GERMAN HILL AND MOUNTAIN HIKES

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Bayrischzell Area3 Mar 2005Fischhausen - Spitzingsattel - Obere Firstalm and return
 4 Mar 2005Bayrischzell - Berghotel Sudelfeld - Alte Tanneralm - Waldkopf - Bayrischzell
 5 Mar 2005Spitzingsee - Schönfeldhütte - Spitzingsee
 6 Mar 2005Bäkeralm - Mariandlalm Hütte ( Trockenbachalm ) - Bäkeralm
 7 Mar 2005Bayrischzell - Sudelfeldkopf - Vogelsang - Bayrischzell


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3rd March 2005: Fischhausen - Spitzingsattel - Obere Firstalm Hütte and return
Start/finish at Fischhausen Neuhaus Station, 780m
Highest point reached was circa 1400m, above Obere Firstalm Hütte.
Round distance circa 20kms
Vertical altitude gain of circa 650m
Total time from start to finish of 7hrs
Weather was deep fresh snow, very cold, sun then mainly overcast with light snow showers
My first experience of winter hiking from Garmisch-Partenkirchen at the end of January had taught me a lot! In such a severe winter as this part of Germany was enjoying, with very deep snow fall, it could prove very difficult indeed for a normal hiker to ascend to any reasonable height. Mountains paths were totally obscured with significant avalanche risk at the higher levels. So a lot more research had been done before coming to Bayrischzell with wife Bobbie for 5 more days winter hiking.Wendelstein
That research showed winter hiking to higher levels is not well provided for: most people ski or perhaps snowshoe. Bayrischzell Tourist Office had sent a useful leaflet with a number of winter hikes, and reading between the lines that indicated more were possible. So maps were searched for ski "resort runs" that headed down through summertime forest tracks and for Hüttes who had confirmed they were accessible during winter by hikers. So in deep snow on our first day we left Bayrischzell on the 09.07 local train as far as Fischhausen Neuhaus, with it's views of the Wendelstein, (top), and Brecherspitz, (lower).Way AheadBrecherspitz
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3rd March 2005: Fischhausen - Spitzingsattel - Obere Firstalm Hütte and return continued
The days plan was to hike via the Spitzingsattel and then up the track to the Obere Firstalm Hütte. Internet research had shown that the track up from the Sattel to the Hütte was kept open in the winter as it was a rodelbahn, (toboggan run). Not a full competitive type of run. First RodelbahnSchliersee
But one where anyone who was prepared to drag their toboggan up to the Hütte could enjoy a drink and some food, and then come out and get back down to Spitzingsattel a lot faster than they went up! Such routes are also popular with anyone who does hike in winter as well as those incredibly fit people who do cross country sking: quite amazing to see them slogging up the mountain tracks. I wanted to avoid following the main road up to the Sattel, so after some ups and downs in Fischhausen found that the road through the Josefsthal, (shown with a dead end sign), did continue as a snow ploughed forest track banned to vehicles, (above), but which was a non advertised rodelbahn. An ideal route that cut off a large corner, and a route that had a nice view back over the frozen Schliersee, (right). It also meant we only had a short distance to hike alongside the main road.
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3rd March 2005: Fischhausen - Spitzingsattel - Obere Firstalm Hütte and return continued
We took a short "chocolate break" at the Sattel as we had ascended a few hundred metres already, and enjoyed the view back down to the Schliersee. We had walked on our own from Fischhausen but now the track got busy, with parked cars disgorging tobogganners and other hikers. Soon we were on the not too steep track, (below), and found no problems avoiding the frequently met tobogganers who certainly seemed to be enjoying themsleves. View of Schliersee from SpitzingsattelSpitzingsattel Sign
The hike up the track in now quite gloomy weather kept us warm, with some great views from time to time. The grade eased and in front was the Obere Firstalm Hütte. With lots of children outside who had hiked up from the Sattel to use toboggans hired from the Hütte to slide back down again.
