The Gelmerbahn Funicular was on our “to do” list for the Grimsel area, but the day we arrived at the hotel, we learned that we had to book tickets in advance. The funicular for that day was already sold out. Bummer.
After a hike that took us over the Handeck Bridge (70 meters high above the picturesque Handeck gorge), we stopped at the ticket office to determine if tickets were available for the following day. To our children’s delight, tickets were indeed available. We made a reservation with our hotel and looked forward to taking the entire family up the mountain to the gorgeous Gelmer lake the following day.
Tips! Make reservations in advance -this is a popular experience and books out quickly. Tickets can be purchased at the local tourist office in Grimsel, at your hotel (check in advance) and at the bottom of the Gelmerbahn Funicular.
Tickets cost CHF 32 round trip – CHF 16 one way
Children 6-16 – CHF 12 – CHF 6 one way
The bahn is open from the 6th of June through the 18th of October and runs each day from 9:00 – 16:00 (June, September, October) and until 17:00 (July and August).
Despite what you read below, the funicular was perfectly safe and a beautiful ride up to Gelmer Lake. Worth the visit and quite impressive when you consider the engineering feat this required. Well done Switzerland – you never cease to amaze us!
That was the nice version, here is what I really wanted to say…
“Why not we uttered as we stood in line?” “It looks fun!” exclaimed the children. It seemed like a great idea as the actual steepness of the funicular was skewed from our grounded perspective. Once we were tucked into that little red wagon with a small metal bar holding our legs and bodies in place (where was the five point harness I silently wondered?) as we climbed and descended the 106% grade, I began to question our decision to embark on this journey. Sorry, say that again -106% grade! OK, got it now, or shall I say, yep, I feel it now?
I smiled, and took one for the team. Taking this little trek up to the lake solo – no problem, once you involve my children, I think twice. All that aside, I boldly forced that same fake smile as my mind rolled through each worse case scenario. I tried to push them aside, but seriously, what the hell would happen if the cable broke, the wagon derailed or a rock fell? I envisioned them all, not a single situation left unturned all the while still mustering up a little smirk and I might have even let out the following statement, “Wow… this really is remarkable.”
Truth be told, I didn’t piddle my pants that day, our children had fun, and my husband GoPro’d the hell out of that ride. So, it pays to take one for the team every now and then. After all, what is life without taking a few risks, or on this day, a 106% grade so steep that at particular moments on the grand decent we were forced out of our seats? Oh, and on a side note, I felt utterly confident with our decision to embark on the red wagon for the second time, when my husband looked over at me and said very casually, “Hold on to her dear. No, seriously grab her legs and hold on tightly.” With that same small bar across my lap and the laps of those I love the most, I was ever so grateful to be in Switzerland with their keen attention to detail and excellent engineering. Had this little “ride up to the lake” been in any other country, I would have happily given my 32 francs to an onlooker and asked them to report how it went, when and if, they returned.
But on this day, on the eve of my husband’s 40th, I decided, what the hell, go on, live a little! And so we did and we all had a memorable experience. Thanks Switzerland for getting it oh, so right!