Preparation (11): Heimgarten & Herzogstand

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View on the Walchensee. And on fresh Snow in the Alps!

Some might wonder what motivates me to spend almost all of my weekends in the mountains with the effort of uphill-walking, sun protection and sweat. The answer is easy: it is all for the good of upcoming holidays. The better I train now, the less exhausting will be future trekking tours. The more I pimp my condition, the less difficulties I expect during walks on 4,000 meters above sea level (let alone the pass of 5,500 m). The more I walk the alps, the more I will enjoy the Himalaya. But that is far away in 2018, now let’s focus on the mountains around Munich.

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Average Equipent for good-looking Hikers

This time we are a group of four lovely ladies with a double peak tour ahead. The kick off at a comfortable time in the late morning comes along with endless hours of beauty sleep and puts some pressure on our peak performance: Winter time will cut daylight around 5 p.m., so we better not dawdle.

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Today’s Mountain Crew

The first section of the tour leads through autumn forest up to the Heimgarten. Today is a multiple-season-hiking-day with warming sun, icy paths, golden light and some snow, all changing within minutes. The North and shady parts of the hills cling to something around zero degrees Celsius while the sunny hillsides pretend to be stuck in late summer. On top of the world = peak with fresh wind from all sides, we appreciate that there are no worries about pick-nick food getting warm.

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Heimgarten Peak

From here we follow the ridge for a couple of kilometres. It is like walking on the back of a dragon with a lot of ups and downs on the dragon’s jags. With my affection for special ways, I enjoy the small path with downhill views on both sides: one side looks down to the Kochelsee, the other to the Walchensee.

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Ridge Between Heimgarten and Herzogstand (the Latter Visible in the Distance)

Parts of the path are quite icy and so I can proudly present another scar with a story. However, the fantastic panorama continues for about an hour until we reach the Herzogstand and the masses of tourists around the small pavilion. Being one of the most famous peaks close to Munich and given the funicular as transport-potential for the lazy, we share our second peak of the day with a friendly photographer and dozens of supernumeraries.

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Lucky us that most of the crowd is unwilling to take the foot path down. Bathed in golden light we zig zag down and arrive at the parking just in time before daylight finally fades.

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Our legs tell us something about 1.200 meters uphill and downhill and approximately 16 kilometers of distance. Statistics say that we climbed up 332 floors – that is more than twice the available levels of the world’s highest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Our bright eyes tell the story of a splendid day with an endless sky, white snowy peaks and blue lakes that reflect the colourful autumn leaves.

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What a Day! What a View! What a Wonderful Life

Preparation (10): Material Testing on the Rotwand

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It is around six in the morning when a strange noise disturbs my first coffee. I know this sound, but it has been a while that I have not heard it. It takes 30 seconds until I make it up: Rain! Somebody obviously ignores that rain has not been part of today’s plans.

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Autumn at the Pfanngraben

Thanks to the detailed weather app of bergfex, we decide to get going nonetheless and so the five of us start today’s hiking at Spitzingsee. Drizzle continues during the first hour of the tour, preventing glorious pictures of the fabulous gorge of Pfanngraben, containing basins of clear water and little waterfalls along the way.

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The higher we get, the brighter is the sky. Now that I know that my new outdoor equipment is indeed waterproof, I am fine with the drizzle having stopped. The path leads through meadows of summer’s mountain pasture, now deserted with all happy cows being either down in the cowshed or in Bavarian restaurants.

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A bit later today’s culinary destination is in sight: the Rotwandhaus with a kitchen crew that presents their whole menu with an extraordinary grasp for herbs, fresh ingredients and perfect food quality.

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Rotwandhaus in Sight

At first, we ignore the temptation of the alp and continue our way up until we reach the peak of the Rotwand. The sun rewards us with shy rays sent down through the cloudy sky and the peak adds a 360° view to it.

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View from the Rotwand (Fragment)

Now hunger and downhill gravitation work hand in hand and minutes later we catch the best table in the Rotwandhaus. Even with the mixed up weather there is quite some crowd in the alp – on sunny days, you should look for less frequented hiking peaks. Unless cuddling strangers is among your favourite hobbys, that is.

