Mount Scheinbergspitze, or simply Scheinberg, is located in the Ammergau Alps between Plansee and Oberammergau. This route is rated among the most avalanche-safe ski mountaineering classics in Bavaria. With some 1000 vertical meters and 3 hours of ascent, the tour is classified as 'moderate'.
Ski mountaineering is a trendy sport and a very special winter experience. This year abundant snowfalls in the Bavarian Alps offer us numerous opportunities to discover the snowy alpine landscapes outside the ski resorts in the Zugspitze area. With a small, experienced team, the right avalanche equipment and open for nature encounters, we start at 08:30 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
9.00 am: Due to a heavy snowfall and increased avalanche danger, the Alpspitzbahn cablecar remains closed today, so the tour we had planned is actually impossible and we have to change our plans. After a brief brainstorming we go on Plan B: the Scheinbergspitze is a suitable alternative.
9.30 am: The snowy mountain road leads us through Ettal and the Graswang Valley to the Austrian border. Due to the extraordinary snowfall, the road is just wide enough to drive in only one direction. On both sides are 2.5 meter high walls of snow - just imagine how much it has snowed here! Fortunately, the oncoming traffic is rare. In addition, the König-Ludwig-Lauf, the internationally renowned cross-country ski race, is scheduled for today. Here and there the ski trail crosses the road, at these points some snow is spread on the road surface for the athletes' convenience. From Graswang Village the road gets icy and we have to drive very carefully. 2 km after Linderhof Castle, shortly before the border, we reach our parking lot on the right side of the road. In fine weather this tour is extremely popular, the parking lot fills up quickly.
10.30 am: The normal ascent track is over a mountain road. Shortly after the bridge we turn left and follow the signs to Scheinbergspitze. Today, however, there is a beautiful detour through the magical snow-covered forest parallel to the ascent route. We advance on a narrow trail past snow-wrapped spruce trees, across frozen streams, shaking the white splendor from the bushes with every light touch. Here and there we come across the tracks of animals - they are having a hard time finding their food in the deep snow.
12.00 pm: It keeps snowing, the path gradually gets steeper and steeper. After a while the forest gets thinner: we are heading towards the summit. One meter of fresh snow in only 24 hours! Grotesque landscapes open before our eyes: fallen trees and stumps become snow sculptures, and the old beeches can boast incredible snow crystals on every single little twig today. In fact, the weather today has only one drawback: no splendid views, as the visibility in the blizzard is minimal.
1.00 pm: The last stretch above the tree line is exhausting. There are no more trees around, so the wind hits the bare slope with its full rage. The sharp snow crystals bite my face. I suddenly imagine myself standing in a shower with hot sprinkles of water on my skin. This thought helps me through the last vertical meters as I reach the so-called 'ski camp' at the start of the summit trail. My better trained companions arrived a long time ago, and now they greet me with their thermos flasks. I made it to the top!
2.00 pm: Indeed, from the 'ski camp' you can go further and reach the summit in some 20-30 minutes. However, in the current weather conditions this makes no sense: it's really cold with -15 degrees, the wind is strong, and, most important, the view is missing. So we just quickly take off the skins and go down. With a meter of loose powder snow on the slope, the descent feels more like swimming than skiing today. Fortunately, the snow has already been well mixed by the mountaineers, so an avalanche is not that likely anymore. In this weather you really come to understand what 'snow masses' actually are! After getting stuck in the snow a few times, I am completely wet.
We soon reach the tree line again and have to find our way through the trees. The forest gets thicker as we descend deeper into the valley. Good that the others have already blazed a few trails! Finally we get on the same forest road leading us directly to the parking lot. Just a few moments later we reach our cars.
3.00 pm: The best thing in ski mountaineering is taking off your ski boots at the end of the tour. It would be nice to spend the evening in a cozy pub, but we are now rather up to a hot shower and lazing on the couch. And I'm a bit worried that my ski gear won't be dry again by tomorrow - for the next challenge at the foot of the Zugspitze!
Tips & Infos:
- Arrival by public transport is unfortunately not possible.
- There are no chalets on the way, so take enough food and drinks with you.
- When the border crossing is open (this road is sometimes closed in winter due to avalanche danger), the newly renovated Ammerwald-Alm Chalet is highly recommended for a cozy stopover after the tour. Check the opening times before you go.
- In fine weather a visit to the summit is a must. Take your crampons with you. Also, you may need the ski crampons on this route: some spots in the middle section are very steep and easily get icy on sunny days.
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Scheinberg tour on a sunny day - Image gallery