GERMAN HILL AND MOUNTAIN HIKING

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return

Start/Finish near Garmisch-Partenkirchen 690m

Highest point: 1985m, Kramerspitz summit

Distance: circa 25 kms

Weather: Valley mist, cool and very clear above

Vertical altitude gain: circa 1600m

Time: 10 hrs 5 mins

Sign to Kramerspitz

Urgent priorities at home meant an eight day hiking trip to Farchant, just North of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, at the start of October was cancelled. By the second week of October I was in a position to fit in a short trip. Carefully watching about the most accurate weather forecast for the area I have found I could see that Tuesday 17th October could well be a superbly clear Autumn day. So on the Thursday before that I booked a flight to München that would get me to the ever welcoming Hotel-Gasthof Alter Wirt in Farchant early on the Monday evening.

A very good journey out saw the weather shaping up as I hoped it would, but an uncomfortable and largely sleepless night feeling somewhat unwell had not been on my plans when I got up at 05.30 on Tuesday, (my body clock still thinking it was 04.30 UK time!). Nevertheless I still caught the 06.25 local bus, alighting at Thomas Knorr Strasse on the Northern edge of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Heading west I soon got to the start of the forest road up to St Martin, (Grasberg), where my headlight, (it was still pitch black), shone on the sign that told me I had a good five hours in front until I stood on the summit of the Kramerspitz. A large mountain on the Southern edge of the Ammergauer Alpen that dominates the view to the North from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and one that I had been wanting to hike up ever since my first visit here two years ago.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Dawn seen from the Kramersteig

The early start gave me the mountain to myself for hours and a superb view down to the valley as dawn broke.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Bridge

As the sun rose the track climbed along a ledge, with a small wooden bridge to cross at one point.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Lookout point at Felsen Kanzel

Not long after the bridge was the small viewing platform at Felsen-Kanzel, with the Zugspitze now in view.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Felsen-Kanzel Felsen-Kanzel

Right by the viewing point at Felsen-Kanzel was a plaque showing it's height and renovation date, along with a small memorial plate to a young lad of just 14 years old who died near here in 1962.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Sign to Kramerspitz Track to Kramerspitz

My difficult night showed up three times on the easier track to around 1450m, when my legs felt they were going to give way from under me. But a regular intake of Isotonic drink, and a breakfast of two paracetomol tablets and more Isotonic drink here, where the steep track to the Kramerspitz leaves the route around to the Königstand, seemed to be enough to keep me going.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont View to the east from the Kramersteig

But it was maybe the superb weather and lovely views from the Kramersteig that also helped my recovery!

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramersteig Kramersteig

The steep rocky track had a couple of short sections with fixed wire ropes where light scrambling was needed, (left).

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Jubiläumsgrat from the Kramersteig

The higher I went the better the view! To the South the entire Jubiläumsgrat from Alpspitze to Zugspitze.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramerspitz

Above me, and with still a way to go, was the summit of the Kramerspitze, (left of center).

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramerspitz

Zooming in shows the Kramerspitz summit cross, (left), plus another cross, (right). Also just visible is the final part of the track up to the summit.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramer Saddle Kramer Saddle

The steep track reached a saddle, with (left) the first part of the route ahead and (right) the track up to the Katzenkopf. (1817m).

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramersteig

After a number of undulations the track climbed fairly gently to the top of a small kopf, (top right).

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramersteig Pinnacle cross from Kramersteig

Continuing along a broad ridge and passing a cross marking the top of a rocky pinnacle adjacent to the route.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramerspitz

And the summit was still in view at times, looking not that much above my current position. But not so! There was one very significant and very steep descent soon to come.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramersteig

It was on getting to the top of a small kopf I thought I had lost the path, until looking over the edge I could see a very steep descent to a small saddle, (third in from left, very bottom.) A descent I part scrambled and part walked down.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramersteig

In rugged terrain the Kramerspitz summit is background left: the track below and right, crossing a scree field.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramersteig

Crossing the steep North facing field of scree, loose stones and a small amount of low vegetation.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramersteig

This was superlative mountain hiking terrain and I was enjoying every second of it on such a superb day.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramerspitz

Rounding a corner the summit, with the cross just in front came into view. I was not far from my best summit yet!

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramerspitz summit Kramerspitz summit cross

The last few steep metres up to the summit cross seemed easy, but I knew that I would have to drop down and scramble up to the actual summit, (left). But not before chatting to a nice young lady from Munich, who arrived from the West, (just visible extreme left), and kindly took my summit cross photo!

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont ENE from Kramerspitz summit

On such a day the views from the summit area were outstanding. So we'll have an almost complete 360 degree look! Starting by looking ENE over part of the route up and then onto the Estergebirge.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont North from Kramerspitz summit

The view past part of the Kramer Massive and then just East of North into the Amergauer Alpen

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont North from Kramerspitz summit

Due North in the middle distance is the long ridge from the Brunstelkopf to the Voderer Felderkopf and further West, with a glimpse of the Notkarspitz behind. Middle foreground, the final part of the track to the Kramerspitz summit over the last ridge can be seen.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont WNW from Kramerspitz summit towards Hirschbühel

Looking WNW, with the Kramerspitz summit in the right foreground, and the 1935m high Hirschbühel adjacent and to the left. A mountain definitely on my future plans!

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont WSW from Kramerspitz summit towards Vorderer Ziegspitz and Hoher Ziegspitz

WSW with the twin summits, (joined by a short ridge) of the Vorderer Ziegspitz and Hoher Ziegspitz not too far away. Another mountain hike on my future list.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont SE from Kramerspitz summit towards Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Wetterstein.

The view South to the Jubiläumsgrat and Zugspitze had been captured on the climb, as they were now directly under the low autumn sun. But SE from the actual summit showed the Wetterstein range behind Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The steep walk, (scramble for me), up to the summit cross from the left is obvious here.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramersteig.

It took an effort to leave such a lovely place, but I was soon heading down and across the scree field. With the very steep track up to the un-named kopf in front of me.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Kramersteig.

It was a partial scramble for me, and considering how unwell I was earlier I was surprised at the energy I still had.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Katzenkopf

Over the steep climb I dropped down towards the saddle, and the short extra climb up to the summit of the Katzenkopf, (East end of the Kramerspitz massive), seemed within my capabilities for a last uphill slog of the day.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Estergebirge from Katzenkopf

The effort was well wothwhile, with a superb view to the Estergebirge, and in the center Farchant, that I had left many hours earlier that morning.

17th October: Garmish-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Wetterstein from Katzenkopf

And to the South East a lovely view down to Gamrisch-Partenkirchen with the Wetterstein range behind.

17th October: Garmisch-Partenkirchen - St Martin - Kramerspitz - Katzenkopf and return cont Wetterstein seen from Kramersteig

From the Katzenkopf it was all downhill, with none of the significant undulations and my wandering up and down at the summits and saddle that had given a new personal best for a day's height gain. With one last look to the Wetterstein range near Felsen-Kanzel on a most wonderful day in the Bavarian mountains.