WETTER STEIN GRAT – Discover the Wetterstein mountains with Michi Wohlleben
© Adidas Terrex | Alexander Fuchs
The Wetterstein ridge — for some the most beautiful photo motif in the Alps, for the exceptional alpinist Michi Wohlleben a 75 kilometre long challenge. His goal: to cross the entire Wetterstein ridge in one single run — without a night’s sleep and in less than 35 hours. In this Collection, we present you his incredible project, as well as four additional routes that will lead you through the rough beauty of the Wetterstein mountains, even if you are a less experienced mountain hiker.
Even professional mountaineers need six to seven days to climb the ridge, but Michi wants to do it. Together with his trainer Alex Scherl, he has developed an ambitious training plan. The goal: to still be able to move safely on the ridge — even after more than 20 hours of extreme physical exertion.
At home at the Alpstein, he goes on over 25 mile (40 kilometre) long mountain runs that lead him over exposed ridges. He trains without a break, always close to his fatigue limit. Slowly, he gets a feeling for his body and remains focused even when he is exhausted. On 25 July 2018, he finally started his non-stop crossing. He was accompanied by four friends who walk smaller sections of the ridge together with him. The film team from Whiteroom Productions was also there, recording the crossing in the gripping film WETTER STEIN GRAT.
The four mountain routes on the Wetterstein massif that we have chosen for you are less dramatic — but even here you can push yourself to your personal limits. Three of the routes are designed as two-day hikes, but ambitious hikers can also do them in one day. You can also get as close as possible to the Wettersteingrat without the need for climbing equipment.
Through the Gaistal valley, you climb on two routes up to the rocky foothills of Predigtstein and Gehrenspitze, which spoil you with unique views of the jagged Wetterstein massif ridge. On the third route, you climb up to the Upper Wettersteinspitze, which lies in the lonely eastern section of the Wetterstein ridge. The last tour takes you over the Gatterl up to the Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany — from here you can see the entire mountain range.
Let Michi's motivation inspire you and go on your own personal mountain adventure in the Wetterstein massif.
Michi spends the last night in his camping bus right at the foot of the Wetterstein massif. It should start at 1.30 am, but even before that, it is no longer possible to sleep properly. "I had bumblebees in my ass, I could not wait for it to start." Although it's still in the middle of the night, he feels fresh and starts his non-stop ridge crossing with his first companion David Bruder.It is pitch dark, but he copes well - not only because he climbs for years as a mountain guide to the summits in the Wetterstein massif, but because he has gone off in the last few days, the route over the ridge again exactly. Because one thing is clear: to make the time and reach the goal safely, every step must be perfect.After a few minutes through the forest, it goes up to the ridge, which is getting narrower and more rocky. Slowly the sun is crawling over the alpine peaks - and with it the temperatures slowly rise.High up on the ridge, Michi makes his first meal break at the Meilerhütte - and he has arranged everything perfectly. At intervals of six to eight hours, he has set up several depots with food: a few bars or gels, plus some gummy bears or chips. Because of his previous tours he knows exactly: "Due to the high load in the body creates an incredible amount of lactic acid, and the stomach is acidic. If you eat something wrong now, the stomach tilts and you have to spit right away. The main energy comes from the fat metabolism. Actually, the stomach is the key to success on such a tour. "After the Dreitorspitzen it goes down to the Gatterl. From here he is accompanied by his friend and trainer Alex Scherl. When ascending to the gate heads, the two must notice something: Contrary to the weather forecast, a dramatically high spring cloud gathers in the distance. At first the clouds seem to pass by, but within minutes a huge thunderstorm cell builds up over the ridge. A descent is unthinkable, even the transgression now enters the back of his mind. "At that moment, it was no longer really about demolition or not, but only to quite a fear. If it would be a bad storm with hail and snow, then I could get into a really life-threatening situation - after all, after 20 hours I was already completely broken. "Both climbers have no waterproof clothing, but just under 100 meters below the ridge, they find a small rock shelter. They are stuck for seven hours, sleeping is not possible in icy temperatures. As the storm finally draws Michi recovers - although he can not make his scheduled time of less than 35 hours due to the unwanted break. After a few steps, the muscles are warm again and the fear of the thunderstorm slowly gives way to the anger over the lost time. Nevertheless, Michi finds back in the barrel and wants to complete the crossing.He passes by the Zugspitze and descends at full speed over the Jubilee Ridge and the even narrower Blassengrat in the direction of the valley. After nearly 40 hours, Michi reaches the finish in Hammersbach after his non-stop crossing - and has mixed feelings "On the one hand I was of course glad that it was over, but I was also pissed off that I was seven hours because of the thunderstorm I did not need it. And at the same time I was totally tired and could not really realize what had happened in the last two days. "After a beer and a burger with the whole team, Michi falls to bed in his campervan. But after all the excitement, he can not sleep long: "I woke up fully early, like dawn. You think you could sleep in until 10, but that was not the case. The tension then takes quite a while until it drops off properly. "Finally he drives home again - but not without the desire to make the overburden even faster in the next attempt.
