Tannheim Ranges – Austrian Alps

26 June 2017

One hour west from the Zugspitze Arena, straddling the border between Germany and Austria are the Tannheim mountains. Known for cross country skiing and paragliding, as well as the Zugspitze Arena, the Tannheim region has also proved popular with Collett’s guests due to its own remarkable panoramic views.

The walk begins from the top of the Fussener Jochle cable car and traverses round to the Bad Kissinger Hütte and Aggenstein Mountain before returning to Gran, the hamlet where we parked. As we expected, the majority of Collett’s guests in the resort joined up for the fun, so we piled into the van and headed out, full of chatter and laughter.

Choughed to be on a Collett’s day out: The Tannheim Ranges

In the valley the sun was shining and the day was beginning to warm up. However, at the top of the cable car we were immediately reminded of the stark wilderness that the Tannheim mountains provide. The cable car stands on the high outer ridge of the mountain range and clouds had descended into the bowl. Occasionally wisps of cloud boiled over the ridge, covering us and obstructing our vision. Fortunately, the cloud soon burned off and the famous 360 degree views appeared.

We set out just after 10am and made good progress. The track ascended a short way on the Western ridge line before heading into the ranges, and before long it was possible to see the Hut on the horizon against the back drop of the Aggenstein mountain, which still had its head in the clouds. With few stops and time for photos, our group reached the Hütte.

(Mountain) Location, location, location…

I’m continually astounded by the Austrians ability to construct beautiful Huts in amazing locations. The Bad Kissinger Hütte is one such building. With a proud mountaineering history, and located right on the border, the Hut is well equipped to cater for walkers, mountaineers, climbers and long-distance hikers. At this point our party split into two. My colleague Alex (who was feeling lethargic after climbing 1300 metres up Mt. Daniel the previous day), took half the group into the Hut for a hot lunch whilst my group ascended the Aggenstein mountain.

We started and very quickly the path became steeper, so much so that the final ascent had cables to assist scrambling. Just when I was starting to feel jealous of those enjoying hot lunches at the Hut, the scramble ended and all my thoughts of food were blown away as we reached the summit.

The views were phenomenal…

The flat lands of Germany ended against the sheer face of the Aggenstein. Across the West and South mountain ranges stretched into the distance. As we arrived a group of climbers were ascending the final pitch on the North-East face of the mountain and others were already at the summit enjoying a well-earned lunch. Alpine Choughs were present and scouring for food. The birds had no fear of humans and, by using the thermals running over the mountain, they could stall in the air, motionless and silent by our heads waiting to pick food from our hands. What was initially disconcerting quickly became hilarious as the birds starting landing on our heads, shoulders, knees (but not toes). When we descended to the Bad Kissinger Hütte, right before we regrouped, the Aggenstein treated us to one last piece of nature: a Hummingbird, gathering nectar from the alpine flowers.

After we had regaled the group who had stayed at the Hut with our experience (who may have cared more if their own lunch hadn’t been as fantastic as it sounded) we started descending back to Gran. The descent was long but group morale was high and, with much conversation and laughter, the time flew by.

A stream ran at the bottom of the mountain and there was no hesitation to have a paddle and soothe the feet. It was an ideal finish to the hike.

I noticed the van ride was considerably quieter on the return to Ehrwald than it was in the morning.

A vintage Collett’s Mountain Holidays walking itinerary.

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