• Bern
  • Loading Batteries – Hiking Niederhorn To Habkern

    Tiina Kivelä

    Last Sunday, the last one in Berner Oberland before a three-week break. Had a dear (and fit) friend over and the situation just called for a good hike, this time from Niederhorn to Habkern. Luckily, the weather was also on our side and we had amazing and almost too warm sunny hike day before the typical July afternoon thunderstorm (during which we were already enjoying our well-deserved burgers and beers in Habkern).

    As the style goes, Scandinavian blondes did the trail 2/3 of the time suggested. Even with stopping for few pics and awwwws for the views. I still have problems believing the landscape is real and understanding I can call this place my home. What have I done to deserve this? So grateful, so damn grateful.

    Next time though I’d hike the trail the other way, starting from Habkern and ending in Niederhorn. Because uphills are way funnier than downhills. When hiking and life in general.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina KIvelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Niederhorn to Habkern, map

  • Bern
  • Only For Experienced Mountaineers: Schreckhornhütte 2529m

    Tiina Kivelä

    It was a weekend a few weeks back when last minute planning resulted in one of the best tours ever, a night at Schreckhornhütte, the destination for a bergwandern trail only for “experienced mountaineers“. Which I can’t claim yet. But you have to start somewhere, and when the signpost says “only for experienced mountaineers” there is a point when you keep going even without the experience. Because there’s the first time for everything.

    Nevertheless, for a similar trip without the experience, I do suggest you either hire a guide or take along companions with more experience and skills; people who you can trust no matter what. On the SAC trekkingscale, our trail was level 4, which we made even more challenging by our timing, just before the official season. During the official season, the trails have ladders and wires to support hikers on their way, and the huts have service like food. This time we could only lean on our experience and pure courage. And good weather forecast.


    On this trip, we were self-catered, both on the trail and in the hut, where only the winter room facilities were at our service. Nevertheless, it was one of the best trips I’ve ever done. Basically in my backyard, which I miss a lot now when in Zürich. It’s all good here, but no mountains or glaciers as easily accessible as there.

    That Saturday, I decided to join the mixed group last minute. The first two of our group had left earlier for some glacier training; the ones I’m now used to follow almost everywhere. And then there were the two paragliders, flying the last part of the hike back on Sunday. And then there was me and my favourite couple (thanks for the ride L&A). It wasn’t an easy trip for any of us, though definitely worth the effort with the mountains and glaciers and views to Finsteraarhorn, the highest peak in Berner Oberland (4274 m).

    Normally, when route descriptions say 3h, I can take appr. 1h off the overall time, but this tour proved that when it’s level 4, the 5h description was more than accurate. And so, leaving quite late on Saturday, first driving to Gindelwald and taking the cable car up to Pfingstegg (8CHF with SBB half-far travelcard, in 2017) from where the initial hike started, we finally reached the hüt just in time before dark.

    On the way, we were “guided” by a steinbock couple and motivated by the desire to find our way to the cabin before sunset. Stopping briefly at Berghaus Bäregg on our way, to fill our water bottles, while the paragliders collected information of flying possibilities from there for the next day. And finally, after a bit scary and very challenging hike along the exposed path next to the Obers Ischmeer glacier, we met the first “group” around the corner of the cabin, just when the sky started to turn golden. And enjoyed a magnificent sunset with well-earned sip of wine.

    Tiina Kivelä


    This weekend, we got the whole hut to ourselves. Or not the whole hüt exactly, but the parts open as so-called winter room. There was even enough room to separate the snoring ones, which is a real luxury in mountain settings. Normally, the snores, smell and unknown people belong to the most authentic mountain experience. But here’s a reason I love the off-season in the mountains; fewer people, more space and authentic off-season luxury mountaineering experience, when the timing is right.

    For dinner (which btw is always 5* up there, no matter what you are eating) there was wine and extra speciality in the form of porto bottle (extra points for people carrying wine in glass bottles up the mountains!). And then there were the steinbocks and marmots and the best people as company; what else can a girl ask for? There was laughing, there were challenges overcome with the help and support of others (lots of swearing too, I have to admit), and there was just pure joy mixed with the good kind of exhaustion.


    After a good night sleep, there was my quiet morning yoga moment in solitude on the hüt “terrace” (well-needed with all the stress I’ve had related to the move and life changes in general), while two of us started their climb to higher mountains and others continued sleeping a bit later. And for some reason, I came back from the trip with one inner sole less of my amazing Lowa shoes. I have the feeling those curious marmots I saw that morning had something to do with this, or then it was just the tired me leaving it to dry in the sun eternally. Nevertheless, no matter what the initial reason, the sole has now been replaced by the lovely customer service of Lowa, and I can keep on going further and higher on these mountains.

