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.

Home made energy bars for hiking

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For my longer hikes I always make home made energy bars. It would off course be easier to just bring a bag of nut mix with me but, I find  nuts quite boring to eat. Furthermore I find them try and they often make me thirsty. Making my own müslibars is not necessarily much cheaper than buying them, but this way I know exactly what is in my bar and what is not.

During the years I have experimented with may different recipes for müslibars and raw bars. Sadly for some reason I always forget to write down the recipe 😦 . So before a long hike I always have to search the internet for a recipe that seems good and then end up improving it some how to make it awesome 🙂

I made some müsli bars for the Großglocknerer hike last weekend and this time I actually noted down the recipe!! Here it is:

  • 90g Dried Apricotes
  • 50g chopped almonds
  • 30g chopped Pumpkin seeds
  • 40g chopped cranberries
  • 20g sesame seeds
  • 30g sunflower seeds
  • 100 g oats
  • 50 g butter
  • 60 g fibre syrup
  • A little salt.

Melt the butter together with fibre syrup. Mix all the dry ingredients a bowl and add the fiber syrup and butter. Mix well until you get a sticky dough. Let it rest for 20 minutes.  Then cover a oven form with aluminium folio or plastic and press the dough into the form as hard as you can. It really should be compact. Then put it into refrigerator over the night. Next day take it out, cut it into a suitable müslibar size and pack each bar into aluminium folio. Store in the refrigerator. I have had mine in refrigerator for 2 weeks without them getting bad. You can also freeze the bars for later use.

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These bars are totally raw and therefore not really suitable for very warm hiking days. In colder temperature they are amazing. They are also not too sweet so they don’t make you thirsty.

 

Enjoy 🙂 .

On the top of Austria -Großglockner 3798m.

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Already last year I decided that Großglockner (3798m), the highest mountain of Austria, will be one of the goals for this year. On my birthday I even got home brewed Grossglockner gipfel beer as a present from one of my friends, so it is safe to say that I was determined to make the summit 🙂

IMG_20170831_204524As the summer months passed and the weekend that we had booked for this adventure got closer, we started to look at what kind of knowledge and equipment was needed to do the hike and what we could expect when climbing to the top of Austria. As I am quite adventurous, I was of the opinion that we can do it ourselves, without a mountain guide but after quite a lot of discussion we decided that we would book a mountain guide. I can not take a lot of credit for this decision, but in retrospective I am very glad we came to this conclusion.

We wanted to do the hike during one weekend, because the struggle of having enough vacation days is real and so  decided to rent a car. Driving to Kals am Grossglockner, which is the village under grossglockner takes about 4 hours so we left Munich around 18:00 and arrived at Lucknerhaus at 22:15. This was our very first time renting a car so we were a little nervous. After we got out of Munich city everything ran smoothly.

We had booked a night at Lucknerhaus, which is a cozy privately owned hut right were the accent to Grossglockner starts. I can only recommend staying at Lucknerhaus. The staff was friendly, breakfast was good and they offer sauna for everybody who stay there from 15:00! We did not have any time for the sauna, as we met hour guide the next morning at 10:30. Our guide, Renè, was a nice guy who had worked as a mountain guide for five years. He had no problems with communicating in English, which was also nice :).Renè gave us all the equipment that was needed for the hike. And around 10:00 we started our ascent.

We arrived at  Lucknerhütte 30 minutes later (notice there is both Lucknerhaus and Lucknerhütte). Form here we had to choose the route to Adlersruhe hütte (Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte).  

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Our route, you find the gps track on outdooractive

We did not hike the normal path up to Adlersruhe hütte which more or less crosses the glacier horizontally. The reason for this was that there was a real danger for rockfall from Grossglockner to the glacier. René told us that just days before big rocks had fallen on the glacier path. Therefore we took the path that crosses the glacier vertically on its right side, avoiding placing us right under the steep peak. This kind of information you really only get when hiking with a local mountain guide.

