I just did a quick overnighter in the Wetterstein region of the Bavarian/Tirolean Alps over the weekend. Since we drove all the way from Rheinland-Pfalz that morning we didn't even get to the trailhead until after noon, and planned to stay overnight in the Meilerhutte, in the saddle by the Dreitorspitze.
Here are my partners at the beginning, just outside Lochlehn, Austria:
A hike that should have taken under four hours took us over seven, because one of my partners was slower than I'm used to. I'll forgive her, though, since she is a seventh grader! She's actually a pretty spunky kid...
Next photo is a more zoomed view north toward the Wetterstein range, near the start of the hike:
This is a little higher, looking back at my partners, Jerry and Ivy. I'm using my little camera's zoom to bring the background (the village of Lochlehn) a little closer:
Here is a similar shot, un-zoomed, for comparison:
I'm not sure which looks better. Opinions?
Next is a self-portrait, using the camera's auto-timer, with Lochlehn in the background again:
I swear I'm not as fat as I look in the picture! I am fat, mind you, but not quite THAT pot-bellied. The wind was puffing my shirt out, or something...
About halfway up the valley is this hut, owned by a local alpine club:
The local shepherd's flock had gathered nearby.
In fact, I was swiftly mobbed by pushy sheep looking for a handout:
That speckled fellow was particularly cheeky. He insisted that I at least scratch his snout for a bit.
This is just a thistle plant, but I thought it was pretty:
Here is the weather trying to push over the ridge from Germany:
This is the only time I broke out my wind jacket for the entire hike, until night fell at the hut. Except for these few minutes I hiked in my running shorts and Smartwool T-shirt.
Here I'm looking back, just before turning a corner for that last steep push up the the saddle (to the hut). You can see the trail I had just used cutting across the talus field on the left:
There was a strange break in the clouds causing the streak of light across the rock face on the other side of the valley. Here's another view, a little more to the right, looking southward, sort of toward Leutasch:
So after 4300 feet of elevation gain we reached the hut and peeked over the saddle into Bavaria and saw this:
You can see the tower for the little cargo gondola that is used to resupply the hut.
I waited around for Jerry and Ivy to catch up with me, and when they did we walked into the hut to get some dinner. Unfortunately, we missed the kitchen closing by fifteen minutes! But luckily the staff still had some warm soup in a crock that they sold us. We had some beer and caroused a bit with the Bavarian and Tirolean mountain climbers, and then headed for bed. Bed was a piece of open-cell foam on the floor, with a wool blanket. The window was open all night, but I wasn't cold at all. (Though, it being peak season, there were 21 people crammed into that little room- one of four guest rooms in the hut.)
The next day we slept in massively and had breakfast around 08:30. While Jerry and Ivy finished eating I climbed the little peak to the east of the hut:
That's the Meilerhutte from above, from the table I climbed to on the Wetterstein. Almost cut out of the frame in the distant background on the right is the Augspitze. The rock face in the left background is the Dreitorspitze. There is a route up it using iron ladder rungs driven into the rock that is about a one hour round trip and Jerry and I thought about doing it, but considering how long it took us to get up we decided not to waste the time. That was proven to be a good call- we ultimately didn't get back to Rheinland-Pfalz until about 23:00 that night. (Although I don't think we started back until around 10:00. Jerry and Ivy are definitely NOT ultralight converts.)
Here is an auto-timer self-portrait on the table on the Wetterstein:
Again, that white rounded peak just to the right of the center background is the Augspitze.
Here's another view of the round white peak of the Augspitze:
If you walked down the valley to the right you'd hit Garmisch. In fact, you can just barely see one leg of the tower for the cargo gondola in the lower right corner.
Here's a better view of Garmisch-Partenkirchen:
Note the cross on the mountaintop. The Bavarians and Tiroleans have a massive obsession for putting crosses on mountaintops. I swear ever third mountain had a cross... :o)
Here's a look back up at the Meilerhutte as we were leaving it, on our way back to the car:
The table I was taking pictures from is that peak almost out of frame on the far right. Again, the Dreitorspitze is the rock face on the left.
Here's another self-portrait on the way down:
I thought that was going to be a great shot until I saw it on my computer a realized that it was canted a bit and that there was a little plant right in front of my lens. I suppose that I should count my blessings, and be thankful that the camera hadn't focused on the plant...
Here's a shot back toward the saddle in better light, with my partners for scale:
The saddle with the hut isn't visible- it's around the corner to the right, so to speak.
Here's a shot back down the valley:
Let's play "Where's Waldo". Can you spot the guy in the red shirt? He's only a few pixels high...
A little further down this shelf was a popular rest stop:
Here's my final parting shot, back toward the Wetterstein range:
On our way out through Lochlehn we stopped a a little gasthaus where I had a sort of a Bavarian vegetable soup and a truly outstanding apple strudel.
And now I prepare to leave Germany for the U.S., again.