Saturday, 3 February 2018
Friday, 2 February 2018
Thursday, 1 February 2018
Here’s the index to my postings relating to our Berlinerweg / Zillertal Rucksack Route trip in July 2007. Hopefully somebody might find these diary entries and be inspired to try this excellent route, but regardless of that, I’ve enjoyed typing up the hand written diary and re-living the trip during a rainy January in Manchester during which very little of excitement has taken place and too much time has been spent attending funerals.
Saturday 28 July 2007
Woke at usual time - 6.45am - after father and son had bucked the familiar crisp packet ritual and quietly removed themselves to breakfast, which was laid out in the positions we had occupied last night.
We don sun tan cream before heading off from this last high residence - for a month, anyway - it's a nice day with high cloud, but there's an 'end of term' feel as Manfred is gone* and the others, all strangers really, head up not down.
Anyway, we take the Hermann-Hecht-Weg to start our 1200 metre descent to Mayrhofen.
Decide against the shorter descent to Ginzling, as we may not be able to afford the bus fare from there.
It turns out to be a lovely woodland walk in the cool morning air (usual 8 am departure) through the bilberry zone, then the raspberry zone, and into the pine and fungus zone.
Views across the main valley to various parts of our route over the past week. We are in the sun, but Mayrhofen looks rather grey below as high clouds build up.
Lots of lovely flowers - many different from those seen over the past week, as we are lower.
We descend through thick woods to gradual awareness of motors and industrial noise below, after a week away from all that.
Green arrows on rocks mark the route, that has been bisected many times by a LRT that now runs up the hillside, presumably for logging.
At 9.45 we reach a road at 1000 metres. From here we follow yellow signs - the first three all say 'Mayrhofen 1½ hours' - up past a football pitch, then gently down through woodland to join the old road to Ginzling, from where we stroll into Mayrhofen after a three hour walk, and spend our remaining cash on coffee at Café Solo, before a visit to the money shop and reunification with the bus (our large car) - it's had a nice rest at the cable car station.
The last lap into Mayrhofen
Edelweiss in Ginzling
Then we book in and set up camp at the crowded but well equipped and quiet campsite. The showers are great! Then up to Ginzling for lunch at the Alte Hotel Ginzling for deep fried trout, as recommended by Allan Hartley. Even the skin is delicious. We have no gripe with Allan on this.
Later – a deluge in Mayrhofen
Here’s our route for the final morning – about 10 km with 250 metres ascent.
*back to Heidi Marie and his routine of 'bedtime 1am, up at 8am, breakfast and papers until 10am, lunch 3.30, dinner 10pm’! He is looking forward to a good 'bottom wash'. (Aren't we all!)
Wednesday, 31 January 2018
Friday 27 July 2007
Up at 6.45am. The dining room was full for breakfast from 7am. It was hazy, and already cloud was obscuring the peaks, but it was warm enough for shorts. The first section was bouldery (pictured above) and passed the small lake where Martin camped with Mark and Julianna last year. Cloud had come in but it was still bright and we were soon free of it again, but it felt very humid.
We passed Kevin and Alison, who would descend to the valley from Kessel Alm as Kevin has a cold. Soon after, we pass Manfred. He has seen gamsbok (antelope), but we have only seen a large cobweb and heard marmots whistling.
A sharp descent to Kessel Alm, a meadow with an attractive waterfall, and two curious grey calves.
Stopped here for half an hour. Ate several handfuls of bilberries today - ripe and warm from the sun. A hot climb from there across a green meadow with loads of flowers. Views across the valleys we have traversed on the rest of the walk.
Pitzen Alm is a welcome stop - Schiewasser and Apfelsaft on a balcony overlooking the valley. The young woman comments that we are 'early'! We meet 'Alfonse' here, who we ask to say hello to Manfred when they meet.
Next, an area of pasture and rock, not far above the firs, with some climbing from the alm.
The cloud built gradually but provided some shade - it was hot. Only a few drops of rain fell whilst we crossed some boulders. The final couple of miles were on a narrow path, high above the valley, which crossed a few streams and required care.
