Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kramerspitz -- this time all the way to the top

So, yesterday I went back to Garmisch to climb the Kramerspitz again.  While it was the right decision to turn around on Tuesday, given the (accurate) predictions of rain later in the day, I couldn't shake a slight feeling of irritation at having not completed the hike.  Yesterday the weather was (accurately) predicted to be fine... so off to the mountains I went!

And here are the photos....

This is a little bit along from where I turned around Tuesday.  The trail crosses the upper snowfields -- if you look closely you can just see a couple of hikers starting across one of the middle traverses.  For those with a tendency to worry, a couple of reassurances.  First, it looks worse than it is -- the snow was stable and previous hikers had made footholds that I was able to use.  Second, it is still quite early in the season:  I'm not expecting us to have to cross anything like this on the H3H.

And now this is looking back across the same terrain.  The previous photo was taken from the top of the grassy peak to the left.  Gotta do something about the ubiquitous finger!

This is shortly before the summit.  I've caught up a little with those two hikers from the first photo (you can see them down and to the left of the cross).  I found a better route to the right of the snow and so didn't have to cross that last snowfield.

The view from the summit.  The Zugspitze across the valley was wreathed with clouds all day and it was a little hazy... but those are quibbles:  it was spectacular.

During the descent I came across this bench.  The inscription translates to "Oh you land of my mountains, how beautiful you are".

Tough to argue with that when you see the view.

A short while later I arrived at the Stepberg Alm.  There are places like this where hikers can stop for food and drink scattered high up all over the Alps, -- they are one of the reasons why hiking here is better than hiking anywhere else in the world.  You'll notice that there are hardly any customers -- that's because the hut's website said that they would only open for the season tomorrow.  Since tomorrow is a) Saturday, b) the first day of a three day weekend, c) the first day of a two week school vacation, and d) supposed to be beautiful weather, the place will be packed.  But today it was peaceful -- here and on the trails:  in six hours I saw a dozen people.

And here, with views to the Zugspitze, is the well deserved "Kaffee und Kuchen"!

Feel like hiking yet?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

H3H Training Hike -- Kramerspitz bei Garmisch

Went for a practice hike today -- up the Kramerspitz above Garmisch opposite the Zugspitze.  Took about 4.25 hours for 8k, +/-1010m.  Wasn't carrying a full pack, but I'm still pretty happy with the time (for H3H purposes I'd estimate the hike at 5.75h).  Started off sunny, Bavarian blue skies, scattered clouds, but then clouded over.  Stayed warm and pleasant though.

I had originally thought I might do a 6+ hour hike but when I got up to 1800m there were snow patches and fields in gullies and on north-facing slopes... which is where the trail to the peak goes.  I don't mind walking on snow, but trudging up a steep trail in snow is another, less enjoyable, story... and I know this trail:  there would have been a fair amount of that.  So I sat in the sun and had an early lunch before turning and descending by the same route I had climbed.  Not too much of a sacrifice -- it's a beautiful trail with spectacular views.  Since I had the time, I took the opportunity to explore a side spur to the K√∂nigsstand -- more beautiful views!

Legs felt a little tired by the end of the descent, but not excessively so.  No knee issues.  Back in the car before the rain started.  So, all in all, an excellent day!

Here are some photos....

This is the Zugspitze on the other side of the Garmisch.  The sky really was that blue....

And this is one of the less salubrious hikers on the trails today....

This is the sort of trail I was hiking along for much of the time....

This is on the ridge at 1800m looking towards the peak.  As you can see, despite my finger, more and more snow the higher one goes. What you can't see well is that the trail dips down to the right (the north slope)... where there is much more snow.

So after a light lunch I went back down and followed a side trail to a lookout point from which there was a beautiful view up the Loisach valley to the northeast.

The Alps are such a gorgeous place to hike....