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Track to Obere Firstalm











3rd March 2005: Fischhausen - Spitzingsattel - Obere Firstalm Hütte and return continued
View from Near Obere Firstalm Near to Obere Firstalm, and the view back east towards the Taubenstein, Rotwand and other peaks in this superb hiking area.
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3rd March 2005: Fischhausen - Spitzingsattel - Obere Firstalm Hütte and return continued
Obere Firstalm Hütte Bobbie Bryan
Looking down on Obere Firstalm, and a superb bowl of goulash soup inside for us both!
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3rd March 2005: Fischhausen - Spitzingsattel - Obere Firstalm Hütte and return continued
Untere Firstalm Hütte Bobbie
After our soup we spent time outside of the Hütte, firstly enjoying the view down to the Untere Firstalm, (left) and then searching for any onwards paths that were open. It was clear that the track up to the Untere Firstalm was kept open in the deep snow, giving the opportunity of a round hike from Spitzingsee or Spitzingsattel to embrace both Hüttes, (but with a short, steep climb or descent between the two Hüttes). It was also clear that no other paths from Obere Firstalm were passable. There were just one or two track marks in the snow made by cross country skiers or snowshoers: but nothing a conventional hiker could have followed, such was the depth of snow. So we gently made our way back down over the route we had come up, using the lower of the two rodelbahns, which was quite steep and slippery in places, for Bobbie to try out her crampons for the first time.
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4th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Berghotel Sudelfeld - Mittl Sudelfeld - Waldkopf - Bayrischzell
Start/finish at Bayrischzell 795m
Highest point reached was Waldkopf Summit 1256m
Round distance circa 10 kms
Vertical altitude gain of circa 500m
Total time from start to finish of 6hrs
Weather was deep fresh snow, very cold and sunny
This was planned as a "Rest Day" hike, as Bobbie is even less used to me than enjoying the delights of Bavarian hiking. The Tourist Office winter map had shown that there was a walking route from the end of Sudelfeld Strasse in Bayrischzell, past the lower end of the chair lift at Oberlarch and up through the forest to the Berghotel Sudelfeld. I guessed, correctly that the forest path would run up the "resort run" ski route which would be pisted and therefore explain why the route would be open in such a severe winter as this. With only the Kompass 1:35000 Bayrischzell Schliersee map, (not totally accurate, but OK as a guide), I had not been able to determine how steep the short ascent would be. So in picture postcard conditions on a lovely sunny morning we set out through Bayrischzell, (photo top next page), soon passing the bottom of the chair lift: open to those on foot as well as to skiers as there are two Gasthof at the Mittl Sudelfeld where the chair lift ends. Bayrischzell The view to the Wendelstein from our hotel room
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4th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Berghotel Sudelfeld - Mittl Sudelfeld - Waldkopf - Bayrischzell continued
We chose the mountain track, (right lower), which was well pisted but steep in places. It was wide and keeping to one side meant we posed no problem to the frequent and fast skiers coming downhill on what for them was billed as a medium grade run. We did not hurry and it took a while to reach the sign for the track, (also open), leaving left up to the excellent Berghotel Sudelfeld. There we took coffee and about the best Kartoffel Suppe we have ever tasted at a very reasonable price. We walked on from the hotel to the steep pistes which were very wide and open with no trees. Prefering the forest track we descended on the path we had come on to re-join the main track and continued up. Crampons were most definitely needed on the upper steep stretches, (as they were all the way down), and before long we arrived at Mittl Sudelfeld, also known as Alte Tanneralm. Leaving Bayrischzell
Bobbie stayed at one of the Gasthofs, but I had spotted the summit kreuz of the Waldkopf so hiked up a short, steep and unused piste to within a few metres of the summit and then though deep snow to the top. Not a high summit, and one surrounded by ski lifts, but to me any winter summit any such a severe winter is worth reaching if you have hiked all the way to it, (rather than pulled up by a ski lift!). But one of those skiers was kind enough to leave the piste to take my photo. Rejoining Bobbie we headed back to the track we had come up though the forest on and enjoyed a leisurely descent in still lovely weather. It should be noted that in snowy winter months the track is closed overnight between 17.00 and 09.00 hrs to allow the pisting machines to keep it flat and firm for the skiers. Leaving Bayrischzell
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4th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Berghotel Sudelfeld - Mittl Sudelfeld - Waldkopf - Bayrischzell continued
Rotwand Climbing up to the Berghotel Sudelfeld there was super view back to the Hochmiesing, Aiplspitz and other peaks
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4th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Berghotel Sudelfeld - Mittl Sudelfeld - Waldkopf - Bayrischzell continued
Berghotel Sudelfeld Wendelstein and Lacherspitz
Bayrischzell Peaks Alpine Peaks
Top, Berghotel Sudelfeld and Wendelstein plus Lacherspitz . Lower, Lacherspitz, Wildalpjoch, and Mittl Sudelfeld with Alpine peaks behind.
