The Top of Germany – mountain of superlatives
At almost 3,000 meters – 2,962 m above sea level to be precise – the Zugspitze is Germany’s highest mountain. It is also the highest peak in the Wetterstein mountain range in the Eastern Alps. The Zugspitze is located in the Free State of Bavaria, around 11 kilometers southwest of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and in the north of the Austrian state of Tyrol. The German-Austrian border runs over the western summit.
South of the Zugspitze is a plateau with a number of caves. On the sides of the mountain there are three of the five glaciers in Germany, two of which are among the largest in our country: the just over 30 hectares in size Northern Snowerner and the almost 25 hectares in Höllentalferner. In the north, the crystal clear, blue Eibsee at the foot of the Zugspitze attracts numerous day-trippers and bathers every year.
In winter, nine ski lifts on Germany’s highest ski area ensure that the fan base of the white sport feels comfortable. Since the turn of the millennium, the Zugspitz extreme mountain run has been held every year, with an altitude of 17.94 kilometers to be conquered.
On an average of 310 days per year there is frost on the Zugspitze – the coldest spot in Germany. The lowest temperatures were measured in February 1940 at -35.6 ° C and the highest at 17.9 ° C in July 1957. The wind speed record is 335 km / h; This gust of wind occurred in June 1985. The highest snow depth was measured in April 1944 at 8.3 m.
The Zugspitze was mentioned by name for the first time in 1590. It is documented that the first ascent took place in August 1820.
In 1900 the meteorological Zugspitze station was inaugurated, which is dedicated to climate research.
Special features and curiosities
The Zugspitze was and is always accessible for special and beautiful things. In the Zugspitze area, nature lovers will find numerous plants and animals, depending on the weather, such as edelweiss, gentians, cyclamen, blueberries, marmots, chamois, alpine salamanders and golden eagles.
A summit cross has stood on the Zugspitze summit since 1851, and there has even been a Muslim prayer house since 2012.
The landing of a double-decker plane around 50 meters below the summit caused a stir in March 1922. The post office, which still exists today in a restaurant, was set up for the first time in the winter of 1931/32. In September 1948, three steel rope artists balanced on a rope between the east and west peaks, and five years later two men traveled the same route on a tightrope on a motorcycle. In 2009, a Swiss person covered the 995 meter long and up to 56 percent steep stretch from the Zugspitzplatt to the summit unsecured on the cable of the Zugspitz glacier cable car.
In 1981 an ATM was installed in the summit station, but it no longer exists. 14 years later the opening of the 540 square meter exhibition room took place on the summit, in which changing exhibitions of various artists can be seen. In the same year the border traffic between us and the neighboring country Austria was opened.
When we climb…
Today you can storm the summit of the Zugspitze in different ways. These include the three most frequently used routes – the so-called “normal routes”: The easiest and, at the same time, the route of the first ascent leads from the southeast from the Reintal to the summit. From the northeast you can get out of the Höllental through the Höllentalklamm, and from the west it goes over the Austrian Schneekar with the starting points Eibsee or Ehrwald to the summit of the Zugspitze.
The Jubiläumsgrat, one of the most famous ridge tours in the Eastern Alps, is not that easy. But three cable cars also bring numerous visitors to their destination every year: the Tyrolean Zugspitzbahn, the Bavarian Zugspitzbahn – a cogwheel train that ends on the Zugspitzplatt, where you have to change to another cable car – and the Eibsee cable car.
Spend the night at dizzying heights
Numerous mountain huts offer overnight accommodation from May to October, depending on the weather. As one of the first huts on the mountain giant, the Munich house was built in 1883 as a small wooden hut below the western summit. Today the 2,959 meter high house is an overnight accommodation with 30 beds.
The Wiener Neustädter Hut, located at an altitude of 2,209 meters, was built in 1884. Today it still offers 34 mountaineers an overnight stay. The former hotel – the Schneefernerhaus – can look back on a “rich” history with avalanches and fires and is now only used for environmental research.
A trip to the Zugspitze is recommended not only because you want to adapt to the stream of tourists who populate the Zugspitze every year, but also because you should have been to Germany’s superlative mountains at least once in your life. It is completely irrelevant whether you join a study trip or another trip, or whether you go on a discovery tour on your own.
In addition to a breathtaking landscape in its surroundings, the Zugspitze primarily also offers a gigantic panoramic view from the viewing platform. Hikers as well as mountaineers, winter sports enthusiasts but also people who simply want to get to the highest peak in Germany using modern transport technology are offered the first unforgettable impressions on the ascent. Despite around half a million guests annually, in all the hustle and bustle you can still find a place to enjoy the gigantic mountains for yourself.