White water rafting in the glacial waters of Jungfrau, Swiss alps

White Water Rafting, it had been on our bucket list for some time, but in all honesty as much as we wanted to give it a try we didn’t really know what to expect. We thought that maybe being on such a big raft it would be fun but a little tame, so with that in mind we chose the Lütschine which is graded at III/IV and is the most extreme available from Outdoor Interlaken! Well, we were in for a rude awakening…this was one of the most exhilarating and wild rides we had been on…hold on it’s going to get bumpy!!

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 We booked the Rafting on the same day as the Canyoning and in all honestly was not really sure what to expect. It had been something we had wanted to try for a long time and so we thought why not give it a go here in this amazing setting. Although initially, the canyoning was the thing we were looking forward to the most!

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As the days in Interlaken worn on and we had explored the whole region in much more detail we began to think a little more about this trip we had booked. While returning from a day in Liechtenstein we noticed some rafts along the river as we drove through the amazing valleys.

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After pulling over for a closer look at the water we soon looked at each other with a realisation of what we were letting ourselves in for… this was no gentle river cruise, this was a full on action adventure…just what we wanted!! Woohoo!

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Now, this got the excitement levels pumped up a few notches for the White Water Rafting, but also the nerves!! We hadn’t really done anything before like this, even the canoeing we have done was just on a placid lake, but this trip was all about firsts, about pushing ourselves and as Outdoor Interlaken put it, to “Get Busy Living!”

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Booking

I mentioned this before in our Canyoning post but one of the things that is so amazing about Interlaken is how you can just walk in and book these awesome adventures. You can do it online before or contact the companies selling these trips but there really is no need, you can walk in one day and be booked to head on out on a once in a lifetime adventure for the next day or even that afternoon depending on what it is!

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We booked using OUTDOOR INTERLAKEN as we found their staff to be not only really experienced but also approachable, friendly and laid back too!

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 White Water Rafting is one of the activities which isn’t so much affected by the weather as many of the other summer ones are. This makes it an ideal adventure to take when the changeable weather of Interlaken decides to take a turn for the worst! There has to be an incredible amount of rain to stop it going ahead (unlike canyoning or Paragliding) and you’re going to get wet anyway!

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Price/ Options and Photos!

The cost of the Lütschine White Water Rafting is 106 CHF/ £72 / $110

As we mentioned before just like the Canyoning and the Paragliding these things aren’t exactly cheap, but that is Switzerland for you and for us these Bucket Listers are worth it for the unforgettable memories and experiences!

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The Lütschine is once again for “adventurous athletic people” and for this you really do need to know how to swim as the water is fierce! It is a grade III/IV White Water River so it can get pretty extreme! But there is always a safety Kayaker accompanying the rafts too!

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However if you fancy something a little more gentle there are a few other options which include the “Simme” which is class II/III and is a similar but less extreme trip. Then there is the Aare Float trip which is a much more relaxed cruise down the river with optional BBQ and sound systems!

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For the rafting Outdoor Interlaken also provide a professional photography service (you can see these photos in this post and how good they are!) This only costs 28CHF /£19 /$29 so is well worth it as a pretty amazing souvenir!

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Our epic adventure on the river!

Beginning at the foot of the Eiger North Face the surroundings for this adventure could not be any more epic! The glacial water was a shade of white I had never witnessed before, it still had an icy glint to it and a roaring ferocity which had our hearts racing before we even stepped foot in it!

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A few days earlier on a ride through Grindlewald we had dipped our feet in this very water and got the shock of our lives, this was pure ice melt, getting caught in this without a wetsuit and life jacket would have serious consequences.

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Luckily we had an amazing guide with us, Anthony, who by coincidence had been on our canyoning trip only the day before on his day off! Before we could get anywhere near the river we had a full safety briefing and “trial run” of the manoeuvres we would be required to do on the water. This time errors could be forgiven, but once in the rapids we would have to think and act fast. It was a lot to take in and somewhat daunting but it really ramped up the excitement levels!

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After taking us through every possible scenario, including getting stuck under the boat (nobody wants that!), it was time to head down to the water. With a few nerves jangling about any idea that this was a river cruise were well and truly banished! With a “Good Luck” from the guides we were sat in the boat ready to go!

