Short Reports 2008
December 6, 2008
Hiked up Heimgarten from the town of Ohlstadt. Some beautiful views, especially looking towards the Zugspitze. 1100 meters, 4 hours car to car. I drew the route here.
November 30, 2008
With my snowshoes on my back I headed up dirt roads near the town of Gries, making for the Prince Regenten Steig (path) on Friederspitze. Losing some time down by the river because of confusion over which junction to take, I did eventually reach the trail, which climbed steeply. Smallish amounts of snow were no problem, and there were some old tracks on this mostly south facing slope. Eventually the trail traversed a steep hillside for about half a mile. This bugged me because my map showed the trail going straight up the ridge. I was afraid I was following a hunters path back into a valley. A beautiful looking valley, but I wanted a summit! I retraced my steps, finally concluding the traverse was necessary. Later, in a proper guidebook I saw the traverse is correct.
Anyway, with improving views of the Zugspitze, and “deep looks” down the valley, I reached a few switchbacks and started climbing up. I thought I was reaching the ridgecrest when the forest opened up a bit, putting on my snowshoes for powdery snow. It was too soon! I took them off again, finding it more efficient to keep using an old boot track until it gave up and went home. Now in snowshoes, I followed an obvious line to the ridge, then a long walk on a grassy plateau. I descended slightly, then snowshoed up the long final haul to the summit of Friederspitze in biting wind. Whew! It took 3 hours and 15 minutes to climb 1200 meters! 40 minutes screwing around on the flats, then another 15 wasted on the traverse, I guess that is the way it goes. The views were amazing. I saw Scheinbergspitze and Kramerspitze, other Ammergau hiking peaks I’d been on previously. The summit of Frieder (as opposed to Friederspitze!) looked too far away for me to visit and get back sometime around the noon hour. I’d have to hurry as it was!
Going down was more complex than I expected. I love loop hikes, and planned to go down “the easy way,” which I was sure would be tracked…this being Europe and all. But no sign! Orienting the map, I picked a valley to descend, occasionally fighting patches of small trees that would spring up from under the snow. But I was on the right track, reaching the Friederalmhuette right where I expected it. A long rightward traverse, then I had to gamble and pick a place to descend. How about…here. Down steep treed slopes, sometimes glissading. I chose well, eventually meeting the tracks of a hiker who got discouraged with the deep snow. Not too worried now, I kept that trail somewhere in sight and just bombed down through the trees. This would be great tree skiing, I think.
A long walk out on snowy dirt roads followed. I started jogging awkwardly, hoping to hurry home. I got home at 1:30 pm, a pretty long “Dawn Patrol” considering I left at 5:45 am!
Apologies for the length of this little report, I’m writing it the same day, that is why! More geek out, a drawing of the route here.
Two hikes with the boys
First with Josef and friends, and then a week later just me and the boys alone on the Kranzhorn at the Germany/Austria border. I wrote details on my blog here. I really like the Kranzhorn, it’s an amazing view peak for minimal effort.
Via Ferrata dell’Amicizia
October 12, 2008
During our fun family camping trip to Riva del Garda, I had a few hours one evening after we put the boys to bed. Under a full moon, I hiked up above Riva to the old castle tower above the town. I kept going, and eventually got onto the Via Ferrata dell’Amicizia. In the blue light of the moon, I climbed long, vertical ladders up sheer walls of stone, with the great Garda lake and towns pulling at me from below. Pretty outrageous position! At the summit of Cima SAT, I went down then left to re-join trail 404, eager to stop at the small chapel on the face ‘round midnight. No ghosts present. A rewarding and unusual experience. 1200 meters up/down, 3.5 hours car to car.
Hike on Demeljoch
October 5, 2008
I hiked up from the Sylvensee just as dawn was breaking. About 400 meters up I was surpised to be in snow. After 800 meters, it was clear my tennis shoes wouldn’t hold up to the continued half-meter of snow, so I stopped for a look around on the scenic ridge. It looked like winter in all directions! Everything over 1100 meters elevation or so was white. But at least there was blue sky and warm sun. I hiked down, taking a huge spill once when a hidden root on the trail surprised me. Got up covered in snow. Winter is here!
Attempt on a peak
Dan P. and I tried to climb a nice route on a Wilder Kaiser peak. We got hopelessly lost. First mis-identifying the start of the route, leading us to climb 4 pitches of chossy no-mans land. Hilariously, we emerged on a trail at the top of this. “Oh, okay…it must be over here.”
