Because our Trans-Alp trip had worked out perfectly and we now were well trained and highly motivated, and because we now knew what Scooby-Doo is able to manage in the mountains, we decided to drive back to the north side of the Alps and to fulfill a dream: the climbing of the Zugspitze, the highest mountain of Germany, through Höllentalklamm and Höllental.
We fully comfortable started in Hammersbach at 700 m altitude in warm and sunny weather and hiked through Höllentalklamm up to Höllentalanger Hut at 1381 m, where we stayed for the night. The mountain torrent fell as a rapid brook down the valley through Höllentalklamm. The hike through the gorge was easy and breathtaking and lead through small passes, across bridges and pontoons, passing smooth ledges, tunnels and overhanging caves. As a precaution we fixed Scooby-Doo with her harness to avoid sliding on the slippery rocks and falling into the raging water.
We spent a relaxed afternoon on the terrace and in the valley above the hut. This was absolutely necessary because the next day should bring us to the very limit…
The view of the Zugspitze under this clear and dark blue sky was majestic, and the top of Zugspitze seemed close enough to touch…
Next day we started at 7 am after a fortifying breakfast. Climbing belts and climbing irons, helmet and harness, cereal bars and enough to drink was all packed, so we entered this adventure well prepared. After one hour we easily managed the first climbing section before reaching the “ladder”, a steep face equipped with plenty of stepping brackets. Thanks to our climbing belts the ascent was safe, but yet remained a challenge. Scooby-Doo remained - like so many times before - full of attention and undeterred and led herself be carried up step by step, always doubly saved with her belt.
We continuously went further up on the more and more challenging trail, which was, however, well equipped with ropes and chains on the more steep and dangerous parts. At these sections, we always double-saved Scooby-Doo, both, at the security wire and at our own climbing belt. We mostly supported her body in the sloping wall, so that she nearly stood in the slope and did not hang in the belt.
A few meters further up we met the “Brett”, which was the “second key section” on this hike up to Zugspitze. Here, steel pins were fixed in the nearly vertical wall, which helped us to pass this challenging section, the view always straight forward and below the endless depth. We passed this section one after the other and Scooby-Doo waited patiently until she was allowed to follow, once again double-saved and with her feet against the wall.
Beyond the “Brett” the trail partly remained very steep. In most sections, however, Scooby-Doo could walk all alone on the small rock steps, and she moved easily and relaxed, nearly like a chamois.
The view back showed us, how high we already were. We could recognize Höllentalanger Hut far behind in the valley, the place where we started early this morning.
In between, rocky sections had to be managed. When the trail did not pass steep walls we allowed Scooby-Doo to freely move around and climb all alone. Most times she walked in front of us, waiting for us from time to time.
Further up in Höllental we had to pass a scree slope before we reached the glacier. Unfortunately, the glacier already smelt a lot this summer. Beyond the glacier we could see the rocky wall waiting for us with many tricky steep sections.
The glacier was streaked with rugged fissures and deep crevices. We mounted our climbing irons. The way up to Zugspitze passed in a zigzag course around the crevices and, as a precaution, we fixed Scooby-Doo on her lead.
The absolutely most difficult section waited at the transfer from the glacier to the steep rock face. The randkluft was already very wide and seemed to get lost somewhere below the glacier. Only a small snow-bridge had left between the glacier and the rocks. Although a simple rope was fixed to avoid the deep fall into the randkluft the step onto the small snow-bridge remained a challenge. And this all the more so as we had to carry Scooby-Doo on our arms and she had to stay absolutely calm in order to avoid us loosing balance and falling a couple of meters into the randkluft. And on the other side one had to move hand over hand on ledges - the fingers cramped into the rocky wall and Scooby-Doo pressed towards our breast - a couple of meters left towards a steep ladder, which let the further hike uphill seem to be still challenging but at least safe. Scooby-Doo seemed to smell the danger and kept absolutely calm without any movement. What a wonderful, so deeply trustful dog!
The view back impressively showed the depth of the randkluft. How proud we were having successfully managed this step. But it also became sure: there was no way back. From here we only would be able to move forward and upward. We would never be able to manage this small-bridge passage back with Scooby-Doo on our arms.
If we would have thought that from now-one everything would be easy, we clearly were wrong. The deep wall waited for us with one steep and narrow climbing section after the other. On most of these sections, however, Scooby-Doo could move alone on the small rock ledges, always secured with her climbing belt.
The view from above back to the Höllentalferner impressively showed the deep and broad crevasses.
The steep sections above the glacier once more demanded our full bodies and maximum concentration. From here the longest via ferrata of the whole trip finally led to the cross of the summit.
Scooby-Doo used each short rest for sightseeing.
The higher we came the more impressive became the view back and showed us what demanding trip we already had managed.
…from now on we mainly watched uphill because afternoon had nearly passed already and the last gondola was about to leave soon…
Slowly but surely tiredness and physical exhaustion came over us. Scooby-Doo, however, still seemed to be fit and full of concentration.
Shortly before reaching the summit cross the views became spectacular. Far below us laid crystal clear Alpsee, surrounded by dense forests.
And over us the golden summit cross beamed in the dark-blue afternoon sky.
From the summit ridge we had a magnificent distant view towards the south, where the peaks of Tyrolean Alps reached the horizon.
Completely exhausted but deeply happy and proud we finally stood under the golden shimmering summit cross with a fantastic 360° view on the mountains of the Alps.
A dream came true: hiking up to the top of Zugspitze through the Höllental. Altogether the trip took 9 hours. We had to overcome 1600 height meters to finally arrive at the top of Zugspitze in 2961 m under a dark-blue shimmering sky. Scooby-Doo also managed this mountain adventure full of enthusiasm and joy in moving and so safe with her steps. She seemed wanting to motivate us when our strength became less, and in critical moments she remained completely calm, full of attention, undeterred and filled with confidence.
What a wonderful companion she is, a dog made of gold, our beloved Irish Terrier Bitch Scooby-Doo Silvester von der Emsmühle.