April was already pretty warm and so I decided to profit from the great weather on Easter Sunday and go on a first tour in the mountains. It was pretty clear that after those heavy snowstorms of the last winter there would still be tons of snow. So I chose a hike that doesn’t bring me to real high elevations and get a great panoramic view anyway. In the end I was shown that I wanted to climb too high.
Even if you have to climb almost 4000 ft. to the summit, this tour is easy to do as long as you are in good shape. The ascent is long but not too steep and you will be rewarded with fantastic views of the Karwendel mountains. Due to the excellent connection with public transportation from/to Lenggries you can leave your car at home. During the tour you will come to the Tölzer Hütter a marvellous spot for a lunch break. At the end of the tour there is another mountain restaurant waiting for you.
The journey to the mountains
This summer was long and hot and so I couldn’t go hiking as often as I wanted to. When the temperature finally fell below 86 F and no thunderstorms were announced I just had to go. Early in the morning I am taking the train from Munich to Lenggries. From there I continue with the Bergsteigerbus (sorry only in German) direction Engalm. The departure time of the bus is matched with the arrival of the train so you don’t have to wait for a long time. Soon I have reached the starting point at the „Aufstieg Tölzer Hütte“. It’s 9 a.m. and here at about 3000 ft. it still is fresh. Full of energy and anticipation I start todays hike.
At the beginning I walk along a rocky forest trail. It is good to walk and climbs slowly towards the summit. At the end of August there aren’t that many flowers around but there are other interesting things to see along the path. Just like this tree trunk with holes in it. I enjoy this crisp and invigorating mountain air. Magnificent! Slowly I find my rhythm and realize that my muscles are coming into operational mode. Every now and then I get a peek of the dramatic Karwendel mountains through the trees. Todays tour leads through the German-Austrian border area. The summit itself sits right on the border.
A short time after I see the Lalider walls for the first time. That brings back memories of one of my favourite tours. Here’s the link. The trail is winding itself slowly uphill in long turns. Here in the woods it still is pleasantly fresh. The sun is shining from a deep blue sky and on the occasions where it is possible I enjoy great views. That enhances the anticipation of the summit. The view shoud be spectacular today.
And then I do find some flowers along the path. Not as exotic and spectacular as in spring and early summer but still very pretty. Even the trail is not too steep I quickly gain height.
On a clearing this beautiful Bavarian Gentian is smiling at me. Short time after I come across this spongy mushroom. Looks like one of those real sponges from the sea you can buy for your bathroom. On Wikipedia I read that you can’t eat this mushroom but it makes gret decoration material in your house. I think there are nicer things to be placed in my home.
After about 1.5 hours I am leaving the woods and come into open terrain. That makes even more spectacular panoramic views. I can see the summit of the Soiernspitze in the Bavarian part of the Karwendel nature park. Fantastic. Whenever I get such views I realise why I am taking this agony of ascending these mountains. Such panoramic views you will only get when you climb a mountain. Tell me. Isn’t that impressive?
Soon after I reach this bifurcation. There are two choices how to continue. I choose the left trail that leads through a light forest and soon I get the first glimpse of the Tölzer Hütte. That’s my first goal for today. What would a hike in the mountains be without a break in one of those great rustic cabins. Two guys that have chosen the right trail do arrive just shortly after me. I can’t tell for sure but I do believe that you will get the better views if you take a left at that bifurcation. To me it looked like the right trail is leading through some kind of a valley to the top.
I am full of admiration of this great scenery – the Karwendel mountains are for me one of the most impressive massifs in the Alps – and enjoy the sun and fresh air. Let me give you some background info on those mountains. The name derives from the old German family name of Gerwentil and was originally used for the Karwendel valley next to Scharnitz in Austria. To the west it borders on Seefeld, Tirol and the Isar valley, to the north it spreads to the Isarwinkel and Sylvensteinspeicher (an artificial lake), to the east the border is the Achensee and to the south it spreads all the way to Innsbruck. Characteristic are the rocky summits made of chalk that rise up to 9000 ft. (Birkarspitze).
All of a sudden I realise a movement next to me. I have to admit that I was startled for a short time. There are adders in this region. But today it is just the toad you can see above. I am surprised to see one here on the mountain where there is no water around.
