We started from the Jungfraujoch at the left, and finished at Oberaar, climbing the Finsteraarhorn and Unteraarhorn on the way

Jungfraujoch to Grimsel Pass,
(22.5 miles, 9000' ascent) August 1967

There can't be many people who buy a one-way ticket to the Jungfraujoch, certainly not in 1967 before the travel industry got its act together offering trekking holidays to every region of the planet. My father, our guide and I duly boarded the train at Grindelwald. The railway makes a big zig-zag inside the Eiger itself on its way the the Jungfraujoch at 11,376m. It stops at one point, offering passengers the chance to walk along a short tunnel to witness the stupendous view down the North face itself. On reaching the Jungfraujoch, the cold and effects of altitude are noticed.

View down the North face of the Eiger from the railway tunnel
The Finsteraarhorn hut

We donned crampons and set off on the easy descent down the Jungfraufirn to Konkordiaplatz, a great glacier crossroads. From here, we turned left up to the Grunhornlucke, where we descended down to the Fiescher glacier and the Finsteraarhorn hut (10,000') perched on a promontory.

The next morning we arose at 4am, and headed out into the cold starry night. We ascended steadily up a track until the day dawned with first pink, then orange colours over the snowy mountains. This is always a magical moment. We had by now reached snow slopes, which we followed to a notch on the ridgeline. A short easy scramble led us to the summit of the Finsteraarhorn at just over 14,000', with its dramatic eastern precipice.

Dawn over the Gross Wannenhorn and Fiescher Gabelhorn
My father on the summit of the Finsteraarhorn with the Schreckhorn and Lauteraarhorn behind
The Fiescher glacier
Looking towards Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn and the Weisshorn

We descended back to the hut for a short rest, before continuing a short way down the Fiescher Glacier to the point where it was possible to turn eastwards to the Unteraarjoch hut. It seems that the Swiss military use the glacier for firing practice. Disconcertingly, our guide was in the habit of picking up unexploded shells, and tossing them into the nearest crevasse!

The next morning we made the short and easy ascent of the Unteraarhorn, before descending the valley to the Oberaar Berghaus. A pre-arranged taxi took us via the Grimsel Pass back to Grindelwald.