Distributed glacier mass balance models are efficient tools for the assessment of climate change impacts on glaciers at regional scales and at high spatial resolution (25-100 m). In general, these models are driven by time series of meteorological parameters that are obtained from a climate station near to a glacier or from climate model output. As most glaciers are located in rugged mountain topography with a high spatial and temporal variability of the meteorological conditions, the challenge is to distribute the point data from a climate station or the grid box values from a regional climate model (RCM) in an appropriate way to the terrain. Here we present an approach that uses normalized grids at the resolution of the mass balance model to capture the spatial variability, and time series from a climate station (Robiei) and an RCM (REMO) to provide a temporal forcing for the mass balance model. The test site near Nufenen Pass (Swiss Alps) covers two glaciers with direct mass balance measurements that are used to demonstrate the approach. The meteorological parameters (temperature, global radiation and precipitation) are obtained for the years 1997 to 1999 (at daily steps) from the climate station Robiei (1898 m a.s.l.) and one grid box of the RCM REMO. The results of the mass balance model agree closely with the measured values and the specific differences in mass balance between the two glaciers and the two balance years are well captured. Despite the disparities in the meteorological forcing from the climate station and REMO, there are only small differences in the modeled mass balances. This gives us confidence that the developed approach of coupling the coarse resolution (18 km) RCM with the high resolution (25 m) mass balance model is suitable and can be applied to other regions as well as to RCM scenario runs.