One last getaway before my becoming a father in mid February would slow me down for quite some time.
About a year ago, I had began with my quest to climb the highpoints of the German Bundeslaender (states). But I only tagged five out of the 16 so far
and a couple of the higher (but not necessarily more difficult ones) were still on the list. Because I only wanted to do a day trip and any quick stint to the Alpes was too far and
too wintery at this time of the year, I settled on the Feldberg, the highest point in Badem-Wuerttemberg, and the second highest of all the highpoints, at about half the height of
the Zugspitze, the lonely No 1 with almost 3000 meters of elevation.
I left the house at 4am and quickly made progress heading down to Luxembourg and then into France passed Metz and STrassbourg before entering Germany.
I left Freiburg, the nearest big city to the mountain at 7:45 and nearly 30 minutes later pulled into the parking lot at the Skiresort at the Feldberger Hof at 1000 meters on the mountains.
I was quite surprised by the amount of snow that had already fallen this year. Almost 1 meter of snow had resulted in big piles of the white stuff
on all sides of the parking lot and I hoped that there would not be any new snow that day, as my car was far from "winterproof" in terms of tyres.
The chance for new snow was quite promising as the lift station was barely visible white out conditions. I was hoping that this was just the morning fog and that it
would disappated later in the morning. After all, the weather forecast had predicted sunny conditions for Freiburg. However, I had nevertheless packed the warmest clothing I could find, and soon
after getting out of the car put on my skiing pants (and longjohns) and a similar jacket as I fought my way against the wind to the ticket booth were I acquired a map of the ski resort.
That I was thinking would inform me about the cross country routes up the mountains, which I knew also went near the summit. But to my dismay, the map only listed the downhill slopes.
So, I started talking to different people and eventually learned that the cross country route (and hiking trail) began near the "Hause der Natur".
Thus, I was on my way by 9am. I initially followed a forest road but eventually found signs pointing out the hiking trails to various destinations on the mountains, among them the summit.
Visibility was clearly getting worse and sometimes I had to search a bit for the next sign post, which were already positioned fairly close to each other (less than 30 meters).
One sign pointed out that it was about 3.2 km to the summit, so less than two miles. I knew that a lower summit, which was also the high point of the ski area was located about half way to the summit.
So, aside from following the barely visible signs, I also made sure that I would always be within hearing distance from the ski slopes, which were very busy despite the miserable conditions.
Soon enough I reached the lower summit, the Seebuck and in a few holes in the clouds could get a few glimpses of the viewing tower located there.
I went around it and then found another string of posts in the direction of where I though the summit would be. After descending for a few hundred meters down to a saddle between the two summits
I found the slope going up again and knew that I was on the right track.
Sure enough at about 11am, I suddenly (very suddently) stood in front of a television antenna,
which suddently became visible for a few seconds. I was quite surprised and did not know where the actuall summit was located. So I looked around
for a few minutes and soon found s stone circle with a stone marker and some educational signs located in it. Nearby were a couple buildings for
meteorological purposes and I saw them every so often when the clouds opened up. I briefly though about waiting for a little bit for the clouds to lift completely, but after about 10 minutes
and fierce winds battering my unrelentingly, I decided to head back to the car. Also, whenever I took off my gloves in order to take a few pictures, my hands would be frozen almost instantly and I would have
trouble closing the zippers, etc. Not a very comfortable place to be. The bad news were that so far I had hiked with the wind and that on my way down I would have to go against it.
I tried that for five minutes, but notice that my face was getting too cold. So I stopped to take a shirt out of my back which I tied around my neck as a scarf. This of course brought up again the issues
of frozen fingers trying to open and close zippers and it took quite a while before I was ready to hike on.
The way back was rather uneventful. The weather did not clear up, but I followed the post and got back to the car at noon. The cool aspect of the hike was
that I had the summit all too myself that day. The downside was of course that I could not appreciate it all as I did not see anything. So another visit would be necessary at some point in the future.
However, for now I was happy with the outing. Even though it was a short hike, it required some difficult routefinding under blizzard conditions, which made it very interesting.
On my way back I checked out Freiburg and Offenburg and got back to Namur at 9pm. All in all a great day.
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This page was last updated: Mon Dec 29 2008