Hiking Triglav – Slovenia’s national symbol and pride.

One day last year Elias asked if we should go to Slovenia. I must admit, I did not know much about Slovenia at that point, so my first question was: “Are there any nice mountains there?”. Sure enough, Slovenia has a lot of nice mountains. I was really impressed when I saw the mountains from the train window and even more when we later did the hike to Triglav. We took a train to a train station called Lesce-Bled (3 km away from Lake Bled). From there we took a bus to the Bled. Elias had sadly developed a quite hard cold so we were not even sure if we would be able to do the hike. Also, at the hostel they advised us not to go hiking since the weather forecast had announced thunderstorms for the days to come, but we were stubborn and we decided to try. Even though Elias had a lot of trouble just hiking the hill by the Bled lake the day before. Nevertheless, the day after we started our hike.

We planned to do the 7 lakes route. This is probably the most beautiful Triglav approach. It is quite long and quite tough to go one way in one day, both ways is impossible. The best way to do it is to sleep in one of the huts along the way.

We ended up with the following path:

  • Bled – Ukanc (buss)
  • Koca pri Savici hut – Koca na Planini hut
  • Koca na Planini hut – Vodnikov Dom
  • Vodnikov Dom – Dom Planika (Stay overnight)
  • Dom Planika – Triglav traverse – Triglavski Dom
  • Triglavski Dom – Dom Planika
  • Dom Planika – Trenta

From Bled we took a bus to Ukanc. Just get off on the last bus stop before the bus turns around. We told the bus driver that we wanted to hike Triglav and he made sure that we got off at the the right stop. Once off the bus cross the bridge and follow the small road to Koca pri Savici hut. You actually need to take a forest path to the right, before you reach the hut. This path up is really steep and you will feel it in your legs for sure :D.  For us this was really heavy because it was warm and we had more or less full 80L and 60L bags with us. As Elias was sick we really took it slow here and were even considering turning around. There is a reason why Elias still says that this is the hardest hike he has every done in his life. I just remember that it was really heavy, but the nice thing was you could always see the end of the wall so our goal was to make it up the wall and then decide if we should turn around or not. Luckily we decided to at least make it to the first lake and from there on it was not that steep anymore.

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The first lake, the water look tempting but there is a reason why nobody is swimming

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From the first lake you can follow the signs to Koca na Planini hut. Fill all your water bottles at this hut as there is no water at the huts to come ( at least during summer season). The path from the hut was through a thin forest, meaning that we got some protection from the sun, which was nice. From here the plan was to make our way to the Dom Planika hut. Which I remember turned out to be much further away than we expected.

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Relaxing at the last lake
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The beginning of the final steep section.

The final steep section was before Vodnikov Dom .First you hike up to a moon like landscape. Really this is how I expect moon to be like. This was really cool, but there was no protection from the sun and we were running out of water.

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Can you see the holes? This is what I would expect the moon to be like.

After wandering around on this moon we finally reached a big way point from where we could see Triglav (I did not know it was Triglav at the time) in front of us.

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Triglav is just to the left, barely visible from the clouds

From here we took the steep gravel path down and held to your left. You can also take a path over the mountain to your left to Dom Planika, but we did not have any energy left for that.

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Elias making sure that we did not take the wrong path.

 

Hungry and thirsty we made the steep descent down, quite desperate looking for our hut we finally saw it behind a turn. Oh what a feeling that was!! And what a view. I was really so tired and thirsty at that point that Elias went ahead to see if he could spot the hut and then reported back to me that we were close.

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Dom Planika hut

The hut was nicely placed with a idyllic view. Since we hadn’t booked ahead we were a little anxious about getting a place to sleep, but this was not a problem at all. There were people arriving after us who also got a madrass. The food at the hut was simple and the portions quite small for hikers, but we expected that so we had a lot of bread with us (hence the big bags). We were glad for the extra food we had with us because hiking on empty stomach is not enjoyable, at least not for us.

