Print-Friendly Version
Add this event to your calendar (Outlook, iCalendar)
Add REGISTRATION REMINDER to your calendar

REGISTRATION & PAYMENT REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page. This is a paid event with payment managed by the trip leader(s) and NOT the AOC. Please read the event description carefully for payment details and instructions.

Crossing the Alps from Switzerland to Italy With Optional Trip to Munich

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Switzerland Italy and Germany
Date(s) & Time:Fri, Jun 28 2013  3:00 pm >> Sun, Jul 7 2013 9:00 pm
Registration Opens: Mon, Oct 1 2012 7:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Mon, Oct 1 2012 7:00 pm
Event Duration:9 Days 6 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult
Distance:58 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Richard A. Zalik
Nancy L
Email Trip Leader(s)
You must be logged in to get the Trip Leader contact information.
Member Cost:$1,512.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:19
Minimum Group Size:10
Number Registered So Far: 12 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


The Sbrinz Route:


Before the completion of the Gotthard railway tunnel through the Alps in the 1880s, north-south trade was conducted by men called sumpters, who for centuries crossed alpine passes, braving the elements, banditry, extortionate tolls and disease.

Volumes have been written about the trade conducted over the Gotthard route, as well as the Simplon and Great St Bernard passes, but little about the ancient Sbrinz route, which was already in use in Roman times.

On this route, men were hired to transport salt and hard Sbrinz cheese from central Switzerland to Val Formazza in Italy, which meant crossing three passes – the Brünig, Grimsel and Gries.

Once a sought-after product in northern Italy Sbrinz cheese has suffered in recent decades. A small percentage of what is produced is still exported to Italy, but even the Swiss prefer the Italian equivalent, Parmesan.

We will walk 58 miles on the  Sbrinz route from Wolfenschiessen, which is near Lucerne in Central Switzerland , all the way to Ponte in Northern Italy, crossing the Alps along the way. We will sleep in two or three star hotels. Our suitcases will be trucked from hotel to hotel and we will carry only a daypack. The  trail reaches a maximum altitude of a little over 8,300 ft. 


Tuesday 6/25. Participants in the optional trip to Munich (MUC) leave Atlanta (ATL) in the afternoon.

Wednesday 6/26. Arrive in Munich, check into hotel. Tour downtown Munich. Visit to the Hofbrauhaus.

Thursday 6/27. Trip and hike to Kloster Andechs or visit to Dachau concentration camp.

Friday 6/28. Participants that are in Munich visit the BMW museum and Olympic Park. In the afternoon take train to Zurich. Arrive in Zurich in the evening and check into hotel. Other participants leave Atlanta (ATL) in the afternoon.

Saturday 6/29. Both groups meet at Zurich Airport and take train from Zurich Airport to Stans, changing trains in Lucerne. Check in at the hotel. In the evening meet the local coordinator for a welcome drink.

Sunday 6/30. We take a short train ride to Wolfenschiessen, where we begin our walk.
Itinerary: Wolfenschiessen - Grafenort - Engelberg .Walking time: 3.5 hours.
Walking Distance: 13 Km.
Elevation:Wolfenschiessen 510 m, Grafenort 569 m,  Engelberg, 1004 m.

Monday 7/1. Itinerary: Engelberg – Untertrübsee – Trübsee – Jochpass – Engstlenalp
Walking Time: 7 hours.
Walking Distance: 12 Km.
Elevation: Engelberg, 1004 m, Jochpass 2207 m, Engstlenalp 1834 m.

Tuesday 7/2. Itinerary:Engstlenalp – Innertkirchen
Walking Time: 4.5 hours.
Walking Distance: 13 Km.
Elevation: Engstlenalp 1834 m, Innertkirchen 625


Wednesday 7/3. Itinerary:  Innertkirchen – Guttannen -Handegg  (Handeck)
Walking Time: Six hours.
Walking Distance: 15 Km.
Elevation: Innertkirchen 625 m, Handegg 1401 m.

Thursday 7/4. Itinerary: Handegg – Grimselpass – Obergesteln.
Walking Time: Seven Hours.
Walking Distance: 17 Km.
Elevation: Handegg 1401 m,  Grimselpass 2165 m, Obergesteln 1355 m.

Friday 7/5. Itinerary: Obergesteln – Griespass – Riale (Italy).

Walking Time: 7.5 hours.
Walking Distance: 20 Km.
Elevation: Obergesteln1355 m, Griespass  2479 m, Riale 1728 m.
(I could not take pictures at the top of the pass because of bad weather).

