Up early, to descend 1300 vertical metres to the carpark to collect my belongings before Frode headed off for his running retreat he hadn’t told me about beforehand, two of the people I’d met the night before kindly offered me suggestions for walks I could do over the remainder of the week. They also gave me their number and offered to assist me in anyway possible, including giving me a lift should I descend on Thursday as they were intending. Their generosity really lifted my spirits and proved once again that there are some really lovely people out there.
We set out at 7am and took a very boring tourist path down to the carpark. The view of the Königssee with a mist suspended above it was a highlight but the rest was rather boring.
Once at the bottom I rang around a few huts to get an update on availability (sadly Blaueishütte was booked out) and then hit the supermarket to resupply. I bought a schweinshaxe from the deli section and a carton of ayran and annihilated these in the carpark. Then I locked my belongings up in the ski lockers at the Jennerbahn and was off. It was almost midday and I made a quick detour down the tourist strip of the Königssee to eat a scoop of ice cream (mango) before I faced the mountain before me – a 1400m climb in 25 degree heat.
The first section involved walking up next to the winter bobsled and toboggan run. There was no shade and it wasn’t particularly interesting. I was pretty emotional about the fact that Frode had offered me none of my money back and angry at myself for trusting yet another person. So much so that I was having trouble getting up the bloody mountain. I hit the forest path finally and found myself unconsciously stopping about every 10 minutes. I was just not in the right frame of mind for bushwalking.
When I got to the intersection with the creek I just sat down and stared at my feet for ages. Eventually I got myself back together – I was in a beautiful spot and should be making the most of it. Eventually I continued up the hill. It was a rather wide forest path at a steep angle that meandered its way up for a few hours.
And then I got my bushwalking mojo back. I didn’t bother stopping at the Kuühroinhütte – I’m not a European after all ;) The vistas were stunning, the single track was refreshing and the ascent up the Falzsteig was good fun.
I overtook a number of people in the last 500m of ascent and was at the hut in 3h40m, including all the breaks I’d taken. I scored a good bed in the hut and then ‘retired’ to the terrace for a wheat beer and slice of cake. It tasted sooo good. It was warm and sunny outside with great views of the start of the Hocheck ascent, Watzmann Kinder (Watzmann children – 3 smaller peaks) and surrounds – including across to where I’d slept last night.
I wasn’t alone for long – everyone started talking to me and I was invited to sit at one of the other tables to explore my topo together. Funnily enough, everyone else on the terrace (10 or so people) coincidentally came from within a 20km radius of Köln (Cologne) in northern Germany (they were all in groups of 2-3 people too).
I ended up staying out there until about 8:30pm chatting to the guys. A few groups had done the Via Ferrata up the Grünstein. They asked if I’d been up there too since it wasn’t a large detour to tick it off as a bushwalker and the views from there were really good. Geez, I hadn’t even noticed it! I hadn’t taken my map out all day during the walk up – I really must have been in a bad head space.
Almost everyone at our table had a schnitzel (yum) for dinner. Five of us made a plan to walk up the Hocheck (2651m) early the next morning before carrying on with our day plans. I was yet to decide between the Blaueishütte and the Wimbachgriesshütte. Just after 9pm we all met on the terrace once more for a schnapps to toast the sunset (thanks Andreas).
I decided I wasn’t quite ready for bed yet after all so I stayed up chatting to the bartender. He’d studied geography and told me all about the geographical qualities of the route to the Wimbachgriesshütte so I locked it into my plan.