Since the thunderstorms were supposed to hit Triglav the day after, we decided to wake up at 5AM to start the ascent to Triglav.  We left our bags at the hut so that we could be faster and took only the most necessary with us. From the hut it was only 700 hm to the peak. The hike from the hut to Triglav can be divided into two; The first ascent of 200m on a nice and well established path. Then a part that is more or less flat and then a wall.. it is literally a wall.. looking at it we were really not sure how it would be possible to hike it. It was possible, it is steep, there is one part (only 3 m or so) which was really exposed (You were latterly walking on air) and it is all scrambling. Just the way we like it! It was awesome!

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The peak from distance.
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The wall, this is where we started wondering how we were going to hike this ting up, because the path lead us directly to the wall, not to its right or left.
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And this is how, and you cat see it but there was more than 100m fall right down. Therefore, if you have problems with highs this path is NOT for you. Instead try the ascent from Triglavski Dom, where you can use a ViaFerrata set.
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Happy couple on top of Triglav, no thunderstorms to see.

After a long break on the top (an hour or so, since there were no thunderstorms to see) we went down from the other side of the mountain, which I recommend since the ridge is super nice and it makes you feel like a queen on to of this majestic mountain. If you do this you will end up at the Triglavski Dom. Also I was happy we did not have to go down the same way we came up because there were places there were there were not much space to meet the traffic from other direction.

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From Triglavski Dom we hiked back to Dom Planika hut. It was a really nice hike, and it was easy to forget the time while looking at the surroundings. It took a little bit longer than we expected but around 14.00 we were back at the hut and picked up our bags. With no long break we started our descent down to Trenta from where we planned to take a bus to Ljubljana.

The ascent is steep and boring. I am glad that we did not hike up that trail. It was more or less endless snake trail between the same mountains. We met other hikers who were on their way up and they asked us how far it was to the hut. I felt bad but, I could not lie, they still had a lot of height meters to climb. We had to hurry up to catch the bus, so we were running when possible. During the last hm down it started to rain so we were glad to make it down from the mountains when we did. We made it to the bus stop 10 minutes before the bus came and had just enough time to buy some snacks for the bus ride (there is a little Kiosk on the other side of the bus stop).

It must be said that originally we had planned to do Triglav and some other peaks close by but since the weather was turning bad we decided to drop that. We were right in doing that since it was raining for a week after our hike. Luckily the weather was nice in Ljubljana so all in all we had quite some luck weather wise during this travel 🙂

 

Alpspitze 2 628 m – my first hike on my own

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Alpspitze has been on my list a long time because it looks pointy and I just love pointy mountains. Every time I took the train pass Garmisch Partenkirchen I got reminded of that I still had not been on top of top of it. BUT NOT ANYMORE! :D:D  Now I can point to it and say have have been on top of it 😀 (as I proudly did when we took the train to Ehrwald last weekend 😀 )

Actually i have tried to climb or planned to climb Alpspitze several times. First I planned to do it in August this year, but then I got sick. Then we tried a month ago, but first we could not find the bus (Bus nr2) that you have to take to get to the Alpspitze cable car and when we finally found the right stop we had to wait 45 minutes until the next bus. That was ok, we had time and the after a coffee and some breakfast we were ready to take the next bus, but when Elias started to look for our train ticket which is also valid on busses, he could not find it anywhere. After some desperate searching we just had to admit that we forgot it on the train. Well ok we thought, we will need new ticket anyways to get home so we decided to buy a new ticket on the bus. Turned out that this bus, which was a local bus and not a regional bus, did not sell Bayern tickets and we had to buy one from the automate in the train station, but as the bus driver did not want to wait for us this meant that we had to take the next bus ad again wait 45 minutes. As we already had very limited time for this hike and needed to be back in Munich for a birthday party that same evening we decided to drop it and take the train back home. It just was not meant to happen, I told Elias and so Alpspitze reminded on my list.

So two weeks ago I decided to try again. It was a very spontaneous decision. I decided to go for it around half past eight in the evening and therefore had to pack in a hurry, not like me at all 😀

Elias did not want to join, not because he don’t like Alpspitze, but because he did not want to use a vacation day. So I decided to be adventurous and go by myself! It had rained so much lately that I could not let this change go pass me.

