Yesterday, it rained most of the day in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. I considered packing my bags and heading to another city, but since I wanted to do more hiking, I stuck around for another day. The forecast for today did not call for rain, so I decided to summit the Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany (2962 m), via the Reintal route.
I woke up at 0445, and was out the door by 0500. The route starts at the Partnach gorge, and as I was walking up the road to the gorge entrance, I met Andreas from Germany who was doing the same hike. His English is about as good as my German, but we were able to communicate well enough and decided to hike up together. He set a fast pace which I was luckily able to follow, and we reached the summit by 1200. Stats for the hike: length 21 km, elevation gain 2254 m, time 7 h. I had a sausage and beer on the summit, and headed down via cable car and cogwheel train at 1400.
Here is the Partnach gorge in the early morning.
From there, the trail proceeded gently uphill following the Partnach river.
The trail went past a waterfall. In this picture, you can see it faintly in the distance.
Here is the waterfall from a closer distance.
Near the top of the waterfall is a cool rock pool.
Here is a photo looking back down the (backlit) valley after climbing above the waterfall.
I also saw snow for the first time since winter.
Shortly thereafter, we reached the Reintalanger hut.
After a quick break at the hut, we continued our ascent. I could see that the trail was about to get much steeper.
There were also sheep grazing near the trail.
We then had to climb up this.
Here are some more pictures looking back down the valley.
Eventually we reached the Knorr hut, where we stopped for a longer break.
The trail continued its steep, rocky ascent past the Knorr hut. It also started to cloud up.
Where there is grass there are sheep.
Here are some photos from above the Knorr hut.
At the Zugspitze glacier, you can take a cable car to the summit of the mountain.
We opted to hike the rest of the way to the top. Here is the beginning of the final ascent. This was the most difficult portion of the hike; the trail was no more than an ill-defined meander through a talus-encrusted slope. For every step I took uphill, I slid half a step downhill.
The trail got much easier when we reached the via ferrata.
Even though visibility is not great, the end is in sight!
There are restaurants and bars at the summit.
Here is the actual summit.
And some (cloudy) views from the top.
Finally, here I am at the summit of the Zugspitze.