Die Zugspitze – Part I

With the first semester exams finally done, it was time to enjoy my first summer in Germany. What with intensive German language lessons 5 days a week, I was longing for a break and at the perfect moment a friend created a hiking trip/event on Facebook. Almost 8 months had passed since my last trek in India and I was pumped for this 30+km round trip. Hearing the dreaded 30 km mark, everyone dropped out and it was just me and my friend who decided to take the Bayern Ticket on a Saturday, all the way to the Bavarian Alps which ran across the southern border of Germany.

Waking up at half past four (it’s still cold although it’s summer!) to take the first train out of Ingolstadt to München was a pain, another train and 2 hours later we reached Garmisch – Partenkirchen, the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics. It was an overcast day with a light drizzle but that could not take away the immediate apparent beauty of the town surrounded by lush greenery and the Alps.! Taking refuge under the stands of the old ski stadium, we had our breakfast of fruits and sandwiches and made our way across town towards the starting point of the trek.

 

 

 

The starting point was the entrance to Partnachklamm – a gorge through which flows the river Partnach making for a magnificent view. We couldn’t even hear ourselves speak due to the thundering stream of water, and making our way through the dark pathways was an amazing start to the day. Exiting the gorge and following the directions towards the first hut – Bockhütte, we started walking to the accompanying sounds of the Partnach river on one side and the whistling of the trees on the other.

 

 

 

 

After around an hour and a half, we reached the Bockhütte and continued onward to the next pit stop, i.e Reintalangerhütte. There is a possibility to sleep over at this hut, if you decide to make it a two-day journey. We reached this place around 11 AM and took a short break next to the river and refreshed ourselves to the journey ahead. Not knowing exactly how far the summit was and also not having a place to crash for the night we had to push on if we had any chances of making it back home on the same day.

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After this hut, the valley extends for around a couple of kilometers and then comes the rocky ascent towards the next hut – Knorrhütte. This was our worst case scenario goal, if at all we couldn’t make it to the summit.! At one point of time during the climb I looked back to check on my friend who was trailing far behind, a minuscule figure still on the valley floor. After waiting for her on some rocks, we decided to have lunch high up on the mountain, facing the valley below. Although the sandwiches were dry at this point of time, the view more than made up for it.! (See Featured Image)

We decided to push on until 2 pm after which we had to start out descent for any realistic chance of getting back home to Ingolstadt. One of the highlight of the trek was meeting a local shepherd with a thick Bavarian accent with his huge flock of sheep and some goats gamboling across the rocks without so much as a backward glance. Learning from him that the Knorrhütte was still a couple of kilometers higher up, we decided to head back seeing that we had almost reached out realistic goal.!

Getting There:

Garmish – Partenkirchen is accessible from München by train with a travel time of approx. 90 minutes and by road it is at a distance of 90 Kms. The nearby towns/attractions of Grainau, Eibsee etc. are connected by local buses from Garmish ZOB.

Trek Route:

As this was our first time hiking up Zugspitze we chose the easier but longer route:

Garmish Hbf – Ski Stadion – Partnachklamm – Bockhütte – Reintalangerhütte – Knorrhütte – Summit of Zugspitze ( 21-25kms )

Places to Stay:

If you’re visiting only the town of Garmish – Partenkirchen there are loads of Hotel, Ferienhauser (Holiday Homes), some hostels to chose from.

On the above mentioned route, Reintalangerhütte and Knorrhütte offer overnight lodging but they are small huts and are in constant demand, so plan accordingly.

On the way back, I pushed my friend to her limits so that we could make the train back home and to make a long story short we got to the Garmisch station at around 6 PM, got our train to Munich and slept on the entire journey :D. Doing this trek on a slightly drizzly day was such a good decision because of the fact that we hardly met people on the way. For a major part of the route it was just us, the forest and the icy crystal clear Partnach making her way down from the Alps to my favorite town of Garmisch – Partenkirchen!

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This post is dedicated to one of the nicest, kindhearted persons I’ve ever met, who never gave up throughout the whole journey and without whom my first attempt on Zugspitze would never be possible – Xue Ni Law 🙂

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Until the next destination – Prost 😀 !

 

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