This tour isn’t too exhausting, but you will need to be able to walk in uneven terrain and be free from giddiness. You will be rewarded with beautiful views and with a bit of luck you will encounter an ibex. And don’t forget to save some energy for the descent. It is not very steep and follows good walkable paths, but it is a rather long one.
I had a few days off and for once there weren’t any severe storms announced as was so often this summer. A perfect call for the mountains. In one of my guide books I already read about a tour I wanted to walk last year. Since starting and finishing point weren’t the same for this tour, I left th car at home and took the train to Lenggries. My part of saving the planet. 😉
Lenggries, starting point for a lot of outdoor activities
Since this was a last minute decision, I decided to buy my provision here before riding up the mountain in the cabin. So why not walk from the train station to the cabin and look for a supermarket on the way. In the town center I only found a few bakeries and butcher shops. At least I did get a fresh baked Pretzel.
While strolling through the center of Lenggries, I wasn’t really tempted to come back. There is not much of a real center and I haven’t seen many nice or typical buildings.
So I walk to the station of the cabin instead of taking a bus. That means 30 minutes more for my tour, but it’s a good warm up. And a bit outside the center I do find a super market where I can buy some water and fresh fruit.
And so I finally reach the bottom station of the Brauneck cabin. Since I still have quite a long hike in front of me, I opt for a drive in the gondola. I love that feeling of riding up the mountain and see the houses getting smaller while the mountain view is getting better with every minute.
From Brauneck’s summit to the Latschenkopf
Once I have reached the top of Brauneck I take a few moments to enjoy the great views and orientate myself. Today I don’t need to climb all the way to the summit. Been there before. Just beneath I see the first sign giving directions to my first goal: the Benediktenwand. So I deeply fill my lungs with fresh mountain air and off I go.
The path is almost even and leads through blooming mountain meadows. This enables me to gain distance rather quickly.
The sky is overcast and it is not too hot. Perfect hiking weather. Unfortunately not he best light for pictures. But if you play a bit with the light there is still a chance of obtaining even exceptional results. You’ll see the proof later. The path is getting narrower and the mountain is falling steeply to the left and the right. So this is becoming sort of a tightrope walk.
Tighhtrope walk to the Latschenkopf
The ridge is sometimes smaller, sometimes broader, but the path itself is always broad enough to offer room for at least two hikers. Too bad that the sun’s getting out less and less. On the other hand this makes for nice temperatures and at the moment my hike feels more like a stroll. I enjoy the aromatic air and the views. even when they are not at their best due to the clouds.
From this side the Latschenkopf looks more like a green hill, but I will find out later why it carries its name: Mountain pine head. The summit on the top right picture is called Kirchstein (Church stone). Right a its feet is this memorial that is dedicated to the members ,that got killed in WWII, of a local costume group that is named after this summit. For a short while the path is getting steeper and soon I reach the summit of the Latschenkopf.
This the first of three summits I’ll be climbing today. And the one to be reached the easiest. And if it wouldn’t be for the clouds I would have the first view of the Benediktenwand, which is supposed to be one of the highlight of this tour. From now on the path leads through a forest of mountain pine. These small pines don’t grow much higher as 6 feet and are typical for this region of the Alps.
Crossing the Achselköpfe to get to the Benediktenwand
At one point two large boulders form sort of a tunnel. Just before reaching the first of the three Achselköpfe the path is bifurcating. I have the choice between a smooth and easy path that will lead you along the foot of the Benediktenwand, or you go for the one that is more adventurous and asks for being able to walk very uneven terrain and even some climbing. You will even find a warning sign from the German Alpine Association. Guess which way I chose? And soon after I am standing at the bottom of a small stone wall with a ladder drilled into the stone. Along my way I do see a lot of beautiful flowers.
There are moments where it looks as if the Benediktenwand will be able to shake off the clouds, just to sink into them even deeper only seconds later. After crossing the Achselköpfe, I come across another crossing. One path leads straight to the Tutzinger Hütte, the alpin cabin where I plan to havea late lunch, the other one will bring me across the summit of the Benediktenwand, that is deeper in the clouds than ever. For a very short time I am tempted to take the sort cut. But hey, I took this tour because of this summit, so I will cross it. Soon after I will get the reward for this decision.
