From Schliersee to the Brecherspitze
During this tour you will have breathtaking panoramic views. From the summit you will look onto three lakes: Schliersee, Spitzingsee and Tegernsee. The ascent to the Ankelalm is pretty easy. The only stretch that is a bit more difficult is a narrow ridge you have to cross during the descent via the northern flank to the Freudenreichalm. For this you have to be sure footed and not afraid of heights. A short piece is secured with wire rope. If you are not confident with this you can descend via the path you toook to come up to the summit. This tour is a real treat.
length: 7.8 miles
walking time: 6 hours
elevation in the ascent: 2.800 ft.
elevation in the descent: 2.800 ft.
For today I have chosen a tour that gives me easy access with the train from Munich. It is once again a day with picture perfect conditions. A blue sky convoys my train ride which is very comfortable. Seems that not that many people are going to Schliersee and so the train is not as packed in compairison with the ones going to Tegernsee or Lenggries.
In Neuhaus there would be the open air museum of Markus Wasmeier, a famous skier from Germany. But today I don’t have the time to combine the museum visit and my hike. Next time maybe. So I am putting sunscreen on my head and arms and off I go. The tour starts with a walk through Neuhaus. Cute old farm houses are hiding in huge gardens. Very idyllic.
A few minutes later I reach the end of the village. From here the tour follows the route of the „Neuhauser Bockerlbahn“. In January 1919 a heavy foehn storm ( something like the Sta. Anna winds in California) cut an aisle about 3 miles long and 2 miles wide in the forest south of the Spitzingsee. Two more storms followed in March and July and brought down the rest of the trees that were still standing. In the end 300,000 trees were lying in an area difficult to access. But they had to go as fast as possible to prevent vermin (bark beetle) from spreading. So already by mid February 1919 a plan to build a train track of 7.5 miles had been established. Via this „Bockerlbahn“ they brought the wood to Fischhausen-Neuhaus. Three years later all the wood was gone and the train track was dismanteld. These days you can walk along the trace. Along this way you will find signs with explanations and the history of this train.
I follow this trail only for a short distance since I soon reach the turn to the Ankelalm. Along a forest road the tour continues climbing slowly uphill. Allthough the road leads through dense forest it is wide enough to let the sun reach its floor. But in te forest the temparatures stay on the cool side. From time to time I do reach openings giving views of the surrounding mountains. Up to now this is a very pleasant walk.
After about 1.5 hours the forest is clearing onto an alp. The pastures are of a lush green and there are only a few scatterd trees. To my right rises now a rock wall. From this point on the tour continues in the bright sun. To my luck it is not as hot today. There are a few fair-weather clouds. Just as it has to be in Bavaria: a blue-white sky. After a short ascent I reach the Ankelalm.
The cabin looks rather new. My research on the net told me that it has been newly built in 2018. It is very nice and looks exactly as the old one. There are only a few places to sit down but I am lucky and find a table in the shade. On the menu they only have small snacks as speck, cheese and homemade bread. At the moment I am not hungry and only care for a cold drink. I sit on the cabin side facing the summit of the Brecherspitze and the hollow below.
There are happy chicken roaming the property. Some of them have a funny feather headdress. Which coiffeur they might be visiting? Wash, lay and dry. When my research gave me the correct answer this bred is called „Druffler Haubenhuhn“ and is known for laying lots of eggs. These chicken know that there are bread crumbs falling from the tables from time to time and are very trusting. Sorry but you won’t get anything from me today.
After a short break I continue. A short climb brings me to the hollow in front of me and leaves me awestruck. I wouldn’t have expected something like that here. Amazing. To my left I can see the summit of the Brecherspitze. To both sides long ridges are bordering the valley. I think this can be classified as idyllic.
A few minutes behind the cabin the path takes a left and runs a bit steeper uphill. There are a lot of beautiful flowers blooming. And all of a suden those two cows are standing next to me and staring at me. Since a cow almost ran after me on my last tour I am showing even mor respect in front of those animals. But these two stay calm. When I turn around to look back into the valley I can see the Schliersee for the first time with it’s water shimmering blue in the sunlight.
I follow the path uphill. It is a bit steeper here, but still not really strenous. I have a view of the summit now all the time. But also of the hollow with the Ankelalm and the lake. After about 30 minutes I reach the ridge that gives way to a view to the east and south. In the far I can now see the summit of the Wendelstein. I have to admit that I took a cog railway to get to the top of that mountain.
I have to admire this view for a while. Isn’t that magnificent? The region called Bavarian Upland is lying in front of me. Way down in the valley I can see the road leading to the Spitzingsee. I could marvel at this sight forever but I guess from the summit it is even better. So I follow the path leading in a forest of mountain pine.
Between those small trees I keep finding beautiful flowers. The view of the Schliersee gets better with every step I climb. At the far end of the northern ridge I see this little chapel. It still is far away but if I am reading my map correctly I will see it up close later.