The closer I get to the cabin the better gets the view of the Delpsjoch next to it. From the west it looks like a grassy mountain but on the eastern side you see the dramatic break-off on the summit. Together with the opposite ridge of the Schafreuter it bilds a dell with grazing cattle. And then I do reach the Tölzer Hütte.
The Tölzer Hütte
The Tölzer Hütte (sorry only in German) sits on 6000 ft. which means that I did already climb about 2700 ft. today. Most certainly I will have a break here. First of all I enjoy a non-alocoholic beer. This brings back some energy that I will need for the rest of the ascent of about 850 ft. On top I am hungry and I have to choose between bacon-, cheese- or spinach dumplings. I am going for the cheese version and they are delicious. All natural and home made with ingredients from the area. That’s what I call sustainable. Great! With my money I not only support the innkeepers but also the farmers in the area and therefore am doing my part to keep old traditions alive.
With such a gorgeous surrounding it is hard to get up and continue the hike. So I am having another non-alcoholic beer and enjoy the great weather. But at one point I have to get going. I don’t want to sleep up here. Despite it being one of my points on my bucket list. Right behind the cabin the trail rises for a short time steeply over very rocky terrain.
The final ascent
It looks more dramatic than it actually is. If you wear good shoes this part is no problem. Provided it is dry. But today I don’t have to worry about this. There still is no cloud to see on the sky. Only deep blue.
Just a few steps below the summit there is a „forest“ made of cairns. I couldn’t find out if this has a special meaning. Usually they are being built as signs showing you the way when there are no other signs. The cairns here were supposedly built as a form of art.
It is very interesting to see and these pieces of art make a nice detail on the pictures with the great panorama of the Karwendel as a backdrop. Don’t you think?
Only a few minutes later I am finally at the top of the mountain and can enjoy a breathtaking 360° panorama. It smells strongly of cow manure and so it is no suprise when a fellow hiker that arrives just after me says that he now knows why this mountain is called Schfareuter (Schaf meaning sheep).
The summit cross
In 2016 the summit cross was hewn with an axe by a lunyatic, dammaging it that bad that it had to be taken down. The same guy has apparently dammaged 2 other crosses in the same way. A few weeks later a few young men – apparently belonging to a right extremist group – deploy a new cross. This was replaced by the section Tölz of the German Alpine Association. The new cross was found a month later totaly destroyed on the summit. Why the hell are they doing such things?
From the summit I have a view over the complete Karwendel massif. To the north I can see way down in the valley the Sylvensteinspeicher and the alpine upland. I love this change between green grassy mountains and the rocky summits. I am overwhelmed. Despite the smell I spend a few minutes on top of the summit before I start the descent.
The northwestern side of the mountain is grassy and therefore easy to walk. If you think the direct path from the Tölzer Hütte is too difficult for you you can traverse below the summit and ascent via the Kälbereck which is on 5800 ft. I would assume that this path will take about twice as long as the direct ascent.
On the western side of the moutnain I see a big golden stain in the rocks. It really shimmers like pure precious metal in the sun. But I don’t think that this is real. Otherwise somebody would have taken it already. A last time my sight goes to the Lalider walls before I walk across the pasture towards the valley.
When I turn around to look back at the summit I can see this white cloud coming up behind it. This wasn’t there 10 minutes ago. The weather in the mountains can change quickly. On a perfect blue sky there can be dark clouds with a potential of a storm within minutes. I have witnessed such changes already. There are more and more clouds showing up on the sky but only the harmless white ones that cater to the cliché of the typical blue and white of Bavaria.
The path leads now through a forest of mountain pine along a rock fall. But even if you are afraid of heights you should be able to manage this. Occasionally it is a bit rocky but not dramatically.
After about 45 minutes I reach the Moosenalm that sits in a small hollow between pastures and rocks. This alp is private and so no place for a break with a fresh drink. That’s a shame. It has a pittoresque surrounding. On the other hand my tour will be ending at the Oswaldhütte. There I can get a fresh drink.
