Since I have some exams coming up next week, I don’t have anything to do and of course my thoughts drifted of to my vacation time and I came up with the idea of doing a several day tour in the Alps.
Since I am studying this semester in Munich I am very close to the Alps and can choose from different locations which are accessible by train. Due to the fact that I don’t have a car, I didn’t had to worry about where to park the car or what I have to pay for that.
Which leads us to the first stage of planning:Where?
Where do I want to do a tour and how do I get there? I did some internet researches about that and my choice finally fell on Garmisch-Partenkirchen, since it is easily accessible with the train, and I can start my tour directly from the train station and don’t have to take an additional bus. And due to the internet researches I already found some interesting trails to walk and huts to sleep in.
Second stage: The map
I just went to the store and bought a map. Pay attention to buy the right map on which you can recognize enough of the details. The map I bought was even waterproof, so you can also write with a permanent marker on it and erase it.
Third stage: It’s all about the math
From my internet research about Garmisch-Partenkirschen I already had some suggestions about in which hut to sleep and which trails to walk or which mountain to climb on. (because the view or sundown would be super nice etc.) Then I tried to link all these points of interest on my map. I measured distances, altitude differences and calculated the walking times for every day out of my personal experiences. I know that, for example, I walk at a speed of around 5,5km/h to 6km/h, and that I need one additional hour for every 400m in altitude. Since I am walking this tour alone I don’t have to pay attention to the shape of someone else, which makes this part of the planing very easy.
Fourth Stage: Reservations
Make your reservations in advance. Normally the huts are not allowed to give away all the sleeping places, but in case of an emergency event, like bad weather, huts can be full, and you have to sleep in the barn or somewhere on the floor without a mattress.
Something I forgot:
Getting to know your route! It can happen, that you overestimated your will and power and can’t reach the goal for the day, or the weather turns, or you have bad blisters. In that case you have to have an emergency plan. It is always good to know where you can cut a short on your way, or where the huts are, without searching for them on the map for 20 Minutes. In the Alps shortcuts are often very easy to do, because there are a lot of cable cars, and other trekking trails etc.
Also something which you should know in advance if there is mobile reception in the area you hike through or if there are radio frequencies which can be used in an emergency.
Fifth stage: Packing your Backpack
Are you doing a single day tour or are you planning a longer adventure?
For a single day tour you don’t need much, lunch, water, maybe a second change of clothes and a rain coat. Of course you should always check the weather the day before and pack appropriate clothes, so you won’t have a bad surprise.
For the multiple day tour you have to pack a little bit more of course. Do I want to cook? How much food do I need? How many clothes do I have to take with me?
As my 4 day Garmisch tour is more of a test for the summer, I will hike with a bigger backpack and a bigger amount of equipment then I would actually need. I will as well use the chance to test my new equipment like the trekking poles or the Primus gas stove.
But more about the topic “what do I really need?” will follow soon.
Sixth stage: WALK!
It’s as easy as that, just making one step after another.