3-Peaks Cross-Over: Notkarspitze

Starting Point Ettal

Sometimes the few-lines-tour-description does not come close to the sensation along the way. What sounds like a medium tour for a relaxed Saturday turns out a 3-peak-cross-over-hike.

Later, when we Look back on it, it will All Seem Easy

Unsurprisingly, Gunther is the hiking buddy of the day – whenever he joins, unforeseen summits (such as Ochsensitz or Ziegelspitze) come along. Fortunately, I am not easy to convince and keep to my expectation that the next peak in sight must be today’s destination of a summit.

First in a row is the Ochsensitz, passed by casually when taking the right path at an unmarked fork.

Almost hidden along the Way: Ochsensitz = No. 1

No. 2 = Ziegelspitze

It is only when we reach the Ziegelspitze cross that I have to admit: nice here, but not Notkarspitze. It is a pity, but then it is a good place for a snack with a view just the same.

We leave Ziegelspitze behind, appreciating the multifaceted paths, getting more and more of an open view on the surrounding landscape. The hilly landscape with ups and downs and ridges, to be more precise. It dawns on me that we need to conquer it all: the saddle we are on, the mountain we see ahead to the left, and then all the way up to the more distant peak straight ahead. It must be around here when Gunther drops a word about being happy that I have proposed the tour, meaning that I cannot blame him for the efforts we face.

…then Further along the Way…
Walking up the Ridge is always a Good Idea

Eventually, we get there. Once settled down with a Gipfelsemmel, I regain forces quickly. Full of energy, new plans come up. Let’s take the most steep way down! We are young, we are strong, we can ignore the skeptical thoughts of the others. Before we leave, it is time to get back to handstand skills. Obviously, you should exercise every now and then if aiming for a vertical form…

#hikingthealps #lovehiking #handstand Hiking the Alps #travelbritta #travelhector
No. 3 = Notkarspitze in Various Perspectives

The way down is the most steep descent of all tours so far. In the end, I clench my teeth while I feel every nerve in my feet, every movement in my knees and every inch of altitude that we lose. Three minutes later, we are there: The Ettaler Mühle welcomes us with coffee, cold beverages and a rural choice of food.

Steep flanks on the Northern Side

The last passage back to the parking is nothing less than the ultimate proof of fitness: 3:05h up + 2:10h down have not brought us down. We beat the proposed 45 minutes by far, heading back to the car in a mere 25 minutes. Guess I have become a mountain-speed-snail after all.

1.100m altit. difference<14 km5:35 hmostly harmless

Kolbensattel Skitour

Days get blurry and it is hard to tell what distinguished Monday from Tuesday. At least, I know how to create an outstanding Saturday and throw my touring skis into the car.

Softly Uphill

Apart from zoom meetings, online yoga and virtual ukulele sessions, it is fantastic to feel real snow flakes on my face. Who cares about sunny days as long as winterwonderland offers snow-covered forests and cold fingertips?!

Silly Walking Technique

The Kolbensattel offers a levelled ski slope to pros who are willing to pay 15,-€ parking fee. It is a good deal, given the minimized avalanche risk and the joy of winter action. Just like last weekend, I recognize smiling faces and good mood all around me – everybody here is happy to do outdoor sports, and it is done best far away from crowded hotspots.

Pure Winter Feeling

The tour is an easy one and leads up to the Kolbensattelhütte, now closed of course. I remove the skins from my skis, turn the binding a 180° and put on my helmet. Not that a light-blue slope with a handful of people requires full safety equipment, but it is comfortable and warm and looks utterly professional.

When Fixing the Goggles to the Helmet almost Fails

I am thrilled to try out my touring skis in the powder. This is exactly what they are made for! The same is true for me, by the way. Someday I will hop down in un-touched, fresh snow, but as of now, I take whatever the slopes offer.

Downhill Fun
420m altit. difference4,3 km1,5h (ascent)harmless

Compensating Heights: The No-Travel-Substitute 2020

Hikingthealps
Hiking the Alps
The outstanding Triple-Peak-Tour of the Year: Transcending the Geierköpfe

Months of the strangest year did not stop my yearning for travels. Real travels, with different places to go und foreign people to meet. Yet, I am lucky to live in a region that attracts tourists for one or another reason, and I take advantage of it as much as possible.

