Summer is coming to an end. August is almost over, the days are getting shorter and it is cooling off. Not a reason to get a bleeding heart though. Finally it is the time of the year when the weather offers you the best conditions to go hiking: it is still sunny and warm, but not too hot. In the last part of our Outdoor Series you will find a tour that is perfect for a late August or September day. Herzogstand and Heimgarten are one of the most popular local mountains of Munich. With good reason, they offer a fantastic mountain panorama.
“When preparing to climb a mountain – pack a light heart.” Dan May, American businessman, grasped the essential motivation to go hiking already in the nineteenth century. Being surrounded by nature, walking along romantic, but often strenuous trails, and being rewarded by stunning views; hiking gives you a feeling of gratitude and consternation for the sheer beauty of the mountains and nature in general. And if you did not ‘pack a light heart’ in the beginning, you will feel light-hearted – at the latest – when you reach the top.
However the tour to Herzogstand and Heimgarten demands a little more than just packing a light heart. Without counting in breaks, it takes up to six hours to complete the whole route. Bringing along enough water, some food and possibly some sunscreen is as necessary as wearing the right shoes and clothes. The ridge between Heimgarten and Herzogstand demands sure-footedness at some points, so hiking boots will help you to find good grip in the rough terrain. Other than that the tour is easy and the cabins at Heimgarten and Herzogstand guarantee that every hiker can fill up their empty calorie storage more than well.
From Munich it is a one hour car ride to reach the station at the bottom of Herzogstandbahn (yes, there is a gondola, but conquer your weaker self and do not take the lift). From the parking ground at Herzogstandbahn you follow the signs to Heimgarten. At a junction you keep following the sign and keep left. The trail is ascending steeply but the view over Walchensee makes you forget any strenuous effort. After roughly 2:45 hours and an ascend rich in variety you reach the peak of Heimgarten. From there you have an excellent view into the prealpine lands with its many lakes like Staffelsee, Riegsee, Starnbergersee and Kochelsee, glittering in the distance. East of Herzogstand you will recognize Benediktenwand and Jochberg, in the southwest the Zugspitze towers over three mountain ranges in the front. After a short break at the Heimgartenhütte you leave the highest point of the tour and take the small path down towards the ridge that leads to Herzogstand. The ridge is exemplary secured and not really difficult. Your hiking boots are, nevertheless, appropriate. After about 45 minutes you reach the peak of Herzogstand, which comes up with another fantastic view. Numerous serpentines lead down from the top to the Berggasthaus Herzogstand, another cabin that offers nice food and some well-deserved refreshments. The descent from Herzogstand is very steep, but offers a superb view. However, after you pass a little stream on your way down you will feel relieved when you spot the valley station of the Herzogstand gondola.
After the tour it seems almost too convenient that Walchensee is just on the other side of the parking ground. So on a warm day you might feel tempted to jump in the clear blue water after the arduous tour, but mark the words: Walchensee is very very cold!
This was the last part of the Outdoor Series and it has hopefully made you want to pack your backpack and get out in the mountains. The mountains are a wonderful place to forget any stress you have, to appreciate nature, to enjoy breathtaking views, and to feel ‘light hearted’. Or to conclude our series with the words of US extreme-hiker Alex Lowe: “There are two kinds of climbers, those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.”
Vorschau: Im nächsten Beitrag lest ihr einen Kommentar zu den Sportlerprotesten gegen die Anti-Homosexuellen Politik Russlands.