I wanted to do the Via Ferrata from Osterfelderkopf 2057m. The Via Ferrata was supposed to be easy, but as I was going alone I decided to take the Via Ferrata set with me.

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Normally I would hike the whole way from the valley, but that is over 2000m climb and with days getting shorter doing this would have most likely meant hiking in the dark on way down. In addition, weather forecast promised rain for after four o’clock. Therefore, not feeling bad about it (ok,maybe just a little), I took the super expensive cable car up and down (27 euros!!) Or at least I paid for it. In fact I managed to take the wrong cable car up! 😦  So if you now read this, learn from my mistakes! The problem was that the bus stops in front of the Kreuzeck cable car station which only takes you up to 1651m. This was the only station I  could see when I got of the bus and had bought the ticket. The Alpspitzbahn is further pass the ticket station  and I did not see it. I therefore took the wrong one 😦

But it was all ok in then end, it just meant that I had to hike up one and a half hour to Osterfelderkopf, where I could finally start the Via Ferrata to Alpspitz. There was just one problem, I had trouble figuring out where exactly the Via Ferrata starts. There are a lot of signboards, but all of them are for touristy easy walks in the area. To find the via Ferrata I walked around the rocks on the path above the road and managed to spot the right sign. I followed the trail further and found the start of the Via Ferrata together with the warnings “for experienced hikers only”. The Via Ferrata starts before the small tunnel, so if you meet the tunnel you have walked too far. From the spot of the warning signs you hike a little further until you meet the sign where it explains how to use the Via Ferrata set. I geared up here and took a nervous selfie before I started the climb.

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I have heard that it gets very busy on Alpspitze during weekends and summer, but I was all alone most of the time. I passed on couple on my way up and I saw that there was one other group of people climbing up after me.

The Via Ferrata is 500 height meters and quite long, but I felt it was easy, and I did not use my Via Ferrata set once. The route was secured meter by meter, also in places where you really did not need any securing. It was quite exposed at times, so it’s not for people with fear of heights. I used one and a half hours up, but I did not take any breaks so with more traffic and more breaks it would take 2 hours for sure.

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This was not uncommon on this path/ via ferrata
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The peak, so close yet so far.

At times I stopped up for a moment to join the view and to feel proud of myself. Not only did I go hiking alone, which I find is brave enough since I have terrible sense of direction, but I also decided to do a hard hike which I had not done before, with a long Via Ferrata! Some people probably think that it is dangerous to hike alone, and I guess it can be, but it is also dangerous to cross the street or drive a car and we still do it? For me it is nice to know that I can go by myself and do not need to be dependent of others. Still, I will always enjoy hiking with others more than alone because I like the social aspect of it and I like to share the moments and experiences.

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On the peak I took a one hour break, and enjoyed the view and my accomplishment. The weather was clear and it was easy to see Zugspitze and Jubiläumsgrat. Jubiläumsgrat is actually on my list. I just need to level up fist or find somebody who has a little more mountaineering experience and will let me tag along 😉

Zugspitze had a construction crane on top of it, the ultimate sign of tourist taking over that peak. This makes me soo sad and this is also why I haven’t hiked Zugspitze yet. I go to mountains to be in nature not to post postcards and stand in a crowd.

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After some time I tried to figure out what path to take down. My original plan was to take Grieskar down, but everybody else were choosing another path called Ostflanke. I did not know how hard Grieskar would be, but I knew that it would be longer. In the end I decided to join another group of hikers who took the popular path down. I just did not want to push my luck and miss the last cable car down. The group of four who I hiked down with german and older than me, but it is easy to find the tone with people who have the same passion as you. We talked about mountains and hiking most of the way down. We had quite fast phase and used one and half hour down. This path was not a klettersteig and was indeed easy, but it was at times hard to spot it. But there is quite a lot of traffic on it so it is always possible to follow others.

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Back at the cable car station I had just enough time to book a bus ticket back to Munich before the next cable car went down. As it was quite early I could have had hiked down, but since I already had the ticket I did not want to waste it. I could not complain about the views from the cable care either:

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From the valley I took again bus nr 2 to Garmisch and had 1 hour to kill before the flixbus arrived. The moment the bus arrived it started to rain and I was quite glad that I did not decide to hike down after all.

