Trek Around Watzmann – Berchtesgaden, Germany

Berchtesgaden, Europe, Germany, Watzmann
Berchtesgaden Morning : Prints Available

The Bavarian town of Berchtesgaden, Germany in the morning light.

Berchtesgaden, Europe, Germany, Watzmann
Watzmann Sunrise : Prints Available

Sunrise behind Watzmann (2713 m / 8900 ft), as seen from the summit of Grosse Hundstod (2590 m / 8497 ft).

Berchtesgaden is a famous Bavarian mountain resort town in southeast Germany. The area is famous for the gorgeous fjord-like Königssee lake and the massive peak of Watzmann which towers over it. In July we spent three days relaxing around town waiting for the rainy weather to pass — which fortunately it [kind of] did — then we headed out on a three night hut trek around Watzmann via the Wimbachgrieshütte, Ingolstädterhütte, and Kärlingerhaus.

>> See the whole trip report and leave a comment here! <<

Wilder Kaiser, Austria

Austria, Kaisergebirge, Stripsenjochhaus, Stripsenkopf, Wilder Kaiser, sunset, panorama
Wilder Kaiser Sunset Panorama : Prints Available

Sunset light illuminates the rugged limestone peaks of the Wilder Kaiser, Austria.

Austria, Eggersteig, Kaisergebirge, Wilder Kaiser, klettersteig

The Eggersteig takes an improbable route up between two immense vertical limestone faces of the Wilder Kaiser. Though this route involves narrow ledges, climbing ladders and cables, and massive exposure, it’s actually possible to do it without a klettersteig (aka, via ferrata) kit.

Austria, Ellmau, Kaisergebirge, Wilder Kaiser, sunset
Sunset in Ellmau : Prints Available

Sunset light in the village of Ellmau, Austria.

In July after our trek in the Karwendel we took a bus and train to the town of Kufstein, stocked up on some snacks, and started hiking into the Kaisergebirge, a small but incredibly rugged mountain range that rivals just about anything in the Dolomites as far as sheer jaggedness goes. This would be a shorter two-night trek but would prove to be much more strenuous than our previous one! We spent the first night at the Vorderkaiserfeldenhütte, the second at the Stripsenjochhaus, then climbed over the Wilder Kaiser range via the famous Eggersteig route and down to the village of Ellmau.

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Hut Trekking through the Karwendel

Europe, Germany, Mittenwald, rainbow, Karwendel, Bavaria, Alps
Rainbow Over Mittenwald : Prints Available

A rainbow over the Bavarian town of Mittenwald, with the Karwendel mountains rising behind.

In early July after two weeks in Germany visiting Claudia’s family and friends, I was excited to go down to the Alps for some mountain time! Our first destination was the Karwendel range just north of Innsbruck, Austria. Over the course of 5 days, we hiked from west to east below the jagged spine of this range from the villages of Scharnitz to Pertisau, via the Karwendelhaus, Falkenhütte, Eng Alm, and Lamsenjochhaus. With reasonably short hiking days and not very steep trails, this was a perfect warm up trek to acclimate us to mountain trekking again for the first time this summer.

Six hours of train rides brought us from Freiburg to Mittenwald, the uber-quaint Bavarian village where we had stayed back in 2013 prior to climbing the Zugspitze. So in a way it felt like picking up where we had left off before — on that previous trip we had trekked through the Allgau and Lechtal ranges west of there, and now we would be trekking eastward.

The next day we started walking from the nearby village of Scharnitz, just over the border in Austria. A long but gentle forest road led to the Karwendhaus, spectacularly situated on the edge of a dramatic cliff overlooking the Karwendaltal valley. Coincidentally, shortly after arriving at the hut Claudia ran into four of her former classmates from her university days in Freiburg!

Austria, Karwendel, Karwendelhaus, Alps, hut
Karwendelhaus Clouds : Prints Available

The Karwendelhaus hut overlooks the Karwendeltal as clouds clear after a rainy night in early July.

It started raining just as we arrived at the hut, but later in the evening everybody was thrilled to see the sunset light burst through the clouds in this spectacular display of light!

Austria, Karwendel, Karwendeltal, wildflowers, Alps
Karwendel Sunbeam : Prints Available

The setting sun beams over the Karwendeltal valley through a gap in the clouds.

The next day we hiked further along the range to the Falkenhütte, located at another spectacular site underneath the massive vertical north face walls of the Karwendel.

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Snapshots from Dresden

Albrechtsburg
Schloss Albrechtsberg (Albrechtsberg Castle), built in 1854, sits above the Elbe River in Dresden, Germany.

This last week we’ve been in Dresden, Germany, visiting Claudia’s family there and seeing some of the plentiful historical and cultural sights this beautiful city has to offer. Here is a somewhat random collection of snapshots from our time there. (These were all taken with my iPhone, which is a photographer’s way of saying that I was too lazy to carry my real camera around!)

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Lake Blanche Overnighter

Lake Blanche, Twin Peaks Wilderness, Utah, Wasatch Range, sunset, Big Cottonwood Canyon
Big Cottonwood Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset over Big Cottonwood Canyon and the Great Salt Lake beyond, from high up in the Wasatch Range near Lake Blanche – Utah.

Lake Blanche, Sundial Peak, Twin Peaks Wilderness, Utah, Wasatch Range, moonlight
Lake Blanche Moonlight : Prints Available

A nearly full moon rises behind Sundial Peak and Lake Blanche.

Last night we did a quick backpack hike from Big Cottonwood Canyon to Lake Blanche and Sundial Peak, in the Twin Peaks Wilderness of the Wasatch Range in Utah. Though the wind was relentless during our stay, we had fun exploring this lovely basin and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset and moonrise above the lake.

>> See more photos and leave a comment here! <<

Grand Gulch

Bears Ears National Monument, Bullet Canyon, Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, kiva, ruin, stars, Milky Way, galaxy
Cosmic Kiva : Prints Available

An Ancestral Puebloan kiva with a view of the Milky Way.

At the end of May we spent three days hiking through the upper portion of Grand Gulch, in Cedar Mesa, Utah. This was the third time I’ve backpacked in Grand Gulch, but the first since the area was designated as part of Bears Ears National Monument by President Obama in 2016. Nothing has changed as far as I can tell – just the same amazing canyon scenery and fascinating archeological history to be found around nearly every bend. See more pictures from the canyon below!

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Ghost Town Powderfest

Paul DiG skis Teocalli Bowl on Crested Butte, Colorado - April.
Paul DiG. skis Teocalli Bowl on Crested Butte, Colorado – April. Teocalli and Castle Peak are in the background.

It’s off season in Crested Butte; the ski lifts are closed and the town is quiet. So when a spring storm dropped over a foot of fresh powder last week, we had the ski area pretty much all to ourselves! We spent the last four days hiking and skiing/snowboarding all the best lines on the Butte, except now there was no tracks, no moguls, no people, and no hurry – just perfect untouched pool-table-smooth powder. Here’s a few snapshots from our fun.

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