Hiking Europe Germany

Some mountains have followed me for quite a long time. One has been Untersberg, which I could see from our living room window since I was tall enough to gaze out of it. The other one has been Watzmann. I’ve admired its beautiful shape every time I drive to Berchtesgaden or Königssee, whenever I’ve hiked mountains nearby and possibly a few other times too. It’s also (in)famous because of the Wolfgang Ambros musical “Der Watzmann ruft”, which I still refuse to watch despite my admiration for his music. I tell myself, one day, I’ll stand on top of that mountain. August 19th, 2012, finally is that day.

I check the weather report a few days before, and it looks perfect, so I cancel all party plans for Saturday night and get out of bed at 4:30 instead. I start the hike at Wimbachbrücke (600 m) at 5:45 and reach the Watzmannhaus (1930 m) about two hours later. It’s time for a quick breakfast before arriving at Hocheck (2651 m), another one and a half hours later without much difficulty. So far, the track is a bit easier than expected, but that immediately changes on the first steps towards Mittelspitze. While technically not extremely difficult either, the trail begins to become more exposed from there. It requires total concentration and, at some places, just doesn’t tolerate any mistake. A bit under an hour later, I finally stand on top of Watzmann Mittelspitze (2713 m).

Another 70 minutes later, I stop for a well-deserved snack and photo break at the Watzmann Südpitze (2712 m). The view from the top is breathtaking: a beautiful assemblage of mountains I’ve either been to or I know I need to go to soon.

The most significant difficulties are over. What follows is a long, slow and rather tiresome descent (I’ve always been better on the way up). While not difficult, it still requires staying concentrated. At about 1800 m, I come across a small stream, which finally allows me to refill my water bottles (it’s a bit off the track, so be careful not to miss it). At 1327 m, I reach Wimbachgrießhütte for my final break. From there, the last easy but 8.5 km long descent back to the Wimbachbrücke form the closing notes of my trip. The enthusiasm of what lies behind me (and the Radler Maß I had at the hut) carry me down in no time (about 90 minutes). I usually don’t like the descending part, but this time I don’t care. It appears as sometimes the going up is worth the coming down.