Preface - A 2010 retrospectThe plan
In december 2007 we planed to climb the Jubiläumsgrat Ridge of the Zugspitze, a classic but demanding winter climb in the german Wetterstein Range.
Our fitness was good - at least we thought so -, our technical abilities were better than the climb was demanding and the weather pretty stable. The only problem we had was the heavy snow fall some days before the intended weekend, but we hoped the snow would settle or be blown away by the time we arrive at the Zugspitze. This was actually not the case...
Together with István and his two friends, who we met at the beginning of the climb, we've experienced our longest and most tricky tour by then.
We've spent 19.5 hours from the Zugspitze to the bivy hut and another 16 hours from the bivy to the Osterfelderkopf station, climbing in total 35 hours with 4 hours of sleep in between.
It was not only the snow, which caused troubles - mainly it was the lack of experience, too heavy baggage, overprotection, insufficient fitness - all of this mixed with high ambitions.
I don't regret this tour - but it tought me several principles of mountaineering and allowed me to recognize how far endurance and volition can last, and also its limits.
Thank you István for your ideas.
• Go fast & light. Leave tent, thermal mat & sleeping bag at home, take a bivy bag - head for the bivy hut - until then, climb on.
• Don't try to protect every steep part of this climb, this is unnecessary and takes time.
• If there's too much powder, head home or brace yourself for two or more long days.
• We took our via ferrata sets for a walk only - the via ferrata is either snowed in or easy terrain.
• Don't even think about descending to the valley across the flanks (cliffs!) - several have tried, nobody reached the deck alive.