Hiking the Alps Chiemgau
July: Heuberg, Karkopf, Karspitze

Of course, you could take this as travel inspiration: Any of the mountain tours shown here may tempt you to spend precious holiday time between Munich and the Alps. Me, instead, I have to deal with an insulted van (with only 3 nights out, Hector feels entirely left behind), but at least I can look back on 13 hikes from July to October.

July/August: Geigelstein, Schwarzenberg, Hirschberg

Having crossed off most of the tours of my hiking books, I will look for online inspiration and continue with outdoor action throughout the winter.

Hiking the Alps
August/September: Scheinbergspitze, Torkopf, Wendelstein

For today, I happily present a quick glance on tours No. 1-13, also known as my holiday-substitute 2020.

Lovehiking
October: Rabenkopf, Gedererwand, Kranzhorn

The list of all Hiking-the-Alps tours is presented here => Overview.

Brünnstein: Black Hike or light-blue Via Ferrata?

Experts recognize the Rock Formation: Brünnstein Peak

2020 modern times come with neither party nor concert, no random encounter nor further excitement – hence, best practice is to find attractive destinations during weekends. With the warm sun laughing  at November bias, today’s target is the Brünnstein.

Barbara joins and proudly presents her brand new via ferrata equipment: harness, loops, carbines and helmet. It will turn out that we are entirely over-equipped, but at least we look adventureous like hell.

#Hikingthealps; Hiking the Alps, #Brünnstein
Approaching Brünnsteinhaus

The route is a wonderful mixture of steep paths, relaxed forest roads and green meadows. And not all of it is muddy.

#hikingthelaps #wanderlust
Up to wider Horizons

Despite the early snow we had a couple of weeks ago, November starts with short-sleeve temperatures. Just like the fixed-rope sets, the downy jackets serve our fitness as we carry them up and down in our backpacks.

Fixed Steel Ropes, yet the Via Ferrata comes with no Difficulty at all

For whatever which reason it takes longer than expected to reach the Brünnsteinhaus. We pause for a moment and gain back some of the burnt calories when plundering our backpacks. The regular restaurant service is closed (Covid19 rules), but the sunny terrace offers tables and chairs and even beer or juice thanks to the installed beverage dispenser.

Intresting Route

Ahead of the lodge, the “Dr. Julius Mayr” via ferrata leads to the summit. It is a charming trail as it includes iron steps, climbing passages and cavity. All easy enough, but fun nonetheless.

Choice of the Day: Barbara, the Via Ferrata, the Alps

What I like best are the exposed paths that make you feel lightweight and offer wide horizons from a bird’s eye perspective.

Sensation along the Way: Being aware of the Nothingness right in front of the Feet

The Brünnstein peak is in reach for hikers free from giddiness, meaning: us. And about a dozen more…

Hikingthealps; #Bruennstein
Another Ridge of a Summit

I can hardly imagine how crowded this spot must be in high season. At least you will always find a good photographer for splendid summit portraits!

Bruennstein
Another Success for the most irresistible Peak Queens

Eventually, we start our descent with some steel ropes on the steep upper part of the trail. The more height we lose, the more we witness a change in scenery: Climbing rocks give way to lush pastures and forests. The setting is very rural as for the entire route the only prominent signs of civilization are some alpine shacks.

Rural Region

Along the way we detect quite some road signs that mark further tempting destinations. Looks like we might come back for more someday…

865m altit. difference<13 km5:15 hchallenging

Most Charming, Easy Tour: Kranzhorn

Kranzhorn double-cross-peak

Based on my general interest in science, I am curious what will happen when inviting a Flachlandtiroler (hiking rookie from low-level-areas) to a hiking tour in the Alps. At the edge of the Alps, to be more precise.