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4th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Berghotel Sudelfeld - Mittl Sudelfeld - Waldkopf - Bayrischzell continued
Bergasthof Titoler Stuberl at Mittl Sudelfeld
Bergasthof Tiroler Stuberl at Mittl Sudelfeld, with the Wendelstein behind.
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4th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Berghotel Sudelfeld - Mittl Sudelfeld - Waldkopf - Bayrischzell continued
Waldkopf Summit Bobbiekopf
We both made our own summits, myself on Waldkopf, and Bobbie on her very own "Bobbiekopf", 50 or so metres lower!
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4th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Berghotel Sudelfeld - Mittl Sudelfeld - Waldkopf - Bayrischzell continued
Rotwand across to Jägerkamp
On our way down, and a superb view in front from the Rotwand, (left), across the Taubenstein and Aiplspitz to the Jägerkamp.
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5th March 2005: Spitzingsee - Schönfeldhütte - Spitzingsee
Start/finish at Spitzingsee 1085m
Highest point reached was Schönfeldhütte 1410m
Round distance circa 10 kms
Vertical altitude gain of circa 350m
Total time from start to finish of 5hrs
Weather was deep fresh snow, very cold and sun, turning to cloud and snow showers
Heavy overnight snow had further increased the already deep cover as we caught the on time 09.07 train from Bayrischzell, (destination München Hbf). Alighting at Fischhausen Neuhaus we had a short wait before catching the hourly bus up to Spitzingsee. The sun was shining and the track, (photo right), up from the high lake was only gently graded and well ploughed as it led to a police training college a couple of hundred metres above our starting point. That probably explained why we did see a few cars on the track, but certainly not enough to bother us.

The first point of interest was the track that lead off to the Rotwandhaus, and it was good to see that had also been kept open in the severe winter weather. Although clearly not ploughed to the same extent as the main track it was walkable, and had time and energy levels been on our side would have presented a challenging hike for the day. But I had promised Bobbie a quieter day with an easy stroll up to the Schönfeldhütte who had confirmed by E mail before we left home that it was possible to hike up to them in winter. So we stayed on the main track up to the Berggasthof Igler where a coffee break was enjoyed on the sun terrace looking South over the local peaks.
Track up from Spitzingsee
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5th March 2005: Spitzingsee - Schönfeldhütte - Spitzingsee continued
Berggasthof Igler Hiking on winter days doesn't get any better than this, as we leave our coffee break at the Berggasthof Igler
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5th March 2005: Spitzingsee - Schönfeldhütte - Spitzingsee continued
Above Berggasthof Igler and Untere Maxlraineralm The very deep snow either side of the track is very apparent as we hiked on upwards.
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5th March 2005: Spitzingsee - Schönfeldhütte - Spitzingsee continued
View from Schönfeldalm View from Schönfeldalm
Police College View from Schönfeldalm Path Signs
After passing the Police College, (lower left), cloud and snow arrived, but didn't dull the views as we approached Schönfeldalm.
