After climbing the via ferrata „Hindelanger Klettersteig“ in winter 2006/2007 I wanted to make another wonderful winter climb this season. Some people asked me why I want to do that – cold and icy weather, short days, lots of snow…
But my answer was that I want to do it because of the cold and icy weather, lots of snow, to be alone on a route, to enjoy a great view in winter!
So I thought about the possibilities. The mountain shouldn´t be too high because when there is too much snow a route can become impossible. It must be a route where the way is relatively clear, f.e. a ridge. And it must be a route which you can finish before the sun goes down.
First I was thinking of via ferrata “Seebener Klettersteig” but then I decided to climb the traverse Ettaler Manndl – Laberjoch – Schartenkopf. I climbed the route with Monika who I first met during climbing in Sardinia in October and her friend Bernhard, a very fit triathlete.
The climb at 03rd January 2009: Icy but spicy!
View to Zugspitze, Alpspitze, Jubi-ridge summit of Ettaler Manndl Wetterstein over the clouds
So we planned the climb for Saturday 03rd January 2009. The weather forecast said that it will be a very sunny but also very cold day with temperatures about -10°C.
So that was what I was waiting for!!! We started at 8.30 in Oberammergau for the ascent to Ettaler Manndl via the North ascent. The temperature was -11°C! Very frosty! But with many layers it was ok. The first part of the route is a normal track with some snow but only an easy hike. Just before we reached the snow-covered lake Soilesee we get the first sunbeams – great feeling and immediately we felt a little bit warmer! After Soilesee we decided to take the steep ascent to Laber where no marks have been any more. So it was hard work to get up this part, snow till the knee or even thigh. But Monika and me were glad that Bernhard went before us and that he made the most exhausting work!
It was wonderful when we reached the ridge between Laber and Ettaler Manndl. An unbelievable view to Allgäu and Ammergauer Alps, Wetterstein, Mieminger and Karwendel! And the valleys under clouds! Then we continued the way to Ettaler Manndl. All over the route we met nobody – what a seldom and wonderful thing! The via ferrata to Ettaler Manndl wa only covered with less snow the first metres but become icy then with lots of snow. But finally it was no problem to reach the top of Ettaler Manndl. We 3 alone on the summit, again this wonderful view, so for some moments we forgot even the cold temperatures and spent some minutes at the summit and made wonderful panorama pics!
As after some time the cold temperatures were stronger than us we descended the via ferrata. Then we backed to the saddle between Ettaler Manndl and Laber and get up to Laber then. There is a ropeway station there and there we met some people who also enjoyed the panorama there. But they all wondered about our appearance – no ropeway tourists, really climbers in this season?!?
So as we are climbers and no ropeway tourists we left Laber and continued the ridge to Schartenkopf. This was the most challenging part of our trip. A nice ridge with very deep snow. So we had to blaze a trail through snow till the thigh! This needed lots of time and power. But this was compensated by a wonderful late afternoon panorama impression. Then we had to pass several avalanche fields which were completely iced but we also made this and in the late afternoon we came back to the car.
A wonderful day trip, great impressions, silence and a really nice trip with my 2 friends! I´m really looking forward for the next climbing trip!
winter impression of Allgäu Alps snowy ridge to Schartenkopf descent from Schartenkopf