Splendid Pictures: always an Option. As soon as I find Someone who volunteers to clean my Windshield…

My favourite hiking book “Zeit zum Wandern – Chiemgau” offers a blue tour with a real summit and wide views towards the main Alps. Viola is all up for it and we buzz with anticipation, hardly able to wait until sunrise to jump in the car and get going.

Kitsch meets Natural Beauty

We start easy on forest roads, passing by several pastures, all beneath one of those skies that exist only in the short transition from summer to autumn. The surrounding is charming and we appreciate the clear air and the pure feeling of being here.

Best to be done around 8:00 a.m.

We forget about time and place, yet it must have been merely an hour until we reach the Kranzhorn-Alm. We are just in time to jump out of the way as the delivery truck arrives, carrying the alp’s staff to their working place and fresh victuals to the kitchen. Generously, we grant them some time to prepare their hospitality and continue towards the summit.

Hiking is such a step-by-step-thing

The last section of the tour is a bit more challenging, at least with wet and slippery grounds added by stormy wind, blowing us apart (or trying to). But then it is great, leaning against the squalls and dancing with the storm or the cross or both.

#hikingthealps; Hiking the Alps, Chiemgau
Double Cross at Kranzhorn

Coming back to the scientific test of foreign visitors and how they react on height and rocks, it is stunning to witness the development. From the Westerwald to the Alps, all you need is something to hold on to. Then, all of a sudden, joy and lightness set in.

First

but then!

Having the peak all for ourselves, we enjoy the view as long as we bare the storm. The morning mist still covers the valleys while the alpine glaciers shimmer in the distance. It certainly differs from hiking routines in Pfalz, Taunus or Westerwald.

Hiking the Allps
Outlook

Eventually, we call it coffee time and get served with wonderful delicacies at the Kranzhorn-Alm.

Coffee in Sight

By the time when dozens of families + umpteen hikers shuffle in, we are already on our feet, ready for the descent.

This has been the most charming of the blue tours I have done lately and it is best to start it way ahead of regular hiking crowds.

350m altit. difference8 km< 3 hoursharmless
Viola, now hiking pro!

Relaxed Autumn Tour: Rabenkopf

Another Sunday enfolds with rays of sun and distant mountain silhouettes. Being blessed with quite some hike-able friends, all I have to do is place my cup of coffee in Sabine’s car and get moved towards Benediktbeuern.

Heading towards Rabenkopf

Destination of the day is the Rabenkopf, situated at the edge of the Bavarian Alps, 1.555m high. Forest roads ease the start into the tour, but not before long we follow others onto a shortcut, leading us on rough grounds and steep gradient. Consequently, it does not take long until we reach the Orterer Alm. The alp might offer refreshments throughout summer, while in October all it presents is rural atmosphere and some benches.

Hiking in good Company

We continue and join the Girgl-Fischer-Weg, all through idyllic forests. The ways may not be spectacular, but relaxed and nice enough.

Girgl-Fischer-Weg: steep or not steep, but always uphill

Within less than two hours, we reach the cross that marks the Pessenbacher Joch. Some other hikers are around, but by no means is it crowded or dense. Nature, meditational trails and more nature frame our passages.

Hiking the Alps; Wanderlust
Approaching Pessenbacher Joch

Summit crosses attract me like athletic men or good food: I can hardly pass them by without getting close. Even more, peak crosses motivate me to take at least half a dozen of pictures, sparkling with joy about the successful ascent, based on nothing but strong will and muscle power.

#hikingthealps
Pessenbacher Joch and: yay!

For the next 20 minutes, we go separate ways. I choose the trail to the right with more altitude-difference than distance. Furthermore, it comes with some almost-climbing-parts to intensify the mountain experience.

Looking down to Orterer Alm

Being all concentrated and focused on the trail’s pitfalls, I forget to take pictures of the via ferrata-like iron steps that mark the last meters below the peak… Still, it is great as the destination finally comes in sight and I hurry up to reach the Rabenkopf summit before further crowds appear.

#rabenkopf
Rabenkopf Summit Cross (+ decoration)

Free space is limited and quite some hikers gather around the cross. There is an alternative way coming up from Jachenau, and it seems to be more famous than our route. However, we sit comfortably distanced among others, join some chats and enjoy being here.