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Ready for the adventure!

From Lucknerhütte the path first went up a not too steep green hill, which turned into a rocky area, and finally ended in the glacier. Here we put our crampons on. We did not have special mountain boots made for use of crampons, but this was not a problem, because René had also crampons for “regular” mountain boots, which was convenient for us. We did not rope up during the glacier travel. I guess this was not needed as there was no fresh snow and not really many cravassess. In addition our guide had done this hike three times already during the week so I guess he was well familiar with the glacier. There was actually a possibility to avoid the glacier totally and just walk on the side of it. There were some people doing this, but when I asked our guide he said that that was actually quite dangerous as there is a big risk that that rocks could fall from the small mountain wall that runs on the side of the glacier. Therefore we walked on the glacier instead so that if any rocks would loosen we would not get hit.. Again good thinking from our guide.

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This is where you want to stay away from the mountain walls
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The normal route crosses the valley over this glacier, spot the big rocks on the glacier??

After perhaps 30 Minutes on the glacier we reached the point where you have to climb a via Ferrata up to the hut. There were no markings so this would have been tricky to find without a guide unless you just follow some other groups. This via Ferrata was actually quite challenging as it was much longer than what I had expected. When I studied the map it seemed to be so short, but in fact I think we used 2 hours before we were at the hut. The climb was really nice, but as you do it on 3000 meters of course it is easier to get exhausted. There were a lots of steel cables and I did not really feel te roped up for this part, but it did not feel like a rope was necessary. Until now we had only been walking in the valley with not much view, so at this point i really wanted to hike slower and to enjoy the view from the ridge and perhaps have another break for food, but as our guide had gotten the information that a thunderstorm was closing in no breaks were allowed. I barely could stop up to take any pictures, and he was really dragging us on the rope all the time urging us to move faster. I guess I understand the reasons, but for me it really destroyed the experience. I felt like a little rain we could handle and the thunderstorms were nowhere to see. I know I know, the weather can change really fast in the mountains and for sure you don’t want to be on a slippery via ferrata during a thunderstorm, but I did not like the rush. So I could not really enjoy that part of the hike much even though I normally love via ferratas. I was just too much dragging on the rope all the time..

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This is how the via ferrata up to Adlersruhe hut looked at it’s easiest.

 

We actually made it to the hut exactly the moment it started to rain, so it was definitely good that we rushed as these iron cables get very slippery in the rain. We were at the hut at 15:00. So we only used 4 hours. The hut was already very busy and full of people so I guess most people started very early from the valley.

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The thought of wiesbier was what kept me going when I could not take a break on the via ferrata.

What can I say about Adleruh hütte? The hut is nice enough, but I did not really feel welcome. They also had this strange policy that you could only stay there if you also had breakfast. As we planned to leave the hut at 4 AM we were not interested in the breakfast, but when I told this to the receptionist he simply told me that you have to pay for it anyway. The breakfast was served from 5:30 to 7:00 which also made it impossible for us the eat it after the summit since we made it down at 8:00. It seems to be a nice deal for them because half of the hut was leaving before breakfast.. Also they take money for water, which tastes quite bad. I mean it is drinkable but I wonder if this was glacier water?? So we ended up using like 10 euros on water. I also wonder if there was something wrong with the food. We all got really gassy stomach after the dinner and I had really problems with getting some sleep because of this. Sleep or no sleep at t 3:45 AM we woke up and tried to sneak down without waking everybody.