Shortly behind the Moosenalm there is a junction and the marked path leads through a somewhat swampy terrain before it runs steeply and difficult to walk into the valley. Usually I do prefer such paths over a road but this one did get so strenous that I did wish I wouldn’t have taken this turn. The whole tour was rather easy to walk but this last stretch did take more of my energy than the rest of the hike. Therefore I would recommend to stay on the forest road that is the access road for the Moosenalm. It may take a bit longer but you won’t be completely exhausted when you arrive at the Oswaldhütte.
Finally I can see the Oswaldhütte and therefore I do have my goal in front of me. Just before I do reach the cabin I can hear water burbling in a creek. That’s exactly what I need now. Cold water to sink my feet in. So I turn off my shoes and socks and treat myself to a benefaction. This has never felt better. Despite my long breaks at the Tölzer Hütte and the summit I have to wait fo 2 hours before the bus to Lenggries is picking me up. But at the Oswaldhütte the waiting time is fun. I have a fresh non-alcoholic beer in front of me and a great view of the mountains. What else do I need? This ends another perfect day in the mountains and I am looking forward to my next hike.
I hope you liked this post as well as my others and please do not hesitate to send me your comments.
During this diversified tour you will first discover a spectacular canyon, where you will encounter a lot of people at times. In the further course breathtaking views of the Kramer mountain, the Zugspitze and towards the end the Ester and Karwendel mountains await you. If you are afraid of heights you might want to take the alternate route that I will be describing later in this post. On the stretch between the Höllental and Kreuzeck you will come across a few spots where the path is secured with wired rope. During this tour you pass a few cabins where you can take a rest. Sounds interesting? Then continue reading. Enjoy!
If you want to see an impressive waterfall, you just found your next hike. The „Kuhflucht“ waterfalls are amongst the highest falls in Germany and especially in spring when it has been raining heavily they are spectacular. The tour is rather easy to walk up to the falls but afterwards the path is getting pretty steep on it’s way up the mountain. During the hike you will have great views of Kloster Ettal, the Kramer and the Wetterstein mountains. I had planned to cross the Hoher Fricken and coninue to the Esterberg but due to bad weather conditions I had to turn around at some 1000 ft below the summit. Weiterlesen
Really outstanding mountain panorama with a view of the Zugspitze awaits you during this tour. Sure, there is a road in the valley that connects Oberammergau and Ettal but this would mean that you miss the great views of the surrounding mountains. To reach the summit of the Ettaler Mandl you will have to climb a bit but the route is secured with wire rope and even beginners can do this. I really enjoyed it. At the top of the Laberbergbahn you will find a restaurant where you will not only get great food but also a breathtaking view. The tour is not too strenuous since the ascent is not that steep. What are you waiting for?
differnce in height: 3,150 ft. in the ascent, 3,000 ft. in the descent
walking time: 5h 50 min.
Our winter was rather mild but in March in it came with full force. Especially over the Easter weekend there was heavy snowfall in the mountains. So I had to wait until the end of April before I was able to go on my first hike. To open the season I chose a tour that was not really heavy duty but still gave great panoramic views.
At 7:30 a.m. I am standing at Munichs main station and want to board the train that’ll bring me to Oberammergau. Unfortunately the rail tracks were barred due to an accident and I was told to take the suburban train to Pasing where there will be a bus shuttle service bringing me to Tutzing. When I arrived in Pasing I was looking for the bus but couldn’t find it. So I go to the information desk, wondering if there is already someone that early in the morning. I am lucky in 2 senses. There is somebody and the lady tells me that the suspension is finished and I can get the train I originally planned to go on. 2 hours later I am in Oberammergau.
As a kid I have been there already once. A lot of people have heard of the famous passion play (sorry there is no englisch site) showing the last days of Jesus. The first time it was shown in 1634 and since 1680 they do play it every 10 years (the next date will be 2020). Reason for the play was a promise given when the plague was ravaging the village. The actors are the locals living in ths village. Oberammergau is also known for the murals called „Lüftlmalerei“. They do exist the all over the region but nowhere in such an concentration. With a small detour you can look at these works of art. Or you just enjoy the slide show below. Some of the pictures date from a second visit, hence the clouds.