Our descent includes a coffee stop at the Staffel-Alm. Again, we find ourselves in the good company of all kinds of outdoor people who soak in the mild temperatures, sun and deserted meadows.

Nothingness in a good way

After six hours (including Gipfelsemmel and coffee break), we are back down and happy with the tour, adding 2 more crosses to my list. The extra cross of Pessenbacher Joch is the bonus that equals the missed (blocked) one from last week’s hike on Wendelstein.

900m altit. difference12-13 km5 hmostly harmless

A Snowy Summer’s Day: Wendelstein

7:50 a.m.: Destination ahead

Rain and cold frame the last September weekend, but still Sunday enfolds with blue skies and sun – at least close to the Alps. Consequently, I have chosen another peak for today. With only 2°C and the utmost flexibility, I skip the foreseen trail from the North side and instead approach the Wendelstein from the South.

The way up starts relaxed and picturesque and if not for the drop in temperature, it could be taken for a bright summer morning.

Mellow Start

Apart from faint church bells and the cattle around, I am alone and enjoy all kinds of paths. I pass by the most inviting mountain guesthouse and make a mental note to myself to stop for coffee and cake along the descent. Isn’t it great to make plans these days?

So inviting

Gaining height by the minute, the landscape starts to change. The first spots of fresh snow almost look romantic. Yet, the trail is easy enough and I continue with the routine of an experienced hiker (image! it is all about image!!).

Hiking the Alps: Wendelstein
Such much lovely

I am about half way up when two hiker ladies with more speed then youth pass me by. Not before long I will appreciate them for smoothing the paths ahead of me…

Hikingthealps
Seasonal change along the Way

Meanwhile, I congratulate myself for having tucked the hiking sticks in my backpack. I will definitely need them on my way down, with all the fresh snow that starts to thaw in the September sun. Fortunately, the disreputable silhouette of the Wendelstein summit seems already close, so (of course) it is not preferable to give up just because of 5 or 10 or 30 cm of snow.

Wendelstein
Nice, but…

Eventually, the snow gets deeper. The peak remains at unchanged distance, though. The hiking ladies in front discuss whether they turn around or continue. I am grateful for the sole hiker that has paved the slightest hint of a trail earlier today (I will meet him later and thank him – cool guy).

When looking back, the strangest sensation happens: after some acres of snowy fields, the eye falls on green grass and summer scenes. It all looks like fake news from a photoshop-mistake.

Hiking the Alps
Surreal

Every now and then and every more often, one of the footsteps drowns deep in cold snow, making me sink up to the mid of my thighs. It is one of those moments that I re-adjust my plans from “sunny café” via “hiking sticks” to the final decision “cableway”.

Fresh Snow. And quite a bit of it…

Who would have thought that Grödel (crampons) would be needed by the end of September already? However, the snow transforms a formerly simple hike into an expedition. If not for the trees, it would even match the high pass in the Himalaya!

Looks like high Alps in February – while in fact it is on 1.500m in September

With the Wendelsteinhaus already in sight, the last half hour puts me to the test. Steep, very steep terrain, topped by 30cm of fresh snow, meet the silly pride that prevents me from taking out my hiking sticks.

The first time I slip and fall back is funny. The second time still makes me laugh out loud. The third is okay, while the fourth (and every further) makes me clench my teeth and murmur something like “I will NOT turn around at this point, certainly not!”

…hmpf…

And then, three hours after I have started down in the spring-area, I am there: on the peak (more true: the sub-peak platform), ahead of disdainful cableway tourists, among all the concrete and antennas that the Wendelstein is infamous for. The very last section is closed because of ice and snow, which is sad, like in the song “no cross today, my love has gone away, lalala-lalalah…”.

Almost there!

I make it to the viewing platform before it gets entirely overcrowded and picture the scenery. The cliché of winterly mountains alternate with unexpected green meadows, blanketed from the distant rows of Alpine summits, all white and icy.

