The view around the corner at Susten Pass

I’ve been heading up to the two Bernese alpine passes of Grimsel and Susten for quite a few years. The winding pass roads climb steeply up from the green valleys of Gadmen and Guttannen, passing through forests before reaching the rocky landscape of the high alps. My favourite spot in the region is the Steingletscher glacial valley, where the Alpin Center sits below the heights of the surrounding glacier-laden mountains.

Susten Pass, Switzerland

Alpin Center Sustenpass, at Steingletscher

There are naturally plenty of wonderful views to photograph along the way, and the view from the long straight between the final upper hairpin corner and the pass summit has long been the one I’ve been drawn to with my camera.

Self-portrait on the Susten Pass

Self-portrait with the view to Steingletscher valley, 2011

In all the times I’ve been to Susten with my camera, I’ve never bothered turning off the pass road at the summit, to see what lies at the very top of the pass road. A small, short track leading to a small guest house and duck pond never really seemed worth the effort, but I decided to go for a wander when we were there in glorious weather conditions recently.

What a great decision. The track may only lead for a short distance, but follow it bumpily along to the end and then walk for a hundred metres or so, and the glorious panorama down to Steingletscher and back towards Gadmen opens up.

The view is spectacular and it was well-worth taking a little time to photograph it properly. The main image in this blog post is a 60 megapixel “stitched” image, made up of twelve overlapping images and highly detailed. The little bits of the scene, which we sat and enjoyed for around half an hour, beg to be enjoyed: from the zig-zag pass road leading across the mountain slopes right into the distance, to the tiny dot of the Alpin Center hotel far below and the small, narrow road which takes intrepid visitors to the screes below Tierbergli.

Susten Pass, Switzerland

Susten Pass, Switzerland