A crossing of the Alps with a dog, hard to believe, is exactly what Petra Platen and Heike Sun box have undertaken in August and September 2013. Learn more about this exciting tour through the Alps with the Irish Terrier dog Scooby-Doo new year’s eve of the EMS mill…
In August/September 2013, Scooby-Doo has accompanied us on our trans-Alpine tour. We have migrated up to Vernago in Italy from North to South in Oberstdorf in Germany through Austria. 10 days we were on the road with Scooby-Doo, had to cope with sometimes up to 1000 per day uphill and downhill altitude, sometimes in the rain and snow, as well as glorious sunshine. We hiked on European walking route E5 variants, because the most huts along the E5 are so full with people in the summer, that the huts must either take up at all no dogs or outside sleeping dogs. That not here for us, since Scooby-Doo we should sleep in a warm. So we chose variations along the E5, which we had made reservations in advance in the lodges or guest houses and it was obvious that Scooby-Doo could remain with us. So, we enjoyed a wonderful accommodation, which we were allowed to sleep mostly in separate, small rooms because of Scooby-Doo. This meant that we had no “snore” to us. What a joy and what good fortune with Scooby-Doo in the mountains on the way to be!
On the first day we had so right “English weather”: rain, rain, rain… Scooby-Doo did brave past down 700 m up and 700 m with us through bad weather from Oberstdorf at Kempten lodge until after Holzau. 2. hike of the Guest House of Hermione to the Württemberg House, we went about 6 hours by bright sunshine.
The tour was very varied and led us along a rushing mountain stream, through a gully that is secured with chains up to 1200 m and then 300 metres back down through a rugged, but wide valley up to the hut, which is located in the middle of the mountains and gets food by helicopter. It was a beautiful sunny day.
On the 3rd day, it went from the Württemberg House height 1500 m downhill to the village of Zams and then with the cable car to the ski hut of Zams in approximately 1800 m. On this day, it was very hot. Everything had somehow Mediterranean character. In total there were 5 hours hiking and drove 10 minutes with the gondola, everything no problem for Scooby-Doo. On the ski hut, it was from “listening” on the sun terrace.
- hike led us first with the gondola up to 2200 m and then we continued up in glorious sunshine to the Summit of the Venet in 2515 m. Followed a beautiful Ridge walk with magnificent 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains, accompanied by numerous Cairns, before it went down then tedious 1200 m up to Piller, where we stayed for a total of 6 hours hiking on a horse ranch.
The next day, we hiked to the Guest House meadow Court in 7.5 hours over the up to then with 2400 m highest point. The weather was still dry, but in the distance you could hear dangerous thunderstorm rumbling, announcing a change of weather. 6 hike was height then turn in about 7.5 hours up to the reverse bearing hut in approximately 2015 m. The weather was still stable and we took advantage of the early afternoon sun for regeneration in and a hammock.
The next morning it had snowed earlier and it rained almost continuously. We decided to wait a day and to stay one more night at the refuge. So, it was time to snow about 300 m up and again to descend and admire the four-legged inhabitants of the area.
The next day, it was further above all foggy and snowing further. Because we had to pass a difficult rock climbing spot, which was too dangerous and we ran back into the Valley and drove by bus around the mountain back around into the next valley up to Mittelberg, where we stayed.
The next day took us between 1700 m and up to the Brunswick hut at 2700 m, the highest point of accommodation throughout the tour. The rise was backed up in 3 hours in the fog and uncomfortable temperatures on the Hunter dough partially exposed through with steep walls and in the most difficult places with chains and steel kicks. Scooby-Doo ran almost during the whole tour freely and safely in the area and was secured only in climbing places with her belt.
Above the snow increased more and more, it became colder and Scooby-Doo was wearing her winter coat to protect. The next morning, we were almost snowed and we ascended to a degree through the snow in over 3000 m. Scooby-Doo was moving easily in snow-covered terrain.
After the level crossing, we went a short distance by bus through a tunnel and then in a 1300 m long walk downhill until after vent height of 1700 m. The trail was beautiful and led us through rugged and lonely high mountain terrain and icy Lakes and streams.
The next day, the route took us nearly 8 hours of vent for Vernagt, the aim of our hike in Italy. Shortly after crossing the border to Italy, we passed the similaun hut in 3019 m, the highest point of our tour. Ötzi was found in their immediate vicinity.
At this altitude the glaciers we were very close and the path led back through snow. Scooby-Doo had here too, like on the tour a few weeks ago on the Dachstein and High King, no problems with the high altitude. From the Semilaunhütte it had a wonderful view on the “Italian Alps”. Directly behind the hut’s 1300 m then went downhill in the direction of Vernagt. Almost all the time you had the goal, the shimmering blue reservoir, at a glance.
Overall we have completed up and down 9 day-long hikes with many meters in altitude at this Trans-Alp tour under various weather conditions and temperatures between 25° up under the freezing point. Scooby-Doo had problems with the height, even at the highest point of over 3000 m at any time. It was incredibly fun to move into the premises on different floors, had no problems with their paws and has inserted in all cabins and bed and breakfast in the local conditions.
Since the Trans Alp tour has worked out so wonderfully and we were well trained and highly motivated, we have decided to go back to the north side of the Alps, and to fulfill a dream to us after 3 days relaxation at the end of our holiday: the ascent of the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany, through the Höllentalklamm and the hell Valley.
