Of Gorges and Peaks in the Zugspitze Region, Garmisch Partenkirchen // press trip
#Advertisement – 3 Outdoor Bloggers were invited to test and experience parts of the new trial “Spitzenwanderweg” in the region. I was one of them. 2 summits were planned: Alpspitz (2628 m) via the Alpspitz-Ferrata and the Zugspitze (2962 m) via the Höllentalferner glacier. Goal: 38 km and 3972 m elevation in 2.5 days.
- 1 Servus Garmisch! Welcome, Mountaineers!
- 2 Day 1: Partnachklamm – Bockhütte – Jägersteig – Kreuzeckhaus
- 3 Day 2: The Alpspitz-Ferrata and Alpspitze 2620 m
- 4 Day 3: Waking up to the glow of the giant and the mist of Höllentalklamm
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 General Information of our tour:
Servus Garmisch! Welcome, Mountaineers!As the doors from my Flixbus opened, Garmisch Partenkirchen welcomed me with a summerly 24°c in the evening. There was a whiff of outdoor and mountaineering in the air as the bus driver unloads one backpack after another and the MTB bikes of his passengers. It seemed that everyone had a mountain mission to accomplish whatever the way. I grabbed my pack that had a helmet dangling on. A brisk 10 minutes walk brought me to my bed for the night at Quartier Lodge. Stretching out the body was a fine thing after hours of traveling. Cool! A queen-size bed all to myself!! I was surrounded by clear architectural lines carved in wood, abundant space, kitchenette and views to the surrounding mountains. There was even a hammock and reading corner upstairs. A wifi on/off switch lets you shut yourself away from the rest of the world. Everything in the maisonette room shouts out that you are now on vacation modus – make use of it! A shame to actually spend just a few hours of sleep here.
Day 1: Partnachklamm – Bockhütte – Jägersteig – KreuzeckhausThomas, our local mountain guide from Die Bergführer, joined us for breakfast in the morning. He would be accompanying us during our climb the next few days and gave us a quick briefing on the route while we gobbled down a delicious Bircher Müsli and scrambled egg. Shortly after, we started off at the entrance of the Partnachklamm, which was a part of the 201 km Spitzenwanderweg (trials) in the region, only to be faced by closed doors. Helicopters, excavators screamed construction work going on. They were clearing up the mess from the last bigger storm in the gorge and the way was closed for a few days to the public. We took an alternative route that brought us above the gorge through Vordergraseck (usually the usual MTB route) and crossed in the Partnach Gorge or Partnachklamm about halfway through. This gorge is opened all year round and is especially beautiful and magical in winter. I fondly remembered the winter photos I made in the last season.
The Wetterstein mountains side by sideThe scorching, midday sun and heat made it difficult for me to keep my breath. I took another sip of water through my bladder bag and dabbed my forehead from the sweat that found every pore to escape. My fully packed backpack felt by now more like a ton and the sweaty straps started to cut into my skin. Every now and then there was a glimpse of the Wetterstein mountains or the Royal Palace on Schachen (it’s a wooden castle!! – used as a hunting lodge by King Ludwig II) on the opposite. Reaching the Laubhütte, we had the steepest part of the hike for the day behind us.
Day 2: The Alpspitz-Ferrata and Alpspitze 2620 mWe woke up to another beautiful, cloudless day. The Alpspitze seemed to be just within a grasp. Its peaks looked like a grey pyramid poking into the endless blue sky. And today, we were going to try reach for the skies, through the Alpspitz-Ferrata. As we arrived at the foot of the mountain, it started to get crowded. Many were heading in the same direction as us. Blame it on the perfect weather. Thomas suggested to put on our equipment at the base of the main wall and hushed us through 2 short boulder passages, while the crowd was still at the start.
The mountain and meEvery now and then I would find someone resting in the shade under a bigger rock. And every time, I was filled with envy. The way interchanged between steeper and easy passages. There was always a good rock to step on or holds to grasp. The steel wires were in good condition, and each passage was easy to climb. My biggest worry was my condition. My heart was beating so hard by now and taking sips out of the water bladder didn’t help much to cool down my body. The air stood still, too hot for any altitude above 2160 m! Unusual! My performance dropped rapidly to zero. The beautiful morning sun shone mercilessly on me. My movements felt like a tortoise in Sahara with a huge rock on top of her shell.
