Zugspitze via Hollental
Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany
Zugspitze via Hollental Garmisch Partenkirchen Reviews
Aug 01, 2007
Bottom line – if you are fit (make an honest self-assessment or you will have a really bad day), have some hiking boots, a good day pack, 50 euros, and a day to spare, you owe it to yourself to hike the Zugspitze.
Budget breakdown – 50 Euros approximate. It costs about 20 euros to rent the necessary equipment (harness, rope, crampons, and helmet), a few euros for the entrance fee at the Eingangshutte, and about 25 euros for the cable car ride down when you are finished. We rented from WNalpin http://www.wnalpin.de/Home/home.html. The people in the shop were very helpful and stayed open about half an hour late on a Friday to help us out! Highly recommended.
I left with just under 3 liters of water and drank all of it. Ideally, I would have left with 4 liters of water and 6 Powerbars or some other type of food.
I consider my hiking buddy and myself to be in better shape than 80% of Americans (yeah, yeah… I know you are thinking about fat American jokes right now), and it took us over 9 hours to do this. I will point out that we saw a girl about our age and her father complete the climb well over an hour faster than we did – and they didn’t use any equipment other than crampons for the glacier! RESPECT!!!
The route starts in Hammersbach, accessible by car or train from Garmisch. There is a parking area on the edge of town. There are signs that say parking is not available in Hammersbach. After looking around, I have to say that these signs are 100% true. The parking area is reasonably priced and you can buy tickets there for up to 48 hours. In fact, there were a few people camped out there. From the parkplatz, it is a short walk to the beginning of the trail to the Klamm Eingangshutte, which is about an hour from the start of the trail. The walk from the train station to the start of the trail is even shorter.
The walk from Hammersbach to the Klamm Eingangshutte is uphill (and at times severely uphill) but otherwise not particularly difficult. The path is clearly laid out and seems to be well maintained. You could do it before first light if you really wanted to.
After paying the fee to go through the gate at the Eingangshutte (check the hours if you want to set out very early because it might not be open when you get there), the trail leads through a canyon that looks to be perpetually wet. Having a raincoat is very useful here. While you are getting wet, you also have the opportunity to see some waterfalls and a loud stream. Very cool.
This ends and turns into a path similar to the one leading before the Eingangshutte. From here it is about an hour to the Hollental Angerhutte. Again the path is not very difficult, but it is uphill and very steep at times.
The next landmark is the Hollental Angerhutte. This is positively the last place to buy any type of food or use a toilet before you get to the top. As far as time goes, you will probably be around 1/3 done at this point. The nice well laid out paths end here. After the Hollental Angerhutte it is all broken rock or worse. Also, the altitude began to have an effect here. The trail winds for about half an hour to a rock face and your first taste of the via feratta. At times the trail is not plain to see, but you need only look for painted orange circles on the rocks to find it again. This is followed by about another half an hour of scrambling and hiking before arrival at the glacier.
Another website stated that you do not need crampons to climb this glacier in the summer. I sincerely do not mean to insult anyone, but on 29 July 2007, crampons were definitely a necessity. If you don’t own them, they cost 5 euros to rent. I’m sure that everyone who has done this will agree that you will not want to get this far and find out that you have to turn back. My advice – get the crampons.
The glacier is a pain in the butt until you get accustomed to your new footwear. After that, there are some easily seen crevasses to navigate around and a well beaten path to the end of the glacier and the beginning of the last stretch. The transition from glacier to mountain was nerve racking, but not very difficult. This is followed by 2 – 2½ hours of the most difficult part of the trail. At this point it started raining, visibility dropped to 10 meters or less, and I was quite miserable due to being out of water so I can’t tell you much more than that. Luckily, the via feratta runs all the way to the top.
Once you reach the summit you can have a drink at the bar, congratulate the people you met on the mountain, and feel good about yourself when the cable car riders look at you and wish that they tried it the hard way. Just don’t miss the last ride down which is just before 1700.
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