Saturday 7/6. Itinerary: Riale to Ponte.
Walking Time: 2.5 hours.
Walking Distance: 7 Km.
Elevation: Riale 1728 m, Ponte  1280 m.
From Ponte we will go by bus back to Zurich. Overnight in Zurich, in a hotel within walking distance of the train station.

Sunday 7/7. In the morning we take a local train for a short ride to the airport. We arrive in Atlanta in the evening.

NOTE: We will schedule several meetings to answer questions and organize ourselves.


Required Items to Bring:

US Citizens only need a valid passport with an expiration date at least six months beyond the end of the trip.

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

- Hiking boots
- Sandals
- Sun hat
- Several changes of clothing
- Rain gear
- Gloves
- Extra socks
- Toiletries
- Sunglasses
- Sunscreen
- Insect repellent and after bite medication
- Lip balm
- Personal First-aid kit
- Head lamp and batteries
- Water bottle
- Camera
- Binoculars
- Trekking poles.
- Toilet paper

- Ear plugs


Payment Schedule: A deposit of $300 ($500 for participants in optional trip to Munich) must be received by Wilhelm (Lemmy) Lembeck by January 8, 2013. The balance must be received by Wilhelm (Lemmy) Lembeck by March 4, 2013. Payment instructions will be sent to you after you register.

Registration Requirements:We are seeking persons who are able to meet the physical challenges and enjoy the fellowship of other hikers. To participate in this event you must be either an AOC trip leader or be recommended by an AOC trip leader. If you wish to participate in this event you must place yourself on the waiting list. Once we verify you satisfy the requirements, we will move you to the list of participants.

In addition to sending us your payment, please email us the following information: Your name as it appears in your passport, your country of citizenship, and your address.

We will sleep in three star hotels or, where none are available, in two star hotels.The rooms have two, three or four beds. Please indicate your sleeping preferences. We will do our best to accomodate you, but be prepared to share a room with persons of the opposite sex. Most rooms have private bathrooms.

There will be a standard menu, the same for everybody. If you have any dietary restrictions (e.g. no pork, vegan, etc) please let us know. We may be able to arrange for special meals for a small additional fee.

Weather: It is quite possible that we will have to walk several days in the rain. For example, according to MeteoSwiss during the month of July the town of Engelberg (which we will reach on 6/30) has an average of 15.2 rainy days. Although there are no frost days in July, be prepared to walk in cold and rainy weather.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Member Cost:$1,512.00/Person
Cost Includes:

For participants that do not go to Munich, the cost of $1512 includes:

Lodging in hotels in Switzerland and Italy.

Welcome drink on 6/29.

Local trains in Switzerland and return to Zurich from Ponte.

Breakfast, box lunch and dinner from 6/30 through 7/5, and breakfast on 7/6. 

Transportation of luggage between hotels in Switzerland and Italy. Maximum weight allowed: 20 kg (44 lbs) per person. 

Cost does NOT include anything not explicitly mentioned above, including:
Airfare, either Atlanta-Zurich-Atlanta  (around $1300 if booked early) or Atlanta-Munich & Zurich-Atlanta (around $1400 if booked early), as the case may be, meals on 6/28, 6/29, 7/6 and 7/7 (except for breakfast on 7/6), travel insurance and beverages.

For participants that want to enjoy the optional trip to Munich, the cost is $2154. In addition to the items included above, the cost includes lodging in Munich and the train trip from Munich to Zurich. In addition to the items excluded above, the cost does not include any meals or drinks in Munich or while en route to Zurich.

Participants that will not take the charter bus from Ponte to Zurich will pay $90 less. Participants that do not stay at the hotel in Zurich on 7/6 will get an additional refund, but we will not know the amount until we book the rooms.

The price of the trips was calculated assuming rates of exchange of 1.25 USD for 1 Euro and 1.04 USD for one Swiss Franc. We added a 10% buffer for possible exchange rate fluctuations, price changes, etc. After the hike we will reimburse any funds left. 

Make a Payment:Although there is a cost for this event, you do not pay through the AOC. Please review the event details carefully for information about how/where to make your payment.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.

If you cancel before the money has been wired to the local (Swiss) coordinator your payment will be refunded in full, except for already paid “group expenses”, e.g. to hotels to secure the best prices possible. We will of course try our very best to negotiate with the hotel to get a refund. Otherwise no refund is possible. However, it is possible to replace one participant for another. The deadline for replacing participants is one week before departure from Atlanta. To implement the change both the old and the new participant must send us an email confirming the change, which we must approve. The new participant must also furnish the required personal information.