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5th March 2005: Spitzingsee - Schönfeldhütte - Spitzingsee continued
Bobbie Schönfeldhütte
Schönfeldhütte menu Schönfeldhütte menu Laberkäse
A hard final climb for Bobbie to the Schönfeldhütte, where the menus outside told us we were in for good food inside. And of course on a cold and by now snowy day we went for the Laberkäse before heading back to Spitzingsee.
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5th March 2005: Spitzingsee - Schönfeldhütte - Spitzingsee continued
Spitzingsee
Back at a dull Spitzingsee where the lake was frozen and covered with good depth of snow, we had a quick pot of coffee at the Postgasthof. Then caught the bus down to Fischhausen Neuhaus and after less than 20 minutes our train to Bayrischzell.
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6th March 2005: Bäkeralm - Mariandlalm - Bäkeralm
Start/finish at Bäkeralm 839m
Highest point reached was Mariandalm circa 1250m
Round distance circa 10 kms
Vertical altitude gain of circa 450m
Total time from start to finish of 3hrs 40 mins
Weather was deep fresh snow, snowing, then hazy sun, then snowing again.
For today we decided to do one of the hikes straight out of the winter hiking leaflet produced by the Local Tourist Office. We had called into the Tourist Office the previous evening and confirmed the route from Bäkeralm, 8kms South of Bayrischzell to the Mariandalm in Austria was open, and confirmed the times of the free "ski bus" that would take us to and from the Bäkeralm starting point. The bus was important as Bayrischzell relies almost exclusively on the hourly train service for public transport. There are very few regular bus services and apparently no taxi service operating from within the village.

As the bus did not leave until 10.30 that gave us plenty of time to wander around the winter wonderland that this outstanding Bavarian village had been transformed into. The vast amounts of snow that had fallen just being bulldozed away from the roads and pavements, allowing life to go on as normal in what was described locally as an exceptional winter compared with others in recent years. So a pleasant walk over the Aubach, (photo right), past the church with it's "valley floor snow level" indicator, (photos next page), and to the edge of the town warmed us up nicely before catching the bus, which had earlier in the day taken skiers up to the Sudelfeld pistes.
Bayrischzell Church
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6th March 2005: Bäkeralm - Mariandlalm - Bäkeralm continued
Bayrischzell Church with snow level gauge BOB train arrives at Bayrischzell
  Edge of town: Bayrischzell
The church: a familar sight from our pre-trip use of the local web cam.  The on time trains became a familiar sight to us!
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6th March 2005: Bäkeralm - Mariandlalm - Bäkeralm continued
Bäkeralm Gasthof Into Austria
  Path Sign
The 10.30 bus was a little late from leaving it's load of skiers at Sudelfeld, but ran fast to the Langlauf center at Ziplwirt: leaving just Bobbie and myself for the last kms to the Gasthof Bäkeralm where the bus turned back. Noting the Gasthof for afternoon refreshments before catching the bus back to Bayrischzell, (due at 15.30), we were soon off South alongside the road which almost immediately crossed into Austria. After around 1.3kms we came to the track up to Mariandalm, marked to the Trockenbachalm. As expected for a Sunday there were already a few cars parked by the road with cross country skiers and tobogganers already on their way up to the Hütte or about to leave.
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6th March 2005: Bäkeralm - Mariandlalm - Bäkeralm continued
Bobbie hiking up to Mariandalm Forest track up to Mariandalm Mariandalm
Bobbie, (left) struggled a bit on the lower part of the mountain track, (center), partly because of slipping as we were a little slow in putting crampons on. Once properly equiped progress became better and before long we left the forest into the wide open spces of the superbly pretty Trockenbachalm. The sun made a hazy appearance and we could see the Mariandalm above us. A pleasant South facing snow bank was found for Bobbie to watch the tobagganers and skiers as I left her with chocolate and other winter rations and quickly hiked up through the small track carved into the deep snow to the Hütte. Quite wonderful winter conditions with again very deep snow to walk through.
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6th March 2005: Bäkeralm - Mariandlalm - Bäkeralm continued
Trockenbachalm
A pity it wasn't bright sunshine, but still bright enough to enjoy a splendid view over the Trockenbachalm, and the Hutte, (right center), where Bobbie was taking a well earned chocolate break!
