Säuling (2047m) – A mountain that has been on my list since I moved to Germany.

I remember the very first time I went to Füssen and to Schloss Neuschwanstein. It was back in 2015 and we had just moved to Germany. We were standing on Marienbrücke when I saw Säuling, as a big pyramid in the sunset. I remember telling Elias that we need to find out what that mountain is called and hike it! Eventually we did find out what it was called, but it took me two and half years to finally stand on top of it. Therefore it was a little special to stand on top of Säuling today. It just had been on my list for so long!

IMG_20170525_123724

IMG_20170525_150252

Just couple of words about the Säuling itself. You can hike if from German side or from Austrian side. Or do like us, and hike if from one country to another. We Started from Pflach in Austria and ended in Füssen in Germany. I did not know that one could take Bayern ticket the whole way to Reute im Tirol and Pflach, so that was a nice surprise 🙂  From Pflach we used 2 hours to Säulinghaus. It is a nice hut to take a small break before the really steep ascent to the Säuling peak. We used 40 minutes from the hut to the peak. The weather was perfect, but we were not sure how much snow there could still be. Luckily there was almost none, because this hike would be very difficult to do with snow.

IMG_20170525_121929

IMG_20170525_120717

After a nice lunch and some selfies on the top, we started our descent to Neuschwanstein. I must say, I did not expect the descent to be so steep and so long. Therefore I recommend to start and end the hike in Pflach instead of hiking down to Neuschwanstein and taking the train from Füssen. That is unless you really want to see the castle. We had already seen the castle plenty of times so in retrospective I think it would have been nice to avoid all the tourist and the super slow train from Füssen to Munich. A map of the route is available on outdooractive here.

Säuling in not the only hike that can be started from Füssen, Branderschrofen is also a nice hike that has a hut and is not as long as Säuling. From Branderschrofen you will also have a very nice view to Säuling. I wrote a small post about it here.

IMG_20170525_131034

This was the first hike over 2000m in Germany this year, I’m happy to see there that the season is here and the snow is gone.

PS. My next hike is already planned and will be from Kufstein area, so stay tuned.

 

When you end up on the wrong peak because you spotted a shortcut.

2017-03-04 12.15.54

You stand on the feet of the mountains and you spot an awesome peak. You are sure that this is the one you have planned to hike. After all, it matches with the descriptions or at least you make it match, because it looks so awesome and it is in the right direction 😀 Happy and ignorant you set of to the peak. It gets even better, you spot a shortcut! So you see the peak, you see a possible shortcut and you want to beat the guy in jeans in front of you to the peak! Off course you are going to take the steeper but faster shortcut!

I guess you by now have figured out where this story ends up. So the guy in jeans was actually very clever in following the path, because then he saw that the peak we were heading to was not the right one.

Ending up on a wrong peak, not too bad you say. Well, the problem was not actually that it was the wrong peak, but that the shortcut that we had taken did not let us climb the peak:(  To our defense, it would have been possible during summer. There was even a path to the peak, the problem was the snow. Because you see, what we did not know was that the path we had chosen had too much now on it for safe winter hiking. Now you are thinking how stupid is it possible to be right? Hiking on paths that are not suitable for winter hiking, during winter… No we are not that stupid, it is allays safety first so we turned around when we saw that the path was not safe. Cause  you know it is never to late to turn around.. But this makes this the third hike in a row where I do not make it to the peak!!! Be it the right one or the wrong one 😛 .

Had we followed that guy who hikes in jeans during winter (?!), we had seen the next sign that would have made it clear that we were heading to the wrong peak. We would perhaps also had seen the “normal” path to the (wrong) peak and who knows, perhaps we could have made it to the peak following that path, since that one did not cross a ridge.

There are several morals to this story:

  1. If somethings seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Do not underestimate people who hike in jeans.
  3. Do not get too carried away and forget to check you path with a map, even when you think you are heading in the right direction and you think you see your peak.

Nevertheless, I still consider this as a fun hiking experience and it was really exploring. Belive it or not, it can also be fun getting of the paths and playing around in the snow in the mountains 🙂 Would I do it again?.. no, because I like to make it to the peak!

