Finzalm and the Beauty in Nature

Later today, I will pity not to have put a bikini in my backpack… The landscape, the torrent and the entire tour turn out just lovely. All of it begins with Götz, the organizing hiking master of the day.

Initiator of the pretty Tour

We start at Wallgau and follow forest roads in the general direction of the Finanzbachklamm. The charming gorge lays down at our feet, or so it seems when the dirt road eventually approaches it’s edge.

Finzbachklamm

Once stepped in the network of hiking paths around Krün / Wallgau, you can choose any kind of route suiting the mood of the day. Götz, all up for his mission of the detection of Kaiserschmarrn, makes it clear that a hike without mountain tavern is not among given options. Consequently, we head for the Finzalm = today’s destination.

#Hikingthealps Hiking the alps #lovehiking #finzalm
Finzalm

The Alm is pretty and offers whatever you want – except for Kaiserschmarrn, that is. At least one of us is happy and all head-over-heels for coffee and a light meal. The other one takes it with nature-given dignity.

With your Feet in the Air and your Head on the Ground…

The chalet is surrounded by a landscape that has emerged directly from a kitschy fairy-tale book. Of course, I am a rational person, but while my companion is busy with a piece of Kirschstreusel-cake, I secretly watch out for unicorns, just in case…

Fairy-Tale Landscape

Before we follow the Finzbach-gorge back to Wallgau, we step down into the valley with happy cows and a mystic current.

In such a charming surrounding, I wonder if it guarantees eternal youth once you dive into the shimmering water. Perhaps I will come back for a trial when I grow up…

If only I had taken along my bikinis…

Returning to the car takes some time due to all the specialties that are to be admired along the way. The gorge of the Finzbach, a natural cave beneath a giant rock formation, and the fairy-tale path with figures and stories right at the end of the tour.

In the end, we may not have resolved the mystery of the handful of young men and why (or where-to) they carry umpteen crates of beer, but we have enjoyed a wonderful hike.

Another Facet of Finzbachklamm
300m altit. difference11 km3hharmless

Teufelsstättkopf – Leaving Pürschling and Tourists Behind

Back to Hiking – Holidays are over!

Nice Prominent Peak

A real peak, standing sole and prominent, that is what the Teufelsstättkopf is like. I start at Unterammergau, leave alone the gorge of Schleifmühlenklamm (tempest destroyed the path) and find a slow, steady pace.

Oh so Lovely

Forest roads lead up with significant gradient, with the outcome of uncounted short breathers for the low-level-superspeed-tourists. When a lovely chapel hits the way, it is by far more welcome for a respiration pause than for its inner or outer beauty.

I keep to my constant snail-speed and enjoy the surrounding.

Looking down on Pürschlinghaus

Once the Pürschling-Haus is left behind, the ways finally turn into diverse hiking paths. I accelerate when the peak gets in sight – based on the rock walls, the final passage might be of the interesting kind.

#hikingthealps #lovehiking #loveclimbing
Rock, a whole lot of Rock

The last meters are indeed worth the entire hike, topped by the stylish cross and the exposed inches around.

The Interesting Passage

Once settled down with my Gipfelsemmel, I soak in the view. Pictures hardly get a glimpse of the impression you witness when seated high above almost everything: the path 40m below, the valley down in 800m or the Alps’ peaks showing up in a few km distance.

I tend to like it up here

Before I turn downwards, I try to imitate the shape of the peak’s cross. The outcome is slightly hilarious, but still I strike the pose despite limited space.

930m altit. difference11 km3h 35 min.mostly harmless

Via Ferrata Hausbachfall – 2021

…then along the way…

What a week! The pre-holiday-days get by just fine. Finally, summer settles in. Last working days are accompanied by multifaceted sports: Climbing with a friend I have not seen in 15 months. The first mountainbike tour since 2017. And now: the via ferrata challenge.

The Hausbachfall Klettersteig in Reit im Winkl is always a good option: interesting enough when it comes to the C/D climbing sections, not too long and easy to reach. If not for the misleading navi and three blocked roads, that is.

