Yesterday I completed once more another piece in my puzzle of “most wanted summits”.
I crossed the “Jubiläums Grad” (jubilee ridge). That’s the impressive ridge which connects the Zugspitze (DL/WS-001) with the Alpspitze (DL/WS-022).
I’ve already activated these two summits, but there were still two not yet activated summits somewhere in the middle of this long ridge, the Innere Höllentalspitze (DL/WS-016) and the Mittlere Höllentalspitze (DL/WS-017).
An overview of this impressive rigde can be typically viewed, when you approach by car from the north to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the small city at at the base of the Zugspitze.
The ridge spans a distance of abt. 5km as the crow flies and if you cross it from the Zugspitze down to the Alpspitze it has a net loss of elevation of abt. 300 height meters, at a typically height between 2990m and 2400m ASL.
Given these facts, it seems not to be a very challenging tour, but at the end, with all the intermediate ups and downs the covered distance was abt. 9km and the overall elevation loss was abt. 1800 height meters, while the elevation gain was abt. 900 height meters (from the summit of Zugspitze to the Osterfelderkopf, below the Alspitze).
Zugspitze (DL/WS-001) early in the morning:
I started my tour at 08:00 local time from the summit Zugspitze with brilliant weather. You may think it is foolish of myself to stand on top of a 10 pointer SOTA summit and to skip its activation, but this was by intention, in order to save as much time as possible for the forthcoming long tour.
The condition nearby the Zugspitze complicated things a little bit, because the trail was partly covered by snow and ice, which increased significantly the risk of slipping down. Fortunately the rest of the path was mostly without snow and ice.
A first look to the upcoming trail, partly covered by ice and snow:
The first part to the summit Innere Höllentalspitze was rather severe with many scrambling and climbing sections, up to grade II - III, mostly without a possibility for belaying. And the additional weight of my HF equipment didn’t make things easier
Nice view down to the Höllental Ferner (= Hell Valley Glacier) with its crevasses:
On my way to my first activation I met a couple of other climbing groups, all very friendly people and we had nice smalltalks. And it was really nice to meet some of them again and again: Everytime when I rushed forward to one of my SOTA summits, they catched up again, when I was busy with my activation.
Activation of the Innere Höllentalspitze (DL/WS-016):
At abt. 10:30 I reached my first summit, the Innere Höllentalspitze (DL/WS-016). I was short in time, because I planned to spend at most 1 hour for each activation. With setting up and dismantling my HF eqipment it gave me just 30 minutes for being on air. Nevertheless on 30m and 20m an overall of 21 contacts could be achieved.
After the Innere Höllentalspitze, the next planned summit was the Mittlere Höllentalspitze (DL/WS-017). In order to get there another scambling and climbing was necessary. At least, at abt. 12:20 I managed to arrive on this summit.
Looking back from the Mittlere Höllentalspitze to the Zugspitze:
When I already stood on top of the Mittlere Höllentalspitze I saw the survey point of this summit, but in order to be sure that it is the correct place for the activation I took a look on the built-in GPS of my mobile phone, and unfortunately it told me I had to go a further few hundred meters to the summit. OK, so I went to the indicated GPS position and when I verified the position again, the GPS receiver now told me that I had to return back to the initial survey point (I hate this modern technologies )
Finally after finding the correct activation point I activated this summit for the first time on 30m and 20m with an overall number of 22 contacts.
Activation of the Mittlere Höllentalspitze (DL/WS-017):
After finishing my second activation it was already past 13:00 so I need to hurry up, because it was still a long way to go. The rest of the route was again a lot of ups and downs with some scrambling and climbing and some via-ferrata sections up to grade D. But in contrast to the first half of the tour, many of the dangerous sections were now secured with iron savety ropes (via ferrata’s).
Still a long way to go:
You might understand that during all this up and downs with intermediate climbing sections, that I cursed myself not only once, for sticking with HF activations. It would have been so easy to just take a small handlheld radio with me in order to just establish the necessary 4 contacs on VHF. But even if the additional weight of my HF equipment made the climbing a little bit more challenging, I seem to be a creature of habit
At abt. 15:00 I reached the Grieskarscharte just before the summit Alpspitze, where I again met a small climbing group who I’ve already met along the trail, and they asked me if I would join them to climb up the Alpspitze and then descent along the Via-Ferrata to the Osterfelderkopf. Shortly before 15:45 we reached the top of the Alpspitze, again without activating this summit, because I didn’t want to delay all the members of this friendly climbing group. Therefore shortly after reaching the summit we climbed down the north side of this mountain along the Via Ferrata. And finally at abt. 16:45 we arrived at the Osterfelderkopf.
For those who are interested in some details of the route, I found a nice video on youtube (from 2012), which gives a nice impression. It isn’t made by me, because I still do not own a video camera
If you are suffering from vertigo, then please don’t watch this video
In sum, from the perspective of a mountaineer, the Jubiläumsgrat, especially with such fine weather conditions, is an absolute alpine highlight.
From a SOTA activators perspective, I clearly wouldn’t recommend it. The challenges and risks of this tour aren’t justified by the gained 20 SOTA points. So please DO NOT climb the Jubiläumsgrad if you are not 200% sure that you manage all the difficulties along the ridge.
Once more, thanks for all contacts and please apologise, that this time I spent only very little time for the activations, but the tour required such a tight time line.
73 Stephan, DM1LE