One day hikes from Innsbruck – Weißstein and Rosskogel

Last weekend I found myself in Innsbruck, trying to find a hike or two which I could easily do with limited planning. My original plan was to do a part of the Stubaitaler Höhenweg, but bad weather forced us to improvise and change our plans at the last minute. So on the bus from Munich to Innsbruck I was desperately searching for some nice one-day hikes from Innsbruck. One would think that finding a nice hike from Innsbruck should be really easy, but take into consideration that I had to rely on public transport, that the hiking season was ending which meant that many of the hiking buses did not go anymore and that I was not just looking for a hike, but for a reasonably high peak, without any cable car (read tourists), and which was doable in one day..Yes so it turned out to be quite difficult.

After a lot of searching and even considering to just give up and go home, we landed on Weißstein 2640m and Rosskogel 2646m.

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We took the bus from Innsbruck to Gries im Sellrain. Here there was a small shop where we could get everything we needed for a lunch pack. After shopping we had some trouble finding out where the trail started as there were no sig

ns to see. So here is a tip: go behind the shop and pass the church and you will spot the yellow signs. The path up is through a quite steep, but beautiful forest path. 

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Eventually we ended up on a yellow/orange plain. The sun was warm and autumn golden colors shined. This is how autumn is supposed to be.

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The area has a nice small river and there is a possibility to fill a water bottle both on 1700 meters and on 2000 meters.

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Can you spot the Weißstein peak cross?

From the plain we could also spot both peaks. We decided to do Weißstein first and then Rosskogel, but one could also go directly to Rosskogel. The way up to Weißstein went first pass some avalanche protecting yards? Not sure how these things are called.

Once we were pass those we got a dramatic and mysterious view to the peak. We met a couple who had turned around because they didn’t expect there to be so mu

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ch scrambling. And indeed the sign before the last ascent to the peak warned us that it would be a very difficult climb so I guess they were scared that it 

was too much. We on the other hand did not let us scare off, but we had to do some real scrambling before we got to enjoy the view from the peak. But it was not exposed so I did not feel unsafe at any point. The way down on the other side of the peak (for going to Rosskogel) had one really long climb, but that was in a small mountain crack and not exposed. The important point is that there are not many iron ropes or ladders, it’s more of a natural experience 😉

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After a long beak, all alone on Weißstein we went on to Rosskogel. I think we used no more than 30 minutes to get from one peak to the other.

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The view to Weißstein from Rosskogel

On Rosskogel we had some more snacks and then started the descent. The way down was really nice to begin with, once again the autumn showed itself from it’s best side.

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But then we made the mistake to head down to Sellrain instead of Gries. DO NOT DO THAT! What looked like a nice path turned into a long mountain road of zigzags and in the end there were no signs so we got lost. We decided to just follow the road down to the valley and then ask for directions. In the valley it became clear that we had walked pass Sellrain. The guy we asked told us that the next bus stop was 20 minutes walk away, but when I looked at the direction he showed us I was sure that it was much longer and we had only 1 hour to the last bus back to Innsbruck. So in the end we decided to go down to the valley instead of following the directions given to us and to stop a car and ask for directions for the closest bus stop. The driver was so nice and drove us to the bus stop. We could also have made it there by walking as it was not so far, but when you don’t know where the buss stop is getting there takes longer time 😉 Moral of the story is that do not try to be too adventurous, sometimes taking the same path up as down is the best option, especially when you have a bus to catch 😉

The adventure ended well and we made it back to Innsbruck with the last buss. Now the question was what we would do the next day. We started looking at possible hikes again and I found the options below, which are now on my to-do list, as we had to cancel our hiking plans the next day due to bad weather and decided to head back to Munich. One day hikes from Innsbruck on my list:

 

Five peak challenge from Axamer Lizum until Hochtennspitze

This is a five peak challenge via Ampferstein and Marchreisenspitze or you could even make it a six peak challenge, when you add Nockspitze to it. My plan was not to do Nockspitze as I think it is a very popular peak and I prefer to enjoy my peaks alone ;). All in all this is a would be 1570 meters climb up and 1988 meters down. I estimate it to take 7-8 hours. There is a bus to Axamer Lizum from Innsbruck.

