Late October 2014 saw the opening of the spectacular “Peak Walk by Tissot” at the very summit of “Glacier 3000”: a 107 Meter long suspension bridge connects the mountain station with the Scex Rouge’s summit at 3,000 meters above sea level…
From Col du Pillon, it’s an easy ride by giant aerial tram to the mountain station. On the way, the close-in rock faces and view of the Saanenland already give a tantalizing foretaste of what soon awaits you at the summit.
The Glacier 3000 ski area (it is a hiking area to boot) alone is very impressive, but it comes with a stunning panorama presented by Oldenhorn, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and 20 more 4000-er peaks! And it is even more so by wind and weather. But now, since the end of October 2014, they “dotted the i” with the “Peak Walk by Tissot”: From the Glacier 3000 mountain station, designed by Swiss star architect Mario Botta, you first walk across a short bridge and then up a glassed-in staircase to the suspension bridge.
Given said wind and weather, you will appreciate the shelter of the glass covered passage as a chance to check your gear and pull your cap on tighter. Then breathe deeply – at 2,990 m.a.s.l., the air is indeed a little thinner – and up you go the last few steps to a breath-taking adventure…
First suspension bridge between two mountain summits
The suspension bridge is 80 cm wide, 107 meters long and climbs a total of 7 meters as you make your way across to the summit of Scex Rouge with its second observation deck. The bridge is very solidly anchored and only wiggles a tad. Still, people in our group prone to vertigo were relieved to get to the far side without a hitch and an excuse to happily hug Anita, our guide. ;-)
Since the handhold at 1.2 meters is relatively high, you feel safe at all times, although admittedly the wind did cause us to falter now and then! But the bridge was built for safe use at wind speeds up to 200 km/h. No doubt the aerial tram would stop running well before that point…
You get imposing views from both sides of the suspension bridge, with the Saanenland and the Jura mountains spread out on one side and the glacier and Bernese Highland including the Valais on the other. The Matterhorn seen from this spot presents its “back,” rather than the typical “Zermatt” aspect.
An unsolicited comment regarding our video: Yes, the microphone had the windsock mounted on it!
Mountain restaurant “Botta 3000”
After the descent, you warm up to advantage in the Botta 3000 Restaurant over a raclette and white wine. Or tea, of course, if so inclined.
Non-skiers can take an easy walk on the glacier and revel in the spectacular view. In our case, we decided it was too cold and windy that day and so we ordered another round of the white…
Last but not least, here is “The Making of the Peak Walk Suspension Bridge”
Sincere thanks to Kerstin Sonnekalb and Antje Buchs of Gstaad Saanenland Tourism for inviting us to Gstaad and on the “hot ride” up to Glacier 3000 ;-)