So, dear, I have experienced something incredible again! I returned from the expedition to Zugspitze. Germany’s highest mountain is 2962 meters high, and I together with Hanwag, I decided to climb it. The conditions were quite extreme, so it gave us a bit of a hard time.
This whole event is called Hanwag Alpine Experience and everyone can apply. Because I had a lot of work to do and didn’t want to drive, I decided to travel to Munich from Prague by train, from where we took a shuttle to Garmisch, to Lake Eibsee, where we slept in a hotel, so that we’d be all fresh in the morning.
It was the last day when we saw the clear sky.
In the morning, we all hit the path. There are actually four routes and we were originally supposed to be divided into four groups, each group climbing from one side and to meet on the top and then go down by the cable car, but finally, thanks to the mad weather forecast, only two routes were opened – the Reintal Route and the Stopselzieher Route. The Reintal Route is much longer in kilometers, but it’s a bit easier, whereas Stopselzieher is not as long but more challenging, mainly due to some pretty via ferratas.
I chose the Stopselzieher route, which starts right from Lake Eibsee. The first part led through the forest, so let’s skip the boring part.. 🙂 but as soon as we got above the tree level, it started to be interesting.
It was drizzling and it was cool to see how the amount of snow was increasing. I even noticed that the rain gradually turned into wet snow and eventually into huge snowflakes. And suddenly it was completely white around us and only the biggest stones were visible.
I don’t understand how, but suddenly the sky got blue, so we made a quick photo break:)
Our pace was unreal, so we arrived to the hut by three in the afternoon. I do not know if it’s open all year round or only in the summer and this time it was only open because of us.
All the way to the hut the route was quite easy and could be done without ropes, crampons and ferrata sets. Hands for climbing were needed only exceptionally.
We slept in that hut and went on in the morning. At the hut, we put on our crampons and harnesses. They were not needed yet, but we wanted to save time on the steep slope, because it’s not fun to do it in 45 cm of snow and steep terrain. We created groups of three people + one guide who went in front.
The weather was even crazier than the previous day, but for some reason I didn’t mind it at all. I was all over it, even though my face was covered by iced snowflakes that seemed to snow almost horizontally, haha:)
Sometimes we couldn’t see anything that was further than 10 meters, but the fog made it more dramatic.
The journey from the hut to the top was from 60% made of ferratas, but I must say it was quite challenging for me, because the cables were covered with ice, and I had to hold them occasionally. Here I have to admit, that I underestimated my choice of gloves. I brought only a pair of thin ones, not too warm, and that was a big mistake. Sometimes I had to dig my hands into snow, so they were pretty much immediately wet and at -9 degrees “wet” changed to “frozen” quite quickly.
As I was moving, it was alright, but as soon as we stopped – even for a minute – I immediately stopped feeling my fingers.
Around twelve, we made it to the summit!
The last few meters of walking were the worst for me. The temperature dropped below -12°C and I completely lost the sense in my fingers. I couldn’t do anything. Grab the rope or snap the shackle. On the top it was even worse, because of the wind and I thought that I wasn’t gonna make it back down to the cable car station. I held the rope not in my hand, but in my elbow. At that moment, the thought passed through my head: “What if I lose all my fingers?!”
In the end we all got into the hut and got some Knödelsuppe. My hands melted, but I still didn’t feel the tips of my fingers after an hour (which, after all, came back to life in two days!!).
After a short break, we jumped onto the gondola and went back to Eibsee.
When I came to the hotel room, I took a bath and lied there for an hour. After that, I went to sauna as well. That feeling of being warm again was indescribable :))
Well, how would I evaluate this mission? It was a fairly easy route that everyone could handle quite easy, but the weather made it three levels harder than it actually was. I would definitely like to come back and try another route :))
Well next week, I’ll be hiking/climbing somewhere in Austria, where I’ll try to improve my skills a bit. I don’t mean higher mountains, but technically more difficult routes, so we’ll see!:)
And what about you guys? Have you ever been to Zugspitze? :)))