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For the way down, we choose the easy walking path that leads back to Spitzingsee in only 1 hour of walking for the 850 m altitude difference. Grazing sheep complete the typical mountain picture of the Bavarian frontyard hills and we are once more pleased with the beautiful hiking of the day.

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Downhill: Taking the Easy Way

The tenth peak of the year has been the first without muscle soreness, so at least I do make some progress. Still, I have five months yet to come until I need full strength, mountain routine and an expedition sleeping bag. That is what happens when being up for higher aims…

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Just One of my Peaks

Preparation (9): Mahnkopf / Karwendel

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Summer came back and October is as golden as you can imagine. Perfect conditions to pick up the preparation routine about running up that hill.

We have chosen the Mahnkopf for today, departing from the fairy tale mountain village Eng. Sunrise on the road was already stunning, best prefix for a wonderful day in the Karwendel mountains. The four of us start fresh and motivated into the 17 km tour, surrounded by one of the most charming parts of the Northern Alps.

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Walking trhough Eng

The height difference would be much more relaxed without the Hohljoch right below the rocky walls of the Laliderer Reisen: we lose at least 200m altitude difference before we reach the (currently closed) alp Falkenhütte.

 

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Laliderer Reisen

When we pass by the interim hill of the Ladizköpfl, we are rewarded with the view down to the Kleiner Ahornboden. The sun does all the effort to simulate a bright summers day: short trousers and t-shirts are way too much, but as hiking in a bikini is so not-state-of-the-mountain-art, we ignore the heat and continue our way up.

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Ascent to the Mahnkopf

The last section of the tour goes straight up the flank of the Mahnkopf, all steep and stony. The grass around the path is flat from the first seasonal snow – just 10 days ago all of this has been a winter wonder land. When we finally reach the peak, it is all worth it: a 360° panoramic view, mild sun and few hikers are all we need for a short rest.

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The way back is identical to the way up, including the Hohljoch-frustration of lost and heavily regained altitude meters. At a quarter past five we stumble in the Alpengasthof Eng and fall down on the benches, begging for food, drinks and coffee.

With quite some breaks and alpine pick nicks, the tour with roughly 1.300m altitude difference took us about 8 hours, mostly uphill. If not for the traffic jams, it would have been a great but exhausting day. Even with broken down traffic (Munich tourists, argh!) I would do it all over again, especially with the fantastic road-guidance from the back row, manoeuvring us toward Munich on tiniest roads!

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Preparation (8): Miss Riffelspitze

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At 6:45 sharp I turn the engine and Hector turns right. The toughest tour so far starts with washed air and the Alps reaching out to Hector and the hikers inside.

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In Hammersbach we hop on the cog railway and jump off at the upon-demand-stopp Riffelriss. The train disappears inside the tunnel to the Zugspitzplatt and we are left behind, starring at the closed tunnel portal. In the opposite direction we look down at the Eibsee –  a view that will continue all the way up to the southern peak of the Riffelspitze.

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right below the Zugspitze

After a nice and easy start on small paths through pines and larchs, we reach open terrain and loose rubble. With my professional super trekking shoes and carbon sticks, I am fine with the rough materials – even more as the scratches from closer-than-planned contact with the surrounding heal wonderfully. Lucky us that my hiking buddy of the day is in best condition, coping easily with the 1-step-up-3/4-steps-down rhythm. Later on our way up, steel cables enable a better grip and may be the evidence for even steeper trails.

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The encounter of two shirtless hiking boys (exercise more, but thanks already) marks another change of landscape: no path, but rock face and a constant steel rope invite us up to the Riffelscharte. Up there we find ourselves on a high plateau and continue over the the ridge towards the Riffelspitze. The side that looks down to the Eibsee is a straight wall of a cliff and helps you to find out about being free from giddiness (or not).

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Gratwanderung

The last 50 meters up to the peak have neither path nor trail and it is fun to find out where to place your hand first before lifting one foot to further positions. It is more climbing than walking and all worth it.

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no worries – the real climbing has been mostly harmlesss

Someone has built a simple cross at the peak and we have the small spot all for the two of us. The view (once more) is fantastic: around 1.100 m below us is the Eibsee with its typical islands and green-blue water. At the left is the Zugspitz-Massif and looks impressive over the short distance. Turning round, we find the Höllentalangerhütte (850m down).

