GERMAN HILL AND MOUNTAIN HIKING

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return.

Start/Finish at Farchant 670m

Highest point: 1940m, Hoher Fricken summit

Distance: circa 25 kms

Weather: Cool and cloudy, sun later.

Vertical altitude gain: circa 1300m

Time: 9 hrs 30 mins

Kramerspitz from Farchanter Steig

The significant efforts of Tuesday meant a full rest day on the Wednesday. A day on which the weather forecast I had before leaving home continued to be spot on: growing amounts of cloud, but still some sunshine and staying dry. That gave me the confidence to take the rest day as I expected similar weather on the 19th, when I planed to hike up to the Hoher Fricken. A large mountain immediately to the East of Farchant where I was staying.

The 19th did indeed see the expected weather and before dawn I was hiking up the Farchanter Steig on my way up towards the Hoher Fricken. The cloud gave a fairly muted dawn as I looked West over Burgrain towards the whole of the Kramerspitz Massive that I had walked across two days earlier, (right).

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return cont. Track to Hoher Fricken Track to Hoher Fricken

I had chosen a fairly easy route to the 1940m summit as I was still a little under the weather and wasn't sure what impact the very hard Tuesday hike would have had on me. So for quite a while after I left the forest road to the Esterberg Alm I was on a reasonably graded forest, "rocks and roots" track.

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return cont. Track to Hoher Fricken Ridge to Hoher Fricken

My chosen route was a long walk, heading right around to the East of the Hoher Fricken, before heading up to the saddle NE of the ridge that forms the last part of the climb to the summit.

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return cont. View West from Hoher Fricken ridge

I was destined to have this mountain hike entirely to myself, seeing no one for over eight hours after leaving the village bakers at around 07.00hrs. And with the cloudy weather that was no surprise as the views on the way up had not been good: too much cloud and haze. But as I progressed the sun started to make some effort to shine, weakly illuminating the view to the West past Ettal and onto Oberamergau.

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return cont. Track to Hoher Fricken

As I got onto the ridge I could see part of the track I had already used below me.

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return cont. Ridge to Hoher Fricken Ridge to Hoher Fricken

The ridge had some very short sections where I felt happier scrambling, (left), and was generally quite rocky.

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return cont. Hoher Fricken

I expected to reach the summit cross after the steep section, but on top of that I saw there was another section of ridge before the summit.

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return cont. Hoher Fricken

But it wasn't long before I was on the summit looking down on the cross. Left is the nearby Wank mountain summit, and behind, right of center, is the Jubiläumsgrat leading to the Zugspitze.

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return cont. Hoher Fricken

Hoher Fricken summit cross, with the Jubiläumsgrat dominating the skyline behind.

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return cont. Oberau and Laberberg from Hoher Fricken

It was not a day for lingering: a cold wind was blowing hard and the sun wasn't destined to take control of the day until I was on my descent, leaving dull views including this one to the NW over Oberau with the Laberberg behind.

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return cont. Henneneck, Risskopf, Bischoff and Krottenkopf

I sheltered from the wind after scrambling down one of the steeper ridge sections, changed shirts and ate a lovely tomato and mozzarella roll I'd got from the bakers hours before. And looked enviously up at four peaks I hope to hike next year. L to R, Henneneck, Risskopf, Bischoff, (center, nearest) and, (just visible), the Krottenkopf.

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return cont. Hoher Fricken Ridge Track down from Hoher Fricken

For some reason, maybe the presence of the dwarf pines, my vertigo didn't kick in over a section of the ridge with some exposure, while to the East was the gentle track back down.

19th October: Farchant - Farchanter Steig - Fricken Sattel - Hoher Fricken and Return cont. Track down from Hoher Fricken

I stopped on the saddle to eat my second roll and to enjoy the desolation. And then headed back the way I had come. The bug still coursing around my veins and the effect of the hard hike to the Kramerspitz on the Tuesday made me feel more tired than I've ever been in the mountains, so I slowed my pace right down and increased my intake of Isotonic drink as I dropped below the tree line. And I was still alone as I had been since leaving the bakers many hours before, and happy to be so in this superb area where I had seen so much more for me in future hikes.