Then we found the start of the route, and I, idiotically, led us into sparse/blank terrain, finally belaying at ropes end from two Camelots. Dan traversed a pitch over to the proper route. Now we had two bolted pitches on middle-quality rock…definitely not the Wilder Kaiser I’d been raving to Dan about. But finally we were below the hard pitches and the fun could begin. Oh. But it looks like it might rain. Plus it’s late now. Fine.
I guess you need days like this to enjoy the good ones?
Lots of little hikes
First a 45 minute jog in Chur, Switzerland, going up from our pension on trail that reminded me of Tiger Mountain. Some views of snowy peaks eventually attained. Then, 3 hikes in Zermatt. First a “blitz” up to the best view point of the Matterhorn I know. Down another way to a hut with cake. Then on the same valley wall further south, in some clouds. Circled around to the same hut. Finally, a late afternoon hike up to the Schwarzsee from town. Tried to reach the Hornlihuette, but too much wet, sliding snow turned me back a few hundred meters from it. Still a great hike in good weather with sunset on the way down.
Finally, did the Munich half-marathon “off the couch” (at least, no running training). It kind of hurt! Came in at 1 hour 59 minutes!
May 1, 2008
My neighbor Riki and I ran from near the Deutsches Museum to Grünwald and back. It was really fun, but man my legs are sore! It was a little more than 12.5 miles according to Google Earth. It rained hard for a few minutes, but then we got dry and the sun came out for a bit too.
Late April, 2008
Daniel A. and I climbed a few pitches in the morning. I again tackled the 3 pitch line of VI, VI and VI grade pitches. This time I led them all without resting/hanging/etc. Really enjoyable slab climbing here, and the middle pitch overhang is exciting. I top-roped a VII slab, which was impossible! Moved to a VI+ line which I mostly got, but leading would be different! The season has definitely started, because when we left at 11 am it was a knotted cluster of people, which is hilarious because there is a neighboring crag with some good routes. Next time we’ll visit that crag (Nasse Riss, etc.).
I had the morning free so I went for a ski up the Pleisenspitze. Snow was absent at the trailhead, but after about a mile of walking I could start skinning up. Lots of icy dirt road skiing, then I reached the hut where the view became incredible. It was still early, and it hadn’t snowed in a long time, so the conditions up on the summit ridge were terribly icy. I wished for ski crampons. Finally, I had to take off my skis and kick steps up moderate but super icy slopes. Really irritating! But the weather was amazing, all the Karwendel peaks were out. I had a companion, “Flat Lexi,” and I showed her the view on the summit. Here are some pictures:
I was worried about the steepness on the way down, but it was great skiing. It was “firn” snow, much like a ski piste, and I felt really great. I loved the deeper snow near the hut, picking my own line through little trees.
But then the hell! The skiing on the road was just awful. Icy, terrifying tracks. I actually fell off the road one time and had to catch myself from going over a cliff! Oh brother. Later I left the road for even worse breakable crust in the forest. Oh man, the curses were flying! But finally I was down, and going home around noon.
Trail run at Sankt Martin
March 21, 2008
After a morning of skiing with Silas and Jen, I still had some energy. We got some rooms in Sankt Martin, a suburb of Brunico, Italy. I headed out in falling snowflakes for a run southwest up a forested mountain. I followed roads into the forest, but then they headed the wrong way, so I just set off hiking steeply upslope. It was a beautiful forest, with nice heather on the ground. I picked up deer trails, but when they side-hilled too much I’d leave them and keep heading up. I reached and passed a logging road, now on steep terrain that required me to use my hands. It was getting dark, so after 45 minutes of steep climbing I realized I’d have to reverse my route. Oh well, it’s mostly straight down, but there were a few jogs along little ridges to reverse. I startled a deer at dusk. This was a very rewarding, very short (1 hour) trip! I was around here.
Jog to (near) Gruenwald and back
March 16, 2008
What, am I turning into a jogger? My neighbor Riki convinced me to run to a bridge near Gruenwald and back and so we did that and it was pretty fun. I normally give myself plenty of walk breaks, but she made me run the whole time for all but 3 1 minute walk breaks which I had to beg for. Pretty sore today! 12 miles.