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6th March 2005: Bäkeralm - Mariandlalm - Bäkeralm continued
View of Trockenbachalm from Mariandalm HütteView of Nesselberg from Mariandalm Hütte
The view from the balcony of the Hütte was great, picking out the track up from where it left the forest some way below.
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6th March 2005: Bäkeralm - Mariandlalm - Bäkeralm continued
Tobogganers leave the Mariandl Hütte
A lively group of ladies leave the Hutte, all intent on tobogganing back down to the valley floor.
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6th March 2005: Bäkeralm - Mariandlalm - Bäkeralm continued
Trockenbachalm
In the best light of the day a look back up to the Trokenbachalm before we hiked back down into the forest. The Mariandalm Hütte can just be seen on the extreme left near the top, above a lower hütte.
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6th March 2005: Bäkeralm - Mariandlalm - Bäkeralm continued
Bryan passing deep meadow snow The final stretch down to the valley floor
Bobbie had enjoyed her break, and refreshed we set off down through the deep snow, (left). The hazy sun stayed with us a short time, (right), but back at the valley floor it was snow showers again. After removing crampons and another chocolate break, were were off on the road back into Germany and the Bäkeralm Gasthof. It hadn't been a long walk so there was plenty of time for a bowl of soup, before the on time bus carried us back to a cold , snowy and dull Bayrischzell.
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7th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Mittl Sudelfeld - Sudelfeldkopf - Vogelsang - Bayrischzell
Start/finish at Bayrischzell 795m
Highest point reached was Vogelsang Summit 1563m
Round distance circa 15 kms
Vertical altitude gain of circa 800m
Total time from start to finish of 7hr 30 mins
Weather was deep fresh snow and snow showers with some hazy sunshine.
We had enjoyed four days of easy hiking, and I felt I needed something just a little harder for the last day. A sentiment not fully shared by Bobbie, so as we walked through a Bayrischzell further carpeted in snow after a night of heavy snowfall we had various plans in our mind. Ideally Bobbie would catch the chair lift up to Mittl Sudelfeld and enjoy the hospitality of one of the Berggasthofs there, while I hiked up the route we had used on the Friday, and then continue on above the Gasthofs. The only doubt on this was uncertainty at the Tourist Office as to whether the chair lift was available to walkers as well as skiers. But I had been tempted by the summit cross of the Vogelsang, (1563m) after which our little hotel was named, (Landhaus Vogelsang), and really did want to try and get to that summit as my day's destination.

Arrival at the chair lift saw a sign pointing to a "Fussganger" departure point, and this was confirmed by the operator who sold a ticket for Bobbie to take the load off her legs and enjoy a very scenic ride up to the Berggasthof right by the top station of the lift. For me the route up was a little harder, but exactly in line with what I wanted.
Bayrischzell
  Bayrischzell
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7th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Mittl Sudelfeld - Sudelfeldkopf - Vogelsang - Bayrischzell continued
Forest Track Chair Lift
I hiked up the forest track, while Bobbie enjoyed the chair lift!

The pisting machines had been in action, (the track was shut at night from 17.00 to 09.00 for this), and as it was not long after 09.00 I had first use of the slope. But with all the recent snow, (some had fallen after pisting), I guess it takes a few days for the piste to become really firm. So it was a softer surface than that we hiked up on Friday, but still a great way to ascend.
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Notice











7th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Mittl Sudelfeld - Sudelfeldkopf - Vogelsang - Bayrischzell continued
Forest Track to Mittl Sudelfeld
The heavy overnight snow had transformed the forest and the view back down behind me. It had also made the surface quite loose and slippery on the steeper sections.