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Our guide told us not to pack anything, so we only had to put on our gear. René himself had a small backpack with him and agreed to carry my Grossglockner gipfel beer to the summit 🙂 I had three layers on, wool, fleece and a jacket on and gloves. I needed all these layers because outside it was quite windy. Feeling the wind I was actually afraid that we would not be able to stand on the ridge, but luckily the wind silenced by the time we got to the ridge. From the hut we walked first over the glacier. It was quite steep, but nothing to compared to the climb that waited us after the glacier. Here it was just scrambling. We used our hands and legs as well as we could to climb over the rocks upwards. In the darkness it felt like it the climb would never end, even though I knew it was only 400 hm. Renè went first, found a spot to secure the rope and then told us to follow. He secured the rope behind rocks, because there were no other options (there was only one fixed iron rope on the whole ridge and couple of places where one could use a carabiner) Climbing this 45 degree hill of rocks was even more difficult with crampons on and the fresh snow turned into ice on the rocks when we climbed them. I had most trouble just finding something not slippery to grab onto in order to pull myself up to the next rock. Still, there was only one spot on the entire ridge where I felt uncomfortable. Before the peak itself the ridge goes down a little and there was a thin section where I had to just sit on a rock and slide down. Sliding to the right or left would not end well 😀  but with “summer” conditions that part would not have scared me either. That being said, it is very exposed and there is a reason why we secured ourselves with a rope all the time. One s of us also felt the height sickness a little in form of a headache, so heights is another thing to take into the consideration.

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The last climb, when we finally could spot the summit!

Also on the ridge, our our guide was constantly rushing us and now I started to get really annoyed about this! Because honestly, what was all this rush about? We were on the peak at 6:20 ish and there was no reason to rush what so ever. It seemed to me that the other guides had the same attitude. At one spot I needed more time to figure out how to place my feet and hands to climb further and while I was struggling, one of the other guides who was already on his way down the mountain, started shouting at me that I should not stop up and block the way but keep going! Honestly, is not the guide’s task to keep calm? He shouting at me did not help in any way, that is for sure.

Finally we reached the peak and there were only two other people on it. We stayed on the peak just long enough to see the sunrise in the sky line, celebrate the victory with the gipfel beer and take some pictures. On the way down we could finally get see how exposed the ridge really was. I liked this more. I guess I like knowing better than not knowing 🙂 Generally downhill is always easier for me so it is sad that I often worry about how I will get down during the way up 😦

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On the way down we also met a lot of other groups who were now on their way up. This was actually nice because we had to wait and let them pass us in several places which gave me time to enjoy the view more 🙂 After all, I was in no hurry to get down from this majestic mountain!

 

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Waiting for others to come up and pass us.
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So this part we actually did in the dark on the way up 😀

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Back at the hut I had the worst coffee of my life, and decided not to buy anything else and eat my homemade müslibars instead. We left the hut around 9. It was perfect weather. Amazingly the guide still had a quite fast phase and when I asked him, what the rush was about he said that everybody else were passing us so we were slow. He even denied me to have a break to take off my jacket 😦 It was 10:30 and I had no rush to get back to the valley!! But he saw it differently.  Anyways, we took the “normal path” down. I am not sure why, I think it was only because it is faster, because the risk of rocks falling on the glacier was still there.  At one point we even earned some rocks falling from the wall, so I did actually rush over the glacier 😀

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This was the most tricky part on the way down.
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René giving us rope so we could get down safely

Other than that I did not mind taking this path as we could now take a closer look at the side of the valley. Here we could see the Stüdlhütte and we walked past some nice waterfalls.

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Around 12:00 the guide left us, as he told he needed to rush to another assignment that he had the next day (which was not planned, but he had to step in for a guide who called in sick). So René left us and I felt relieved 🙂 at least I could enjoy the last part of the hike in my speed. Not having to rush anymore we took a break at Lucknerhütte. I had finally some proper coffee and a really delicious Apfelstrudel. This was a perfect ending for the adventure.

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Delicious Apfelstrudel and proper coffee, with a view to Großglockner.

 

We were down at Lucknerhaus at 13:00 and back in Munich at 17:00.

