We spent last weekend in Wengen with Emma and Alessio. Wengen is a little town high in the Berner Oberland. On the Sunday, as the weather was very cloudy and rain threatened all day, we decided to forego the mountains and instead explore the Lauterbrunnen valley. The town of Lauterbrunnen is only a short train ride down the mountain from Wengen. The valley itself is famous for its waterfalls, there are apparently 72 in all. We only passed a few as we did not wander too far from the town. The most famous of these 72 waterfalls is the Trümmelbach Falls. Funnily enough, this is probably the only waterfall which you cannot see from the valley. For one of the special aspects of Trümmelbach is that the water falls down entirely inside the mountain, with only the tiniest of gaps to the outside. So there is no spectacular rush of water to look at from the outside. In fact you can barely see the water as you approach the entrance to the Falls. Here is the photo I took of the water as it emerges from the Falls.
It is very different once you get inside. There is not just one waterfall, but ten, all hidden from view. However you can get an inside view of all ten waterfalls, thanks to another impressive feat of Swiss ingenuity and engineering. A series of steps takes you up to the top, with viewing points for each of the ten falls. To make things a bit easier there is a lift which takes you half-way up, saving a bit of leg power. The upper falls are all way inside the mountain and you go through tunnels to reach each new fall. However electric lights enable you to see the spectacular and jagged contours of the falls as they tumble down the mountain. It can get pretty cold and wet in these tunnels, so wear suitable clothing and footwear if you ever get the chance to visit Trümmelbach. Here are a couple of snaps from inside the upper falls.
These photos give a glimpse of the power of the water as it forces its way through the mountain. This short video should give a better impression of the forces unleashed inside the mountain.
The Trümmelbach Falls carries around 20 000 litres of water per second and in the region of 20 000 tonos of boulder detritus per year. All this comes from the great Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau glaciers which all drain into the Trümmelbach. The waterfalls are a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site.
On our route to and from Trümmelbach we passed two of the other 71 waterfalls in the valley. These ones just come tumbling down the almost sheer cliff like face of the mountainside. Just outside the town of Lauterbrunnen is the Staubbach waterfall. Below are a couple of views of this waterfall. The first shows the whole fall, while the second is a close up of part of the cascade.
Finally a wide shot of the next waterfall along the valley – the Spiss waterfall. All in all this was a most enjoyable and unexpectedly pleasurable outing.