A short stretch just below the summit is a bit rocky but no problem. And then it’s done. Just as I thought on that ridge a few minutes earlier the view is litterally breathtaking. To the Northeast lies the Schliersee, to the South the Spitzingsee and facing West I can see a bit of the Tegernsee. There are quite a few people up here. Well that’s what happens on summits that are so easy to get to by train.
I am looking for a place to sit down, enjoy the view and let my thoughts wander for a while. This is a dream. This place will be added to my favourite spots in the Alps.
After a somewhat longer break I get going. The descent is mileagewise a bit longer than the ascent, so I will be on the hike for a few more hours.
The first few feet can be done easily. As on the West side from where I came I am walking through a forest of mountain pine. The upper tip of the mountain is shaped like a cone. But soon I do reach the ridge and realize that this path could be a challenge for some people. The path is good to walk but I am sure that people that are afraid of heights will have difficulties. To both sides the mountainside falls steeply towards the valley.
A short bit ist secured with wire rope. For me points like this are the salt of a tour. I am always astonished about the fact how considerate people are in the mountains. When I reach the roped stretch the hikers that are coming my way stop and let me pass. Why can’t the people be like that down in the valley? Would be great.
On this even path I am moving forward pretty fast. Almost too fast since I want to enjoy this panoramic view for another while. At that votive sign a young man has been hit by lightning and died. Everybody knows that the weather in the mountains can change rapidly. That’s one of the reasons why I only go on hikes when the weather is stable. And I am trying to start early in the morning. The danger of thunderstorms rises quickly in the late afternoon.
Shortly after this sign follows a short ascent. Once I have made it, I do have this great view of the Wendelstein for the last time today. And a first glimpse of the Freudenreich chapel. Surprising that it is still standing there. It sits in the middle of the ridge and suffers in heavy weather. The winds must be really strong here. It seems that the chapel can withstand this.
When I am finally standing in front of it I see that it is fixed with strong wire ropes. So my guess was right that it would be blown away otherwise. At this chapel you have two choices. You either continue on the ridge and walk back to the Ankelalm on this side of the mountain or you descent via a meadow down to the Freudenreichalm. I am going for the second option. The first bit is very steep but on the soft ground of the meadow this can be absorbed easily.
A few minutes later I am back on more even ground. Slowly I am getting hungry and look forward to the Freudenreich cabin. I am wondering where this name (meaning either rich realm or just rich in pleasure) comes from. I don’t think that back in the old days it was such a great pleasure to watch the cattle up here.
And so I finally reach the cabin. It is simple but looks very inviting. Below the canopy is a well on which sits a statue of Saint Mary. Built into the hill is a cellar that looks like another house. A nice young girl is asking me what she can do for me. A cold drink would be perfect now. And for lunch I am having a Jausen (speck, cheese, sausage, pickles and fresh bread). The bread seems to be home made. Delicious.
At the table next to me there are a few locals sitting and having animated discussions. I hardly understand a word allthough they are German too. The cabin doesn’t provide great panoramic views but it’s situation is again very idyllic. The toilet is next to the stable and you have to flush with water from buckets. I am surprised that it’s clean despite this fact.
But I have to quit this beautiful place at some point. I still have to walk a bit before I reach the train station in Neuhaus. From this cabin the tour follows again a gravel road. The rest of the hike will be a pleasant stroll.
At first I am crossing a pasture but soon I do reach the forest. The trees are still rather young. Apparently they reforested this part a few years ago. At least with broadleef trees instead of the fir they used to plant eveywhere killing the diversity. This will become a nice forest in the future. Along the way I do see rare flowers again and the first ripe berries shining in bright red.
At a crossing I stumble over these yellow flowers. As if they would want to show me the way. Shortly afterwards follow those deadly nightshade. I kind a like those flowers. But I make sure not to touch this highly toxic plant. The poison of the berries gives you first a „furry feeling“ in the mouth and leads to hallucinations, palpitation and in the end to respiratory paralysis. So hands off!
Again a few minutes later I am standing in front of this old but artisticaly made column. It does look really old and could need a thorough restauration. That’s none of those usual wooden crosses you often find. Unfortunately there is no sign explaining what it really is.
And a bit further down the road sits this chapel. It really is amazing how many religious artefacts one finds in the forest of the Alps. Apparently it was dangerous in the woods at certain times back in the old days. Today they do make at least nice foto motives.
So I finally reach Neuhaus. Again I admire those old farm houses that are hiding in the woods. To be honest, as much as I love mother nature, to live here would be a bit too lonely for me. Maybe I wouldn’t enjoy my hikes that much anymore if I would be awoken every morning by singing birds.
I hope you want to go and see the Brecherspitze for yourself now. I can only recommend it. Let me know how you liked it.