August 22nd: Zugspitze trek day 2

What an awful night! I woke wanting the toilet. I was surprised I’d not heard so many people coming to bed. I must have been tired. There was no curtain at the window and from the light on the hillside I thought morning must be near. As soon as someone else got up to go to the toilet I followed him, to save disturbing everyone else twice. On the stairs, I passed the couple from the bunks above us. The girl was throwing up into a plastic bag. I felt very sorry for her. How awful being ill staying in a dormitory half way up a mountain!

I wasn’t feeling so sympathetic a couple of hours later when they’d both got in an out of bed several times and rustled plastic bags and tablet packets, preventing me from getting back to sleep at all. John didn’t help, snoring next to me! I’d been wrong about it nearly being morning, it didn’t get any lighter.

I must have got back to sleep eventually because the next thing John was stroking me gently to wake me up. We got up, washed, had breakfast and packed. By 7.20 we were on our way up the mountain again.

The path started very steeply up a rocky path but the gradient soon became more manageable. We ascended steadily, following the red dots marking the path through the rock and scree, sometimes crossing small snowfields. The cable car station came into view. This area is a ski resort in winter and the cable cars still run in summer for the tourists

Having reached the ski area and the associated buildings we had something to eat and drink before staring the final, difficult slog to the summit. The first section was up scree. I hate scree… Ground should be solid not move under your feet!

I was very pleased to reach the end of the scree but a bit apprehensive because the next section was via ferrata… Iron cables attached to the rock to help you climb. I needn’t have worried. I didn’t find it scary. I did however struggle a bit with the ascent and had to keep stopping. It wasn’t too hot as it was still early in the day so I can only assume it was the altitude.

Finally we reached the west summit of the mountain, after about 2 and a half hours. It was really busy, although it was still only 10 o’clock and bound to get worse as the day went on. Of course most people had arrived there by cable car or the cogwheel train, which we intended to descend on. They hadn’t walked up!

We passed the buildings to go to the higher east summit, 2962m. This meant more via ferrata including a ladder. We scrambled around a lot of people who were less used to the rocky terrain to reach the gold cross on the top.

We then sat for a while with a well earned beer admiring the views and watching the choughs. All in all a fantastic couple of days and an amazing experience.

We took a cable car back down from the summit to the ski area below, and then a little cogwheel train back to Garmisch. It travelled through a tunnel in the mountain for about 25 minutes before emerging the other side, to more lovely views.

We had a big celebratory lunch in town and did some shopping before returning to the camper van. Then showers and an afternoon pottering round. Tomorrow we move on. We plan to see Linderhof and Neuschwanstein, Ludwig II’s palaces, in the next couple of days

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