Next stop down: HöllentalAfter a short break, we descended the Alpspitz through the Nordwandsteig. Again, the Via- Ferrata was perfectly secured with steel wires. It brought us through 2 tunnels before reaching the initial point. If you poke your heads out from this tunnel, you will see some of the alpine routes that were bolted on the north. We passed by the Alpspitzbahn, made a short stopover at the AlpspiX plateau below the Osterfelderkopf and proceeded further into the Hupfleitenjoch.
Day 3: Waking up to the glow of the giant and the mist of HöllentalklammThe peak of our 3-day trip arrived. I didn’t sleep well as there was always someone outside in the gangway, getting up at unearthly hours of the morning and rushing off to get ready. It was still so dark outside and I didn’t quite bother to check the time. That was when the alarm clock rang. And then everything came on quickly. I peaked out of the window and saw the first group with their head-lamps already hanging in the first Via-Ferrata. It was 6 am. Dark, cold. Where was my “Kuscheldecke”? We had our breakfast and separated into 2 groups. The Höllentalklamm was about half an hours descend away from the Höllentalangerhütte. The gorge itself measures about 1000 m long and 150 m deep surrounded by bizarre rocks and landscape. It roared with loads of water, dripping from all sides of the wall into the river. Every now and then, a tunnel would keep us dry from all the water. It was slippery and the path was wet. This gorge is only opened until the first bigger snowfall or end of October. It’s closed to the public in winter as snow avalanches fall into this gorge from 3 different areas, making access impossible. Such a mystic, pretty sight, early in the morning.
So quiet, yet so loud. So empty, yet so full.
ConclusionThe region around Garmisch Partenkirchen offers 1200 km of inspiring hiking trials around the #TopofGermany = Zugspitze. Day excursions to the different gorges or into the valleys and mountain lodges are just some of the highlights that are interesting not only for families and children. I fell instantly in love with the trial that took us down from the Osterfelderkopf to the Höllensteinangerhütte. The trials in the region have shown me how diverse it is, no matter how your plans turn out to be. The 200 km Spitzenwanderweg passes many cultural and natural highlights. This loop can be completed within 14 days in a shot, or in different stages. 16 different public transport stops along the way allows you to be flexible in your planning. For a minimum of time, this region offers maximum impressions and hiking adventures to bring home to.
General Information of our tour:
- Ascends: Day 1: 1200 m (Partnachklamm – Bockhütte – Kreuzeckhaus 1652 m) Day 2: 1000 m (Kreuzeckhaus – Osterfelderkopf – Alpsitz-Ferrata – Alpspitze) [Day 3: 1600 m (Höllentalangerhütte – Zugspitze)]
- Descends: Day 2: 992 m(Alpspitze – Hüpfleitenjoch – Höllentalangerhütte) Day 3: 566 m (Höllentalangerhütte – Höllentalklamm – Hammersbach)
- Distance: Day 1: 18km, Day 2: 12 km, Day 3: 8 km
- Beauty: ****
- Useful Links:
- Starting point: Kreuzeck-Alpspitzbahn, in 15 mins to the base of the Alpspitz-Ferrata 2192 m.
- Descend: Over the Ostgrat which turns into the Nordwandsteig, returning to the initial point.
- Ascend: 600 m
- Distance: 4.1 km
- Time: 2.5 hrs (ascend) 2 hrs (descend)
- Difficulty: The Alpspitz-Ferrata is graded A/B, which is ideal for beginners, willing to experience an exposed summit climb. The whole passage is perfectly secured, with short intervals of free passages. The crux lays at the base and at the end of the Via-Ferrata. The ascend is North-east facing. This mountain has hardly any shelter along the way, avoid snow or wet conditions.
- Gear: Via-Ferrata set, helmet, solid mountain boots with a good sole, sufficient water, weatherproof clothing.
- Other Via-Ferrata nearby: Mittenwalder Höhenweg in Karwendel, Ettaler Mandl in the Ammergauer Alps