All in all I am really happy with the hike, it was a cool experience, we had nice weather and Großglockner made us to push our comfort zone a little. I am  also really glad we hired a mountain guide. We needed him on that ridge and we learned a lot from him, the only thing I am not happy about was the constant rushing. I get it, for the mountain guides this is just a regular work day and the earlier they are down in the valley, the sooner they can finish their work day, but for me this was is a once in a lifetime experience that I wanted to enjoy! At least it is now clear to me that I have to take some mountaineering courses so that I can do the hikes I want to do the way I want to do them!

Costs:

So we had to hire a car, for 3 days, in additional you have to buy a vignette which was 12 euros, you also have to pay a fee for one of the roads/tunnels on the road (2x 11 euros) and you have to pay for the parking at Lucknerhaus/Großglocknerarena (14 euros). In addition we paid 35 euros for a bed in a dorm at Lucknerhaus and 45 euros for the stay (included dinner) at Adleruh hütte.) The mountain guide cost 205 euros per person. So all in all not a really cheap hike. But if you go for a weekend in London you end up paying the same if not more so it is all about priorities 🙂

 

Hiking & Biking – Birkkarspitze 2749 m, Is it doable in one day?

Birkkarspitze was actually not my plan for this weekend, but as I could not do the hike I had planned in Innsbruck, this was a nice plan B. This is not very easily accessible hike, specially when you want to do it with one day.

Birkkarspitze is the highest peak in Karwendel mountains, I actually thought that Westliche karwendelspitze was the highest one and that I was on top of karwendel when I did Mittenwalder klettersteig. Turns out that it is actually Birkkarspitze 😀

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If you want to hike Birkkarspitze in one day the options are to bike into the Karwendeltal or Hinterautal. The advantage of choosing Karwendeltal is that you will have a hut on the way back and you can do a nice loop, including the ridge over Ödkarspitze. From Hinterautal you can only do Birkkarspitze and you will need to go up and down the exact same path. We did the Karwendeltal route, If I decide to only hike Birkkarspitze, I will do it via Hinterautal.

So our route was the following (Outdooractive link):

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This was the first hike where I bike to the starting point of the hike. I just bought a new (used) bike on Thursday and I was both excited and nervous about using it on this hike. I had read on the all knowing internet that the road to Karwendelhaus should be also bikeable with normal bike, but I also knew that it was 500hm uphill, over 13 km. So I uncertain if my city bike would be suitable for that 😀 But when in doubt I try to remember the advice a Norwegian expeditionist,  Børge Ousland: “Don’t be so afraid of failing”. So with this advice in my head we packed the bags on Saturday and went to bed at nine to wake up 5:30 the day after.  The first train from Munich to Scharnitz leaves at 6:30 so we biked to Hbf. in the dark!! I can’t believe that it was dark, this actually means that winter is coming! Ok I am exaggerating a bit, but still, days are getting shorter fast.

In Scharnitz we took out our outdooractive map and tried to follow it, but still go lost. Luckily there was a nice lady who told us where the bike road to Karwendelhaus starts.

Still, the beginning of the trail was a little bit tricky. We could just follow the road and signs to Karwendeltal, but chose to take a short, but steep as hell, shortcut through the forest. In retrospective it was worth it, because I am quite sure it saved 30 minutes, or more by doing this. But if you do not feel like starting the hike by pushing your bike up a narrow ,steep forest path, just follow the road and signs to Karwendeltal (the outdooractive map follows the forest path 🙂 )

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After sweat 20 minutes in the forest, the path ran into the main gravel road and we were able to start biking. It was still heavy and all the mountain bikers, with their crazy ass mountain bikes, biked pass us. One of them was even asking me if we really wanted to do Birkkarspitze, then laughing and biking pass us. Honesty, not everybody has 2000 euros to invest into a mountainbike, you do not need to be a ***hole about it!