PS. So the peak we wanted to do was called Lacherspitze (1 724 m)This would have been an easy winter hike of ca. 1000m high meters. The peak we almost did is called Kesselwand (1721m) I would go back for this one, since it did look awesome. Also there seemed to be good ski touring possibilities for beginners in that area so maybe I will go back and try out that too.

Some moments from our exploring:

2017-03-04 12.09.42
True exploring, can you see the excitement in Elias’s face?
2017-03-04 12.09.34
At the end of our shortcut there was a hole in the mountain
2017-03-04 12.07.24
I told you the shortcut was steep 😀

2017-03-04 11.41.402017-03-04 11.03.27

Btw this weekend was the dav’s alpinflohmarkt and this was what I came back with. No crampons and no ice axe as you can see, but I got something for both summer and winter hiking 🙂

IMG_20170325_201241

I will go hiking again tomorrow, and try out some of the stuff I got 🙂

2017-03-04 10.47.57
Already looking for the next peak..

Winter hiking and why I need to buy crampons.

2017-02-26-10-32-31

March as been very busy for me and there has been almost no time for hiking, except for couple of weeks back when we went for a small winter hike. The only requirement this time was to find a hike with an open hut. Kampenwand 1669m was perfect.

Ascent: 1100 hm

Time: ca. 3h up and ca. 2:00h down.

Getting there: Meridian to Prien am Chiemsee (direction Kufstein), then change to RB to Aschau. NB! There are trains only every two hours.

Equipment: You definitely need the following equipment for a successful winter hike:

  • good cloves, water resistant.
  • walking poles
  • thermos
  • sitting pad
  • buff
  • gaiters
  • good waterproof hiking boots and warm clothes.

And now I need to add crampons on the list, because this was the first time I had to turn around because I did not have crampons:( That sucked so much! I was like 100hm from the peak. I could see it, but it got so icy that I did not consider it responsible to even try. It is always safety first! Turning around is not an easy decision to make, not when you really want to get to the peak, but there is brave and there is stupid. Going on without crampons would have been stupid. So we were a group of 5 and 2 of us ( the ones who had crampons) made it to the top. Nevertheless, it was a nice hike. It is always nice to be in the mountains, even when you do not make it to the peak and this experience just made me realize that I need to buy crampons. Perhaps I find some used ones from the upcoming alpin Flohmarkt or just order some online. recommendations are welcome 😉

img_20170226_113357
As you can see, turning around made sense, when having no crampons.
img_20170226_112915
This was more or less the place where we decided to turn around.

img_20170226_1020502017-02-26-10-42-23

2017-02-26-11-54-06

I hope to get to do couple of more winter adventures before the spring comes to Bavaria, but let’s see. This weekend I will be off to Barcelona, so no hiking but a lot of tapas 🙂

Sledging in Germany – a serious sport.

20170219-brunnsteinhaus-kathrin-5
The hut, right before Brünnstein.

Couple of weeks back a friend organized a sledding hike. I had seen Germans walking around with their sledges before, both in the city and in the mountains so I knew that this was an established sport here and not only an activity for kinds. I did not quite understand it thought, and it did seem funny watching adults sledding down a hill. Nevertheless I was ready to try it out!

The hike went to Brünnsteinhaus: – walking up,sledding down.
Ascent: Brünnsteinhaus lies on 1360m and the climb up is 750hm. So an easy and nice hike for winter.

Time: We used ca  2:45h up and 0:45h down. But you can for sure be faster down. Some of the people there really knew what they were dong and were very fast the way down.

Getting there: Take the Meridian to Oberaudorf (direction Kufstein).
If the conditions are ok you could also do the peak: Brünnstein (1619) – another 45-60 minutes. We did the mistake of having a beer on the hut first and after that we just got too lazy, but I saw people doing the peak so it is a possibility, depending on how much snow there is.

The nice thing is that Brünnsteinhaus hut is open also during winter and  you can rent sledges at the hut (5€). I would always recommend to call the hut in advance and ask about the conditions and to make sure that there is enough snow to sledge down. They told us that they had about 60 sledges so unless you are in a very big group you should be able to get a sledge.

