October 23, 2011

0015 SWITZERLAND (Bern) - Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch (UNESCO WHS)

0015 The Eiger and Mönch mountains
seen from Grütschalp railway station

Grütschalp (1,487m) is a station on the Lauterbrunnen-Mürren mountain railway, a hybrid cable car and rail link that connects the villages of Lauterbrunnen and Mürren in the Bernese Oberland region. It is even the point of interchange between the cable car from Lauterbrunnen and the high-level railway from Mürren. The Lauterbrunnen-Mürren line opened in 1891, but until 2006 the connection between Lauterbrunnen and Grütschalp was effected by a funicular railway. The current cable car replaced this when the funicular was damaged by landslides, and uses the same route and adapted terminal stations.

From this station can be seen very well the mountains Eiger (3,970m), Mönch (4,107m) and Jungfrau (4,158m), a ridge crest constituting one of the most emblematic sights of the Swiss Alps. The three mountains are commonly referred to as the Virgin (German: Jungfrau - translates to "virgin" or "maiden"), the Monk (Mönch), and the Ogre (Eiger; the standard German word for ogre is Oger). The Virgin, more shameful, don't appears on the postcard, letting the Monk and the Ogre to come out in the wash.

The Eiger is the easternmost peak of the ridge. While its northern side rises more than 3,000m above the two valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, the southern side faces the glaciers of the Jungfrau-Aletsch area, the most glaciated region in the Alps. Its most notable feature is the 1,800m-high north face of rock and ice, named Nordwand, which is the biggest north face in the Alps. This huge face towers the resort of  Kleine Scheidegg at its base, on the homonymous pass connecting the two valleys.

The first ascent on the west flank of the Eiger was made in 1858, and the north face, considered amongst the most challenging and dangerous ascents, was first climbed in 1938. The Eiger has been highly-publicized for the many tragedies involving climbing expeditions. Since 1935, at least 64 climbers have died attempting the north face, earning it the German nickname Mordwand, literally "murder(ous) wall" - a pun on its correct title of Nordwand (North Wall).

The Mönch lies west of Mönchsjoch (a 3,650m high pass) and Mönchsjoch Hut and north of the Jungfraufirn and Ewigschneefäld, two affluents of the Great Aletsch Glacier. The north side of the Mönch forms a step wall above the Lauterbrunnen valley. The peak was first climbed in 1857. Through Eiger and Mönch runs the Jungfrau Tunnel (part of the Jungfrau railway), containing two stations, where passengers can disembark to observe the neighbouring mountains through windows built into the mountainside.

About the stamps

The first stamp is part of the series Agriculture & Food, designed by Bea Würgler and issued on September 4, 2008:
• Wheat (0.10 CHF) - It's on the postcard 0015
• Barley (0.15 CHF)
• Rye (0.20 CHF) - It's on the postcard 0021
• Oats (0.50 CHF).

The second is part of the series Ancient Trees, designed by Reinhard Fluri and issued on May 8, 2009:
• Birch (85 CHF)
• Oak (100 CHF)
• Willow (130 CHF) - It's on the postcard 0015

Eiger - Wikipedia
Mönch - Wikipedia
Jungfrau railway - Wikipedia

Sender: Gabriela Bläsi (direct swap)
Sent from Büren an der Aare (Bern / Switzerland), on 16.10.2011

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