Rich flew from San Diego, California, into Germany on 31 October 2002. On 1 November we went for the summit of the Alpspitz, despite locals thinking it would rain. (The sky looked good.) Fighting jet lag and the temptation of new German foods and coffee, we finally got to the Kreuzeckbahn Talstation cable car for the 10:00 lift. After exiting the cable car at the Osterfelder Station at approximately 2,150 meters, we headed for the northwest ridge, following the more obvious trail (not as well maked as trails in Switzerland, in my opinion). Nearing a tunnel, we noticed ladders and cables to our upper west, and followed that route. After showing some safety techniques for clipping on to the cable, Rich was ready to climb! We ascended the never ending trail of cables, ladders, and trails until roughly 11:30, when we reached a saddle called the Alpspitz-Ferrata. We signed a log there, and kept going up the main northwest ridge of ladders, spikes, and cables. Not long after, we were passed by another team (Mike and Mary from Germany), after showing Rich how to lock one another in for a "more dangerous" traverse of an exposed area. Then we kept ascending the never ending route of ladders, spikes, and cables. Finally, at 12:32, we signed the Alpspitz Summit Log. We were quickly met by a second team (German pair) coming up behind us. The original pair (Mike and Mary) that passed us came back and we got a group photo, minus me (I took the photo). Then Rich and I put on crampons and he got some practice with crampons. We followed the latter couple down the "easy route" which was not the traditional north face through the tunnel, but much farther to the east. We got passed by a solo climber coming down. We finally reached the bottom, after another long episode of cables, spikes, and ladders. Short of running, we "hauled rear end" and made it to the cable car at the Osterfelder Station at 16:15. The last one left at 16:30, so we spent a comfortable night in Garmisch, instead of walking down the mountain "until dawn." We carried a lot of gear compared to our 5 German friends, and never used the 50 meter rope, nor the ice screws. We did make extensive use of 3 meter safety lines, and non-locking carabiners were a blessing for hooking onto the cable every two meters or so. It never rained on us and the weather in general was great. I was very proud of Rich, learning all of his new techniques, and reaching the summit while in country only 24 hours or so! We used the WK D4 Garmisch-Partenkirchen/Wettersteinbirge - Werdenfelser Land 1:25,000 scale map. It was not up to par with the typical topographic maps that I used, but we could not find a better one for this trip.
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