A hike in the Swiss Alps is guaranteed to be an awesome experience in the true, un-Americanised sense of the word. Now, hikers trekking between Grächen and Zermatt have a chance to make the journey even more awe-inspiring – provided they’re willing to brave the world’s longest suspension bridge.
Warning: if you’re afraid of heights, this is not the post for you.
The newly opened Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge spans an incredible 1,621 feet and rises as high as 279 feet over Switzerland’s deepest valley, officially earning it the title of longest pedestrian suspension bridge on the planet. It connects the popular ski resorts of Zermatt and Grächen via the Europaweg hiking trail, turning a three- to four-hour trip through the valley into a scant 10 minute walk.
The new bridge is a sky-high solution to the threat of falling rocks, which destroyed its predecessor just two months after it was completed. The upside is that hikers receive unparalleled views of the Matterhorn, Weisshorn, Bernese Alps, and Grabengufer Valley. The downside is that the bridge’s deck is only about two feet wide, requiring adventurers to walk single-file only, and is made of metal grates that make it possible to peer at certain death in the abyss below.
“How often do you get the chance to cross a real world record suspension bridge?” said Daniel Luggen, director of Zermatt Tourism, at the bridge’s inauguration on July 29. “The thrill experienced high over the precipice is indescribable.”
“Thrill” is one word for it. “Mind-numbing terror followed by soiling oneself” might be more accurate.