2011-12-04

Schiberg (2043m), Plattenberg (2082m)

When you step out of the bus and see your destination for the first time it's intimidating. The mountain towers huge, insurmountable cliffs, peak somewhere far in the distance, hidden in clouds. Impossible!

Yet at the same time you get swept with anticipation, you've done this before, you know how this works. So you set out. Carefully measured breaths, preserving your strength. You warm up to it, find your rhythm. Step by step the mountain shrinks under you. Before you know it there's nowhere left to go - you are on top. You smile. And turn around.

Back home in the soaking hot water of your bathtub a satisfying kind of exhaustion takes hold of you. A smug feeling of pride. You remember today's rest between the sheer vertical rock. Perfect silence, perfect solitude. How majestic, how humbling, how ancient it was. You are spent, the mountain barely noticed. Infinitely patient, safe in the knowledge that it'll always win in the end.

See you next time puny human.



The weather forecast predicted rain, strong winds and snow from 1700m onwards. It proved accurate. I chose some smaller mountains to accommodate. Still turned out to be quite challenging. For one thing the wind, when tunneled between the cliffs, was so strong it made breathing difficult. At times I was literally swaying, trying to find my footing. The trail was quite spectacular, following very exposed ridges and steep traverses. It was also closed due to the slippery wet snow. I didn't know and the signs were only just below the summit (hint: if you mean it, post warnings at the trailhead instead of halfway through!), so I went ahead anyways. Crampons and ice ax were sorely needed, but other than that it proved quite doable.

Startled by some mighty rumble I witnessed several larger rockfalls. Impressive. The mountains seem to have an unlimited supply of debris and gravel. At least it keeps piling up at their feet while they don't seem to change their face at all.

I reached the second summit around 1 o'clock and intended to climb two more. However while the weather was just mildly uncomfortable getting here it turned positively annoying now. A complete whiteout with snow drifting horizontally and piercing my face. With only about 3.5 hours of daylight left I decided to call it quits. And promptly got rewarded with the weather clearing up ;-)

This is the very first hike where I actually looked up the public transportation return schedule and had my ticket booked in advance. So I ran the last 10 minutes on the road to arrive just on time with the bus. Only to have the driver come out and say: "Oh yeah, this is the weekend schedule, no trip for another hour. The information on the internet is wrong.". Grmpf. Next time I'll just wing it again, then I'm at least not feeling rushed.

  • Hiking time: 7h (8:00-15:00)
  • Distance: 22km
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1400m
All photos here