On my cycle tour last year, whilst sitting by the Danube eating breakfast in Serbia I met a German cycle tourist called Micheal, He was also traveling on the EuroVelo8 (a cycle path that follows the Danube) We cycled together crossing Serbia, Bulgaria & into Turkey.. From Istanbul I traveled south to a work away, Micheal continued east. He met a Girl and traveled many more countries, an amazing trip. http://www.michaelgranz.de/
I took a flight over to Germany to meet up with my friend, first staying for a few days at his parents house in Ladenburg, thanks Micheal’s parents! Taking a few small hikes and accidentally timing it right for the town festival! From there we traveled south to his sister and brothers in laws house in the beautiful Black Forrest staying for one night, getting our gear sorted, Me, Michael and his girlfriend Ting were ready for the drive down to the Austrian boarder for the two day hike up Germany’s highest mountain..
“The Zugspitze, at 2,962 m above sea level, is the highest peak of the Wetterstein Mountains as well as the highest mountain in Germany. It lies south of the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and the Austria–Germany border runs over its western summit.”
Camping over night (in the rain) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we set off! Carrying all the gear and food for two days and one night, around 24km’s. First day’s hike up to around 2000m following the river in the valley was fairly easy going on a descent path with only the weight of the 16kg back pack to deal with, making camp under the most incredible night sky. I set off solo an hour before sunrise climbing out of the valley by head torch, getting ahead because the visibly was set to decrease at 11am, with the path ever increasing in gradient and becoming less of a path I reaching the top of the valley just in time to watch the beautiful sunrise over the valley. Taking about 4 hours I reached the base of the final climb to the summit which is also the cable car station, most taking to cable car up to the 2,962m peak as this is where it becomes a climb rather then just a challenging walk. Now it’s around -3c with snow and ice with the wind picking up. By this point I had now completely ran out of food. The start of the ascent path was 1ft deep snow, now climbing using the steel cables drilled into the rock to hold or clip into. Running out of energy I reached the ridge, Germany on one side, Austria on the other. My “warm up” in Wales on Grib Goch although incredible itself hadn’t prepared me for this level of exposure, with huge drops on both sides and wind gusts that required almost laying flat. Fear of heights, panic instantly set in.. Crippled for a few moments, I thought about my options. I laughed out loud and continued. Reaching the summit, joining the people who have took pubic transport. (Just like Snowdon) Time for a coffee! The views from 2,962m looking over the alps are incredible. At this point the weather had made the decent on foot far too dangerous, requiring me take the cable car, bugger! I don’t very much like cable cars… From the cable car station it’s a cog train back to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Beer!
Returning to the black Forrest spending the rest of my trip at Micheal’s sister and brothers in laws Beautiful huge German farm house, very kind people. Thank you.
Exploring the area with Eka the German Shepard was lovely, also a surprise tour of the monkey 47 Gin Distillery!