The most demanding and varying one goes via Höllental. In addition to conquering an altitude of about 2300 metres, we must cross a glacier and extensive vie ferrate. A breathtaking view of the mountain ranges bathed in the red of the morning sun and the majestic summit is our reward. That’s our aim, starting as early as 4am from Hammersbach.
Gorge, via ferrata, glacier - my path to Zugspitze
Equipped with headlamps, we’re making our way to our first stage goal: Höllental gorge. The route to the entrance of this bizarre world, starting from Hammersbach, is about an hour on foot. The first part at dawn leads us upwards through the woods. We can hear the gorge long before our arrival there with its ever increasing roaring. Impressive!
As soon as we arrive, we notice a significant drop in temperature. Add to that water droplets beating down on us and a strong and gusty wind. Though that’s no problem if, like me with Torid Slim, you’re wearing water-repellent and quick-drying hiking pants that follow your every move. Despite the thin fabric, they’re keeping my legs dry and warm. Just the way it needs to be!
„Experiencing Germany's highest mountain in the peace and calm of the early hours was an absolute highlight. The early morning sun coloured the mountains in a beautiful light. The view and the sensation were fascinating.“
Martin Seemann, outdoor enthusiast & Maier Sports endurance tester
Unparalleled: the alpenglow in the morning
At the end of Höllental gorge, we are able to turn off the headlamps and follow the path towards the Höllental pasture cabin. The cabin, located at 1381 metres, is the perfect place for a rest, to recharge our batteries for our journey to the summit via the Höllental route. Our tip: this hut is a unique destination for day trips, not only for mountaineers but particularly for families who love hiking, because you reach it through Höllental gorge, which is absolutely worth seeing.
A few hundred metres before the Höllental pasture cabin, we experience another natural spectacle. The early morning sun colours the mountain world in a beautiful light. Everyone stops in amazement while the birds sing their good-morning greeting.
After a short break at Höllental pasture cabin, we’re off again, on a demanding part of the route: a vertical mountain face equipped with iron footholds - the “Ladder” - is waiting for us. Once we conquered it, we pass impressive hiking sections and climbs, reaching another highlight of our tour. On the “Plank”, the actual via ferrata begins. Using iron bars, we traverse the steep rock face. After about four hours, we make it: we reach the Höllentalferner.
Advantage at the via ferrata: with its bi-elastic functional fabric, Torid Slim provides ideal freedom of movement and even permits larger steps. It also feels comfortably soft and lightweight on the skin, meaning you don’t sweat because moisture is quickly removed from the skin. I was also really impressed with the robustness of the pants. Despite repeated contact with rough rock, nothing was torn. Simply flawless!
The Höllentalferner glacier
Seeing Höllentalferner from a distance, I’m briefly thinking: “Oh, it doesn’t seem particularly big!” But if you look closely, you can see small dots moving across the ice and snow like ants - they’re hikers. A part of the glacier is hidden beneath debris. Crevasses with a depth of 50 metres characterise this mighty landscape.
Crampons and helmets on, we’re off across the glacier to our final via ferrata. At the end of the glacier, it’ll get interesting again. If the gap between the glacier and the via ferrata on the rock is too wide, it could get difficult. This is usually the key passage of the whole trip. But it was easy for us in the middle of June. There was practically no gap at all.
Even when crossing the glacier with crampons, I could rely on the Torid Slim outdoor pants. They left nothing to be desired in terms of robustness or warming properties. Then again, the temperature was pleasant. During winter or glacier tours higher up, however, I would wear warm functional underwear or warm outdoor pants because it can get cold quickly.
Simply breathtaking: on Germany’s roof
The final via ferrata to Germany’s highest point is demanding and requires total concentration and stamina. We keep taking short breaks to admire the impressive mountain backdrop. Eibsee is an absolute eye-catcher that shows itself from its best side today. It’s not known as the Bavarian Caribbean for nothing. The lake was created from a gigantic rock fall and includes many little islands. The clear water and sandy ground give the lake’s and its islands’ edges a beautiful turquoise-blue glimmer.
Just before the summit cross, there’s a “hikers’ traffic jam” - things are getting a bit tight. Many tourists who came up to Zugspitze by cable car or rack-and-pinion railway want to be immortalised in a photo with the summit cross on Zugspitze. After about seven hours of hiking across Höllental gorge, many via ferrata passages and the Höllentalferner, we will not pass up this opportunity at an altitude of 2962 metres either. It reflects a varied trip with unique highlights fronted by a breathtaking mountain backdrop. I will never forget this trip.
Maier Sports Torid Slim
Get ready for your next outdoor adventure - with the Torid Slim outdoor pants. With a modern, slimmer fit and bi-elastic functional fabric for complete freedom of movement