Grimsel Pass

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Grimsel Pass
Blick auf den Grimselsee und den Raeterichsbodensee 0981.jpg
View from the pass on Grimselsee, Grimsel Hospice and Räterichsbodensee
Elevation 2,164 m (7,100 ft)
Location Bern/Valais, Switzerland
Range Alps
Coordinates 46°33.72′N 08°20.34′E / 46.56200°N 8.33900°E / 46.56200; 8.33900Coordinates: 46°33.72′N 08°20.34′E / 46.56200°N 8.33900°E / 46.56200; 8.33900
Grimsel Pass is located in Switzerland
Grimsel Pass
Grimsel Pass
Location in Switzerland

The Grimsel Pass (German: Grimselpass) is a mountain pass in Switzerland, crossing the Bernese Alps at an altitude of 2,164 metres (7,100 ft). The pass connects the upper valley of the Rhone, in the canton of Valais, with the Haslital, the upper valley of the river Aar in the canton of Bern. In so doing, and as the Aar is a tributary of the Rhine, the pass crosses the continental divide between the North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.[1]

The pass is crossed by a paved road, although this is often closed between October and May, due to the high snowfall on the pass. As it is the only direct road pass between the cantons of Bern and Valais across the Bernese Alps, attempts are made to keep the road open as long as possible with snow ploughs. A PostBus Switzerland service crosses the pass several times a day, connecting Meiringen and Oberwald.[2][3]

History[edit]

The first fully documented use of the Grimsel Pass dates back to the 14th century, although it has been suggested that the pass was used in Roman times and also, in 1211, by troops of Berthold V, Duke of Zähringen. In 1397, the Landschaften of Pomat , Goms and Hasli, and the cities of Interlaken, Thun and Bern, signed an agreement in which it was agreed to provide for free and secure trade by the mule track over the Grimsel.[4]

The Grimsel Pass formed, along with the Nufenen and Gries passes, a regional trade route between the Haslital and Domodossola and the Lombardy plain. Cheese and cattle were sent south, whilst wine, rice, corn and olive oil came north. This trade continued until the opening of the Gotthard Railway in 1882.[4]

The track over the pass was not upgraded to a paved road until 1894. Between the 1920s and the 1950s, several hydro-electric power plants were constructed in the area around the pass by Kraftwerke Oberhasli (KWO), which resulted in the expansion and diversion of the pass road. The KWO now promotes the pass and surrounding area as a visitor attraction, as part of its Grimselwelt tourism brand.[4][5]

Climate[edit]

Due to the high altitude of the Pass, and its continental location, the climate is cool or cold all year round, and receives a fair amount of precipitation year round (the majority of which is snow). Snow usually falls from late September until late June, although during cool spells, it can snow at the height of Summer. Most years, permanent snow fields remain at the pass, due to the temperature rarely rising above 15°C. This area has a long winter season, with little precipitation mostly in the form of snow, and low humidity. The Köppen Climate System classifies the climate here as subarctic, and abbreviates this as Dfc.[6]

Climate data for Grimsel Hospiz (1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −2.1
(28.2)
−2.2
(28)
−0.2
(31.6)
2.5
(36.5)
7.6
(45.7)
11.4
(52.5)
14.0
(57.2)
13.7
(56.7)
10.4
(50.7)
7.5
(45.5)
1.6
(34.9)
−1.1
(30)
5.3
(41.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) −5.0
(23)
−5.4
(22.3)
−3.3
(26.1)
−0.6
(30.9)
4.0
(39.2)
7.5
(45.5)
10.0
(50)
9.9
(49.8)
6.9
(44.4)
4.0
(39.2)
−1.2
(29.8)
−4.0
(24.8)
1.9
(35.4)
Average low °C (°F) −8.0
(17.6)
−8.4
(16.9)
−6.4
(20.5)
−3.4
(25.9)
1.1
(34)
4.2
(39.6)
6.6
(43.9)
6.7
(44.1)
4.1
(39.4)
1.4
(34.5)
−3.6
(25.5)
−6.8
(19.8)
−1.0
(30.2)
Precipitation mm (inches) 199
(7.83)
171
(6.73)
184
(7.24)
150
(5.91)
154
(6.06)
133
(5.24)
130
(5.12)
135
(5.31)
128
(5.04)
120
(4.72)
174
(6.85)
181
(7.13)
1,856
(73.07)
Snowfall cm (inches) 203.9
(80.28)
192.7
(75.87)
202.3
(79.65)
151.4
(59.61)
74.9
(29.49)
21.7
(8.54)
3.3
(1.3)
5.2
(2.05)
21.3
(8.39)
53.8
(21.18)
149.5
(58.86)
179.6
(70.71)
1,259.6
(495.91)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 12.1 11.6 14.9 13.3 14.5 14.4 13.6 13.7 11.3 10.8 11.9 12.8 154.9
Avg. snowy days (≥ 1.0 cm) 13.7 13.1 15.5 13.8 6.6 2.7 0.5 0.6 2.5 5.8 11.7 14.3 100.8
 % humidity 66 68 73 76 75 76 75 76 76 70 71 67 72
Mean monthly sunshine hours 71 93 117 105 128 151 173 163 134 114 63 58 1,371
Source: MeteoSwiss [7]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Swiss Confederation. map.geo.admin.ch (Map). http://map.geo.admin.ch/?zoom=5&X=157142.00&Y=669036.00&lang=en&topic=ech&bgLayer=ch.swisstopo.pixelkarte-farbe. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  2. ^ "Pässe in der Schweiz" [Passes in Switzerland] (in German). Touring Club Schweiz. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  3. ^ "Meiringen–Grimsel–Oberwald (Grimselpass-Linie)". Bundesamt für Verkehr. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  4. ^ a b c "Grimselpass" [Grimsel Pass]. Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (in German). 2006-01-30. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  5. ^ "Grimsel Experience". KWO. Retrieved 2014-09-17. 
  6. ^ "Climate Summary for Grimsel". weatherbase.com. CantyMedia. Retrieved 2013-09-11. 
  7. ^ "Climate Norm Value Tables". Climate diagrams and normals from Swiss measuring stations. Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss). Retrieved 31 January 2013.  The weather station elevation is 1,980 meters above sea level.