_mg_3996

20170219-brunnsteinhaus-kathrin-26Oh man how much fun this was!! On our way up we saw some rather old sledge riders :). They all had such a smile on their faces and their eyes were shining from joy. It really seemed that they had found back to their inner child. Never the less they made me a bit scared, when I saw how fast they were going!

So the excitement was big when we got our sledges and were about to try this out. In the beginning the sledge went crazy fast. I tried to control the speed, but it was almost impossible. So I just drove out from the track into the snow to stop. Then, luckily Elias told me to use my whole feet to break and that made a huge difference! Therefore my tip nr 1: use the whole feet to slow down, not only the heal.

The rest of the way down I was more or less able to control the speed  except in one of the turns where I almost hit a tree 😀 😀 Luckily I jumped of my sledge just in time.

In conclusion I can highly recommend this for everybody, but I would not put any kids on these sledges. They pick up speed extremely fast and you can really injure yourself – as the title says – this is a serious sport! 

20170219-brunnsteinhaus-kathrin-33
At the end of your ride you just leave the sledge on the roadside, so convenient !
2017-02-19-12-20-51
The view from the hut – can’t complain!

2017-02-19-13-05-41

2017-02-19-12-11-22

My first snowshoe hike + camping in the mountains during winter.

img_20170211_173818

After the less successful ski-touring trip couple of weeks back I needed a successful adventure! I just felt the itch for doing something new more and more. Now it was the time. I knew right a way what I wanted to do. I have been thinking about sleeping in the mountains during winter for some time now, but somehow we have kept it to rather simple day hikes instead. Considering that last winter we did not even hike and considered winter just a skiing season we have really moved our limits. I have now realized that It is very nice to hike in the winter and it is a complete different experience from any other time of the year.

The perhaps hardest part of planning this hike was finding a perfect destination. We needed a peak that was accessible with public transport, that was not too crowded, that we had not hiked before and that was “hard” enough for a long day hike. Another thing we needed to consider was the avalanche risk and we needed a destination where it was easy to rent snowshoes (We were to late to rent something from DAV in Munich, but if you plan a head this is the best and cheapest option). Finding a such a destination was not easy. I was about to give up actually, but luckily Elias took over and found the perfect destination for our adventure – Feldernkopf 2071m.

This was a hike of firsts – Made and Elias doing stuff they have not done before. 

  • This was the first time I camp outside during winter
  • This was the first time I hike with snowshoes
  • This was the first time I use a stow to make pancakes
  • This was the first time I put up a tent on snow

All in all we learned so much during this adventure: 

  1. Snowshoes are not so awesome for hiking steaper hikes (perfect for less steep hikes), but they are awesome to go down hill with.
  2. Plan two hours for setting up the camp. We used 1 but it would have been nice to have one more hour just for looking at the sunset.
  3. Store your shoes inside the tent not outside in a bag.
  4. Store all your food inside the tent so it will not freeze during the night.
  5. Take your time when making the flat area for the tent on the snow. The more time you use the better you will sleep 😉
  6. Secure the inner tent the most, otherwise it will start gliding down the hill (We learned that the hard way).
  7. Take extra pars of socks with you, at least 2 extra pars for the night (You need the grandma stuff)!
  8. If it is cold sleep with cloves on, I did not do that but next time I will so that you have more flexibility when choosing  a sleeping position.
  9. Thermos is nice to have, even when you plan to boil water, so you can store the warm water you boil. When it is could outside the water gets cold faster than you think.
2017-02-11-16-41-19
what a feeling.
2017-02-11-16-41-48
View from the top around 4PM
2017-02-11-15-07-54
This is where we decided to camp, it was a little too windy on the top
2017-02-11-16-52-07
Here I try to mark the place for the tent.

2017-02-11-17-08-19

One thing to think about before you head out to a winter hike is that it is not always easy to find the path. The regular markings were almost never visible, but luckily we were able to follow the skitourng tracks. It is also a good idea to find a hike were you can see the peak from the beginning so that it is easier to orientate, or even better, take a GPS with you.

