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The longest glacier in the Alps, the Aletsch Glacier lies in Switzerland not far from Brig. Some 320 kilometres south of the latitude of Cornwall in Central Europe sits an area of pristine mountain wilderness, a large part of whose surface is covered by ice up to 800 metres thick. The area rises in places to over 4,000 metres above sea level and contains - among other natural wonders - the 25-kilometre-long Aletsch Glacier which is the longest glacier in the Europe as well as such well known mountains as the Eiger, Monch and the Jungfrau. The Bietschhorn in the South West of the region though a shade under 4,000 metres is widely considered one of the hardest peaks in the Alps to climb.
The Jungfrau Aletsch Bietschhorn Unesco World Heritage Site comprises over 80,000 hectares of the Bernese Oberland area of the Swiss Alps between the Rhone Valley to the south and Interlaken to the north. The watershed ridge separates northern and southern Europe with the Rhone flowing to the Mediterranean and the northern rivers finding their way - via the Aar - to the Rhine and the North Sea. The area was made a UNESCO site in 2001 and expanded in 2007.
There are cable cars going up the mountains from three of places in the Rhone valley: Mörel, Betten and Fiesch. Once on the top you have a great view over the glacier and the surrounding mountains.
From the northern side, the Jungfrau Railway accesses the region from Grindelwald and Kleine Scheidegg. The Jungfraujoch station at 3,454 metres above sea level is within the UNESCO area and overlooks the upper reaches of the Aletsch Glacier. Crossing the glaciers is not a difficult expedition but should only be undertaken with a guide because of the danger of crevasses.
The quiet valley of Lotschental allows access for the walker to the area below the Bietschhorn.
Check the options in nearby Interlaken.
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