It’s really pretty to look at but I am not sure if I would come here just because of it. So when you are in the region go visit the village.
But now it’s time for the mountain. At first you have to cross town . Along St.-Lukas street you follow the signs leading to the open air bath WellenBerg which is very nice and the valley station of the Laberberg cabin. From the train station to the cabin you walk about 1,5 miles. A good leg to warm up.
After a while the road leads to a trail that follows the river „Ammer“. You are still in the middle of town but it is definetly getting more quiet here.
Three weeks ago this was still covered with a good amount of snow. A few days with sunshine and springlike temperatures have changed the scenery and everything is green and in full bloom. That’s what I like about spring when mother nature is coming to life again.
Large trees are offering shade while I continue to walk along the creek and I now see those beautiful meadows shining in a bright yellow.
Soon I reach the WellenBerg. Through the fencing I can see the lawn and the still empty basins. Looks very nice and clean. I think it would be great to come back and spend a day swimming here.
The valley station of the cabin is only a few steps away now. Just this small waterfall and the chapel hidden in the woods are separating me from it.
Here I have to cross the parking lot and look for the sign leading me to the summit of the Laber. That’s easy to find and so I can start the ascent. A few quick shots of the snow covered summits around and off I go.
Crossing a meadow the path leads uphill. Soon I get a great view of the mountains and the beautiful scenery around me. At the moment there are only a few other hikers around. That’ll change later on. Especially on the summit I will meet other hikers and excursionists that didn’t want to walk up the mountain.
At the edge of the forest and on the meadow I can marvel at the first spring flowers. The yellow flower on the top right is a wild primrose the ancestor of the ones you can see in many gardens in the spring time. When I was a kid we used to collect large bouquets and bring them home. They have a nice and decent scent. You can pick the flowers, but taking the roots is prohibited.
A few minutes later I reach a forest road. Here I have to decide wether I want to continue via the Soilasee, a small lake, or take the route leading me across the Schartenköpfe, a ridge leading to the summit of the Laber. The sign towards the Schartenköpfe has a note saying only for experienced hikers. As long as you are not afraid of heights and sure-footed you can ignore it. This is the trail with the greater views.
When you are on that path that you see above you will come along a watering hole and then see a rock sitting in the meadow. I only recognized at the second sight that I will have to take a left here and follow the path into the woods. From time to time you see the gondolas of the cabin flying over your head but most of the time you rather just hear them.
Soon the path runs uphill along a forest aisle and with every foot I gain in height I get a more spectacular view of Oberammergau and the valley. On this path there aren’t many people. Did they get scared by the sign „for experienced hikers only“? I do enjoy the fresh spring air and continue uphill.
At the Laberberg alp I reach the next crossing. Here I can go back down to that lake or continue my way to the summit. On the hillside in front of me I can see signs that have been used for the skiers during the winter. And I am standing in front of the first of quite a few snow fields I will have to cross during the rest of my ascent.
From time to time I see holes in the snow where fellow hikers before me did sink in all the way to their knees. I am lucky and can always find foot prints that allow me to cross those fields without getting wet. There is still a lot of snow around and at some points it is rather difficult to see where the path continues.
The closer I get to the summit of the Schartenkopf the rockier the mountain above becomes. Don’t worry this is not the part where you will have to climb,yet.
A few steps berfore reaching this summit the scenery opens up in the southwestern direction and I get a great view of the Zugspitze. It’s not too far away and when we’re talking about Germany’s highest mountain it’s pretty clear that it has to dominate the region.
I finally do reach the summit of the Schartenkopf. From here on you will have to be sure footed and not afraid of heights. It’s name means head of the notches and to it’s sides you have steep cliffs falling down. But it offers a breathtaking panoramic view.
To the north you overlook the valley of the Ammer and the alpine upland. To the south Kloster Ettal is at your feet and behind the mountain range called Wetterstein with the Zugspitze at it’s western end. These are the moments when I realize why am doing such crazy hikes with the ordeal of the ascent. It is such an uplifting feeling on top of those mountains. I allow myself a few minutes to take in this great view.
The path to the moutain station of the gondolas leads along a small ridge but is easy to walk. Sometimes it is bordered by mountain pine sometimes by spruce which means that you will have loop holes to enjoy the panorama.