2017-02-11-11-16-32

2017-02-11-14-14-20

2017-02-11-15-30-31
Final break, ca. 200m still to climb

The hike was “only” 900 m climb. This was yet another thing we discovered 900 m climb in snow can not be compared to 900 m climb during summer. Yes we had quite heavy bags with us but we needed 6 hours to climb that 900m. In other words we were glad we had the whole day.

img-20170210-wa0000
We had quite big bags with us

 

When it comes to food the possibilities with a stow are endless, but my advise is to keep it simple. It may be cold on the top, you may be hungry and tired so you should plan to make something easy and fast. The easiest thing is to buy some of the dry food meant for hiking, but if you feel more adventurous then that, you could make dinner at home and just warm it up on the stow. We had something like chilli con crane with us and simply heated it. We even had homemade guacamole and cheese with us 🙂img_20170211_173642

2017-02-10-20-05-54
Preparation can not be underestimated, here Elias tries out making pancakes at home.

 

For breakfast we made pancakes with apple jam. (Elias wanted bacon but we never got so far as frying bacon. The pancakes would have gotten cold in the mean time so we dropped that). In addition to this we had tea and coffee with us and some fruit, homemade granola bars, sandwedges for the lunch and a chocolate. It was more than enough food and we ended up bringing some of it back home.

img_20170212_100916

img_20170211_173749

Clothes:

I already mentioned extra socks, we also had extra change of clothes for seeping. The moral here is that more is better. You can never quite know how cold it will get during the night and the worst thing I know is to freeze, so have more clothes with you that you think you will need and prioritize wool and layers.

All in all this truly was an adventure. We learned a lot and experienced a lot. It was heavy and we needed to push ourselves mentally. But it was sooo nice to have dinner and watch the sunset. And to wake up and make pancakes and look at the mountains. We were also lucky with the weather so the last 300 height meters we had amazing views.

img_20170211_172644

img_20170211_173623
Sunset ❤

Hoher Fricken and why you should not stay in the valley.

2016-11-26-13-50-24

Last weekend we did a very nice hike to Hoher Fricken 1940m. For me it is still so strange that here in Germany you can go hiking in the end on November and not meet any snow! Sometimes I miss the snow, especially when seeing all the nice skiing pictures from Norway 😉 but in the other hand it is so nice to be able to hike so late in the year. The air is clearer high up, the sky is more colorful. I also think the mountains are the nicest with some snow on them. To see the white mountain tops in the horizon is just so beautiful. And then there is this magical fog, that often lies in the valleys.

2016-11-26-13-07-59

When we did this hike it was really gray and boring weather in the valley. So I was not expecting to have any view from the peak. After walking for one hour we met the fog, after one more hour we walked out of the fog and got this view.

2016-11-26-12-04-37

2016-11-26-12-38-36

This got me thinking, what if I would have stayed down in the valley? I would not even know what I was missing out on! There are too few  opportunities in the year to miss out on some of them. So I am so glad I did not stay down in the vally because no amount of wine on Friday evening would have made up for missing this view. At least not in my oppinion 😉

So the hike we did was the following:

Route: Bahnhof Farchant (670 m) – Kuhfluchtfälle (850 m) – Hoher Fricken (1940 m)

Time: 7 hours, less if you don’t spend a lot of time on the peak.

Assent: 1300 m

Transport: To get there and back you can take a train. Trains leave every hour from Munich.

Once in Farchant, just follow the signs from the train station. It’s not hard to find. In the beginning you go up on a side of a very nice waterfall.

2016-11-26-09-27-49

2016-11-26-09-28-16

The trail is really quite steep so be prepared for that. It is 1300 height meters on 6 km. So it is steep. You will see signs that say “Nur fur geübte” which means only for experienced hikes, but in fact the trail is not exposed at all or in any way dangerous. The only hard part is that it is steep so you need to be reasonably fit and ready to sweat a little.

The decent is not that steep. You cross the ridge having a view to Zugspitze and go down on the other side of the mountain.

2016-11-26-14-15-38
On the way down I had to climb this super cool tree. #nevergrowup  and #daretopaly 😉

 

What are your favorite early winter hikes? I am wondering where to go for this weekend 😀 All tips are welcome!