Having Fun

While some people fear to fall, I think a via ferrata is quite a simple thing: you can hardly get lost, holding on to the steel ropes and cliffy walls. Hence, I consider it more harmless than black hikes – best is a combination of both, anyway.

After a mere hour, the fun is over. Despite some bottleneck passages, waiting for others to find their way, my arms and muscles feel fresh as a daisy, thanks to my personal fitness trainer. With a little help from my friends, I managed to keep up the routine of sporty action with at least 5 hours per week, and now it starts to pay dividends.

Alpine Traffic Jam

This being said and done, I feel prepared for new detections with the foreseen exploration of foreign countries, distant islands and unknown vineyards.

Light-Blue: Hefteralm Circuit

Eight days of anticipation lie ahead of me. Hector rolls back and forth, restless and full of expectation. Still, 8 days are fine for mountain action before we head for the sea.

Starting at Grassau / Chiemgau

Weeks of rain have left the clouds white and empty, hence I put on my new hiking shoes and get going. I love the Chiemgau with its relaxed villages, and the friendly man I meet along the way proves me right. Meditation-like, calm and steady he takes care of his vegetable patch, greeting friendly while continuing his work. Yes, those who live here seem pleased with life and right they are.

Easy paths through forest and alps lead me towards Hufnagelalm and Hefteralm, the latter being open for starving hikers. It is one of those harmless circuit tours with happy cows, sheep, goat, dozens of families – but no summit. Over-motivated outdoor fans might combine the Rachlalm and/or Hefteralm with a walk up to Hochplatte, although you might be tempted for yet another pasture stop-over at the Oberauerbrunst-Alm. Given the variety of alps, the Chiemgau region could advertise for gourmet summits and relish hikes.

Idyllic between Rachlalm and Hefteralm

In south-eastern direction lies the prominent peak of Hochgern. Been there, done that – but strange enough that by end of May even mountains below 2.000m still glisten with snow.

After a sunny break (spring-like feeling, yet with three layers of Merino wool), I am filled up with fresh energy, food and coffe, and hop down towards Grassau. Later that day, when I try to combine hiking + jogging appointments on the very same day, I will learn about the improvement possibilities in my personal fitness. But before that, I get back to my starting point and feel hell of a hiking girl in super-speed shoes!

380m altitude diff.7 km2,5 hharmless

Shoe Test Hike: Wildbichler-Alm

While most of my hiking companions hop up and down with chamois-like lightness, I feel like a  snail with slow, steady movements – especially during uphill passages. Given my present youth and fitness, only one reason seems logic enough: my hiking-trekking Himalaya-proved boots are way too heavy.

Starting easy enough

Now here I go, if not: float, with brand-new hiking shoes of the light kind. Remembering that it took about 6 months in 2017 to adapt mountain boots to my feet (hurtful experience, umpteen plasters and wounded toes), I make the best out of instable weather and the prealps around Tegernsee. I always wondered why blue tours are, among red (mid-level) and black ones (difficult / interesting), presented in common outdoor books. Today, I take advantage of it when stepping in for a promenade with modest 268m altitude difference and moderate gradient.

Romantic Waterfalls along the Way

Starting at Enterrottach towards Moni-Alm, we are rewarded with unpredicted sun and t-shirt temperatures. No idea why everybody complains about the rainy, cold May?! If not for the waterfalls along the way, we would not have seen vertical drops at all.

Rechtzeitig vor’m Urlaub: Köpper üben!

All it takes for easy hiking promenades is a tempting destination and good company. This being set, the Wildbichler-Alm (close to Moni Alm) is just perfect with offered food, cake and coffee plus improvised benches at the chairlift station. The sun is smiling and so are we during our comfortable rest.

Hiking the Alps
Gumpen = kitschige Idylle, aber eben auch schön

Two hours later, I can confess that a light-blue tour does not hurt. Not even my feet. It is a delicate way to spend a spring afternoon, even more as further hikes will certainly follow.

268m altitude difference6 km2 hvery harmless

Cold as Ice? Hot as Summer! The Kofel Hike

Today’s Destination

Light-hearted, I wake up: Today is hiking day with Barbara and there is hardly anything that can derange a dream team on the way to the peak.