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From Scharnitz It took us 2 hours to bike to Angeralm, but since we forgot to look at the map we biked a bit too far and had to bike back. That cost us probably 15 minutes or so 😦  

At Angeralm we locked our bikes under a nice three and started the hike at 11:45. There were no signs on the whole hike so a GPS map from outdooractive was really very useful. The hike up was very steep to begin with, but flattened out after a while when we reached the ridge. The path itself was hardly visible, and at times it felt like we were not following a path at all, just walking in the wildness. There were no other hikes on the path we took, so I guess most people hike just Birkarspitze from the hut.

 

 

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Do not bike into the forest here, the path starts on the right side of the big tree

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We did not mind having the path to ourselves, the views were amazing and looking up towards the ridge reminded us of the Dolomites, just without all the tourists. Before we got to the real ridge we had to cross a long gravel valley, but it was not steep and was easy to cross. From here the last accent to the real ridge started. There were sections on the ridge that were surprisingly exposed. Luckily there were fixed iron ropes on these sections, which was good because even I felt unconformable at one spot :O :O

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Climbing down from Ödkarspitze

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Another thing that surprised us was that the ridge was not really flat. Looking at the map I thought it would be more or les flat, but in fact we had to go quite a lot up and down between the Weslishe Öderskarspitze (2712m) , Östliche Ödkarspitze (2738 m) and Birkkarspitze(2749), even though their height difference is only couple of meters.

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When we got to the part where you can choose to go up to Birkkarspitze or down to the hut it was 15:30 and so after some discussion we decided to drop the peak. We were not sure how much time it would take and we wanted to have some time at the hut. Also, the path down to the hut looked really hard and we decided therefore to take a small break at the Biwak hut instead, have our Gipfel beer there and then head down. The Biwak hut was nice but very small, I think some of the people coming up planned to stay there overnight. So this would also be an option, but remember, there is no water there, so you need to bring enough water in you want to do this.

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Biwak slefie

In retrospective we could definitely have made the peak as well, but we would then have been stressed about the time on the way down and would not have enjoined it as much. Therefore I am also not too bitter about missing the peak. In the end I don’t do this to gather the most peaks, I do this because I love being in the mountains. From the Biwak we used 1h 30 minutes down, not rushing it. We were at the hut 17:30, but it turned out they did not serve dinner before 6:00. Which meant they only had soup and beer. Not exactly what we were hoping for 😦

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Karwendelhaus, Birkkarspitze is in the fog behind it.

After some beer and Apfelstrudel we started heading down to our bikes, which took us about another hour walking. From Angeralm we just rolled back to Scharnitz in ca. 1 hour. This was pure enjoyment! And at the same time I understood why it was so heavy to bike to Angeralm, it was in fact all uphill! 😀 😀 ..

We were down at Angeralm at 19.00 and at Scharnitz train station at 20:15. The loop to the hut took us 6.h 30 min. If you want to do the peak you need to add at least 40 minutes, I would say.

We had some time to kill before as the last train back to Munich leaves 21:30. We used the time on stretching and got some beverages and crisps from the local petrol station.

All in all this was a real challenging hike, including the hm from Scharnitz, we did over 2000 hm in one day! The feeling of accomplishment was even stronger as we did it with normal bikes, which is way more adventurous and challenging than cruising to the hut on a mountainbike. Do I recommend this hike for “normal” people ? Well, you differently need to like a challenge if you decide to do it with normal city bike, but let there be no doubt, it is doable!

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This weekend I can’t go hiking because of work 😦 , but the boulder world cup 2017 is held in Munich this weekend, so I plan to stream it and enjoy my sofa. Furthermore, in two weeks I plan to do a real badass hike in Austria, which I need to charge my batteries for, so a weekend at home will be nice. 

 

 

Trust or not to Trust the Weather Forecast – Hiking Thaneller 2 341 m

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At times it feels like looking at the weather forecast has become my new hobby 😀 While other people spend their time checking for Facebook updates, I spend my time on checking the weather forecast for different parts of the Alps! 😀 (Btw, I still trust the Norwegian weather app yr.no the most)

This weekend I had not been been hiking for the two past weekends and was quite desperate, but again the weather forecast predicted thunderstorms and rain in the mountains for the weekend to come. The question was, should I trust the forecast or not?? In the end I decided not to do so, and went hiking anyways! I was off course ready for rain and we had decided that if the weather turns stormy we will turn around.