Spotted a gamsbok just below - very pretty. (Just about visible in the centre of the picture.)
Bearded Bellflower - Campanula barbata
Sawwort - Serratula tinctoria
Only at the last ridge did we get a view of our destination, Gamshütte, just below.
The path weaved down through bilberry bushes, with views to Mayrhofen where the valley widens. Arrived at the 1916 metre hut at 2pm, after just over 6 hours walking. Interesting that the guidebook quotes 10-12 hours, and the signposts 9 hours.
Ate some lunch, then sorted out - Making beds, washing, writing postcards and looking at the view. The clouds obscure the tops but the view down is clear. Primitive washing facilities - the only shower is outside, behind a wooden screen.
We provide a welcome party for Manfred when he arrives, tired but obviously satisfied. There are only a few people here - a man and his young son, and another couple. We didn't need to book and this was the only hut we did book in advance (as it was a Friday night at the start of the main holiday season). Cloud sits at about 2300 metres, but no storms or rain - this had seemed likely given the high humidity. The hut log records only 5 British people since the start of the season on 25 May.
Final evening meal together with Manfred, who has appreciated our company. Recently retired, he was brave at the age of 67 to set out alone after his more experienced friend pulled out of the trip at the last minute. We eat Schnitzel with salad and potatoes, and Manfred provides schnapps - this time 'home brew'. We top this off with apfelkuchen, then worry about whether we have enough cash for tonight!
Later - billed paid, as usual before we adjourn to bed. We have €6 left.
Thursday 26 July 2007 - Down and Up
6am, after a surprisingly good sleep in the full dorm for 30, early risers start packing their many possessions into what seems like a proliferation of crisp packets. Sue and I rise as usual at 6.45 and enjoy breakfast with Manfred and the two Dutch, who complain about the many snorers in the dorm that Sue and I failed to hear.
So by 8am, as usual, we are on our way, first down the path to Schlegeisspeicher. We chat to the bonking Swedes, who go home today. The 'Ugly Boys' are also ahead, and they continue down the valley. Alison and Kevin are ahead and go up to Friesenberg Haus by the direct route, missing out Olperer Hütte.
Manfred zooms on ahead to write and send postcards and enjoy coffee at a café.
Reach track at 8.40, and lake at 9am. Lots of cows.
Near where the track turns into a road we stop at a café to satisfy thirst and my ablutionary requirements.
Francoise and his brother join us. They are returning to Munich, a little pissed off, to collect climbing helmets and return to do something else. 9.45 to 10.10.
Nice coffee, then up through trees and then on easy ground on an excellent path to Olperer Hütte, which has been demolished and is being rebuilt. It looks impressive.
Manfred ascends towards Olperer
Sue on the approach to Olperer
Olperer under construction
This is what it looked like a year earlier
Sue continues beyond Olperer
Sunny and breezy, but we find a sheltered spot for a few nuts, etc (11.30 to 11.50) before continuing on to Friesenberg Haus to book in at 1.25pm and enjoy soup for lunch. On the way a cable car appears high above on a summit attainable on foot from Olperer. It must be dispiriting to ascend that, only to find that tourists have been whisked up from the other side of the mountain.
Biting Stonecrop - Sedum acre
Our first view of Friesenberg Haus was at 2490 metres, at 12.35. Reach path junction at 2590 metres at 1pm, and descend through daisies to 2470 metres, rising 30 metres to the hut.
Sue with first view of Friesenberg Haus
Nice relaxing afternoon.
Sue and I went up Peterskopfl, 2677 metres (20 mins up, 20 mins on top, 15 mins down) before dinner. Fabulous views. Cairns - hundreds of them - make this look like a realistic cemetery for WW2 heroes.
Alpine ridges stretch to the north
More Cairns on Peterskopfl
Returning to Friesenberg Hut
We are joined for dinner by Peter and his wife.
Manfred provides more schnapps - Zirben.
Text messages today from Gary - first phone signal for ages - confirms weather forecast - cloudy pm today, showery tomorrow. It is actually better than that, but we are concerned about Julia, as Tewkesbury appears to have been drowned by storms.
