GERMAN HILL AND MOUNTAIN HIKING

2nd March: Garmisch-P'kirchen - (c/car) Hausberg - Längenfeld - Hochalm return same route

Start/Finish near Garmisch-Partenkirchen 700m

Highest point: circa 1770m, on Längenfeld slope

Distance: circa 12 kms

Weather: Heavy snow, clearing, new snow above 1300m

Vertical altitude gain: circa 600m

Time: 7 hrs, mostly on snowshoes

Hausberg

Heavy and prolonged overnight rain in the valley after I returned from my snowshoe walk on March 1st made my decision about what to do on the 2nd very easy! Head back to the same area via the Hausbgerbahn cable car as the rain was expected to have fallen as snow above about 1200m.

After a short walk to the cable car station it didn't take long for me to see I was going to have superb new snow conditions higher up: the cable car very quickly climbed into heavy snowfall with a good layer on the trees and on ground some way below the mountain station at Hausberg. And it was still snowing heavily, conditions that I really love being out in on the mountains.

2nd March: Garmisch-P'kirchen - (c/car) Hausberg - Längenfeld - Hochalm return same route to GAP Winter path from Hausberg Near Hausberg

So it was onto snow shoes as soon as I left the cable car onto lots of fresh new snow, and a real winter wonderland.

2nd March: Garmisch-P'kirchen - (c/car) Hausberg - Längenfeld - Hochalm return same route to GAP Near Trogeln Hutte

It was no surprise that the higher I went the deeper the new snow, but still on a firm base.

2nd March: Garmisch-P'kirchen - (c/car) Hausberg - Längenfeld - Hochalm return same route to GAP Längenfeld

I headed on up past Kreuz Alm and Kreuzeck and up the zig zag winter track to Längenfeld, where I stayed on the winter route to the Hochalm. On new snow that was very deep as it still kept falling.

2nd March: Garmisch-P'kirchen - (c/car) Hausberg - Längenfeld - Hochalm return same route to GAP Längenfeld

The cloud base dropped to cover the Alpspitze in front, and as I turned the corner ahead and left behind the sparse vegetation seen here, the falling snow increased producing complete whiteout conditions for ten minutes or more.

2nd March: Garmisch-P'kirchen - (c/car) Hausberg - Längenfeld - Hochalm return same route to GAP Hochlam

I tentatively snowshoed through the whiteout, which lifted as I approached a very wintery Hochalm. With a couple of skiers about to "skin" their way up the steep track to Osterfelderkopf

2nd March: Garmisch-P'kirchen - (c/car) Hausberg - Längenfeld - Hochalm return same route to GAP Hochalm

As I dropped down to the hütte at Hochlam the snow stopped and visibility improved. Not that I was planning to stay outside of the welcoming hütte, as my snowshoeing efforts had worked up an appetite, and a stop for a bowl of goulash soup was very much in order!

2nd March: Garmisch-P'kirchen - (c/car) Hausberg - Längenfeld - Hochalm return same route to GAP Hochalm

The short stay at the hütte was very welcome, and made the climb back up the track to Längenfeld seem quite easy. Especially as the visibility was better than when I had come down it not long before.

2nd March: Garmisch-P'kirchen - (c/car) Hausberg - Längenfeld - Hochalm return same route to GAP Längenfeld view towards Alpspitze

Looking back when above Hochalm the cloud base lifted enough to just reveal the outline of the mighty Alpspitze. A mountain that I would love to hike up in 2007, but certainly not today in such wintery weather.

2nd March: Garmisch-P'kirchen - (c/car) Hausberg - Längenfeld - Hochalm return same route to GAP Kreuz Alm

The visibility improved as I descended, but not my physical state as I was suffering a lot of pain from tendons behind my right knee: caused by one too many excursions off into deep powder snow. But I stuck to my plan of snowshoeing back down past Kreuz Alm to Hausberg.

2nd March: Garmisch-P'kirchen - (c/car) Hausberg - Längenfeld - Hochalm return same route to GAP Dreitorspitze

My painful efforts were rewarded with a view South East to the Dreitorspitze when I reached the Hausbergbahn. The three days I had been on snowshoes had been great, but made me realise that without being in a group where trail blazing could be shared, I will only ever do the majority of my snowshoeing where new snow lies on a firm base, as during that time. And now with mild weather forecast, my focus for the rest of the trip was to change.