Most visitors travel comfortably on the cable car or rack railway up to the highest German summit - and miss the incredible nature of the Wetterstein mountain range. So that you can enjoy the mountain landscape, we have put together this route for you: From the valley station of the Zugspitz cable car you first walk in the direction of Gaistal and then on the tame southern flank of the Wetterstein massif up to the summit. From there you finally float with the cable car down to the valley.Although the trails are not difficult overall, you should be sure-footed and above all good shape. With a stopover at Knorrhütte, it's a pretty comfortable two-day tour. If you are very athletic and ambitious, you can do the tour in one day - but then you should definitely inform yourself about the departure time of the last gondola.The starting point of the route, the parking lot at the valley station of the Tyrolean Zugspitzbahn, can be reached both by car and by bus. From here you leave the tourist bustle behind you. The path initially leads almost flat through dense mountain forests until it slowly rises towards Gaistal. Here you pass various alp inns, which are also well suited for a first break.After you have hiked past the Hochfeldernalm, the steadily steeper Max-Klotz-Steig begins. The forest clears noticeably and gives way to barren mountain meadows and gravel fields. Directly above you are already building the first peaks and with each step, the view is better. At the upper end of the climb, a short, cable-secured Kraxel Passage awaits you and you're already standing at the Gatterl, the pass passage from the Gaistal to the Reintal. The view in both directions is simply fantastic.From here, the path leads you out onto the rocky plateau of the Zugspitzplatt, before you reach the stage destination Knorrhütte a short time later. From the Knorr hut you continue on the Zugspitzplatt and in the direction of the Schneeferners. If you like, you can climb over a narrow but insured path to the lonely snowman's head. Alternatively, it's just up to the Zugspitze. At the top of Germany's highest peak you can enjoy a breathtaking view before you take the gondola down to the valley.
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Directly between Mieminger chain and Wettersteinmassiv lies the Gaistal. No roads and no cable cars lead into the valley and the surrounding mountains - therefore, the mountain experience is close to nature. While the highest peaks of the two mountain ranges are reserved for experienced alpinists, some of the lower summits are also suitable for ambitious weekend hikers - and the view is no less picturesque. On this tour we will guide you on comfortable trails into Gaistal and then on narrow paths to the preaching stone.Sporty hikers can also plan the tour for a day, all others can simply two days to absorb the alpine idyll in itself. There are two huts to choose from: Either you spend the night on the Tilfuß Alm before climbing to the preaching stone or on the Wetterstein hut on the descent route. Just pick the hut that suits your travel plans better.From the tolled hiking car park "Salzbach" you follow the signposted and excellently developed Ganghofer way. The path takes you on beautiful paths through forests, along mountain meadows and over rushing streams to Tillfuß Alm. Even if you do not stay overnight, the Alm is perfect for a cozy break.Immediately thereafter, it becomes steeper: first through mountain forests, then over barren meadows and finally over gravel areas you rise to the summit. Above you rises dramatically the Wettersteingrat. Before going further, turn right and continue on a narrow but almost flat path to the preaching stone. The upstream summit gives you a fantastic panoramic view over the Gaistal and especially over the rugged summit chain of the Wetterstein massif.From here, follow the narrow path to the east, until you gently descend to the Wettersteinhütte. After a break - or overnight - our route takes you back to the valley and the parking lot.
Dramatically, the Gehrenspitze rises at the entrance to Gaistal. Although the summit of the Leutaschtal seems almost invincible, a relatively easy climb leads over the west ridge to the summit - and the view up here is simply unique. On our route you climb from the edge of the tranquil village of Ahrn through the Puittal up to the summit.The paths on this hike are not difficult overall, but due to the many vertical meters in the ascent and descent you should have good condition. In particular, if you plan to go on the tour in one day, it will be worth taking several breaks to reduce your power. Alternatively, you can spend two days and spend the night in the cozy Wetterstein hut.The starting point is the town of Ahrn in the Leutasch Valley, which can be reached both by car and by bus. From here it goes straight into quiet mountain forests. After you have crossed the Puitbach, the trail snakes uphill in some serpentines into the Puittal. Soon you have left the forest behind and in front of you opens a picturesque alpine scenery.The trail continues to rise until you finally reach a crossroads at the Scharnitzjoch. Here you turn left and follow the narrow but easy climb below the impressive west flank of the Gehrenspitze to the summit cross. At the top you take a break with the best views, before going the same way back to the intersection.Again turn left and descend slowly to the Wetterstein hut. As you follow the path down to the valley, the barren meadows soon become lush mountain pastures. From the Wetterstein hut, the route snakes its way through tranquil mountain forests and back to the starting point of your summit tour.
In addition to Michi Wohlleben's ridge crossing, this summit tour is the most demanding hike in this collection. On the one hand there are no possibilities to stay overnight and therefore it is necessary to complete this tour in one day. Second, on the last kilometer to the summit you can expect a lot of rubble and small sections of Kraxel. If you feel safe in the mountains away from signposted paths, this mountain adventure will inspire you in any case.Due to the last section to the summit cross sure-footedness and vertigo are obligatory on this hike.Starting point of the tour is a small trail parking lot on the edge of Mittenwald. From here you first hike in the direction of Lautersee, which you will visit only on the descent route. Instead, a trail soon branches off, which leads you gently uphill through extensive mountain forests.After about four and a half kilometers, you will meet the ascent route to the Upper Wettersteinspitze. First, you first wander through pine and larch forests, until the trees give way to wide rubble karts that are so typical of the northern Alps. The path gets noticeably narrower and steeper and leads over the rubble fields again and again.Here and there your hand is already being used until it gets really rocky just below the summit. A courageous Kraxeleinheit later you stand on the broad summit ridge, a few steps further and you reach proudly the summit cross. After a well-deserved break with a visit to Alpendohlen, the route descends again on the same route.If you feel like it now, you can follow our route and visit the Ferchensee and the Lautersee. Alternatively, you can also hike back to the parking lot.