The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Branderschrofen and Ahornspitze

As our 30-person-capacity cable car* started its very steep ascent this morning I commented that I hoped that the low cloud, which was completely hiding the hills, would soon lift. Mick observed that the number of paragliders in our car was probably a good omen on that score. I concurred. Ten seconds later we ‘ooohed’, as we burst out above the cloud.


It’s certainly better to be above the cloud than within it, but it did mean that there were no views to be seen back down to the valley. There were, however, plenty of peaks poking out in the other direction.

Being without a plan we started by heading up the nearest cross-bearing summit we could see:


which involved a bit of a scramble in sections:


but they were very easy scrambles, and soon we were roasting on the summit:


After plenty of posing…


… we left the top just as another couple arrived, and with excellent timing enjoyed a brief brocken spectre on the way back down, as the cloud drifted up to meet us. A handful of seconds later, the cloud dispersed, as it was to do a number of times throughout the day.

Back at the cable car station (the first peak we had chosen only being possible as an out-and-back), we pondered what to do next, and again without forming any real plan we wandered off in the obvious direction. When a path heading up Ahornspitze was met just as lunchtime was approaching, it wasn’t a hard decision to head up to have lunch in the shadow of its summit cross. It’s obviously not a popular place, as we enjoyed complete solitude for the entire ascent, lunch break, ridge-explorations and descent.

Pondering the map, we concluded that we didn’t have the time/inclination to complete a circuit, and so we merely retraced our steps, soon finding ourselves cooling down in the cloud layer which had drifted up to meet us.

Back above the cloud again, over to the cable car station we headed, but first I declared that a slight detour to revisit the viewing platform was in order. It was a good move; the earlier cloud on that side of the hill had completely cleared and, sure enough, the views were good:IMG_7246

In hindsight, we shouldn’t have bought a return ticket for the cable car, but should have walked down. However, as we had bought the return, we duly used it. Three and a half minutes later, we were back down in the valley, where the day was positively roasting.

The 4.75 miles we covered (with 1600’ of ascent) were augmented this afternoon when I walked a 3-mile round trip into Füssen to buy a better map. The ‘walking map’ sold to us by the Tourist Information Office was rather lacking in key information – like contour and grid lines!

(*That was a terrifying 3.5 minutes. Big cable cars are, to my mind, the work of the devil. Small cable cars are marginally better. Perversely, I don’t mind chair lifts. Clearly, though, my levels of laziness are such that I’m prepared to go through 3.5 minutes of terror in order to avoid 3000’ of walking ascent at the start of the day.)


  1. It won't surprise you to learn I am not keen on this form of transport. The last time used anything like that was skiing as a teenager in the Alps.
    Looks good though!

  2. Looks stunning. I enjoy cable cars especially the unsupported ones like at Fuentes De in the Pico's.