#Hiking the Alps
Looking towards Sudelfeld and further Peaks

The gastronomic side of Wendelstein reflects the landscape with ups (friendly cook, highest prices) and downs (general atmosphere, mood of most staff members). However, none of it matters given the endorphins that buzz in my veins. I love challenging ways, at least those I win.

Yeah – made it!

Neither the upper part of the peak nor the church are accessible thanks to the spontaneous onset of winter. It is a bit of a pity as I prefer touristic method acting at such a hotspot and now feel terribly limited in my role. Still, I am fine when hovering down in the gondola around noon, happy with the 10th mountain tour of the year.

1.000m altit. difference5,5 km3 hoursharmless (except for the snow meeting the steep)

Torkopf via Torscharte: A Ridge of a Summit

Oh tempting are the mountains… Another bright-sun-on-a-weekend occasion comes along, and not before long I find myself (again) heading towards the Alps. Barbara joins me today and brings in a charming tour, a chamois in disguise and good mood.

Beautiful Karwendel

Region of the day is Karwendel with the typical rough and rocky appearance. I suspect that each cow, marmot and flower is part of an overall touristic campaign, aiming to balance the smooth and the rough.

The Smooth and the Rough on top of Torscharte (1.815m)

Having arrived at the Torscharte in time and well in shape, we decide to continue towards the Torkopf summit. From here, ways get interesting and steep, elevating venturing hikers in fast-forward-mode.

Heading up and Looking down on the Torscharte (eagle eyes will detect the hikers en miniature).

Hiking sticks are the ultimate upgrade in this part of the track as we continue steady, but cautiously uphill.

Guiding us through the Rocks: Chamois masqueraded as a young Woman

A single 2m–rock marks the key point, sorting the wheat from the chaff. Once passed, the last section is almost harmless, especially when finding the right turn. But even when half walking, half climbing between rock and grass, you might make it to the peak.

Happy among Rocks (Fake News! Instead of the real heave, this pic shows the inner sensation of how it felt…)

Eventually, we make it to the summit that appears rather a ridge than a peak.

Hiking the Alps
Then on top: Perspective rewards those who dare the Effort

We enjoy some Gipfelsemmeln, sun and outlook. We are close to the most crowded spot around, given the view to the Karwendelspitze with its majestic flanks and impressive size. Easily reached with the Karwendelbahn, it is a famous place for lazy tourists – and thanks to our northern position, we hardly see any of them.

Hiking the Alps
Backside of Karwendelspitze (with Torscharte beneath)

For today, we have reached the highest point, elevated well above the intermediate Torscharte, and search for further action. Some exercise might be good, making us look slim and slender even besides the tiny summit cross.

Hiking the Alps
How to burn Gipfelsemmel Calories

After a while, we decide to call it a quit and appreciate gravity on our sides for the way down. With a slight sigh, we leave the typical rock-and-green-grass landscape behind, immersing in forest paths and in the devouring shade of the Karwendel-flanks. 7,5 hours (including pause on top) are fine for today, proved by the sunburn I will detect tomorrow.

Outtakes: The real climbing rock of the tour, trifling disillusioning.

How to climb down a rock in the least elegant way…
1.100m altit. differenceca. 14 km6:45halmost challenging

