The beginning ...
Höllental canyon waterfall
With everything I would need for the next few weeks in my pack, I had boarded the night train from Amsterdam to Munich yesterday. Today, it's play time in the Alps: I'm heading for Hell's Valley
, aka the Höllental route
The first day was an easy one, hiking from Hammersbach to the Höllentalanger Hütte
. But the Höllental Canyon
sure was beautiful!
Ants on the glacier
I slept well in the refuge, despite the crowds. Early next morning, the hut emptied quickly, as many groups left for the summit of the Zugspitze
, Germany's highest. I started on the late side.
Crowds at the bergschrund
As I approached the glacier, I saw some people returning, looking unhappy - I guess they had wanted to cross the glacier without crampons, but that was virtually impossible, as there was no snow on the glacier and it was very slippery. There even were big signs at the Höllentalanger Hütte saying that you would need them.
As far as I was concerned, no snow was just what I had hoped for, because now I could easily avoid the crevasses.
I passed a lot of the earlier groups on the glacier, because I wanted to be ahead of the crowds on the rock higher up.
The climb was beautiful, but the summit experience is something else. Next to the summit, there is a big developed area with cable car access. There must have been hundreds of tourists! I didn't stay long, and continued to the Knorr Hütte.
The following day was a bit gloomy. There were clouds and the air felt moist. Not a good day for taking pictures. I hiked down the Reintal, and back up again through the Oberreintal, to the Schachenhaus. It was rather crowded there - no doubt the fact that there was a road had something to do with that, even if it was unpaved. As the clouds seemed to lighten up a bit, I decided to stick with my original plan, which was to hike to the Meiler Hütte.
About half way, it started to rain. Nevertheless, I continued. The rains got more intense, but hey it's just water, right? I picked up the pace. Then, the first thunderstrike. I switched gears, went as fast as I could now with my big pack. By the time I got to the refuge, I was completely soaked. It would have been safer if I had stayed at the Schachenhaus.
There were only a few other people in the Meiler Hütte. Some of them had also just got there. That shared experience made for a very nice atmosphere. We enjoyed dinner together and chatted happily into the night.
Next morning, it wasn't raining, but that was about it. It was foggy and damp. No scrambling today. And so, I hiked, first to Leutasch then Scharnitz. I had made good time, covered a lot of distance. It wasn't too late yet, so, after a late lunch / early dinner at Scharnitz, I hiked up to the Brunnstein Hütte on the east face of the Karwendel range. By the time I got there, the last light of the day was rapidly disappearing.
I woke up to glorious weather! It was a good thing that I was already out of the valley, that saved me two hours of hiking uphill today. Still, I went up further, to the Brunnenstein Spitze, before descending along the Birzlgrat on its south side. But that's another story.
... and the end
A few weeks later, after playing around in Austria and Italy, I was finally back in southern Germany. The pack didn't feel as heavy, and I lost a bit of weight myself too.
I hiked along the northern slopes of the Wetterstein area once more, and spent the final night in the refuge on top of Wank
, a small mountain perhaps, but with beautiful views.
Goodbye to the Alps, for now. I'll be back!
Sunset over the Zugspitze
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