So we got up at 5:30, took the 6:35 train from Hbf and headed to Heiterwang to conquer Thaneller (2341m). First of all I must say I was totally surprised that I could use the Bayern ticket the whole way, as Heiterwang is in Austria. So this was a pleasant surprise. After 2 hours and 15 Minutes we were there. The weather was perfect, 23 degrees and sunny. Still, I was a little worried because the rain was supposed to start after 12:00, hence we had quite fast pace for the first two hours.

The path from Heiterwang is not hard to find and it is a nice path through the forest and across several green meadows. If the sky is clear you can spot the peak already form the train station (It is the highest one).

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This is the peak, but you have to go around to the right, before you start the accent

 

After two hours, a rocky gravel path starts and heads to the right. We were not aware of this, but in fact you have to go to the right side of Thaneller to get to the peak. This was a little disappointing for us, as it felt that we were almost there as the peak was so near, but instead of heading right up the wall we needed to follow the path approx 30 minutes direction Reutte and decent approximately 150 hm down into a valley, where the real accent started.  From the valley we followed a zigzag gravel path direction a rocky wall.  When we meet the wall, the most fun part of the hike started. There is some scrambling and some iron ropes, but no equipment is needed. From this point we thought the peak was quite close, but in fact It took us another 1h 30 minutes to reach the peak.

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THE WALL , the path follows the left side

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The view from the peak was really worth the struggle. Plansee changed its colors from blue to green as the sun hit it and the white clouds made the view to the lakes mysterious and idyllic at the same time:

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One happy mountaingirl

As always we took our time on the peak and stayed approximately for an hour enjoying the sun, the view and the calmness of Thalneller. From the peak, we could actually see all the way to Hohenschwangau. We could also easily spot Säuling, so it was cool to spot it and know that we have been on top of it :D:D You can read about our hike to Säuling here.

We went down the same scrambling path as we came up, but choose a different path down in the valley to Heiterwang because I find it boring to go up and down the same path and that way we did not have to climb 150 m up again 🙂 It was a really nice path that followed the river for some time so we could fill up our water bottles and then turned into a forest road which was very enjoyable to walk down to Heiterwang. I would not choose this path up to Thanleller, because upwards it would be too boring to walk the forest road, but downhill after a heavy hike, it was perfect!

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The fog got to us on the way down, but we did not really mind after the view we had from the peak.

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I have made a GPS track of the whole trail available on Outdooractive.

We got to Heiterwang at 17:50 and had some time to kill before the next train at 18:38. So we saw everything there was to see of Heiterwang, which is not much. We could not even find a place where you could buy a beer 😦 In other words, there is no point to spend time in Heiterwang, there is just nothing to see! But we used the waiting time to do some stretching and yoga exercises, so the passed fast.

In conclusion, don’t trust the weather app 100%. At least I am glad I did not this weekend. I even know people who were braver than me and went for Alpspitze – a peak that I have planned to do for a month now! Perhaps later this month I can finally stand on top of it!

Until the next hike. Now I’m off for some boulderfun 🙂

 

Mittenwalder Höhenweg with T-Rex costume!

