Grimsel Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.164m (7,100ft) above the sea level. The road is normally closed between October and May, due to the high snowfall on the pass. It's one of thehighest paved roads of the Alps.
The road encompasses miles of stunning views through twisty hair pin corners, high elevations and steep grades. It’s a road that was artfully drawn on the landscape, basically traffic free. The road leads along many sparkling reservoir lakes with more marvelous views to enjoy. This Swiss high mountain pass links the Hasli Valley in the Bernese Oberland with the Goms district in the Valais. It is located near the source of the Rhone at the Rhone Glacier.
The road over the pass was built in 1894, and was the only way to get over the Bernese Alps in Wallis. Over the pass, the views look like a lunar landscape. Due to the high altitude of the pass, and its continental location, the climate is cool or cold all year round, and receives a fair amount of precipitation year round (the majority of which is snow). Snow usually falls from late September until late June, although during cool spells, it can snow at the height of Summer.
Approaching from the North, the pass climbs up through lush forests, with wide smooth sweeping roads, this then gradually opens into a granite like valley either side, where the views begin to open up, and the road starts to become more twisty. The final ascent to the top is one of the best, with some great switchbacks, and excellent views ahead throughout, there are very few blind bends or unsighted crests. The run back down from the top is much more narrow, the road not quite so smooth, however still fun, but you do have to concentrate all the way down to the valley floor, as on-coming traffic can be difficult to negotiate along some stretches, and there are a number of blind bends. All in a 5 stars road.
Grimsel Pass doesn’t offer much of danger but it’s dubbed one of the world’s most insane roads. It is tightly hairpinned and bumped, an exquisite winding mountain drive with sharp and blind curves and hairpin switchbacks leading the traveler over the mountains. The pass road runs through a wild, sparsely grown mountainous region marked by granite rocks, reservoir lakes, and power plants.
Also in the area there’s the Grimsel Test Site, used for research into underground radioactive waste disposal.The road over the pass traverses a wild and barren mountain landscape where the main features are granite rock formations, reservoirs and power stations. Also worth mentioning is a service road at the level of the hotel Alpenroesli just before the pass. It leads to Oberaar storage lake and opens a wonderful view to the glaciers. This road is controlled by a traffic light that releases every half hour alternating the direction of travel.
There are 2 routes to reach the summit. Starting from Oberwald, the ascent is 12.1 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 797 meters. The average percentage is 6.6 % and the maximum slope is 11 %. And starting from Innertkirchen, the ascent is 26 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.540 meters. The average percentage is 5.9 % and the maximum slope is 11 %. It’s a big, long climb – with uneven grading, sometimes very steep, sometimes false flat, but relentless. There are quite a few tunnels up Grimsel. But the two biggest can be avoided by following the old paved cliff road – fine for a road bike. Three others can also be avoided by the old cliff road …. but they are not paved – but fine if not on a road bike.
Pic: Sayed Alemzada