    Once again I have to say these really are the kind of days and nights I’ve learned to love the most. Going forward, going higher and learning so much. This time the biggest lesson was to learn how tall the crevasses of the glaciers really are. A humbling experience indeed. Obers Ischmeer and Finsteraarhorn were magnificent, especially seeing them this close. Walking past them and standing below them, I also started to think that maybe a glacier and/or mountaineering training course would be good to take at some point. Because no matter how scary, glaciers and high mountains are oh so tempting and I want to have more of them and learn more (and krhm climb a >4000m peak before I turn 30). Zürich is nice but… I guess I was spoiled by Berner Oberland so that now I can’t be too long a time away from the mountains.

    Luckily though, SBB serves quite well, to the mountains and back. And these guys just keep on being themselves no matter where we meet. Though best enjoyed in the mountains.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Schreckhornhütte SAC 2’650’592.125, 1’159’206.469, from Grindelwald



  • BLOG

    Tiina Kivelä

    Untypical news coming from me. I took a kind of a vacation. Yes, me who normally has this strange stupid habit of skipping every holiday more than few days. This might have something to do with the general job and life situation for our generation, though. Nevertheless, now I decided I simply deserved and needed this, and oh boy how good it feels! To have time to read and travel and cook and explore the surroundings, etc. Just for fun.

    It’s a quite of an unusual state of mind for me, this vacation state of mind, and for not to shock myself I started with a simple staycation at home in the Bernese Oberland. Finishing the few books I took with me when moving here a year ago, and going through the New Yorkers and other magazines which have mainly piled up on my bedside table unread, while I was going through the work overload I had this spring. The weather has also been awesome, lucky me, and I’m taking the most out of the sunny days and the region, biking and hiking and swimming as much as possible. Bruises and scratches and tanned skin tell that fun I’ve had already.

    The restless soul I am, I’m also dreaming of road trips, Italy, maybe surfing in Morocco too. And to really take this holiday to the next level I’ll fly to Spain next week, to have a proper getaway with the girls and tapas. Until that, I’ll continue chilling close to the coffee mug and my readings and writings. And the mountains, of course.  Bernese Oberland is not a bad place for a staycation, not at all.

    Tiina Kivelä


    Tiina Kivelä



    Otin näille viikoille hieman omaa lomaa, ja miten mahtavalta se tuntuukaan. Jos en ole jo aiemmin kertonut tai et muuten vain sitä vielä tiedä, niin olen useimmiten todella surkea lomailija, suurimmaksi osaksi täysin itsestäni riippumattomista syistä kylläkin. Mutta nyt, intensiivisen ensimmäisen Sveitsivuoden jatkoksi, päätin että olen lomani ansainnut. Kun universumi vielä antoi siihen hyvän mahdollisuuden vetämällä alta muutamat näille kuukausille suunnitellut työprojektit, niin tässä sitä nyt ollaan, vapaaherrattarena Sveitsissä.

    Ja millä sopivalla hetkellä! Kesä on vihdoin tullut bernin ylämaille ja kun lämpötilat ovat hiponeet lähellä kolmekymmentä jo viikon verran (kuulemma Lapissa edelleen hiihdetään) on staycationilla aloitettu loma hemmotellut jo mitä parhaiten työntäyteisen talven ja kevään väsyttämää ihmistä. Hiljalleen paikalleen tuntuvat liikahtelevan sekä lihakset että päänsisäiset ajatukset, jotka ovat olleetkin aikamoisessa sekasotkussa viimeisen vuoden kaikkien ärsykkeiden keskellä. Sotku ei ole ollut pelkästään huono juttu, vuoden aikana kerätyt kokemukset ja opit olen ottanut lähes kaikki suurella ilolla vastaan, mutta jossain vaiheessa on asiat pistettävä järjestykseen sveitsiläisellä tarkkuudella (paikallinen pankkini UBS lähettää muuten tiliotteet valmiiksi mappeja varten rei’itettyinä).

    Vihdoin minulla on aikaa lukea ja matkailla kunnolla, ihan vain huvikseni. Ja koluta kaikki lähitienoon pyörä- ja vaellusreitit; mustelmia, naarmuja ja auringossa paahtunutta (aurinkosuoja +50 aina, toim. huom.) ihoa onkin jo kertynyt mukavasti.  Tämä viikko menee vielä kotimaisemissa kirjojen, järvien ja bernin vuorien kainalossa, mutta ensi viikolla siirrän isommalle vaihteelle ja otan lennon Espanjaan, tarkemmin sanottuna Granadaan.

    Antaa tulla, roadtripit ja junamatkat ja vieraat kylät. Olen lomalla.