Susten Pass

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Susten Pass
Sustenpass, top of the pass of the new Sustenstrasse

Sustenpass, top of the pass of the new Sustenstrasse

Compass direction west east
Pass height 2224  m above sea level M.
Canton Bern Uri
Watershed Steinwasser , Gadmerwasser , Aare Meienreuss , Reuss , Aare
Valley locations Innertkirchen Water
expansion Pass road
Built 1938-1945
Winter closure November - May
Mountains Uri Alps
Denzel scale SG 1-2 SG 1-2
Ø pitch 5.7% (1599 m / 28 km) 7.3% (1308 m / 18 km)
Max. Incline 9% 9%
Susten Pass (Switzerland)
Susten Pass
Coordinates 677 251  /  175773 coordinates: 46 ° 43 '43 "  N , 8 ° 26' 57"  O ; CH1903:  six hundred and seventy-seven thousand two hundred and fifty-one  /  175773

The Susten Pass at Hauptstrasse 11 connects the canton of Uri with the canton of Bern . The pass road is 45 km long and is one of the newer ones in the Swiss Alps . It was only built between 1938 and 1945. Because it is mainly used for tourism, it is usually only open from June to October.


The new Sustenstrasse from 1945 begins in Wassen on the north ramp of the Gotthard Pass and, unlike the old Sustenstrasse from 1817, leads past the villages in the Meiental with a maximum gradient of 9 percent. The pass height ( 2259  m above sea level ) is different from the old Sustenstrasse at 2224  m above sea level. M. crossed under in a vertex tunnel. On the western ramp in the Bernese Oberland , the descent also goes 9 percent past the Steingletscher through the villages of Gadmen , Fuhren and Nessental in the Gadmertal .

In Innertkirchen (end point of the Meiringen-Innertkirchen railway ) the roads from the Sustenpass and the Grimselpass merge ; Passing the Aare Gorge , you reach Meiringen .


Archaeological finds, including the trunk of a Swiss stone pine and peat, indicate that the pass was temporarily free of glaciers in prehistoric times.

The name is derived from the uppermost Alp Sust , the uppermost table of the Guferalp. " Sust " means warehouse or department store. Since the Middle Ages at the latest, a trade connection has led across the Susten. Except for temporary closures, however, it was always less significant than the north-south trade routes Brünig – Grimsel – Gries / Albrun in the west and Gotthard in the east, and mainly served regional traffic.

During the Villmerger Wars in 1656 and 1712, when the Bernese and the Zurichers on one side and the cantons of Waldstätte and Zug on the other, Lieutenant Colonel L. Tillier and the "Hasli Army" made the preparations for the Border security taken on the Susten Pass. Larger fortifications were also built on the Uri side. Particularly noteworthy are the structures Guferschanze (with the possibility of blocking the outflow of the Meienreuss) and the Meienschanze at the exit of the valley. The latter was the scene of victorious battles between the Uri against the invaded Bernese in 1712 and the French against the Austrians in 1799 with around 200 fallen. Then the Meienschanze was razed by the French. Only sparse remains of both jumps have survived.

In 1810 the cantonal governments of Bern and Uri decided to expand the road over the Susten. On the Bern side, work began in 1811 and the expansion was completed around 1817. The Bernese government used the high amount of 210,279 old Swiss francs for the building. On the Uri side, only the section from the top of the pass to the Meienschanze was expanded as a roadway (Alte Sustenstrasse). The further expansion of the road down to Wassen only took place at the beginning of the 20th century by the granite quarry entrepreneur Regli.

On Sustenstrasse on the Uri side in 1974

Before the Second World War, the army demanded a better connection for strategic reasons. The new road almost completely passes by the old road. It was built with generously laid serpentines into the slope and with a vertex tunnel mainly for defense purposes. It was opened to traffic in 1945 after eight years of construction. It had cost 32 million Swiss francs to build, which would amount to around 160 million CHF based on current prices.

In connection with the construction of the new Sustenstrasse, new defensive structures (the Sustenstellung ) as well as two infantry fortifications and a blocking facility were built. The latter is still preserved today on the old Sustenstrasse, which is no longer used.


In the summer season from mid-June to mid-October, several Postbuses drive over the pass every day . These Postbuses run between Meiringen and Andermatt . The pass is a popular motorcycle route. There are refreshment options 5 km east of the top of the pass in Sustenbrüggli, on the top of the pass and 5 km west of the top of the pass in the Steingletscher.


The two engineers Alfred Bucher from Kerns OW and Elias Flotron from Meiringen BE received the concession for a railway from Meiringen over the Susten Pass to Wassen in 1898 . The money for this electric train could not be found. Ten years later, Elias Flotron went public again with a Sustenbahn project. From Meiringen the train was supposed to lead via Hasliberg via Gadmen to a Sustentunnel. The Federal Assembly rejected the project.

Driving in cycling

The Susten Pass is one of several difficult Alpine passes that are ridden in the Alpenbrevet cycle marathon .


  • Walter Zschokke: The road into the forgotten landscape. The Susten Pass . gta Verlag, Zurich 1997. ISBN 978-3-85676-077-9 .

Web links

Commons : Sustenpass  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The Alpine glaciers of Roman times compared to today , accessed on July 17, 2019
  2. ^ Hans Stadler: fortifications; Fortifications in the early modern period. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  3. Federal Statistical Office (2009): Inflation calculator - national index of consumer prices
  4. See the description of the Sustenpass motorcycle route
  5. Schweizer Bahnen, Berner Oberland, p. 126, Florian Inäbnit, Prellbock-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-907579-70-1