Friday, July 25, 2014

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria

Matt - After our 8 hour train ticket into Garmisch, we settled into Bavarian living with some beers and a schnitzel. This was my third time in Garmisch, and I had always told Tahlia how much I love it so decided to add it into the trip itinerary. I have a friend, Florian Werner, who I met in Australia years ago, and we stayed with him and his lovely family again. 
Our intention for the following morning was to climb the Zugspitze, which is Germany's highest peak weighing in at 2962m. There are many routs up it, but the Reintal route is the only route which does not involve the use of a harness and crampons. The Reintal route is also the longest walk, 21km, so we knew it was going to be a big day. Most people do the walk over two days, and stay in a hut at the halfway point and continue onto the top the following day. We only had the option of doing it in one day, as the hut was booked out, and we also wanted the challenge. The route takes about 10 hours to get to the top, and from there you can take the gondola back down. We needed to make it to the top before 4pm, as the last gondola leaves than. At 4am we woke up and took a bike ride to the start of the route, which was in the dark. We continued through the beautiful Partnach gorge, and along the trail.

We had a quick rest stop at the 3 hour point with some rye bread and cookies and continued. At this point I was feeling extremely sick, and dizzy, and had to take things slow. I was not too sure I was up for a 10 hour hike. 

The feelings of sickness subsided when I got to the halfway point, and was handed a beer and soup from the hut build way up in the mountains. The hut is so remote that helicopters have to drop the food and drink off to it. By this stage we were feeling very confident we would make it. The views were absolutely stunning, and the photos don't do it justice. 
The next 4 hours went slowly, and the path became looser and looser.  The scenery changed, and started to resemble a moon like image.
 The top 400m of the climb is a Via-Feratta, which if you are careful on you don't need a harness. By this stage though we were very fatigued, and took it extra slowly, as the drop off the small ledges is a big one! Tahlia, who is afraid of heights did an amazing job and kept on moving quickly. That's the top you can see in the picture. Zoom in and see how small the people are.
The small climb to the very summit was a complete circus, as at this point all of those tourists that took the gondola to the top wanted to do the short climb to the top. It was the most dangerous part of the trip, as everyone was pushing there way to the top, with no climbing experience and a 2962m drop below! The gold spike is the very summit!! We were so stoked to be up there.

We treated ourselves to a lovely meal, and some Weiss beer once we got home!

The following day, Florian took us to lake Eibsee, which is just under the Zugspitze and we went swimming, stand up paddle boarding and slack lining on this beautiful lake
We realised we had forgotten to get our bikes back from our Zugspitze walk, so went back up the track a small way to get them. This photo is the Partnachllamm (gorge), which is the starting point of the Reintal route. It was nice to actually see this gorge in some light this time, even if it was at 8pm. 
For our last day in Bavaria for this trip, we went to see Neuschwanstein Castle, which is the castle that inspired the Disney logo. It was beautiful, but the weather was shite! This was the best photo I could take in the conditions we had. 
Next stop, Czech Republic!

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