First we hiked comfortably in sunny and warm weather by Hammersbach at an altitude of 700 m through the great hell Valley Gorge up to the hell reintalanger hut in 1381 m, where we stayed. The brook in the Gorge was intoxicating; the hike small footbridges and bridges, through tunnels and over wet stone paths was light and breathtaking. We had secured Scooby-Doo as a precaution because of the slippery stones with their climbing harness.
We spent a relaxing afternoon on the terrace and in the Valley above the hut. It was also necessary, because the next day should bring us to our limits…
The views of the Zugspitze was wonderful with this clear, rays-blue sky. She seemed close to access…
The next day it went off then early at 7: 00 after a fortifying breakfast. Climbing harness, crampons, helmet, carabiners, Granola bars and enough drinks were wrapped well planned to go on this exciting adventure. After about an hour, we came to the first climbing places, then to find the “leader”, a wall safe with countless kick brackets. Thanks to our Climbing harnesses a challenge was safe the 30 m high rise, but still. Scooby-Doo was alert and fearless, as so often, and had high level for level, always in double safety system, itself.
Next, we went on the more challenging hiking trail, but always excellent was particularly steep places with ropes and chains. Here we secured Scooby-Doo always double both the fastening rope and our harness. Where it went, we supported them in the sloping wall so that it more or less in the draft and had to hang in the rope. Further, we encountered the “Board”, which should be the second “key points” this ascent route to the Zugspitze beside the ladder a few meters. Here step pins were allowed the look always forward, under one on an almost vertical wall into the wall, where you will be able to overcome this passage, the deep abyss.
We successively this place and Scooby-Doo passed patiently waited, until they in turn double backed and ripped her feet against the wall, was allowed to follow. According to the “Board” continued partially very steep. In most places, Scooby-Doo on the narrow rock crashes could run but myself and she was moving easy and loose, almost like a chamois.
The glance back showed us how high we had already come. Back in the Valley, we could see the hell reintalanger hut. From there, we were launched earlier today. In between were always Rocky sections to overcome. Where it was not along a steep wall, we had free climbing Scooby-Doo. Mostly, she ran forward and in between always waiting for us.
Earlier in the Valley of hell, we had to pass a scree slope before we met on the glacier.
The glacier had melted off unfortunately quite this summer. Above the glacier we saw already the steep wall, who was waiting for us with many steep places.
The glacier was traversed by deep crevices. We donned our crampons. Even though led the way towards the Zugspitze in the zigzag to the deep crevices around, we had backed up just in case Scooby-Doo on a leash.
The by far the most difficult point of the whole tour waited at the crossing of the glacier to the steep rock face. The gap of edge of the was very wide and seemed infinitely deep under the glacier to disappear and there was only a small, narrow bridge of snow to get from the glacier on the rocks.
Even if here, a simple rope should prevent the deep fall in the gap of edge of the, the kick on the narrow bridge was a great test of courage. And all the more so as we Scooby-Doo were on the arm and she will really completely had to keep quiet, so would we lose the balance and a few meters deep slip in the gap. And on the other side, it was then a few meters laterally on the rock along to shimmy up a steep ladder, which made the other way as before tiring, seem safe but after all, again. Scooby-Doo appeared the danger felt and behaved in an absolutely quiet. What a wonderful, so trusting dog!
Looking back made the depth the Randkluft is particularly evident. We were proud to have made this step. But surely was also: from here there was only the way forward and further up. We would no longer make back this passage with Scooby-Doo on the arm.
If we had thought now everything would be easy, so we had deceived us fairly. The steep rock wall was waiting with a steep and narrow climbing spot after another. In most Scooby-Doo could run but independently on the narrow ledges – always in the rope in her harness -. The views of always above the hell Valley also demonstrated impressively deep and wide crevasses.
The steep places above the glacier demanded once again great physical effort and full attention from us. From here, the longest fixed-rope climbing route of the tour finally up led to the Summit cross.
Scooby-Doo took advantage of every short breather to look around in the countryside.
The higher we got, all the more impressive was looking back and showed us, what a demanding route was already behind us. Where we saw mainly upwards, because of the afternoon had already progressed and the last cable should go soon!
Slowly, we got tired and took to the physical exhaustion. Scooby-Doo, however, seemed still fit and focused. Just before reaching the Summit cross, the views were stunning. Deep down the crystal-clear Eibsee was, surrounded by dense forests.
And about us, the golden cross in the dark blue afternoon sky shone. It had a wonderful view towards the South, where the peaks of the Tyrolean mountains ranged up to the horizon from the Summit Ridge. Physically exhausted, but deeply happy and proud we were late afternoon finally under the golden bright Summit cross with a magnificent panoramic view on the mountains of the Alps region.
We had us a dream come true: the ascent of the Zugspitze through the Höllental. A total of 9 hours were on the way, had to overcome 1600 m on this day to finally arrive at clear blue skies on the Zugspitze at 2961 m. Scooby-Doo has mastered this mountain an adventure with enthusiasm. It was so moving, so sure-footed and seemed to us even as our forces slowly deteriorated, to cheer for all the time and motivate was completely quiet and incredibly trusting and understanding in critical moments.
What is it for a great companion and Irish Terrier dog from gold, our beloved Scooby-Doo Silvester of the EMS mill.
(Photos and text by Petra platen and Heike Sun field)