We started Easter Sunday at 0800, enjoying the Jungfrau's great continental breakfast. The options were a big day hike or a pricey but scenic gondola ride up to the Schilthorn peak
. We decided on the former, since standing at a summit and looking around sounded less awesome than hiking the mountain and looking for goats. Actually the ideal would have been both (gondola up, hike down), but the concierge told us the snow was still pretty deep at the peak.
There was actually a chance of both (gondola up, hike down), but the concierge told us it was snowshoe-depth up there. She instead drew out a loop around the area
that covered about 1500' elevation.
The route started on single-lane maintenance roads, but once we reached the valley south of the Car Free Town of Gimmelwald, it curled up into ski pistes with the 'trail' simply following the gentlest grade.
The snow was mostly well-packed and mostly thin, but the hike was neither easy nor completely free of knee-deep sections. With some effort, we made it to the cutover just under Schiltalp and swung back into the big bowl above Murren.
The descent was pretty spectacular, we traded looking down on the Birg gondola for looking up at it.
Crossing the bowl, we climbed another rise and circled the backside to return to the northern tip of town. No goats, but lots of exercise and views.
We made good enough time on the hike that we were back at the hotel just after noon, so we decided to execute on the second of our options. The summit featured an all-you-can-eat-brunch in a rotating restaurant, so that seemed like as good a lunch plan as any.
The summit gondola - from Murren - was of course $80 apiece. It was a two-segment ride (via Berg) to what was used as Blofeld's lair in On Her Majesty's Secret Service
. They really milk that fact. Everything is 007 branded, especially the brunch.
The experience was just about worth the price tag. There were 360 views of the other peaks and then down toward Interlaken and Bern. The buffet was good enough and included prosecco. And there were two attractions that didn't cost extra - the mini 007 museum and the cliffside scaffolding walk.
The touristy summit experience combined with the holiday crowd and people trying to get the last bit of skiing in meant that there were hundreds of people waiting for a single gondola down.
After some relaxing back at the hotel, we took a sunset stroll down the tracks that run along the cliffs.