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The Gornergrat & The Matterhorn

May 19, 2022 07:59AM
After shooting in the Harz Mountains, my next off days on tour found me in Zermatt, Switzerland, where I'd long dreamed of getting to see the Matterhorn and ride/photograph the meter gauge Gornergrat Bahn. Opened in 1898, the Gornergrat was the first electric rack railway in Switzerland (second in the world) and it climbs an astonishing 1,469 meters in elevation over the course of just 9.4 kilometers of distance. The views of the Matterhorn and surrounding mountains are jaw dropping on the way up, and the 360-degree panorama of the Swiss Alps at the top of the Gornergrat is simply breathtaking.

The line is designed to accommodate the many hikers who also love this area, so while the train ticket isn't cheap, you can get on and off at each stop to explore and walk different sections before reboarding a different train with your same ticket, which I found helpful for maximizing photography opportunities. For my photo adventure, I got up early and hiked to the dramatic bridge just before the first stop of Findelbach. It was a steep climb, but the views were spectacular and well worth the effort. At that hour, the sunlight hadn't quite crept low enough into the canyon to light up the bridge, so I had to wait for the next round of trains to come by 48 minutes later. (During that time, I spotted a chamois--which is like an alpine antelope--on the far side of the canyon who had become stuck in a gate at the Findelbach station. By the time I got over there, a work train had arrived and spotted him, too, and shortly after that a local vet was on the scene to help free the poor guy. Fortunately, after they got him out and inspected him, he bounded off in good spirits, so I hope he's out there doing well right now.)

At Findelbach, I boarded the train and rode it all the way to the summit, where snow still covered everything. I hiked towards the last bridge of the line to get some shots of approaching and departing trains near the summit, but clouds began to move in and swallow the peak of the Matterhorn, so I took that as my sign to head up to the patio and enjoy some lunch and views of the other mountains that surrounded us. Once the Matterhorn started to reappear, I jumped onboard the next train and began working my way back down the mountain, getting off at each stop and hiking back up to photo locations that I'd spotted while riding.

It's hard to overstate how steep this line is and how exhausting it is to hike on foot. At the end of the day, my iPhone told me I climbed the equivalent of 244 stories, and I was definitely feeling it by the time I finally returned to Zermatt, but it was worth it to cross another line of the bucket list. Now for a Toblerone!

Gornergrat 1.jpg

Crossing the viaduct at Findelbach

Gornergrat 4.jpg

Approaching the summit

Gornergrat 7.jpg

The Matterhorn looms large over the whole trip

Gornergrat 6.jpg

While the Matterhorn is the main attraction, the mountain views are stunning in every direction

Gornergrat 2.jpg

This was a terrifying bridge to walk across (you can see through the metal grating all the way down) and the whole trip will definitely have me reconsidering what I consider "steep" next time I'm back in Durango...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/19/2022 07:59AM by anthonydamato.
Subject Author Posted

The Gornergrat & The Matterhorn Attachments

anthonydamato May 19, 2022 07:59AM

Re: The Gornergrat & The Matterhorn

Yard Limit May 19, 2022 08:19AM

Re: The Gornergrat & The Matterhorn

Jim May 19, 2022 08:52AM

Re: The Gornergrat & The Matterhorn

trainrider47 May 19, 2022 09:19AM

Re: Wengen and the Jungfrau . . .

Russo Loco May 22, 2022 06:34PM

Re: Wengen and the Jungfrau . . . Attachments

anthonydamato May 22, 2022 07:33PM

You captured it beautifully

John West May 22, 2022 09:21PM

Re: You captured it beautifully

Jim May 22, 2022 10:32PM

Re: Wengen and the Jungfrau . . . Attachments

Olaf Rasmussen May 22, 2022 11:00PM

Re: Wengen and the Jungfrau . . .

anthonydamato May 23, 2022 11:54AM

Re: BEAUTIFUL Photos . . . thumbs upthumbs up

Russo Loco May 23, 2022 01:03PM

Re: The Gornergrat & The Matterhorn

Tom Miller May 19, 2022 11:27AM

Re: The Gornergrat & The Matterhorn

nscaler2 May 20, 2022 09:00AM

Re: The Gornergrat & The Matterhorn

anthonydamato May 20, 2022 09:25AM

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