Sulzkogel – 3016m

I wanted to do this one when I was in Innsbruck, but unfortunately the bus to Kühtai stops going mid of October so there was no way for us to get there. But the peak is on my list now as it is an easy 3000m mountain. It is just a 1000m climb and a 6h hike up and down.

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There are definitely many other cool peaks in the area and many of them you can also get to without a car, but it takes some planning. The two mentioned are definitely on my list for my next Innsbruck visit 🙂 But the Stubaitaler Höhenweg, and the Innsbrucker Klettersteig will also remain on my list for next year.

 

Interview with Munich Mountain Girls

Munich Mountain girls is a community started in 2016 by a mountain girl from Munich. Here you can learn to know sporty mountain girls in Munich. You can sit back and get inspired by reading about inside hiking tips, must have hiking gear and girls’ favorite places to hang out in Munich. I was contacted by Christine (the owner of the page) early June for a short interview and was glad to participate.

Now I can officially myself a Munich Mountain Girl. It’s only a label but its a cool one 😉 I also look forward to get to know all the other girls part of the community and to get inspired and to learn from them.

In the interview you can learn about my first experience in the mountains, about my favorite hike until now in Germany, and what I always have in my back bag when I go hiking :).

You can check out Munich Mountain Girls and the interview with me here.

PS. It’s in German, but I am sure Google will help you to translate it 😉

Enjoy.

Last but not least, I want to share a little glimpse of my hiking trip in Norway. I just got back today but I already miss the mountains there. I will write about the hikes in Norway soon so stay tuned 🙂

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Hiking Mount Siguniang – The Four Sisters Mountain

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It is 2.30 AM, we are on 4200m, and ready to make it to the second peak of the Four Sisters Mountain on 5200m. Ready because the sky is clear and the stars are shining brighter than ever, the conditions look good and we feel tired, but ok. Nevertheless, I am quite scared, scared of not making it to the peak, because during our 5 hour sleep, I woke up really dizzy and nauseous. Clearly the altitude had impacted me, that much I had expected, but the question I was now afraid to ask myself was if 5 hours on 4200 m was enough acclimation to make it to Erguniang peak on 5200m?

It all started couple of months back when Elias and I decided to travel to China. As any true hiker and mountain lover, I could of course not give up this awesome opportunity to hike some of the picture pretty mountains in Sichuan province. After quite a lot of research we decided to hike the first two peaks of Mount Siguniang or Four Sister Mountain, as it is also called. Our starting point was a small village called Rilong. Rilong is approximately 4 hours drive from Chengdu. It is not much to look at as it is basically just a stop where you can gather some strength and acclimatize for your hike. The village serves as an entrance to all three valleys in Mount Siguniang National Park. The park comprises Mount Siguniang and the surrounding three valleys, namely Changping Valley, Haizi Valley and Shuangqiao Valley. To hike the Dafeng and Erfeng and (the first and the second sister) you trek through Haizi Valley.

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Rilong village

Hiking in Changping Valley…

We decided to have two days (one day + one evening) in Rilong in order to acclimatize. On the second day we did a small hike in Changping Valley. You can get to this valley directly from the village. Buy the ticket in the visitor’s center and a small bus will take you up to a small and still in use monastery. From there you can hike for hours. First four hours will be on a wooden trail, traditional Chinese style, but you could do a several day hike in this valley, probably not meeting any tourists as most tourist only walk for an hour or so on the wooden trail and then turn around. I think there would be some really nice hiking opportunities in this valley so if you would like to go more on your own, without a guide, this could be the place to do it.

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map over the park – not exactly detailed, but the only available one.

We did not get to the end of the wooden trail but it was a really nice walk anyways. On our way we saw some waterfalls and a nice lake with the Four sisters mountains in the background.

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The view from the Buddhist temple which is just at the entrance of the Changping Valley
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There were not many tourists around, and for the most of the time we had the wooden trail  between mountains for ourselves.