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Eibsee

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Hoellentalhuette

Höllentalangerhütte

Reaching the Höllentalangerhütte is just a question of time, but a serious one. Steep paths, pebbles and rubble, some parts supported by steel ropes and all of it reminds us that 1.500m altitude difference are more than a relaxed promenade. When reaching the alp, I am happy that it has become rare that my feet hurt with every step I take. The way from the peak has been longer than expected, but this is nothing that coffee, a 60-minutes-break and some food could not fix.

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Passing by the Waxenstein

From the alp down to Hammersbach leads the way through the sensational Höllental-Klamm. I am grateful that I had seen it last year early in the morning, having the aggressive beauty of the roaring water all for ourselves. Today, we have to share the views and the paths with masses of tourists and prefer time over quality.

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back in the Höllentalklamm

A snapshot here, a quick photo there and within minutes we leave the gorge behind and hop down the forest road to Hammersbach. Hector is happy to have the crew back on board: the evening is fine for some van-care, rinsing some cleaning elixir through the water system.

The next morning comes up with severe muscle soreness and a sparkling, ready-to-roll Hector. Regretful, I store all hiking accessories in my closet. I wonder what I will do in Sweden next week, missing the hills and the hiking routine. Well, time will tell…

Preparation (7): Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

Topping the foundation established by recent hiking weekends, today’s tour with 13,5 km + 960m altitude difference is supposed to be black = difficult. Except for the unforeseen challenge in finding the right turn at the right time it has been comparable to the mid-level tours we had just the other weeks. Anyway, I am sure that the route description could be followed easily as long as you hand over the itinerary to someone being less blonde before you leave the alp “Obere Firstalm”.

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Those who consider exact reading being too time-consuming may forget about the sidestep to the Bodenschneid alp and head directly to the Bodenschneid peak with its large cross and the wide view from the Brecherspitz to the Tegernsee. The cliff at the edge is the perfect location for a second breakfast and for resorting the planned route.

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View from Bodenschneid to the Tegernsee

We continue our way by crossing a steep meadow before we find back the correct path to the Rinnerspitz and thus the second peak of today’s tour. It is only the path to the 3rd peak Wasserspitz that is somehow hidden underneath the trees and the grass.

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Whoever finds out about the heart with the knife: tell me about it

We accept today being a lazy one with only 750m altitude difference over all. Lucky us that we reached the highest of the planned peaks and enjoyed the shortened tour like a relaxed walk in the park. Finally it is one of the base lines of the ancient philosopher Meatloaf: Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad!

Preparation (6): Flying on Chicken Wings to the Hennenkopf

I should have known that: Hiking with Barbara means => Barbara + further company. Been there, done that but still I am stunned by the impact.

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1.768m or: perfect pictures are best when accompanied by a personal photographer

The two of us start at the fairy tale castle Linderhof, all in the spirit of Ludwig II and his longing for calm and beauty. Ten minutes later we remark a third shadow following us: Michael had been heading for the Pürschling peak but instantly skips his plans and is willing to join our trekking day.

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Hau ruck – today’s route shows manifold facets

Our tour follows kilometers of small trails, all up and up and steep and sometimes cliffy. Thanks to the recently painted marks along the route, we find our way up to the Hennenkopf without difficulties. Apart from our follower, we see chamois, copulating amphibians and giant snails, but no further hikers until we reach the top. Even on a sunny high season weekend, this part of the Ammergauer Alpen is less frequented than the popular peaks around.

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Ammergauer Alpen

After soaking in the 360° view, we start losing height and continue our loop road to the Brunnenkopfhäuser. Tons of food and cake later, we change the steep trails for rough forest roads and head down to the castle. The entire tour with 1.040 m altitude difference took us 6 hours and probably more calories than we were able to refill at the Brunnenkopfhütte. Conclusion: worth it!

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Linderhof at our feet

P.S.: Proud to announce the 1st tour of the year free of pain – except for the horsefly bites…

Preparation (5): Peak as Peak Can

Some people know how to make most of a festival evening, some are pretty good at finding beautiful hiking tours. R. knows both, being well qualified for Saturday’s companion.

