GERMAN HILL AND MOUNTAIN HIKES

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Garmisch-Partenkirchen26 Jan 2005GP - Vdr Hausberg - Kochelberg - Riesersee - Rieserkopf H - Point 1250 - GP
 27 Jan 2005Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Esterbergalm - Garmisch-Partenkirchen
 28 Jan 2005

GP - St Martin - Reitsteig - GP - Partnachklamm - Partnachalm - Reinthal -GP
( Two half day hikes combined to give a full day: individual half day details shown)


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26th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Vdr Hausberg - Kochelberg - Riesersee - Rieserkopf - Point 1260 - GP
Start/finish at Garmisch-Partenkirchen 707m
Highest point reached was Point 1260m, above Rieserkopfhaus
Round distance circa 20kms
Vertical altitude gain of circa 880m
Total time from start to finish of 9hrs 30 mins
Weather was deep fresh snow, very cold and mainly overcast with light snow showers
Up until a week before leaving for three days of winter hiking from Garmisch-Partenkirchen it looked as though I could expect to hike up a couple of quite high routes. Temperatures as high as 9 degrees C and heavy rain lower down had shown, courtesy of the local web cams, virtually all snow on the Western side of the Wank mountain, and the Southern side of the Kramer all but gone. But that changed dramatically as winter returned with a vengeance bringing very cold temperatures and over a metre of fresh snow in the days before I set out from my hotel next to the station at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Changes that would see all the higher level mountain paths, (and many of the lower ones), completely obliterated by deep snow, as well as making any attempt to get to a very significant height very dangerous because of considerable avalanche risks. This information obtained by E Mail before I left home with the very helpful local tourist office and the Zugspitzbahn . GP at dawn The main street down from the station, past my hotel with the lower slopes of the Wank mountain behind
So my winter hiking gear had been added to by a pair of Grivel Violino snowshoes, an activity I had never undertaken before! But I knew enough to realise that hiking on my own, without an avalanche transiever or any avalanche training I would only use the snowshoes to bridge any short deeper snow sections on paths and tracks I had been advised were safe to use.
26th January hike continued











26th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Vdr Hausberg - Kochelberg - Riesersee - Rieserkopf H - Point 1260 cont
The plan was to hike via Bayernhaus to the Kreuzeck, a safe route passing a number of pisted ski slopes. All went well leaving the town and into the deep winter snowscene, but passing 900m the sign to Bayernhaus pointed at a snow filled meadow with no tracks. So I continued on the track that had been kept open by a snowplough until it ended at at small farm! GP at dawn Signposts
Retracing my steps to the Bayernhaus sign I could see from a gap in the trees where the track up the mountain continued so crampons and snowshoes were put on for my first attempt at what is a very popular activity in Germany. Exhilerating at first, it soon became clear that I was not fit enough to climb several hundred metres in such deep snow, so after half an hour of ascent I turned back towards Garmish-Partenkirchen, with a rethink of the days plans very much needed! Snowshoeing Top: the way ahead, and lower: snowshoeing! Deep snow Top: the ploughed route. Lower: turnround point.
26th January hike continued









26th Jan 2005: GP - Vdr Hausberg - Kochelberg - Rieserkopf H - Point 1260 cont

So, it was coming up to noon and I was back on the valley floor, knowing the daylight would be gone by 5.30 pm. Walking West along by the railway I soon came across a short path, (top right), leading to the Riesersee. So up I went, past the hotel and the cafe at the top and soon stood above the small lake that lay below the cafe, (lower right). In this weather it was totally frozen and covered in deep snow. The path I was on should have given me a short cut on the route up the Hausberg mountain, but like so many it ended in over a metre of untrodden snow.
Path to Riesersee
So a path was followed by the lake, and then another that ended on the mountain track up to the RieserkopfHütte. And it had been ploughed and was walkable! It was quite steep at times, and quite slippery but a decent pace was possible in the still dull and overcast conditions. All the way up to the Hütte the story on the steep mountain paths that the track crisscrossed was the same. Just a signpost pointing into the forest with over a metre depth of dense virgin snow. No chance at all of someone like myself unfamiliar with the routes and even with the use of snow shoes, to try and find the route. Far better to stay on the ploughed track, even though it was a lot further round, albeit on a gentler grade. Riesersee
26th January hike continued









