I'm sure that we could speak German and had understood the Rother guidebook we would have known what we were letting ourselves in for. Forewarned would have been forearmed and we may even have decided to avoid one of the scariest stretches of walking ever and taken an easier option. As it was, ignorance was bliss, we 'did it' and we now have another to add to the list of Alpine adventures.
|First day in the mountains and some challenges|
The day started with a riverside walk to Lenggries and for a time the sun shone and it looked like the weather was going to be good. At Lenggries we fueled up on cake and coffee and set off towards the ski-lift. All of a sudden the clouds darkened and a huge storm blew in from the west. We dived into another coffee shop hoping to avoid it. But it was still drizzling when we set off on the 800m climb up the mountain side.
The 800m climb was steep but it went well. We got to the top just as the heavens truly opened. Hidden in the clouds was the Brauneckhaus, a warm dry refuge proffering two large bowls of pea soup 'mit bratwurst'. With the soup our luck changed, the sun came out and the views along the ridge and north onto the German plain opened up.
Our walk took us west along a narrow rocky ridge interrupted by a series of mini-summits. We stopped and spoke to a German hiker who explained that the clear skies to the north and the clouds to the south were caused by a juncture of warm and cold air and this usually meant at least 2 hours of good weather. He seemed impressed that we were taking the over- the- top route to Tutzinger.
A junction offered us a choice of two routes. One was consistent with the guide the other, the E4 route, seemed to take longer. We now think that most of the signs we saw had misleading times on them and are best ignored.
The route we chose had a red demarcation and it deserved it. The next two hours were spent going up and down a steep and precarious rocky switchback where one wrong foothold would have spelt disaster. Fixed ropes and ladders helped but the wet slippery limestone didn't. To make things worse we were in and out of cloud and short sharp showers meant constant changes of gear.
After walking for 2hrs 30mins post lunch a sign told us we still had 90mins to go, well behind our schedule. 10 mins later another sign proclaimed that it was only 30 minutes and we arrived at Tutzinger Hutte bang on time.
The hut feels smaller and more intimate than last time I was here (at the end of very wet day on the E4 when a group of us got lost on the mountains). We are sharing a four bed room with 2 men which, in hut terms, is a result.
The 2 men we saw yesterday, fellow travellers on the journey to Venice, arrived at the hut a lot later than us. Two other Venice bound couples however were already here so we are definitely not as fast as we would like to think.
The chef at the hut is Nepalese and was pleased when we asked for Dhal Bat (definitely not on the menu). He's from just south of Lukla. I told him I'd been there six times and missed it, he said he did too.