Travis Shears

winter hikes

07.01.2021 -- #

Winter has come to Bavaria. Since it is too cold to climb and there is not enough snow to ski tour so we are hiking every weekend. The search for snow. We starting first week of October taking every opportunity to head to the mountains. The joy of getting out in nature is heighten by the challenges of living during the Corona virus pandemic. Have not meet face to face with some friends in over a year. I hope to share these hikes as inspiration for them to also get outside.


Tegernseer Hütte

Route

First time seeing snow of the season!

view out from the trail

view out from the trail

This Germany so there was a “Hütte” at the top of the hike. Surprisingly open given the pandemic and lateness in season. I enjoyed a warm Erbseneintopf / Erbsensuppe (split pea soup cut with hotdogs) before decesnding.

the hutte from below

the hutte from below

*Note on the route can’t remember if we made the loop or just came back down the way up.


Hochiss

Route

Returning to Achensee we checkout some terrain we toured last season. You can read about that adventure here. At this time there was not enough snow to tour yet but the area still provided for a great hike.

masked up for the gondola

masked up for the gondola

As is true for serval of these hikes we started with a lift. While a great shortcut allowing for higher hikes the pandemic draws their safety into question. In the end we decided masked up with windows open it was ok for us, no corona. Since then the government mandated rules have changes and with the latest lockdown the lifts are closed. Thee choice is easier, start from the parking lot.

standing before bowl

standing before bowl

Behind me to the right you can see the trail cross a “bowl” rock feature before reaching the saddle. Dotted with sections of knee deep snow this crossing was tricky. The rocks field on the left is steep next to the trail. I remember being uneasy as we passed a family on their way down. The children were haphazardly slipping and sliding their way along the path. They were oblivious to the danger of a fall in this kind of terrain. Something I watch out for.

When I was three quarters to the saddle I heard a whistling sound. A melon sized rock came whizzing 5 - 10m away from me. “Hmm that’s how all loose rock got into the bowl”. Getting struck by flying rock at that speed is game over. After that we hiked safe spot to safe spot and made our way quickly out from under that cliff.

Later I learned there were two climbers on a via ferrata above the cliff that may have accidentally dislodged that rock. Not something I blame them for, but this support the growing unease I have around high alpine hikes. I’d rather be in the trees or climbing hanging from a big wall. Don’t want to meet my demise hiking.

view back toward gschöllkopf

view back toward gschöllkopf

after crossing bowl

after crossing bowl

sheer cliff on sattle

sheer cliff on sattle

summit

summit

descent

descent

Hochiss was a great hike and offered some amazing views of the Achensee area. Seeing how close it is to the top of the lift I’m considering making a return trip to the summit by skis later this year. It would have to be done from the parking lot as lifts are closed pushing the total elevation gain to 1300m. That is currently more than we have done. Let’s see 💪.

Potentiel Hochiss ski tour


Drachensee

Route

Powder in October!

This was another route where we took a lift up. On the way down we skipped the lift and walked down the ski slopes all the way to the parking lot.

seebensee

seebensee

This was the first hike of the season that was a true winter wonderland. Snow capped peaks and frozen waterfalls ❄️.

just below drachensee

just below drachensee

It was also our first chance to try out the ice spikes we got last year. With only one set because I forgot one in the car so we took turns sliding and walking normally. On the descent between Drachensee and Seebensee the difference was striking. The trail was steep and snow packed, most people choose to slide down on their butt. With the spikes walking was quite comfortable. Definitely something I’ll keep in mind for future alpine hikes.

drachensee

drachensee

above drachensee

above drachensee

down valley over seebensee

down valley over seebensee

The way up was not busy at all but we did pass a few families that stopped at Seebensee. Up at Drachensee there were a group of older Russian speakers enjoying some tea. They made it fine through over snowy path which reminds me how many older folks you see high in the alps. It is the same with climbing and ski touring they inspire me that coming to the mountains is something you can do nearly your whole life. That therapy of “Rocky Mountain High” John Denver sings about is real. I’m lucky to live so close and experience it so often.

blue magic in the mts

blue magic in the mts

On our way back down we saw this blue light coming through the clouds, spilling over a gully on a neighbouring mountain. I’ve seen it a few time since but still not sure what causes it exactly. Seems to only happen in the second half of the day and only at +1000m elevation.


Teufelstättkopf area

Route

Sometimes you wake up at late and still want to see mountains. The Teufelstättkopf area is perfect for that. Not far from Munich and still some very nice alpine.

snowy road

snowy road

smile in the woods

smile in the woods

We didn’t have that much time before dark so we decided to cut the loop shorter by going though a small “path” in the woods that turned into more of a bushwhack.

"path" through the woods

“path” through the woods

it is snowing

it is snowing

Getting off the beaten path allowed us to find this cool little hunting hut deep in the woods. Going off trail which is not something I recommend always doing. I learned from my many trips to Rocky Mountain National Park as a kid that erosion harms the environment. I only go off trail when it is possible to do so without leaving a trace and not harm local flora and fauna.

up to hunters perch

well maintained ladder

well maintained ladder

climbing ladder

decending from perch

decending from perch


Vilsalpsee

Route

Our hike past Vilsalpsee and to the falls above was actually a photoshoot day for Masha’s family. It was an easy hike but provided for some really nice views.

vilsalpsee

vilsalpsee

majestic stump

majestic stump

bergacht-wasserfall

bergacht-wasserfall

snow!

snow!

The snow was pretty thin after a week of warm weather but we still managed to find some snow.

we found it

we found it

hiking back to the trail

hiking back to the trail

This hike is not far from a ski tour we did, just over the ridge.


Bonus: Gindelalm

I didn’t record a route for this hike but somehow we also hiked to Gindelalm this winter. It was closed but we enjoyed sandwiches and sat on a bench enjoying the view.

sole remaining photo from this hike

sole remaining photo from this hike


We managed quite some hikes already this winter. Now time for some ski touring!

\- [ alpinism, hiking ]