Switzerland is filled with wonderful, amazing, unique diverse places. The Lauterbraunnen Valley in the Bernese Alps is one of these places. It is one of the deepest trough valleys in the alps. The mountains, with their visible limestone, rise directly up on either side of the valley. They are perpendicular to the valley floor. Since the valley is only about a kilometer wide, the dramatic cliffs are everywhere you look.
Snowmelt + cliffs = waterfalls. The Lauterbrunnen Valley is filled with them; there are 72. The largest and most well known is Staubach Falls. Others include: Trümmelbach and Schmadrifällen. We drove into the valley at night and could hear the falls. The next morning we woke up to this view!
The cliffs on either side make it a paradise for base jumpers (just take a look at the second photo to see where the spot where they jump). While the vertical valley walls may be great for base jumpers, you can imagine what happens when it snows. Avalanches are a huge danger. This is Switzerland, they’re prepared. Avalanche shelters dot the valley floor.
They also attack the problem from up above. These snow fences were at high altitudes to protect towns. This one is protecting Wengen (a town just above the valley).
We aren’t the only ones who like this area. In 1911, J. R. R. Tolkien hiked from nearby Interlaken to the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The valley’s landscape made a powerful impression and was a model for his sketches and watercolours of the fictitious valley of Middle-earth‘s Rivendell valley, in his The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books. It was a setting for the car chase in the 1969 James Bond (George Lazenby) film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It’s the one where Bond escapes from Schilthorn by skiing down the mountain to reach the nearby village of Mürren at its base.
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