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Last weekend I joined a quite bad-ass hike; Mittenwalder Höhenweg. Mittenwalder Höhenweg is a via Ferrata over a ridge in Karwendel. There is an option to take a cable car up, but then it would not be a badass would it? So we hiked 1900 hm up from Mittenwald! That is the most height meters I have done during one day, and I must say it was not bad, not bad at all. I did not feel too tired, but I guess it helped that we decided to take the cable car down 😀

Mittenwalder Höhenweg is not an easy hike, unless you take the cable car up that is. There are several options for hiking up. but they all require you to climb 1900 + hm. One option is to follow the trail under the cable car, but this is very steep gravel path. Not much fun in other words. Then there is an option to hike from Scharnitz and over Brunnensteinspitze, this option is doable. We met actually couple of friends in the middle of the hike who came up that way. It is a really nice hike up to Brunnensteinspitze, but it is steep and so when we met them they were already a little tired. You also climb the most height meters following this trail. The third option is to hike from Mittenwald over Brunnsteinhütte. This was the option we chose, and I am happy we did so. This way you have a nice, not too steep, climb in the beginning, and you can have a rest in the hut, some food (btw, they actually had proper coffee, not some instant coffee) and then continue up where the two paths from the hut and from Brunnensteinspitze meet.

Here we had our second break and decided to have fun with a T-rex costume that my friend Haitham had with him:D When he put it on he instantly became a celebrity. It was so much fun! At one point a guy asked us: “What’s wrong with you people? Why would you ever bring a T-rex costume to a hike?” I laughed and answered him: “Because life is only as fun as you are.” He then laughed and wondered where we came from and if we were Erasmus students 😀 I had to disappoint him and reveal that we are all adults who live and work in Munich. Anyways, we got lots of laughs and comments and many cool pictures 😀



PS. We did not do the kletttersteig with the costume of course, we are not crazy either 😉 Haitham , just took it on couple of times for some awesome pictures.

The klettersteig is level A/B so I thought that a klettersteig set is unnecessary, turned out I was the only one in our group who had decided not to bring the equipment. Therefore got a little nervous when I saw all the people coming down fully equipped, but luckily I am pretty good with highs and did not feel a need for a klettersteig set during the hike. BUT don’t get me wrong, Mittelwalder Höhenweg is a proper klettersteig, and there is a reason why most people use the klettersteig set. I just know that on B klettersteigs I normally would not clip in anyways and therefore there is no point of having the set with me. If you are not 120 % conformable with heights, bring your set! It’s better to be safe than sorry.

The ridge is fantastic. You go from peak to peak. I am actually not sure how many peaks we crossed in the end. Since it is a via ferrata, we needed to wait for people at times and did some queuing, but I did not mind that, not at all. It only gave me more time to enjoy the view and take pictures.

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The klettersteig was really awesome too. At some parts there were planks you had to walk over,  and there was also a very long ladder which we had to climb down. So much fun!!!

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I think the ridge took us 3 hours, but we were not fast and had breaks to play around with the T-rex costume 😀  During the klettersteig we decided to take the cable car down to save our knees. This meant that we had to be at Karwendelbahn before 6. We were there at 5 and had just enough time to run up to the Westliche Karwendelspitze (2385 m) This was our victory peak! We made it, across the whole ridge and had climbed 1900hm! After a short break and mandatory gipfel beer, we headed down to the cable car. I already then could feel that taking the cable car was the right thing to do. When I finally sat in the cable car and looked at the gravel path under us, I was even happier that we took the cable car, it would just not have been worth the struggle to hike down.

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Karwendelbahn in front of the Östliche Karwendelspitze

I saw some nice mountains during this hike that I will add to my to-do list: Östliche Karwendelspitze and Arnplattenspitze.

I really loved this hike, perhaps this could be your next adventure? Mittenwald is really easy to get to from Munich by train. My friend Anna has made a GPS track of the hike available here (This track still shows that we hike down, but in fact we took the cable car)

Other hikes you can do from Mittenwald are Große Arnspitze and Obere Wettersteinspitze. Obere Wettersteinspitze is one of my favorite hikes, so I really recommend it!

I hoped to go hiking today again, but that did not work out, the weather is just too unpredictable at the moment 😦 So this weekend is going to be a quiet one, but I got the new issue of Bergsteiger yesterday and am looking forward to just relax and read about some awesome mountaineers out there 🙂