14 postcards written. This is the pre-blogging era.
The moon came up to shine into the dining room when the power failed briefly! We go to bed about 9.45pm, and have the remaining three beds in our row of five.
€480 was just enough for 7 nights' hutting. We spent an average of about €70 per night, but got undercharged a couple of times, so €40 pppn would be enough to cover breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and a couple of beers, plus accommodation, with a bit left over. That assumes AAC membership. Add €10 per person per day without that.
Bed, only occasionally available - €10, mattress - €8.
Tuesday, 30 January 2018
Wednesday 25 July 2007 - A sunny day to a summit
Thankfully there is some blue sky. We breakfast at 7 to avoid the school kids coming at 7.30. Leave at 8am to cross the raging river, then a couple more rivers over small bridges.
We descend from 2044 metres to 1960 metres with continuing nice views down the valley (top picture). Cloud comes and goes as we climb to the lateral moraine and walk along its narrow crest. As usual, a lovely path, and views all round. We pass the three girls and see others ahead, including Manfred with his distinctive large blue rucksack. We catch him up, and pass, with photos to record the occasion.
We leave the moraine and cross boulders, with wires being provided for a couple of sections.
Had a break when the gradient slackened, then soon caught up with the couple ahead. This turns out to be Kevin and Alison, from Reading, whose entries we have seen in the hut logs, one day ahead of us. They rested at Berliner, sitting out the bad weather and allowing Alison to recover from a slip that has left her with two black eyes (Ed. That was her story, anyway.)
Nice narrow ridge after this point, with snow either side. The grass was disappearing. A helicopter flew around nearby summits. Many folk were walking in the opposite direction, and as the ground steepened and became protected by wires, it became more difficult to pass.
The air was cooler - Martin had his fleece on and mine was donned on the summit, even though it wasn't excessively cool. Patches of hail remained from yesterday. Finally, we shared the summit with two men from Cologne. Views were good, although some cloud remained, obscuring yesterday's col.
The Schonbichler Horn (3134m) is the highest point on the route and has a large summit cross.
We loitered for half an hour before descending.
The rocks were wet and still a bit snowy from yesterday, so we took it carefully. Wires assisted the steepest sections, but with cold hands this wasn't easy.
Then, a straightforward walk down the moraine, as it warmed up. Overtook groups doing the summit as a day walk from tonight's hut. Field and spring gentians grew near the hut, and the streams had cascades of yellow flowers.
We arrived on the terrace of Furtschaglhaus at 1.30pm, and didn't move for the rest of the day.
Ate knodelsuppe and shared some apfelstrudel, drank tea, then booked in when the 'Chief' (Barbara) was back. Jumped the queue thanks to Manfred.
Sociable afternoon - chatted with Kevin and Alison, and then with a couple of Dutch lads who are waiting to climb Größer Mossler tomorrow, when the weather should be even better than today. The terrace was sunny, and a good place to relax. (Ed: Over 10 years later, I have a clear memory of an idyllic afternoon, chatting to many different folk as they came and went on this wonderful sunny terrace.)
Short conversation with a German database researcher who speaks good English due to 'research' with IBM and Microsoft in the USA each year. His son is reading the latest Harry Potter book, out last Saturday.
At about 6pm we move inside, to a dining room with windows on three sides. Barbara takes dinner orders by table, and the food arrives very efficiently shortly afterwards. We eat Bergsteineressenmenu - soup, salad and pasta, washed down with schnapps, courtesy of Manfred, in celebration of the summit.
Francoise and his brother, the Dutch twins, discover that helmets are required for their proposed ascent - they haven't brought them, so their trip is a bit of a disaster.
'After-sun' is needed for Manfred and the Dutch - it has been powerfully hot today.
Bed before 10pm - but the girl next to Sue in our dorm for 30 seems to think we all should have gone to bed at 9pm when she did!
Grosse Moseler at dusk from Furtschagl Haus
Here’s our approximate route – 8 km with 1200 metres ascent. Note that all the distances in this series of postings are based on my plotting a ‘line’ on the digital Viewranger maps, and the actual distances walked were probably about 20% greater.