26th Jan 2005: GP - Vdr Hausberg - Kochelberg - Rieserkopf H - Point 1260 cont
The RieserkopfHütte, (right) was passed at which point the track was no longer ploughed. But it was now pisted as part of a main ski route from Hausberg and Kreuzeck. So keeping to one side out of the way of the by now frequent skiers the winter hike continued. A main path, also pisted cut a corner on the track and then led to a steep ski slope. That was a real struggle to climb as it was very steep and very slippery and at the top of the first main section crampons were needed to keep a decent foothold.
RieserkopfHütte
By now it was clear the plan of reaching the Hausberg cable car station for the last service down was not realistic. Mainly because I had only the Kompass map and not the better DAV 1:25000 map that was back in my hotel room. So with uncertainty as to my exact location, retracing my steps to Garmisch-Partenkirchen seemed sensible. Crampons were needed for the first 90 minutes downhill due to the very steep ski slope and then the steep icy mountain track. But they felt comfortable and stopped me falling over! All too soon I was back on the valley floor and at exactly 5.30pm as darkness arrived I was back at my hotel. Ski slope above RieserkopfHütte Ski slope below Hausberg Turnround point Just before heading back down
27th January hike









27th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Esterbergalm - Garmish-Partenkirchen.
Start/finish at Garmisch-Partenkirchen 707m
Highest point: 1279m, before Esterbergalm 1265m
Round distance circa 16km
Vertical altitude gain of 600m
Total time from start to finish of 6hrs 45 mins
Weather was deep fresh snow, very cold and skies clearing to a perfect winters day

For my middle day I had planned to hike to the Esterbergalm. Knowing that the Hütte is open during the winter I had correctly assumed that the mountain track to it would be kept open. I did try to hike up through the deep snow direct to St Anton at the start, and had to return to find a ploughed road, but after that it was comfortable hiking with just a few steep sections. The weather was great and I was rewarded with superb views as the early cloud cleared. Alone to start with I was soon being passed by snowshoers and cross country skiers hurrying up the track, before they mainly left and headed into the virgin snow covering the paths up to the Wank mountain summit. With the local tourist office having told me that the Wank mountain was safe after heavy snowfall it was no surprise it was the choice of route for these others out enjoying a lovely winter's day. On days when there was no snow underfoot, or the need to constantly stop to take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding snow covered mountains this hike could be done in a half day. But I was not in a hurry, and enjoyed the nearly seven hours spent hiking to and from the Hütte.
Photo
On the edge of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and behind the first sunlight stikes the Kramer
27th January hike continued










27th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Esterbergalm - Garmish-Partenkirchen continued.
Daxkapelle and Alpspitz The early cloud lifts to reveal the Alpspitz standing out clearly behind me as I looked back passing the Daxkapelle
27th January hike continued










27th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Esterbergalm - Garmish-Partenkirchen continued.
Deep snow on the trackHoher Fricken
Left: The deep snow on the track up to Esterbergalm. Right: The track passed under the Ochsenberg.
27th January hike cont










27th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Esterbergalm - G-P cont.
Esterbergalm Wonderful winter conditions hiking across the Esterbergalm towards the inviting Hütte
27th January hike continued










27th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Esterbergalm - G-P cont.

Picture postcard conditions at Esterbergalm. Footpaths totally blocked with deep snow, the lovely Hütte, (closed Wednesdays), where a superb lunch of goulasch soup followed by Leberkäse, egg and fried potatoes was taken, and the view back along the way I had hiked earlier.

By far the best weather of the three days I was hiking from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but very, very cold. Not surprising when considering the amount of snow lying on the ground!
Esterbergalm Hütte
Footpaths blocked with deep snowEsterbergalm
27th January hike continued










27th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Esterbergalm - G-P cont.
Esterbergalm The Hütte owner had bulldozed away the very deep snow, leaving a space for the skiers whose tracks came from the direction of the 2086m Krottenkopf. They carried a lot of gear and maybe had spent the previous night in the winter room of the 1946m high Krottenkopfhaus.
27th January hike continued










27th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Esterbergalm - G-P cont. The Kramer
From the track back to Garmisch-Partenkirchen the Kramer with it's three peaks stands out across the valley
28th January hike










28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-P - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
Start/finish at Garmisch-Partenkirchen 707m
Highest point: 1080m, on the Reitsteig above St Martin
Round distance circa 25 kms
Vertical altitude gain of circa 720m
Total time from start to finish of 8hrs 30 mins
Weather: deep fresh snow, very cold, clearing skies, then cloud and light snow

The first two days hiking from Garmisch-Partenkirchen after so much heavy snow left me thinking hard about where to go on my final day of this trip. On the evening of the 27th a visit to the Tourist Information Office had confirmed a continuing high avalanche risk on many of the higher routes around the town. Although virtually all high paths would in any case still be hidden under a lot of snow. I then decided for the 28th January to hike two routes. Routes that would be simple half day hikes if done individually, but that I would combine to do as one full days hiking in the still lovely winter conditions. Individual details of the two half day hikes are shown below.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen The Kramerweg through Garmisch-Partenkirchen crosses the Loisach
Garmisch-P - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP
Start/finish at Garmisch-Partenkirchen 707m
Highest point: 1080m, on Reitsteig above St Martin
Round distance circa 10 kms
Vertical altitude gain of circa 370m
Total time from start to finish of 3hrs 30 mins
Garmisch-P - Partnachklamm- Partnachalm (Reinthal)-GP
Start/finish at Garmisch-Partenkirchen 707m
Highest point: 1050m, on the Reinthal
Round distance circa 15 kms
Vertical altitude gain of circa 350m
Total time from start to finish of 5hrs
28th January hike continued