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7th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Mittl Sudelfeld - Sudelfeldkopf - Vogelsang - Bayrischzell continued
I would have had problems making the top of the forest track to Mittl Sudelfeld without having the Grivel 12 point crampons, (top), strapped firmly to my boots. I thought when Lucy at Up and Under suggested these for my winter hiking they were a little over specified. But they were about all that would fit my size 47 Scarpa Manta boots. And on the steep sections I needed to use the four front pointing spikes, (two almost out of shot), to dig my boots through the soft snow and into the firm pisted snow and ice underneath. They may look cumbersome but they were no problem at all wearing all day when needed. Especially useful coming down steep sections. The "classic fitting" straps were easy to fit and get very tight, and not once did I need to stop and re-tighten them.

The Stubai 8 point crampons, (lower), Lucy's first choice, (before realising they were too small for my boots), proved perfect for Bobbie's Meindl boots. They were fine for all day hiking and once strapped on tightly did not work loose. They suited Bobbie perfectly, especially as she didn't join me on some of the steeper sections where my front points proved very useful. The only change for future winter hikes is to maybe fit Grivel straps as these were quicker to do up than the Stubai fittings. Completing that part of our gear were waterproof overtrousers and gaiters: both worn all day, and both 100% effective in keeping feet and legs warm and totally dry.
Grivel 12 point crampon
 Stubai 8 point crampon
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7th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Mittl Sudelfeld - Sudelfeldkopf - Vogelsang - Bayrischzell continued
Berggasthof Sudelfeldkopf
Steep Grade Sudelfeldkopf Summit Kreuz
Top left was the warm Berggasthaus where Bobbie kept warm, with (top right), a view of the Sudelfeldkopf. The grade up was steep,(lower), running parallel to the ski-lift, but it didn't take too long to get to the Sudelfeldkopf Summit Cross.
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7th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Mittl Sudelfeld - Sudelfeldkopf - Vogelsang - Bayrischzell continued
Sudelfeld
My arrival at the Sudelfeld Summit Cross coincided with some hazy sunshine and a ferocious blast of icy cold wind. But that didn't stop the view over the Sudelfeld Ski area and the Lacherspitz, Jackelberg and Dümpfel peaks behind.
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7th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Mittl Sudelfeld - Sudelfeldkopf - Vogelsang - Bayrischzell continued
WalleralmTrack to Vogelsang
The view from Sudelfeldkopf showed the small drop down to Walleralm, and the route to the Vogelsang at the top left hand side of the photo. So it was a brisk walk downhill, and a not quite so brisk walk up the other side to the track, (right), which lead up to the Vogelsang summit. This was on the limit of safe walking as avalanche warning signs protected the path further South from here, (away from the Vogelsang summit track). Those signs would have been the limit of my hiking but for tracks made by snowshoers within the last 24 hours. The packed snow and ice underneath 50 cms of loose snow gave good grip for my crampons and a low risk of sliding off down into the deep snow to the right. But I still took great care going up and on returning!
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7th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Mittl Sudelfeld - Sudelfeldkopf - Vogelsang - Bayrischzell continued
Vogfelsang Summit Cross
My careful and slow ascent up the snowy path paid off, and on rounding a corner I was on the summit of the Vogelsang at 1563m, looking down on the summit cross. Such crosses are often slighlty below the summits, placed in the most prominent positions available. A small summit to reach for many I am sure, but the best I had managed in two winter hiking trips undertaken when a very great depth of snow was obscuring most mountain paths.
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7th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Mittl Sudelfeld - Sudelfeldkopf - Vogelsang - Bayrischzell continued
Bayrischzell viewed from near to the Vogelsang Summit
I left the slightly cloudy summit of the Vogelsang to head back to the Berggasthof for lunch with Bobbie. But paused not long after leaving the top to photograph the view back down to Bayrischzell.
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7th March 2005: Bayrischzell - Mittl Sudelfeld - Sudelfeldkopf - Vogelsang - Bayrischzell continued
Snowy forest below Sudelfeld Another superb Laberkäse meal followed after I was re-united with Bobbie. We then enjoyed another great descent through the forest towards Bayrischzell, allowing one last look at the snow covered trees and mountains at the end of a quite wonderful five days of winter hiking in this superb and friendly part of Germany.
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