, the still higher summits of the Mönch, Jungfrau, Gletscherhorn, and Mittaghorn follow in succession from north to south. [3]

Hidden by the Eiger from the vantage point of Grindelwald, the Mönch and Jungfrau break upon the traveller at Kleine Scheidegg in full grandeur, rising from the narrow gorge of the Trümmletental. Three comparatively large glaciers, with several minor accumulations of ice, are found in the hollows and on the shelving ledges of the three peaks that rise above the Trümmletental. The Eiger Glacier lies in the recess between the Eiger and the Mönch. This is separated by a huge projecting buttress of the latter mountain from the Guggi Glacier. Farther on is the Giessen Glacier, formed, at a higher level than the two last, on a shelf of the northwest side of the Jungfrau. [3] [10]

Politically, the pass at Kleine Scheidegg marks the boundary between the municipalities of Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, both of which are within the canton of Bern. [3]

Eiger Monch Jungfrau 01.jpg
Kleine Scheideg, with the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks behind, seen from the slopes of the Lauberhorn. Grindelwald lies in the valley to the left, and the Grosse Scheidegg can be seen beyond.

The film Kleine Scheidegg (1937) was set on the eponymous pass, directed by Richard Schweizer, and starring Susanne Baader, Leopold Biberti and Emil Hegetschweiler. [11]

In the summer of 1974, Clint Eastwood and his cast and crew stayed at the Hotel Bellevue des Alpes at Kleine Scheidegg while filming The Eiger Sanction (1975). Several scenes were filmed in and around the hotel. [12]

The 2008 film North Face, about Toni Kurz and Andreas Hinterstoisser's 1936 attempt to climb the Eiger north face, was shot to a great extent at the Hotel Bellevue des Alpes. Footage of the mountain's profile was also shot from Kleine Scheidegg's vantage point, though the climbing scenes were created mostly using computer generated imagery and green screen technology. [13]

The hiking track in the area is the basis for the fictional Eiger Nordwand tracks in the computer games Gran Turismo HD , Gran Turismo 5 Prologue and Gran Turismo 5.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Jungfrau Railway Mountain cogwheel railway in Switzerland

The Jungfrau Railway is a mountain railway in the Bernese Alps, connecting Kleine Scheidegg in the Bernese Oberland to the Jungfraujoch, across the Valais border. The railway, which uses a 1,000 mmmetre gauge and racks, runs 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) from the station of Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch. It is the highest railway in Switzerland and Europe, the Jungfraujoch being the highest railway station on the continent and well above the perennial snow line. As a consequence, the railway runs essentially within the Jungfrau Tunnel, built into the neighbouring Eiger and Mönch, to protect the line from snow and extreme weather. Another particularity of the Jungfrau Railway is the high elevation of its starting point, at the hub of Kleine Scheidegg, also the highest in Europe.

Wengernalp Railway

The Wengernalp Railway is a 19.11 kilometres (11.87 mi) long rack railway line in Switzerland. It runs from Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald via Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg, making it the world's longest continuous rack and pinion railway. The name refers to the alpine meadow of Wengernalp, above Wengen.


The Jungfrau, at 4,158 meters (13,642 ft) is one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps, located between the northern canton of Bern and the southern canton of Valais, halfway between Interlaken and Fiesch. Together with the Eiger and Mönch, the Jungfrau forms a massive wall of mountains overlooking the Bernese Oberland and the Swiss Plateau, one of the most distinctive sights of the Swiss Alps.

Lauterbrunnen Municipality in Switzerland in Bern

Lauterbrunnen is a village and a municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the canton of Bern in Switzerland.

Eiger Mountain in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland

The Eiger is a 3,967-metre (13,015 ft) mountain of the Bernese Alps, overlooking Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland, just north of the main watershed and border with Valais. It is the easternmost peak of a ridge crest that extends across the Mönch to the Jungfrau at 4,158 m (13,642 ft), constituting one of the most emblematic sights of the Swiss Alps. While the northern side of the mountain rises more than 3,000 m (10,000 ft) above the two valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, the southern side faces the large glaciers of the Jungfrau-Aletsch area, the most glaciated region in the Alps. The most notable feature of the Eiger is its nearly 1,800-metre-high (5,900 ft) north face of rock and ice, named Eiger-Nordwand, Eigerwand or just Nordwand, which is the biggest north face in the Alps. This huge face towers over the resort of Kleine Scheidegg at its base, on the homonymous pass connecting the two valleys.