A very extraordinary encounter
There are hardly any hikers around and so I feel as if I am the only one here on the mountain. With all this fog and those boulders it feels almost a bit spooky. But fascinating at the same time. And here I find the special shots while playing with the light and the clouds. And all of sudden there is this unusual noise. As if someone would be plucking gras. I am searching for the source and find this:
On a ledge about 30 feet away is this capital Ibex and enjoys the fresh gras and herbs. I certainly do hop that doesn’t see me as an intruder and thinks he has to defend his ground. But obviously he’s only interested in his food.. But I can’t shake off this feeling that this guy does realize that I am watching and starts posing in front of my camera. Can Ibex be vain? 🙂
Completly in awe I am standing there and watch him for another while. I am always happy to see when mother nature and especially the beautiful creatures that live here can defend themselves against us humans. Just so beautiful……………………………….
Crossing the summit in the fog
Well, so I finally reach the summit and do stand in front of the cross marking the highest point of the Benediktenwand. Unfortunately with almost no view at all. At the same time as me this young lady arrives from the other side of the mountain. She tells me that it is rather unusual to have a unobstructed view from here. Too bad.
The summit of the Beneditkenwand
I have climbed the summit from the west and it does take a while to get here on the long ridge. You will descend over the eastern side which means that you will have crossed the whole long ridge once. First the descent starts easy and is not too steep, but soon it does get rather steep and is a bit exhausting. With every foot you descent the fog is lifting a bit more and you do get views of the valley.
I walk through a dense forest of mountain pine for a while and the loose altitude rather quickly on my way down. After turning around a loop I do get a view of the flatland again and there in the distance I can see the Starnberger See. I love standing on top of a mountain and looking down. So far away and way above everything. Very realxing……….
The Tutzinger Hütte, alpine cabin in front of an amazing panorama
And all of a sudden you reach the bottom of this impressing wall of stone. Just a few minutes ago I did walk on top of it and now this. WOW!!!!!!!
What kind of surprises me is the fact that suddenly I cross more and more people that are ascending the mountain. It i almost 3 p.m. and I would say it is rather late to start the ascent. But that’s none of my onions. And I just had a glimpse of something to what I was looking forward already for quite a while.
Yyyyyyyyyyyyyes! Finally a cabin! The first non-alcoholic beer goes down with a big fizz. When I go hiking I always make sure that I have enough water with me, but arriving at a cabin, sitting down and drinking a non-alcoholic beer, that’s pure indulgence. Since I am quite hungry by now I order a salad made of sausage and cheese. I haven’t see a plate where the food has been arranged with that much love for detail. A delight for my eyes too. And then this astonishing backdrop…..
I am in heaven.
The long descent
Unfortunately it’s about time to start the descent. Before coming to the cabin, I saw a sign telling me that it will take me another 2 hours to Benediktbeuren and the train station. So I contiunue freshly invigorated.
Not far behind the cabin there is a short but steep piece where the path is winding down in serpentine. At the bottom you reach a parking lot and a gravel road that falls smoothly and which you will have to follow for a good while.
The road is easy to walk and descents rather slowly. So this part is more like a sunday afternoon stroll. On the other hand it lacks a bit of diversification and I start feeling the efforts of the past hours.
And the I reach this sign: Elend is the German word for calamity.
No. I didn’t want to end up in calamity today. But this is also supposed to be the starting/end point of a nature trail that tells you everything about life in and along a creek. Sounds interesting.
The trail starts with a short and steep descent into the valley of this creek. Soon I can hear the swoosh of the creek and I find myself in an idylic, wooded valley. And a few moments later I find this harmonic still life.
The hike is now really getting long and I wish I would reach my goal soon. How long will I have to walk? When was it, I came across the sign that I still have to walk an hour to Benediktbeuren? Unfortunately this nature trail doesn’t offer much diversification at the moment, since it is under renovation. Then finally I start crossing people. Some with dogs, others on bikes…. Guess I am coming closer to civilization.
Benediktbeuren, a cute village
Yipieee! I made it. I did reach at last the village where I will catch my train home.
Yes, I have reached the village, but not the station. It’ll take me another 30 minutes. I have to admit that I was hardly ever more happy to reach my final destination. Benediktbeuren has to wait for another time to be explored by me. And now that I turn around and look back to the Benediktenwand all the clouds are gone an I could have a great view from the top. Would have been great, if would have been like this a few hours earlier.
But once the train has been going for a few minutes I am proud of my achievement and start to cherish the memories of a fantastic day.