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Finally ready to hike Haizi Valley and two of four sisters…

On the third day we started our hike to Mount Siguniang. The trail goes via the Haizi Valley (which by the way does not really feel like a valley, but rather a ridge) and starts from the same Visitor Center in Rilong. First we hiked up the wall behind the visitor’s center. On the top of the wall we met some Chinese tourist who had ridden up on a horseback and wanted to have a picture with us. This happens quite a lot in China, since there are not that many non-Asian tourists around 😀 After saying bye to our Chinese fans we hiked along the ridge, or valley as they like to call it, more or less alone.

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Already from beginning of our hike we could see the four sisters mountain snow tops. Along the road we saw Chinese women and men picking herbs and mushrooms. It is a big tradition there, and so the locals could just stay in the mountains for weeks to pick herbs and mushrooms.

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We actually only had one horse to carry our food. In the background you see the four sisters. The first two peaks are a non-technical hike, for the other two climbing equipment is needed.

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The dark dirt trails were easy to follow. Every once in a while some trees offered  protection from the sun, but for the most of the time we were walking between yaks on open grass fields. In the horizon as far as we could see there were white mountaintops. I kept asking our guides about the names of the mountains around and if they were “hikable”. Sadly I only got negative answers. I do not know if they just did not want to encourage us or if this really is true that most of the mountains in the park are not being actively hiked. It’s really a shame if the latter is the case, because there is soo much potential for really nice hikes 😀

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We also saw a lot of Yaks. They do look a little scary, but in fact they are used to people and were not dangerous or aggressive. We could get really close to them since they were at the times sleeping on the trail.

After three more hours on the trail between 6000m high mountains, with amazing scenery,  we spotted a quite big lake down in the valley. From there it was just about one hour hike to the base camp. We camped outside at the Erfeng base camp, but there was also a possibility to stay indoors in a very simple sleeping dorm where thin mattresses  were provided.

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Erfeng base camp

After we were all settled in, one of our guides cooked dinner for us in the rather simple but fixed base camp kitchen. Sitting in the small dark hut, after a 9 hour hike, having only our headlights for the light, we would have probably eaten almost anything that we got served, but the food exceeded our expectations. Our guide cooked several different dishes, including rice, noodles, different vegetables, soup and some meat. It all seemed so fresh and was tasty so no complains there!

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We then tried to rush to sleep as we were to wake up 2:20AM for breakfast. For breakfast we were served Chinese rice soup/porridge, bread and some fried vegetables – not exactly traditional western breakfast, but it was ok and experiencing new traditions was part of the experience we wanted to have.

The night, as I already mentioned, did not pass without worries, but at least we were not freezing 🙂 Slowly we started the hike and tried to not lose the sight of our guide in the darkness.  As I was walking there in the middle of the night, I could not really think that it was heavy or long way to go. I was just concentrating on breathing deep and well and on walking slowly. On the steep areas I only saw the warm air from my breath under the light of the headlight. During the breaks and on non-steep areas, I tried to take in the scene of white mountaintops shining on black starry sky as the moonlight hit them. While we were walking the moon was rising higher and higher and then suddenly the sky started turning lighter, first purple and then orange. When you walk as slow as we did, you really have the time to notice these things and take it all in 🙂

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Just before the sunrise.

Without really thinking about it, it was light as day and we were climbing up a steep long wall of snow, pushing our crampons deep into the snow on each step. And when I say steep, I mean it. This hike required us to do some scrambling and was quite steep. I really needed to concentrate in order to not get a too high pulse. The wall was really long and steep, and the worst part was that I had no idea on how long it was until the peak, since it was not visible. Just when I was starting to have my doubts about the wall ever ending and us ever seeing the peak,  we got to a plateau and could see the peak! We were so happy, I was so excited and psyched to go on that I did not want to have a break!

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Oh so happy, I could see the peak!

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Our guide was not sharing my enthusiasm. He did not want go any further because of the snow conditions! We were max 250 hm from the peak!!! We tried to talk him into it, but he meant that the snow did not “feel good”. I must say, that both me and Elias considered the snow to be fine so we are not sure why he had a different opinion. Even though it was incredibly disappointing to not go on, you just have to respect the decision of the guide in these situations. So we did. Not happy about it, since we were both feeling fine, no altitude sickness, the weather was perfect and the peak was so close… but ALWAYS listen to your guide, right?