When I hiked alone I felt the need to share my joy with somebody when I managed to make it to the top, but there was nobody there. I guess I will get used to this after more alone hiking. The good thing is that I will always have this blog to share some of the moments of my adventures.

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I just finished pacing for my next hike. The weather is supposed to be amazing this weekend, but unfortunately I can only do an easy hike tomorrow. Will blog about it soon 😉

Cheers,

Made.

Retrospective of hiking year 2016

I hope you all have had a nice Christmas celebration so far. At the moment of writing this blog post I sit in Norway and have a nice view to the mountains and the sea. I have eaten way too much Christmas food but I am happy to be able to spend some time with family again. Last past days there was a storm passing Norway, but today the sea has calmed and the mountains are visible again in the horizon.

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Not much snow in Hareid yet.

The relaxing time between christmas and new years is perfect for taking a look at what you have accomplished during the year that has passed. When I think back to the hiking year 2016, I’m quite happy. All in all I think I have done 20 hikes. I try to keep count but it could be that I have forgotten to count some hikes.

From these hikes the definitive highlights are:

 

Triglav 2864m, Slovenia

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Watzmann 2713m, Germany

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Obere Wettersteinspitze 2297m, Austria

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Picture is taken from hikr.com

 

I have not written about these hikes because I did them all before I started this blog, but I will try to write about them during the next year, because these are all hikes I really recommend!

How do you feel about year 2016? Has it been adventurous enough? Have you realized some of the hikes on your list? I sure hope so! I am currently making a wish list for year 2017 and will post it when it’s ready 🙂

Have a nice rest of the christmas and a nice new years celebration!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

Hiking with people who you have never hiked with before.

This weekend I will join a group of people for a hike. Most of these people I have never met before. We are supposed to be a group of ten. They do not know me and I do not know them. There are both positive and negative sides to hiking with a group of new people. The obvious positive thing is that you will be meeting new people who also like to hike! What a nice way to make new friends right?

Yes, it is a nice way to make new friends, be social and share the experience, but whenever hiking with new people my biggest concern is their fitness level and experience. Will they be too slow? Too fast?

When asking a friend or a family member to join your hike you also need to consider these things. I have myself experienced that people who I thought would be fit enough for the hike were not. This is not a nice situation to be in for neither the organizer or the attenders.

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So to conclude, when organizing a hike:

  1. Make packing lists.
  2. Tell everybody how much food and water they need to have with them as a minimum.
  3. Inform attendees about how many meters the hike is, if there is some scrambling  or exposed areas, what you expect the terrain to be like. How many hours you expect to use etc.
  4. Ask attendees how much hiking experience they have and if they have done any hikes recently (people who hiked a lot 2 years ago may not be fit now).
  5. While hiking adjust your speed to rest of the group and take care of the slowest ones.

If you have a slow hiker in your group you will in worst case need to shorten the hike but people may also turn out to hike much faster than you. Maybe you asked some more experienced hikes to join your hike and now they are running up that mountain? This is for me an equally bad situation. I hate hiking so fast that I barely can catch my breath. I mean, I hike not to workout but to enjoy the views.. and I must say that I am not fit enough to run up mountains ( I wish I was). Therefore this situation can equally destroy my hiking experience.

How to handle this? Well, I try to put the people I know are fast at the end of the group. BUT this only works with people you know. When you don’t know your new hiking partners ,you can’t go and command them to go behind everybody. In this case I just remind myself that I need to hike in my own  speed. Normally that works fine (because I will not be hours behind) and I still have nice time because the fast ones will wait for the rest of the group on the top.

And now comes the deal breaker for me. If I hike with people who are fast – they more or less “run” to the peak, and then when I get there they are all ready to head down again.. Well, then I will NOT be hiking with these people again. I need my time on the top of the peak!!!

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There is nothing better than a nice cop of tea on a mountain top during this time of the year.

What do you think of hiking with people you don’t know? Ever done that?

I will make a post about the hike itself and how it went sometime during the weekend. Until then I hope you get out to explore some mountains this weekend, be it alone or with new hiking buddies :).