Up! they say…

Facing fresh snow (May!) and risky conditions on our option A-mountain (Zinken, Allgäu), we spontaneously change our mind and go for the Kofel at Oberammergau. Apart from Passionsfestspiele and a limited number of ski slopes, the place enfolds quite it’s charm. However, we are not here for an expedition of the village, but rather for the most prominent summit around.

Local Charm may be a Matter of Perspective

We cross the stream Ammer, pass by the Mariengrotte and continue up, always up. Forest paths zig zag towards the upper part of the Kofel, bringing the Alps down to the core: rock. Plain rock with steep, almost straight walls. Diligent souls installed steel ropes along the way, turning the peak sprint into a hand-and-feet-challenge without any real danger.

Done! 24°C, right on top

It comes as no surprise that Barbara is the perfect hiking buddy for thoroughly planned, last-minute-changed tours that are marked black = difficult. The Kofel is a great hike that ranges slightly below via ferrata-standard and makes us lust for more intense challenges.

Cold as Ice! or: How long do you bear?

The way down is a relaxed promenade with gravity on our sides. Once back at Oberammergau, the cold water of the Ammer marks the perfect finish of the day, bringing together happy feet and smiling faces.

wonderful! For a few seconds… Hope you notice my inner smile.
700m altit. difference6 km<4hchallenging

Limitations and Possibilities

June. Preferred month for pre-season travelling. Between “Pfingstferien” and crowded July. But this year: too soon, too close.

Hard enough that the general camping lust has increased significantly, exceeding the number of available campsites and places. Annoying enough that you need to reserve and plan, disrupting spontaneity. Irritating enough to calculate the minimum number of FFP2 face masks needed for a 2-weeks-beach holiday, counting in the impact of sunscreen leftovers when wearing it during sunbaths.

Following the Covid rules in France, the development in Germany and the worldwide situation, I have decided to let loose. Finding a niche for a package holiday, best without ever leaving the hotel area, is so not my style. The same is true for standard cruises, holiday apartments and Mallorca. Almost two years have passed by since my last travel, and yet I refuse to step in the pile of standard tourists. Instead, I will benefit from the Alpine playground beyond my door step.

Hiking, lately: Alps around Eschenlohe

With friends, mountains and an almost infinite range of hiking possibilities, I will dive deep into the sensation of outdoor effort. What is it that triggers endorphins from exhaustion? The thrill of “how far will I get”? Steadily aiming for new summits, new peak crosses and new outlooks? The hours of fellowship with hiking buddies, the pride after intense tours?

Probably, all of it. And even more.

Feels good to be here – Rewarding Views and Good Company along the Way

Consequences are, that this so-called travel-blog will continue with outdoor actions that might or might not be perfect for travels, for holidays or for the sheer fun of it. Fantastic trips across Europe (or even more exotic) are not yet to be expectable.

So, here is the first exercise hike of the year. Apart from 2x Hirschhörnlkopf, that is, but still. A relaxed walk towards Osterfeuerkopf / Osterfeuerberg is just right for meeting a friend I have not seen in months – and the 350m altitude difference may mark the kick-off for more serious training.

What You See is What You Get

Instead

Taxi??

While others sneak into holidays at randomly possible destinations, I continue with mountain tours as a remedy against deeper frustration. Instead of first camping escapes or real travels, the incredible winter enables the 10th ski tour of the season.

Conditions are almost perfect, given the fact that we face the second half of April and no artificial snow has been spread over the slopes. The lower part of about 50-100m comes with more brown than white, but the higher the ascent, the more fairy is the trail.

Despite my overwhelming fitness, it takes – once more – about an hour until I reach the Kolbenhütte. Still, I am happy to celebrate the tour with a sip of tea before I rip off the skins from my skis, turn the ski binding a 180° and enjoy the downhill slide.

#skitour Ski Tour
End of April, wonderful Snow

While spring is right around the corner and will be followed by summer, the holiday / travel question will become of more and more importance. But that is another story for another day…

That’s what Bavarians do for Fun?! Pfundalm Hike

Rewarding View

What might be common sense in Bavaria elicits a quite different reaction from northern inhabitants. Hence, my sister joins me for a scientific examination of the possible joy of hiking.