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Our guide, in front of the peak, not wanting to go any further.. Looking at this picture now, I still feel like we could have easily continued 😦 …

So we headed down, still quite happy, because the view in front of us could not let us feel anything else than pure joy.

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We were back at base camp around 10 and decided to take a nap before moving to the DaFeng base camp. DaFeng base camp was just 200 m lower and 1,5 hours walk from ErFeng base camp. So now you probably wonder why we did not do the lower peak first and then the higher one. That was actually the initial plan, but since we heard that the weather was going to be bad on the third day we decided to change plans in order to get best conditions on the highest peak.

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Dafeng Base camp, Dafeng itself is in the fog to the right.

During our walk to base camp the weather turned colder and windier. Once in base camp, we sat up our tent again and just when we were ready to go to sleep it started to snow. Due to the “bad” weather, we were to only ones to camp outside. We were allowed to sleep until 4.30 AM this time and got luxurious 9 hours of sleep.

In the morning the sky was cloudy and the ground was white. After some porridge and coffee we started the ascent. This time the trail was much more rocky, but not that steep. Once again were the only ones hiking. It was hard to spot the peak because it was covered in fog and before we knew it our guide said that we were almost at the top. I almost did not believe him! How could we be on 5000 m so easily? Where is the altitude sickness, the headache and the muscle ache? Unfortunately we got no stunning view from the 5038 m peak, but at least we made it to the top this time 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Almost on the top, but ehh where is it?
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Found it – happy couple on their first 5000m mountain top.
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The dramatic sky on our way down to the base camp

The hike was easy and we were back down in base camp at ten o’clock. Since we were so quick and were not really tired, we decided to descent down to Rilong even though the initial plan was to spend the night and then head down the next day as we had to descend more than 2000 m.

Just when we got to our hotel in Rilong it started to rain heavily and then to snow. We only had time to acknowledge that we made the right decision heading down a day early, before we fell asleep at 7 PM. We woke at 8:00 AM the next day to a completely white Rilong. It is safe to say that we were really happy that we had an experienced driver to take us over the mountains back to Chengdu …

We did also some other hikes while in China, so I will be writing some more posts about hiking in China soon. Below you can see where we were during our travel. The red pointer is were Rilong and four sisters mountains are located.

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

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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:

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

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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 🙂

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

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Already looking for the next peak..

Winter hiking and why I need to buy crampons.

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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 😉

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

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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 🙂

What to get a hiker for Christmas?

Today it is exactly 24 days to Christmas!! I guess many of you out there are like me and have yet to get most of the christmas presents. Here are some of my tips for what to get for an outdoors enthusiast 😀 PS. many of these items are on my wish list as well 😉

PS: I am not sponsored by any of these brands so I am just voluntary providing you my ideas.

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  1. Tracking poles – Previously I did not use tracking poles, but I just bought myself a par couple of weeks back. I could not wait until Christmas 😛  Why tracking poles?  The reason is simple, while doing 1600 m or more descents you need the support. For short hikes I would say they are not needed (unless you have trouble with knees).
  2. Headlight – For winter and autumn hikes a good headlight is a must. I seldom use my headlight because I calculate the hikes so I don’t have to hike in the dark, but I normally have it in my backpack just in case I miscalculate and need a headlight.
  3. Fiber towel – For a multi-day hiker a fiber towel is a must, but this also comes in handy for a frequent traveler or backpacker.
  4. Seat pad  – I love these, I use it during summer and winter.
  5. Thermos – Every hiker should own a small thermos. There is nothing better than enjoying a cup of warm chocolate or tea on the top of the mounting in autumn/winter time.
  6. Reusable warm packs – This you can get to a person who is constantly cold, hiker or not.
  7. Power bank – These days we are so dependent on technology. You hardly see people with maps anymore. This is a perfect gift for a hiker or a Pokemon go player 😀
  8.  A night in a hut – Every hiker would love a voucher for a night in a hut!!
  9. GoPro – This is very expensive but will make every serious hiker/skier very happy.
  10. First aid Kit – This is something every hiker should have in their backpack but many do not.

So here you go, there are differently gifts in different price ranges in this list. You should find something for everybody, even for somebody who has everything 😉

Peaceful Christmas shopping to you all – lets hope the snow comes soon!