Hiking the Alps: Overview

08AllgäuAuerberg2017very harmless
31Ammergauer AlpenGeierköpfe2020challenging
10Ammergauer AlpenHennenkopf2017challenging
42Ammergauer AlpenKofel2021challenging
40Ammergauer AlpenKolbensattel Skitour2021harmless
49Ammergauer AlpenNotkarspitze2021mostly harmless
30Ammergauer AlpenScheinbergspitze2020mostly harmless
45Ammergauer AlpenTeufelsstättkopf2021mostly harmless
01AppenzellSäntis2014challenging
36Bayr. VoralpenBrünnstein2020challenging
15Bayr. VoralpenHeimgarten & Herzogstand2017mostly harmless
38Bayr. VoralpenHirschhörnlkopf2021harmless
47Bayr. VoralpenKreuzbergalm2021very harmless
34Bayr. VoralpenRabenkopf2020harmless
41Bayr. VoralpenSudelfeld/Vogelsang Skitour2021harmless
33Bayr. VoralpenWendelstein2020harmless
37Bayr. VoralpenWildalpjoch2020mostly harmless
43Bayr. VoralpenWildbichler-Alm2021very harmless
25ChiemgauFeichteck & Karkopf2020harmless
35ChiemgauGedererwand2020challenging
27ChiemgauGeigelstein2020mostly harmless
44ChiemgauHefteralm2021harmless
24ChiemgauHeuberg2020harmless
23ChiemgauHochplatte2019harmless
18ChiemgauHochries2018harmless
22ChiemgauHochstaufen2019mostly harmless
06ChiemgauKampenwand2017mostly harmless
26ChiemgauKarspitze2020harmless
35ChiemgauKranzhorn2020harmless
28ChiemgauSchwarzenberg2020harmless
09ChiemgauSpitzstein2017harmless
05DolomitenDrei Zinnen2017harmless
13KarwendelMahnkopf2017harmless
32KarwendelTorkopf via Torscharte2020almost challenging
16MangfallgebirgeSchinder2017challenging
07MangfallgebirgeSeebergkopf2017harmless
20Reit im WinklHausbachfall Via Ferrata2019challenging
19Schlern, RosengartenHofer Alpl2019harmless
02Schweizer NationalparkVal Cluozza2015harmless
11SpitzingseeBodenschneid & Rinnerspitz2017harmless
48SpitzingseeBrecherspitz2021mostly harmless
17SpitzingseeRosskopf2020mostly harmless
14SpitzingseeRotwand2017harmless
29TegernseeHirschberg2020harmless
21ZugspitzregionAlpspitze Via Ferrata2019challenging
46ZugspitzregionFinzalm2021harmless
04ZugspitzregionHöllentalklamm2016harmless
39ZugspitzregionHausberg/Kreuzeck Skitour2021mostly harmless
12ZugspitzregionRiffelspitze2017challenging
03ZugspitzregionWank2016harmless

Improving my Physical Fitness: Hirschberg

Today’s hike has the aim to enable more hiking. I hope for splendid September weekends, black tours and appropriate companions, with “black” meaning more interesting in the sense of difficulty or vertigo aspects.

Another Hiking Day, today: close to Tegernsee

Destination of the day is the Hirschberg, with 1.670m and full view over Tegernsee one of those tourist attractions that makes you wonder. How has that group of foreigners made it up here, in those shoes?? Ah, they have come from the other side where I will find the most harmless hiking ways = forest roads. Lucky me that my tour starts at another point and runs straight up on the ski slopes, with muddy ground, few people and a more charming ascent.

Slopes of Hirschberglifte

In the upper part of the tour, the surrounding is as adorable as a cliché, yet a good one. Mountain pastures, happy cows and light clouds filtering the sun make me wander with a broad smile, leading to friendly chats when coming across other hikers.

Oh so beautiful

Only next weekend I will question the Hirschberg route marked red in the tour description = demanding. In contrast, other mountains offer rolling stones of scree on steep paths that might accelerate your downhill experience significantly but are flagged blue = easy. However, here and now I feel well-trained and sporty on my way up, mostly due to the flattened area as approaching the summit.

Happy Cows with a View

Once on top, it is nice and relaxed. The lookout towards the lake is just as promised while the mixed-up weather disables a deeper view into the Alps.

Vista: Okay

Not before long, groups of hikers and tourists arrive at the Hirschberg’s cross and I turn around to start my way down.

Checking out the offers of Berggasthaus Hirschberg, I can confirm that it is all easy here. Rural, even. Friendly people fulfil basic needs with the view towards the cross from the terrasse tables. I congratulate myself for the early bird hike, witnessing now more and more hikers on their way to the top.

Berggasthaus Hirschberg

Eventually, I can cross the Hirschberg off my list. Been there, done that. Perhaps autumn will take me higher… These nice-to-have hikes are perfect for physical fitness, but do not fulfill my longing for sensational adventures.

900m altid. difference12 km4:15hharmless