All of a sudden you will get a first glimpes of the 2 fingers forming the summit of the Ettaler Mandl. Even when you have reached the highest point of your tour when you reach the mountain station you will not find a cross. It is just the highest point of the ridge that I just have crossed.
Finally comes the second best moment of every tour. I am standing on the terrace of the restaurant at the end of the mountain gondola Laberbergbahn with a really breathtaking view. In the far you see the Wetterstein mountains and a sumit called Kramer in front. Somewhere in between the two is Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
I have earned a hearty lunch now. The first non-alcoholic beer fizzles down my throat and the salad made of sausage and cheese arrives in no time. It is presented very nicely and the serving would actually be enough for 2 meals. I have a long descent in front of me so I can burn off all those calories again.
As beautiful as it is here, at one point I do have to continue. There is one more summit waiting for me.
Right next to the restaurant I take a few more shots of the northern view into the alpine upland and off I go. The Ettaler Mandl sits on a lower elevation so I continue downhill. After a few steps I can finally see that small lake I have read about earlier on those signs.
On this side of the mountain the path leads too along some cliffs through the forest. Since I am now walking on the southern side of the mountain the snow is gone. I was fearing that the rocky summit of the Ettaler Mandl will be too slippery and wet to climb but it was dry.
Along the path I come across a few more spring flowers. Like this february daphne. Please do not touch it if yu see one. It is highly poisonous.
On my way to the summit of the Ettaler Mandl I do meet quite a few fellow hikers. I’m wondering what to expect there. And there it is. About 15 people are here with me. Among them a father with his young son just finishing to get buckled up with their climbing gear. I can certainly understand that the boy is wearing this for safety reasons. The rest of the people in front of me are just discussing which is the best fitting equipment. This takes a bit too long for my taste and I decide – somewhat impolite yes – to jump the queue and use an alternative entry into the rock wall.
It looks worse than it actually is. I am no experienced climber by far but since the ascent is secured with ropes I can easily climb this rock. Without any snap hooks and straps around my legs. As a matter of fact it is great fun. Maybe I should start climbing?
And soon I have reached the summit.
The view is fantastic. To the south I can see the Wetterstein mountains, to th east I can see across the valley of the Loisach to the Hoher Fricken and Wank. And to the North I see the alpine upland and the Staffelsee.
Since there are quite a few people in line coming up the summit, I can’t enjoy this view as long as I would have wanted to and so I soon begin the descent. There is only one „lane“ so I have to take a few breaks to let the people pass.
After reaching the foot of the rock I follow the signs towards Kloster Ettal.
The path leads through forest which is more dense at some points and less at others. Along the path I can marvel at more spring flowers. Then I reach a point where the path has cut a deep gap into the forest floor.
Every once in a while I can catch a glimpse of Kloster Ettal between the branches.
After around 1.5 hours of a rather leisurely descent I reach the valley floor and the monastery of Ettal. But before I visit this architectural jewel I want to check when the next bus for Oberau ist leaving.
I found the bus stop quickly. As per timetable there is a bus leaving in ten minutes and the next one in 45. So I decide to take the second one and go for a drink. That’s refreshing. I have some time left to explore the monastery and go for a stroll.
This baroque monastery in the middle of the mountains is very beautiful. I am deeply impressed and decide to come back to take a closer look. But now it’s time to catch the bus.
Back at the bus stop I have to realize that I haven’t read the timetable correctly and that I was looking at the operating hours during the week. On saturdays the next bus comes another 45 minutes later. Too bad. Due to no connection I can’t go on the internet. Meanwhile I am somewaht tired and don’t want to go on exploring. So I take a seat and wait.
When I finally reach the train station in Oberau, I have to realize that I will have to wait another hour before the next train departs. So I am looking for a supermarket or a gas station where I can buy something to drink. Bad luck, there is no such thing in this village.
So this great tour has an unexpected and not so great ending and when I finlly board the train direction Munich I am not in the best mood. But not too long, cause looking back at this eventful day in such great scenery and nature calms me down quickly.
I hope you liked this post and am looking forward to reading your comments.