Grindelwald Municipality in Switzerland in Bern

Grindelwald is a village and municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the canton of Berne in Switzerland. In addition to the village of Grindelwald, the municipality also includes the settlements of Alpiglen, Burglauenen, Grund, Itramen, Mühlebach, Schwendi, Tschingelberg and Wargistal.


The Mönch at 4,110 metres (13,480 ft) is a mountain in the Bernese Alps, in Switzerland. Together with the Eiger and the Jungfrau, it forms a highly recognisable group of mountains, visible from far away.


The Jungfraujoch is a saddle connecting two major 4000ers of the Bernese Alps: the Jungfrau and the Mönch. It lies at an elevation of 3,463 metres (11,362 ft) above sea level and is directly overlooked by the rocky prominence of the Sphinx. The Jungfraujoch is a glacier saddle, on the upper snows of the Aletsch Glacier, and part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch area, situated on the boundary between the cantons of Bern and Valais, halfway between Interlaken and Fiesch.

Wengen Former municipality of Switzerland in Bern

Wengen is a mountain village in the Bernese Oberland of central Switzerland. Located in the canton of Bern at an elevation of 1,274 m (4,180 ft) above sea level, it is part of the Jungfrauregion and has approximately 1,300 year-round residents, which swells to 5,000 during summer and to 10,000 in the winter. Wengen hosts the classic Lauberhorn ski races of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in January.


The Wengernalp is an alpine meadow at an elevation of 1874 m, above Wengen in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland.

Bernese Oberland

The Bernese Oberland is the higher part of the canton of Bern, Switzerland, in the southern end of the canton, and one of the canton's five administrative regions.

Jungfrau Marathon

The Jungfrau Marathon is one of the best known mountain marathons in the world, in full view of the famous Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains in the Bernese Oberland area of the Swiss Alps.

Jungfrau Region

The Jungfrau Region is a region of the Bernese Oberland, at the foot of the Bernese Alps. It consists of two valleys south of Interlaken: that of Grindelwald and that of Lauterbrunnen, both drained by the Lütschine.

Zweilütschinen railway station

Zweilütschinen railway station is a railway station in the municipality of Gündlischwand in the Swiss canton of Bern. The station is on the Berner Oberland Bahn, whose trains operate services to Interlaken Ost, Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen. It takes its name from the hamlet of Zweilütschinen, which itself is named after the nearby confluence of the White and the Black branches of the Lütschine river.

Kleine Scheidegg railway station

Kleine Scheidegg is a railway station and hub that is situated on the summit of Kleine Scheidegg, a mountain pass in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. The pass, located between the Lauberhorn and the Eiger's ridge, houses a complex of hotels and railway buildings. Administratively, the station is in the municipality of Lauterbrunnen in the canton of Bern, a few metres from the border with the municipality of Grindelwald.

Wengernalp railway station

Wengernalp is a request stop railway station in the municipality of Lauterbrunnen in the Swiss canton of Bern. The station is on the Wengernalpbahn (WAB), whose trains operate from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg via Wengen. It takes its name from the alpine meadow of Wengernalp on which it is situated.

Eigergletscher railway station

Eigergletscher is a railway station in the municipality of Lauterbrunnen in the canton of Bern. The station is served by trains of the Jungfrau railway, which run to the Jungfraujoch from Kleine Scheidegg, where they connect with services from Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen and Grindelwald via the Bernese Oberland railway and the Wengernalp railway.

Eigerwand railway station

Eigerwand is an underground railway station on the Jungfrau railway, which runs to the Jungfraujoch from Kleine Scheidegg. The station is situated just behind the north wall of the Eiger, and its principal purpose was to allow passengers to observe the view through a series of windows carved into the rock face. To that end, uphill trains used to stop at the station for five minutes.

Jungfraujoch railway station

Jungfraujoch is an underground railway station situated near the Jungfraujoch, in the canton of Valais, a few metres from the border with the canton of Bern. At 3,454 meters (11,332 ft) above sea level, it is the terminus of the Jungfrau Railway and the highest railway station in Switzerland and Europe. The Jungfrau Railway runs from Kleine Scheidegg in the Bernese Oberland, through the Jungfrau Tunnel and crosses the border between the two cantons shortly before the terminus.

Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area

The Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area is located in south-western Switzerland between the cantons of Berne and Valais. It is a mountainous region in the easternmost side of the Bernese Alps, containing the northern wall of Jungfrau and Eiger, and the largest glaciated area in western Eurasia, comprising the Aletsch Glacier. The Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area is the first World Natural Heritage site in the Alps; it was inscribed in 2001.


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