It has been an extremely active first quarter for me and this is one of the reasons I didn’t write here for quite some time. I don’t remember a year when I have been on so many hikes and thanks to the Wayfareres I had to plan only two of the hikes myself
31.12/1.1. Lengrieser Huette / Fockenstein
On the 31st it was an easy, short hike up to Lenggrieserhütte where I had a cozy New Year’s party with the Wayfarers (bonus points for Steve’s guitar playing!). Next day we added a hike to Fockenstein. Snow was deep, wet and heavy, so walking even in snowshoes was pretty hard, but we made it and after some smallish navigation problems even made it back to Lengries.
I’m absolutely not religious but I love all the long weekends we get thanks to the many holidays. So a few days later Epiphany created a three day weekend and the Wayfarers went on a hike around Wendelstein.
The plan was simple: from Brannenburg up to Mitteralm where we stayed the first night and then on to Siglhütte and back down to catch the BOB.
The first day went exactly like planned, it was an easy hike up an easy trail. We had a great evening at Mitteralm and an even better morning. This was by far the best breakfast buffet I have ever seen at a hut in the Alps. Great place to stay, highly recommended.
Next day we missed the shorted trail towards Siglhütte and had to descend a good bit back down towards Brannenburg before we turned south and continued around Wendelstein. As an added difficulty, one member of the group didn’t know the difference between snowshoes and snow boots. Obviously, we had to wait frequently for her to catch up, but she did, which was a feat. The sun set when we were a few hundred meters above Siglhütte, but the hut was covered in so much snow that we at first missed it, went ti Siglalm, then descended another 100-200m to another alm until we finally found the hut.
It was tiny but cozy and after another evening of great cooking (grilled cheese sandwich!) we went back down to the train station the next morning and returned to Munich.
This one day hike to Rotwandhaus looked like a crappy hike. It was a dark and cloudy day and at first I wanted to skip the hike. In retrospect I’m glad I didn’t. When we made it nearly all the way to Rotwandhaus the clouds around us thinned and a few minutes later we were above them and got great sunshine and even better views. After a great Kaiserschmarrn we rented some sleds to ride back down.
A week later another great hike with the Wayfarers. I think this was the coldest weekend this winter and there was tons of snow. We took the BOB to Obergries and followed an easy trail uphill. We stopped for lunch at a hut (sorry, forgot the name) and still had plenty of time to make it to Probstalmhütte, where we stayed for the night. The hut had no electricity, so we had to use candles and were cooking on a wood stove. But at least it warmed the main room enough to make it comfortable.
The next morning it was a clear, perfect morning but even colder than the day before. It wasn’t far up to Benediktenwand and we climbed up quickly. Problem was, that the top part was covered in solid ice and it didn’t feel safe to continue on snowshoes (I think it would have been easy with crampons and an ice axe…) so we turned around roughly 50-100m from the peak. Anyway, still a great day, lots of sunshine and perfect powder.
The next few weekends I was busy (traveled to the UK and on-call) but on March 11th weather was great, so I decided to climb Rossstein again, one of my favorite peaks, close but still pretty steep and great views.
I had hoped that I could do it without snowshoes. But when I arrived I realized that there was still a ton of snow around, so I got the snowshoes out of the trunk of my car and started walking. Weather was great, but nobody was around. The whole day I saw one guy going up and a couple on my way back down in roughly 4-5h. In the sun on top it was warm enough to sit in the t-shirt and enjoy the view, which I did for quite some time and nearly fell asleep – which got me my first sunburn of the year
17./18.3. Gampenkogel / Brechhorn
I think this was the first Wayfarer hike where we didn’t take the train. We drove to Userberg and made our way up to Sonnleitnerhütte, where we dumped our gear, had a long break and climbed Gaisberg just before the sun set.
After another entertaining evening, with plenty of food and booze (it was St. Patrick’s Day, but I couldn’t find any Guiness cans to take along ) we got going pretty early. The whole group climbed Gampenkogel, then we stopped at Brechhornhaus for some food where most people stayed while the crazy few continued to Brechhorn. Getting there and back was easy but it was getting late. So when we met up with the slackers, some of them had decided to take the gondola back down into the valley while the rest rushed down on snowshoes. The rushing didn’t help much, because we had a hard time finding the route, which meant that in the end we followed the poles of the gondola, later had to scramble down a few steep bits and finally ended up on the wrong side of a small creek. But we made it back to the car just a few minutes before sunset anyway…
A week later I decided on short notice to do another hike and picked Hochstaufen from my guide of winter hikes. 1200m of ascend and a lot of snow made it a hard but extremely fun hike. Given the amount of snow it was difficult to find the trail once we left the woods but we made it up anyway. And just in time for the summit photo the sun came out to reward us.