28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
sunrise over Garmisch-Partenkirchen
It's way below freezing as the sun slowly climbs over Garmisch-Partenkirchen
28th January hike continued








28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
Alpspitze and Zugspitze
The rising sun illuminates a hazy Alpspitze, (left) and Zugspitze, (right).
The sun was rising as I left the town and started up the good quality track towards the Hütte at St Martin. But it was worth making frequent stops to take in the view behind me!
28th January hike continued hike








28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
A place to rest
Sign to the Hütte
Kramerspitze
Places to rest on the hike, always in view of the 1985m high Kramerpsitze peak
The weather was again very cold, but it was easy to keep warm hiking up the steady and not too steep grade of the mountain track that was kept ploughed open to allow access to the Hütte at St Martin by those living there. I had the walk to myself on the way up as I suspected the snowshoers and skiers were over the valley, gradually opening up the routes again on the Wank Mountain, seemingly about the only higher level local peak considered safe from avalanche risk.
28th January hike continued








28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
A corner on the track up the mountain
Sadly the winter sunshine only lasted to this point on the zig zags of the track, just below the St Martin Hütte, as increasing cloud and haze soon started to arrive.
28th January hike continued








28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
St Martin Hütte The South facing front of St Martin Hütte Above St Martin Hütte From above and behind the Hütte is almost lost in the deep snow!
My stay at the Hütte, and the short walk above on the Reitsteig was short as the Hütte was not yet open for the day, and as the view to the town rapidly disappeared in the growing haze!. So a brisk pace saw me heading back through the center of Garmisch-Partenkirchen heading South towards the Partnachklamm and the second half of the day's hiking. A short pause at a bakers in the town allowed me to grab a couple of filled rolls, before heading over the railway lines and past the Kochelberg Alm.
28th January hike continued








28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
It was quite a long walk past the Kochelberg Alm and on towards the Partnachklamm, but that did give me a chance to enjoy the last of the days by now very hazy sunshine. Before the cloud and snow flurries returned that at least allowed my only reasonable sight of German's highest mountain during the trip, the Zugspitze at 2962m. Some argue it isn't really Germany's highest as it straddles the border with Austria, but the fact that the summit is in Germany is good enough for me, and I suspect for many others!

But my afternoon was not intent on that highpeak: instead on seeing the Partnachklamm in winter. I had been to the gorge last November and had wondered then what it must be like in the depth of winter. And I was soon to find out! The walk down from the Olympic Eistadium was the only time during the three days that I was walking in company, as the gorge is very much on the tourist trail and deservedly so.
Zugspitze Kochelberg Alm with the 2962m high Zugpsite behind.
28th January hike continued








28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
Partnachklamm N end Partnachklamm S end
Left above is the entrance, and right is the exit of the gorge when heading South from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Both impressive views on their own, but it is what is in the middle that attracts so many visitors each year. Especially during the depth of winter!
28th January hike continued








28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
Partnachklamm Partnachklamm
28th January hike continued








28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
Partnachklamm Partnachklamm
28th January hike continued








28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
Partnachklamm Partnachklamm
28th January hike continued








28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
Crossing the river The path up to Partnachalm
After passing through the breathtaking gorge, (in more ways than one, it was very cold in there!), I had the choice of going up the path to the Eckbauer summit, or of crossing the river, (above left), and then using the cleared path up to the Partnachalm, (above right). Whilst I was deliberating someone came along the path from Partnachalm, and he confirmed it was open all the way up. So that decided me, and after several hours hiking on almost level ground I really enjoyed the 200 or so metre, and quite steep, ascent up to the Alm. I also hoped for a bonus of the Hütte at the Alm being open, as there as some doubt that on the Eckbauer would be open today. And a bowl of soup would be very welcome!
28th January hike continued








28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
Looking down on Partnachalm
I went above the Alm on the Reinthal track, and then back down, being rewarded with a view of the Wank behind the Hütte, before a snow shower cut visibility. The Hütte was open, (not Thursdays), so a great bowl of goulasch soup was enjoyed before heading down the main track to Garmisch-Partenkirch and the end of three very rewarding days of winter hiking.
28th January hike continued








28th Jan 2005: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin- (Reitsteig)-GP-Partnachklamm-Partnachalm-(Reinthal)-GP
Partnachalm Partnachalm Hütte: bitterly cold outside, but lovely and warm inside with a superb bowl of gulasche soup very much needed and enjoyed!
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