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One of the things that stuck with me, which by the way we loved, was how the guides would often say, “This isn’t Disneyland, you are responsible for yourselves and each other.” You see, one of the things we usually hate about tours and group activities is how you can be sometimes babied or patronised, especially if, like us, you have done a lot of adventure activities on your own. But here you must take responsibility, pay attention and play your part, this was what made is such a great adventure!

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Well in was in at the deep end quite literally once we were in the boat! No messing about! Our guide read the river perfectly, shouting at us to paddle forward, backwards or to GET DOWN AND HOLD ON! He really knew the river well and this gave us great confidence.

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It just goes to show you when you see a huge swell and he tells you to carry on paddling and you get over it surprisingly well, then he tells you to get down off a rather innocuous looking wave and before you know it the whole raft is being thrown violently into the air!

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Paddling was full on, ice cold water slapping you across the face! This was amazing! Shouting and screaming, jumping from one side of the raft to the other and somehow miraculously staying inside the boat despite the incredible angles we ended up at! At one point the German speaking raft just ahead of us looked sure to tip at we went speeding past, but  at the last minute managed to re right itself! This was intense!

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On the first section of river we were made to also to two things, firstly to lean back and dip our heads in the icy water! If that wasn’t bad enough next up was a practice rescue before the really wild section of river came up. This consisted of jumping out of the side of the boat…yes, you read that correctly! We leaped over the side and hung on in hope that our partners would pull us back in! Lucky for Shorty he did!

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Next up was the big bad crazy section of river we had been waiting for! As we got back down into the boats the spray from the frothing water had created a lingering mist which hung around just above the water. The scene itself was almost haunting, but yet conveyed the drama of the river with an eerie atmosphere.

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Undaunted with what lay ahead we ploughed on through the rough and challenging rapids, one of the group almost falling in and having to be hauled back from the brink! The water surged and swirled as we rode through some wild sections, this was pure exhilaration! The raft rocked from side to side up at angles which seemed almost impossible, but yet no one fell out!

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At one point we even became marooned on a massive rock in the middle of the river, with ferocious water spraying up at us we had to pile down one end of the craft and wiggle it free! I was convinced once it was back in the river we would all be thrown into the water!

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Finally we had some respite and a chance to sit back for a while and take in the magnificent surroundings as well as get to know each other on the raft a little more! Our guide also gave us a few fascinating snippets of history as we followed the river down to Lake Brienz, where, we found out, the final episode of Band of Brothers was filmed in place of Austria.

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I remember watching Damian Lewis jump into that magnificent blue water surrounded by mountains and looking over at Shorty and saying, One day I would love to visit somewhere like that. In fact that episode itself really sparked off a desire in my to see the Alps, and here we were!

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After we had survived the most challenging terrain we all sat back and enjoyed the rest of the journey back to the lake…or so we thought! Not content with what we had just been through there was one more challenge on the horizon for us and I have to admit, I wasn’t looking forward to it!

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Right, there is one last section of rapids coming up with a huge wave! Ok, nothing we haven’t dealt with before we thought. Oh, and this time you will all be in the water. Wait, what! I thought the objective was to stay inside the raft! Well, seeing as non of us had fallen out it was only right that we get to experience the rapids up close and personal at least once!

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So off we jumped and the icy waters took my breath away, gasping for air we all laid back in the water keeping an eye out for the wave! And there it was, towering over our bodies, getting ready to sweep us back under with a violent pull. I took a deep breath and felt the power of the water grip hold of me, for a second I didn’t know where I was until I resurfaced a few meters down the river! Back to the raft!

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Now, imagine being stuck in that further up the river for a few minutes Anthony said…well aren’t I glad I didn’t fall in! Now the lake and it’s glistening blue waters were on the horizon.

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As the river and the lake met the water changed almost instantly from the icy white colour of the glacial melt to the deep turquoise of Lake Breinz and with it the temperature changed too. As we approached the dock we all leaped from the raft into what felt like the warm waters of the lake!

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Check out our video of the White Water rafting:

What an incredible experience, Switzerland has delivered yet again. I really can’t get over this country, I have well and truly fallen in love with it! Another item ticked off the bucket list in as many days! Not bad going!

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Have you been White Water Rafting and where? We would love to do it again, where do you recommend?

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https://www.outdoor-interlaken.ch/

When we got home we ended up getting tattoos to memorise this trip of a lifetime!

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Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Outdoor Interlaken. As always, all opinions are our own!

Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.