How the idea started...
My story starts at the beginning of September. I met Georg at a birthday. We both knew that we were mountaineers, we thought about making some climbs together 2 years before but then I climbed with another partner, we climbed different mountains and when we tried to find a date for climbing one of us had no time.
But at this birthday in September we decided again to make a climb – in this year (2006).
One week later he contacted me. He told me that he has planned a climb at 15/09/06 – 17/09/06 in the Lechtaler Alps.
I was thinking about this possibility. At that time I had contact to SP member Sebastian Hamm and we were also talking about a climb in September. I checked the weather forecast for the Lechtaler Alps and for the Bernese Alps. On Saturday 16/09/06 the weather forecast for the Bernese Alps looked better so I decided to climb Mönch (4000 m peak) with Sebastian.
So I called the climb with Georg in the Lechtaler Alps off.
I enjoyed a great day in the Bernese Alps with Sebastian Hamm.
Climbing Mönch at 16/09/2006 sharp summit ridge of Mönch summit shot with Sebastian Hamm
It was one of the last possibilities in the summer season 2006 to make a climb in the higher mountains. But – there was one other possibility:
A winter climb on a beautiful ridge!
Another phonecall in October: I asked Georg if he would like to make a winter climb with me. And he said he would!
But then we had to wait for the snow…
And we had to wait long, we needed a lot of patience!
It started to snow at the beginning of December, but it was too less, then at 13./14.th December it snowed some more in the Allgaeuer Alps. Enough for us and our plan:
The winter climb of one of the most famous German ridges, the ridge from Nebelhorn to Grosser Daumen, the Via Ferrata Hindelang / Hindelanger Klettersteig. Planned date: Friday 22/12/2006
I phoned to Georg at the Wednesday before. He told me that he was ill – shit! Maybe bad luck again?!? He said that he will go to bed early and tell me on Thursday afternoon if he feels ok for the climb. I really hoped that he gets better overnight!!!
Then the phonecall on Thursday: He feels better – we will make the climb!!! YES!!!
The climb at 22/12/2006
The ridge In action summit shot with Georg
Georg picked me up at 6.00 am and then we drove the 250 km to Oberstdorf in 2 hours. Good average speed!
Then we saved the money for parking. The ropeway opened for this winter at 23/12/2006 for the skiers. So we thought that no one will control the parking place at the day before!
We went to the valley station – and we were the first visitors in this winter! We had to pay the summer price (25 Euro per person) and then we drove up with some employees and workers of the ropeway station.
We arrived at the sunrise on top of Nebelhorn. We knew that it was the shortest day of the year and that the sun will go down early again. So we should climb not too slow!
Then we started. At the beginning the ridge wasn’t too difficult, snow between 10 and 20 centimetres. Then we reached the first ropes and ladders. We could grab the ropes as there wasn't too much snow at this part and the sun shined there the whole days before. But as more as we climbed the ridge snow got more and more and conditions became difficult. 30-50 cm of snow, iced rocks, cornices and the fixed ropes somewhere under the snow. So we had to climb our own way at the ridge. Sometimes there were very delicate passages, but it was a great climb! No other person the whole day, a virgin ridge, a great view to Zugspitze, the Austrian and Swiss Alps! At the Westlicher Wengenkopf we made a small break and ate something, the rest of the climb we made no break. We didn´t want to bivouac in the night!
on the sharp ridge The Via Ferrata in winter sunset in the winter
So we ended the ridge at 14.30. But then we knew that we have to make the track the whole way back. In summer the way back through the Koblat (mountain pasture) is a beautiful hiking trail, but in winter it was exhausting! With nearly every step we broke into the snow! Really hard work!
But after 1 hour 30 minutes we were back! We reached the ski pistes and went back to the ropeway station. We ate something and drank a hard-earned beer. Then we took the ropeway down at 16.30.
We left Oberstdorf with a big smile in our face. Then we wanted to be back soon in Stuttgart. So Georg accelerated! New record on the way back: 1 h 45 minutes for 250 km! Very good time!!!
It was a perfect day, sunny, no one else in the mountains, a great view, a challenging climb: Altogether a perfect day!
I´m looking forward for another climb with you, Georg, in 2007!!!