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View from the Spitzstein to the Kaisergebirge

The 5th peak 2017 is the Spitzstein, located somewhere between the Chiemsee and Kufstein. With 870m difference in altitude it proves once more the strong correlation between steep trails and the need for plasters.

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Spitzstein Peak: 1.596m

Once on top, the view is fantastic and reaches from the Kampenwand to Tyrol’s higher mountains and from the Chiemsee to the Inntal. With one foot in Bavaria and one in Tyrol, we are able to be at 2 locations simultaneously, approaching the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Isn’t it great how shaped physiques meet applied physics?!

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Somewhere between Austria and Germany

Allgäu, June 2017

Here comes the next peak! At least, that was the plan. 1st plan had been the Blaueisgletscher, but we had to skip that due to constant rain from Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon in Berchtesgadener Land. 2nd plan was the Rubihorn in Oberstdorf: positive weather forecast, 1957 meters, nice camp site (rubi camp).

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Shiny happy Hector, now with all make up (stickers) removed

Arriving Saturday evening, we prepared everything for an early-bird start of the Sunday mountain tour. Around 5:10 am, an unforeseen monster rain cloud made its way from the South over the Alps and arrived just in time to laugh at us and our silly plans.

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Being directly below the unforeseen monster rain cloud

Lucky us that with Hector’s instinct for the sun + competent research performed by the passenger’s seat, we had a nice hiking tour at last (thanks R.!). With about 300 meters of altitude difference, it only came close to our planned effort, but guess what: we made it up to the peak! To the Auerberg peak and its “closed due to renovation” church on the mountain top and with a wonderful view on the alps (if not for the low clouds in between).

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Peaks are a bit different in the Allgäu

In total, we had sun, we were hiking and I worked on the perfect harmony of feet + trekking shoes – what else can you expect from a cloudy weekend?!

Preparation (3): Seebergkopf

Here we go with the next round in 2018 preparation: Friend R. (when working together, I secretly called her “The Brain” but never told her about it), 25 °C and a cloudless sunny sky come together in perfect conditions for a neat little hiking tour. Even more important is the shoe topic. Brand new hiking shoes lust for serious usage in all possible directions: up, down, across and left/right.

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The way up is supposed to be harmless, but my shoes have not heard of that. The conclusion by the end of the day will be that the hiking is fine but the socks could do better, while half way up I start dreaming of the plasters in my backpack. However, the diversified path, the view on Rotwand and other peaks and the blooming flowers along the way keep my mind distracted and my feet at ease.

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3rd peak 2017: Seebergkopf

The Seepergkopf is located right in front of the Wendelstein with its striking (some say: ugly) buildings. As we stand on the veritable peak, our eyes wander a bit to the right and we see snow-white mountains in the Austrian alps and a lot of nature all around. Plus Bayrischzell at our feet.

On the way down, we stop for a drink at the Neualm which is a bit noisy with all the happy cows and their bells. Some of them approach us, looking for tender caresses, but due to their size I prefer some centimeters of distance between them and me. I rather go for a chat with the funny Irishman that sits in the middle of the cow flock like an Englishman in New York.

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After 5 hours up + down + 2 breaks we are back down with 750 meters of altitude that continue flowing through our legs and feet for some hours more.

Preparation is Hard Work

With months yet to come, I already commenced the preparation of 2018 Holidays. Aiming high, I start building solid conditions right now – trying my best to keep motivation up by documenting the main efforts on Travelhector.

So here we go with my head in the clouds and my feet on any kind of mountain path.

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Kampenwand – great to be on top

The first round has been the weekend at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo with Barbara and additional company by Barney Geröllheimer. With 1,000 meters of altitude difference, 3 ½ hours for the way up + 2 ½ hours down, old snow and new impressions it was a wonderful start in the 2017 outdoor season.

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The second approach leads to the Kampenwand. Close to Munich and thus perfect for a half-day-trip with known and unknown hiking buddies, it is famous for a gorgeous view and silly rhymes: “I gangat gern auf d’Kampenwand, wannst i mit meiner Wamp’n kannt.” The way up with 1,000 meters of altitude difference is supposed to take about 3 or 4 hours – well, the hiking sprint team of the day (yes, that’s us!) reached the peak after only 2 hours + 15 minutes. Great tour with neat climbing elements on top of the world.

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Wonderful tour, thanks guys!