Jog to Buchenheim
March 9, 2008
Sunday late afternoon I jogged to Buchenheim, this time starting from the Deutsches Museum while the kids were napping. The run along the Isar was (again) really enjoyable. I visited the famous Buchenheim klettergarten, and spent a few minutes slipping and sliding on the hilariously polished slabs of rock. 10 miles.
Jog to Gruenwald
February 17, 2008
Sunday late afternoon I jogged to Gruenwald from home while the kids were napping. The run along the Isar was really enjoyable. I add it here because it was kind of like a “mountain trip,” at least in my mind. Beautiful sunset from the cliffs above the river. It was 10 miles including doubling back to meet Kris and the boys at McDonalds in the town.
February 14, 2008
Some folks came to our offices from the U.S. this week and one (Tom) was an enthusiastic hiker and skier. He was keen to somehow see the alps from Munich, so I offered to go early in the morning up the Wank in Garmisch with him. Surprisingly he agreed to the 5 am departure time! We had a good hike up, carrying snowshoes needlessly because there is a good packed trail. It’s extremely icy though sometimes! We turned around about 300 feet below the summit, because we had to return to a conference at work. Fantastic weather though, definitely a rewarding experience.
[img:381001:aligncenter:medium:Here is the Zugspitze at sunrise…]
February 10, 2008
I was sick the week before and didn’t get to exercise at all. Plus the weather was great this weekend. So I tiptoed out of the house early to snowshoe up Schafreuter. This peak in the northern, fairly tame part of the Karwendel mountains offered a great view to the famous Laliderwand. The peak also marks the border between Germany and Austria. Halfway up I reached a snowy meadow and needed to put on snowshoes. The views got better and better. Near the summit a solitary skier drank from a Thermos. We exchanged greetings, and I continued to the true summit. Very nice to be there! On the way down the skier had already left, but he warned me that this was a “modeberg” (fashionable mountain), so I expected to see a horde of people on my way down. I did lots of running and jumping down the slopes, and started running into people back at the meadow. On the long icy road jog down there were many people coming up. Amazingly, I went fast enough that I reached the car right behind the skier. He looked a little surprised!
Time: 3:30 round trip, 1285 meters up and down.
February 3, 2008
Uli, Austin, Danno and I drove in Danno’s capacious automobile to Schoenau on the Koenigsee. We had a great time first walking up a long road to enter the Watzmannkar. Finally at a hut we could use snowshoes. Traversing a steep hillside we admired the views, then set to the hard work of breaking a trail up in fresh, beautiful powder snow. Uli was “the bear,” breaking trail for long periods. We broke out of the trees into the awesome valley, with the walls of the Kleine Watzmann and Hocheck on either side of us. Beautiful streams of spindrift snow came down from the walls at times.
We were hoping to climb one of the Watzmannkinder, one which skiers were also ascending. But we didn’t have avalanche rescue gear, so it was better to be cautious and call it a day at a point where the slope angle reached 30 degrees. Instead we went into a side valley to eat our lunch in the sun. There was plenty of wind though, which made it cold!
We ran down many slopes on the way back. At one point Austin crashed into me and sent me flying. I worked out my pent-up fury by trying to do the same to Uli, but he tripped on his snowshoes and crashed without my help. Haha! His clothing was very “sticky” somehow where snow was concerned. He got up covered in powder which lasted for a long time!
We all really enjoyed it up there, and promised to come back. Uli did a technical route on the Kleiner Watzmann, and pointed it out to us. Some of us want to go do it too!
Having really wanted to see the Koenigsee from a great height, I harranged us to go up to a viewpoint above the hut for it. Danno threatened to push me (and Uli, for good measure) off if the view wasn’t incredible. Apparently it passed muster. We spread out my map and identified peaks for 15 minutes. We looked at the people wandering around at St. Bartholomae far below. They staggered around like zombies.
The road walk back was pretty long and tiring. We went for pizza which was marred only because Danno finally contracted the stomach virus that his son had two nights before. Oh man…
But we had a great day. Thanks to Austin for taking the pictures! Thanks to Uli for the Man Tea!
[img:379454:alignleft:medium:Low in the Watzmannkar.] [img:379453:alignleft:medium:Having lunch in the sun.] [img:379455:alignleft:medium:Uli had an “accident” (running from me).] [img:379456:alignleft:medium:End of the day above the Koenigsee.] Austin also put pictures up in his nice Mac gallery here.