Hiking II, Alps, Germany

Again we are on the road towards the mountains, the Alps. This time we intend to hike in the Wettersteingebirge. One year after our first mountain adventure we start in Hammersbach, Garmisch, this will be our second alpine hiking. All the way to Garmisch it rains occasionally and it is very cloudy. The closer we get there the worse the weather gets. Nevertheless I am relaxed and looking forward to the challenge of the next scheduled seven days. Again I I did not do a special training for the upcoming tour, but I feel fit enough for our plan. I am sure about it, because I have managed it before. I am confident that I know what to expect and that we can master the trip. Unfortunately, unfortunately, I’ve got vastly mistaken.

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Arriving in Hammersbach it is still drizzling. No problem: rain jacket on and get going. We work our way to the so called Höllentalklamm, a wellknown toll path, situated between high rock walls. Meanwhile it is no longer drizzling, but raining. Shortly before Höllentalklamm we take a short break. I have got goose-bimples. I want to keep going and stay warm. For the upcoming part of the tour waterfalls are displayed, but today there seem to be particularly large waterfalls, through which we have to walk. Rainwater flows into streams down the mountain. Now we are soaking wet.

With the highest concentration we walk the rocky steps up the mountain. I hold on. Because I am freezing, I do not want to stop and I continue running. At the Höllentallanger Cottage our path suddenly ends. The next part of the route is blocked because the cabin is remodeled. So we walk around the barrier in order to find the right direction. The signs are not really clear and we decide on the most reasonable direction, on which we all agree.

the rain gets worse

Alpen II

The weather is still bad. We run and run. Meanwhile, it is late afternoon and a huge mountain in front of us and no hut in sight. But I know that cottages often appear out of nowhere. They are hiding behind a mountaintop or a bend. But here the path goes straight up. We wonder whether to get up this steep, rocky mountain in front of us or not. We have to. There is no alternative route and a return appears risky, because we would not be able to manage it during daylight. After a short time we note that the path, on which we walk, is no trail, but a “Via Feratta”. Did we do a mistake in choosing the wrong route? But how can that be, it simply cannot be! There has to be a hut close to us! Hoping to strike a house and people soon, we continue fighting our way up. Every now and then steel cables are fixed in the mountain. We can hold on these at least sometimes.

Suddenly I get panic. Looking down I realize that what we are doing, is damn dangerous. We all think the same, but we cannot do anything but go on. Again and again I think we will get soon somewhere. But after each peak another follows. It seems further than expected to the hut. If there will be a hut at all…? Doubts are rising. We pass a small cross. Someone has died here before. Worrying…

from panic to desperation

One of us is walking a little ahead and confirms that there is no end in sight. We are now really desperate, also because no cell phone works. Otherwise there has been connection, but not now. We stop in the middle on this path and think about what to do. Trembling I take off my wet clothes and put on long dry trousers.

Fortunately after a while one of our mobile phones shows network connection. We have no option but calling the mountain rescue service to help us in navigating to the right path. Their answer is, that there no cottage at all, we are wrong and need to return. The weather is too bad to pick us up by helicopter. We need to walk all the way back in the dark. They will send four men of the mountain rescue team to meet us. We should stay calm and if it’s possible start walking back.

we have to get back – in the dark

How by all means do we get down this mountain? If I slip I’m in no time down. That I’m still alive afterwards, is rather unlikely. So I put one foot in front of the other carefully. Sometimes I go backwards, if it is too steep. Finally we have managed the worst part of descent. Left with little strength, but full of adrenaline, we keep going. At least six hours of hiking in the dark still lie ahead of us. After about two and a half hours we meet the mountain rescuers, four young men professionally equipped. They guide us back the whole way down. Each of us gets a head lamp and the guides use extra-large flashlights, so we can at least see where we are going. Greatest concentration is necessary. I try to stay calm. Don’t slip. Don’t be afraid of nocturnal animals.

finally..

Finally we come back to civilization and the last part we can go by a car. There is hot tea. To me everything seems like a movie. At one o’clock at night we reach our starting point, Hammersbach. And what now? We haven’t booked a room in advance and all the accommodations are fully booked. One guy of the mountain rescue service is so nice to accommodate us. We are eternally grateful. Quickly I take a shower and then I go sleeping.

The next morning during breakfast, we analyze the whole situation with the people of the mountain rescue service. Shall we start again? The weather is and remains too bad to continue and so we go with our common sense and decide the end of this adventure. Confused and exhausted, but also incredibly grateful and happy, we take the bus to our car.

We go back home.

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