Cycling Tour 2005: Susten - Grimsel - Furka


Left: Haslital with Räterichsbodensee (storage reservoir) seen from the summit of the Grimselpass (north slope); red arrow points to Innertkirchen (start of Grimsel ascent). Right: view from the Furka passroad (west slope). The Furka passroad can be seen on the foreground and at the left side of the valley. The road at the background is the south slope of the Grimsel passroad. More images.



After the successful Furka-Nufenen-Gotthard trip it was obvious that we also had to beat the other nearby trio: Susten,Grimsel and Furka.
The east slope of the Sustenpass starts in Wassen, along the Gotthard road, 4 km downhill from Göschenen (see previous day). The pass was constructed between 1938 and 1945. Due to its height (2224 m) and relatively shaded position of the summit it is not uncommon to find some snow near the most elevated parts of the road. Landscape, gradient profile (very regular) and road condition make the Susten to one of the more attractive alpine passes. In particular the west slope (descent towards Innertkirchen) is appealing.

Beating the Grimselpass proved more difficult that expected on the basis of its gradient profile. With a height difference of more than 1500 m between Innertkirchen and the summit (26 km) it was our biggest and longest climb. Moreover, the gradient profile of the Grimsel is quite irregular, which makes it more difficult to find the right cadence.
There are several tunnels, the longest of them is closed for cyclists. They have to use the original, 110 years old "outside" road, which leads to a beautiful, narrow gorge in the Haslital. Just below the summit the road winds with a number of zigzags to two storage reservoirs.

Climbing the west slope of the Furkapass is rather straightforward, firstly a gradient of on average 7%, then a steeper, eight hairpin section, followed by an easy going final kilometer to the summit. The last 18 kilometers, downhill to Realp and Hospental were choice: not much traffic anymore, and shower and diner were close at hand. See day 4: Furka-Nufenen-Gotthard for further details.

Some figures:
Length: 120 km, total height difference: 3407 meters.
Total time Ward: 6h19', average speed Ward: 19.2 km/h.
Total time Oof: 8h16', average speed Oof: 14.4 km/h.

Click here for a gradient profile of the daytrip and detailed profiles of the individual climbs.

Navigation: Start page | Day 1-3: Schwarzwald | Day 4: Furka-Nufenen-Gotthard | Day 5: Oberalp-Göscheneralpsee | Finally | Map of Central Switzerland (appears in separate window).


Profiles and more images.

The gradient profiles of the trip on day 5 has been made by Ward Oud in Matlab, based on the read out of his Polar S720i
Note that the given heights are based on the Polar readout, which may differ from map readings.

Click for detailed profiles of: Sustenpass (east slope) | Grimselpass (north slope) | Furkapass (west slope).



Summit of the Sustenpass (left) and Grimselpass (right); see day 4 for photos of the Furkapass.


Left: viaducht and tunnel in the Susten passroad, shortly after leaving Wassen. Click on photo for an enlagement (will be displayed in separate window).
Right: view from the Sustenpass summit in southwestern direction, with Steinsee, Steingletscher and Gwächtenhorn (3420m).
The Steinsee photo has been taken by Bernd Gehrmann (

Old Grimsel passroad; nowadays cars can take a by-pass tunnel. Click on photo for an enlagement (will be displayed in separate window).