Start Garmisch-P'kirchen 700m, Finish Kreuzeck 1650m
Highest point: circa 1910m, top of Längenfeld
Distance: circa 15 kms
Weather: Snowing above 850m, deep snow above 1750m
Vertical altitude gain: circa 1300m
Time: 7 hrs 40 mins, mostly on snowshoes
The Bavarian winter of 2006/7 was, in early March 2007, reported as the warmest for 100 years with temperatures around 4 degrees C above average. But I didn't know that in late November 2006 when I started to look out for a few forecast snowy and cold days when I could get back on my snowshoes and enjoy some winter walking! By late January I had bags fully packed, but it was only almost at the end of February that I saw a short window of weather forecast that would suit my needs: some short spells had already passed but not at times I could travel. So Tuesday 27th February saw me set out from the mild and snowfree valley at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, onto the North facing slopes above the town where the forecast snow had indeeed fallen, and was still falling gently as I reached the first sprinkles of snow near to Kochelbergalm at around 850m.
My plan was to get as high as possible above Kreuzeck, using pisted and compacted old snow higher up that should now have enough new snow to make snowshoeing fun, but not too exhausting for someone like me who will never be fit enough, (or slim enough!), to go cross country snowshoeing.
After 1400m I passed the Trögeln Hutte, crossed the infamous Kandahar run that had seen a round of the Ski World Cup the previous weekend, and then along a narrow track that branched into one that had been used just by a lone "walker" on skis.
The steep Längenfelder slope saw me feel the full force of the icy wind, and putting my balaclava on I noticed the sweat on my head had frozen solid on my hair! It was quite a slow slog to the top, where I left the firm base with the new snow on top, and got into very deep new snow. Amongst the dwarf pines and with the Alpspitze just visible.
By now I was feeling tired, and was also sinking very deeply into the soft new snow as I made several attempts to get to the top of the Längenfeld at over 1900m. On the section in the right hand photo I was sinking in about two feet into the snow, despite having the full tail float extensions fitted to both snow shoes! It was very hard work.
And as the cloud came and went I could look a bit more to the West and catch a glimpse again of the Zugspitze, and also the Riffelspitzen. Bottom right is the Hupfleteinjoch saddle, which had been one of my initial choices of destination for today, although I was very happy to have got some 170m above that point!
I was tiring now and decided to save energy for the rest of the trip by snowshoeing back to the cable car station at Kreuzeck, (extreme left) to take the quick way back down to the valley. All the time with the view NE to the Estergebirge more central and in the distance.