The first weekend in June was a long weekend with a bank holiday Monday here in Bavaria. Having given ourselves the Saturday to sort ourselves out after a previous weekend in the Czech Republic, we were ready to hit the Alps for a two day trip on Sunday.
Sunday: Bischofswiesen – Stöhrhaus
The trip started at the railway station in Munich on Sunday morning. We met Inmaculada and Thomas, bought coffee for the journey and were off. By the time the train pulled up at Bischofswiesen it was nearly midday. Aside from being extra long, the first weekend of June was also the first proper summer weekend in Bavaria. When we got off the train it was about 30 degrees C. Fortunately enough the first two thirds of the hike up to the Stöhrhaus (1, 894 m), where we were staying overnight, led mainly through a forest.The last third and the final ascent to the hut were sun exposed and well hot. The low shrub that the path now cut through in a zig zag was perfect at keeping out all wind and trapping the heat right on the path. Before I could relive my Drakensberg trip though, we arrived at the top of the Untersberg plateau and the Stöhrhaus perched just at its edge.
It was only 4.30 pm when we got there. We had plenty of time to enjoy the views from the hut’s terrace topped off with a spectacular sunset.That Sunday the peaceful atmosphere at the hut was disturbed by a helicopter rescue operation that had just started at the hut. Two police helicopters kept on dropping off and collecting rescue teams from a flat area behind the hut. The whole situation was bizarre. We were told that a speleologist had been injured while exploring a cave and was now trapped inside. Yet everyone at the hut including the rescue team seemed to be oddly calm without any sense of urgency.
Only when we returned back to Munich did we find out what actually happened. The speleologist injured was trapped in Germany’s deepest cave, with a head injury that prevented him from climbing the 1,000 something meters back up to the surface. In the end the rescue operation took 12 days. When we arrived at the hut it had literally just started.
Monday: Stöhrhaus – MarktschellenbergThe next day we made our way over the rugged Untersberg plateau. First we walked up to its highest point the Berchtesgadener Hochthron (1, 972 m) just above the Stöhrhaus hut. After a short walk and an even shorter stop at the summit we continued across the plateau to its Salzburg end. Instead of hiking up the Salzburger Hochthron we decided to descend and visit the Schellenberger ice cave – Germany’s largest ice cave.
To be honest we were slightly underwhelmed by it. OK there is a lot of ice, OK it is all hidden from sight in this mountain that on the day of our visit was exposed to direct sunlight and temperatures in the high 30s and OK the entrance looked like this:… but really there wasn’t that much to it. Or hold on, maybe that’s impressive enough. Anyhow it was not the cave with the trapped guy in it and we got out again.
The route to the cave impressed us straight away though. The ladders and tunnels of the Thomas Eder Steig were real fun.
From the cave we continued to the Toni Lenz Hütte and then down and down for hours until we arrived tired and sweaty at the river in Marktschellenberg.
There was only one thing left to do. Go for a swim!
- More from this trip: Sunset at the Stöhrhaus
- More Munich trips: 7 hiking trips from Munich
- More 2014 trips: The hiking season has started!