New Hiking Pro: Alpine Andy

In former times, we have been skiing passionately and prefer ski lifts for uphill motion. Nowadays, the choice is: walk it or leave it. Consequently, we start our 3-hours-uphill-promenade at Jachenau.

-2°C, 8:30 a.m., Jachenau

First, we keep it low, then turn right, then left and this is where the steep parts begin. Those arduous passages may be irksome, but change our point of view in the most beautiful way. We leave the spring- valley behind and get a first glimpse on the surrounding mountains.

Half Way Up

Steadily, we follow the trail through mixed forest and conifer until we reach the saddle beneath the Hirschhörnlkopf. Hard to decide where to look first: the Alps lining up straight South? The Walchensee below our feet? The Hirschhörnl-peak? Or the Pfundalm, a private cottage that offers a bench at one of it’s walls… We go straight for the bench and get hold of the best place to be.

Idyllic Pfundalm / Hirschhörnlkopf

The lookout is extraordinary.

+8°C, 11:30 a.m., Pfundalm

Especially the view over the glistening white peaks is fantastic and ranges from Bayerische Voralpen and Karwendel up to the Zugspitze.

Everybody surely recognizes Walchensee and Zugspitze…

Looking at the Hirschhörnl peak to our right, we decide to skip it. Been there, done that (me, in January) and there is not so much of a view as far as I can tell. Instead, we celebrate a decent picknick with summer rolls and sushi and the endless landscape.

Mountain Dream Team (with or without skis)

After a while, it is time to switch the perspective towards downhill.

Alpine Yoga; #hikingthealps; #hiking the alps; #alpyoga

With the optional route via Kotalm being a bit of a bore, we rather take the ascent trails for our descent. It is a meet & greet with late risers and inappropriate equipment: fashion sneakers, loafers, out-of-breath slackers with a towel around their neck… Finally, all those couch potatoes have heard the call for sporty action, evidence to successful health insurance campaigns. Compared to those, we look like a female copy of the Huber Buam, up for any kind of alpine excursions.

>600m altit. difference<10 km5hharmless

Another Last Ski Tour: Kreuzalm

Kreuzalm Alpspitze

Endless winter… Despite the short-sleeved sun, some areas are stuck in one of the best winters in this decade. Consequently, I pack up skis and equipment and head for Garmisch.

End of March and still Perfect Conditions

Today, I choose another trail, starting at Hausberg, then up on the lower parts of the “Horn”-slope until Toni-Hütte. From there on, I continue on snowy forest roads, pass by the lower station of “Kandahar Express” and continue all the way until I reach the Kandahar hills. I leave the forest behind just above the final two scarps of the world-cup route, realizing that I still have quite some altitude difference ahead of my ski tips.

Through the Forest…

Unfortunately, the slope gradient depends upon perspective: When running down the Kandahar, the passage between the upper scarps and the final section seems relaxed, almost flat. My sister and me appreciate this part for technique training, as it presents just the right mixture of speed and control. Now on my way uphill, it is steeper than I had expected…

Looking Down is Easy. Walking up is the Thing.

Finally, I reach the tunnel and clench my teeth for the final sprint. From here on, it is a piece of cake – at least that is what I tell my tired muscles. After 2:45h, I kick off the skis with a silent sigh, queuing up for “Würstl” and coffee at the Kreuzalm. It is great to be here, between Alpspitze and Kandahar, and it is good to see that the Kreuzalm-crew has at least a bit of a business, selling snacks and beverages out of their kitchen window.

Reinforced after a Cup of Coffee

Spring temperatures and sun soften the snow, enabling a smooth way down. Today. I choose No. 2 “Hornabfahrt” and enjoy the mogul slope that it is these days. Twenty-five minutes later, I am back at my car and immediately get rid of three layers of clothing. Down here, 15°C feel like a summer’s day. I go home in my sports shorts with an exhausted grin on my face. The muscle soreness that will kick in later is so very welcome!

No Crowd, no Stress, just Wonderful Ski Time
850m altit. difference6 km2:45hmostly harmless