German Alpine Clubs have established huts in the Austrian alps.  The most impressive belongs to the Berlin Alpine Club, so it gives its name to this one-week hike.

  • The Berliner Höhenweg, day one: Finkenberg to Gamshütte (7/17/2018)

    On the train connecting the two paths, I chatted with a woman who spoke to me of the importance of ketones, the benefits of coconut oil and several other aspects of diet.  She was trim, healthy and 80.  I was surprised as I have been discovering these things over the past year; she is years ahead of me.  I was pleased to able to have such a conversation in German.

    Leaving Finkenberg, you pass an old wooden bridge.  I also saw an old racing car someone had hauled from the Netherlands

    The first day is an easy, though steep, three hours up to the Gämshütte.  I had been been keeping good time on the Adlerweg, but decided to go somewhat slower pace.  On the way about a dozen people all passed me in a hurry to get there.

    The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, more what I had been looking for.  The showers were outside with a stunning view and cold water.  (thanks Saval for introducing me to Wim)

    I was glad to be above the tree-line.




  • Berliner Höhenweg day two: Gamshütte to Friesenberghaus (7/18/2018)

    This was to be a long nine hours hike, and the forecast was for storms in the afternoon.  Based on my first-day pace, I anticipated hiking ten hours.  Everyone left early.

    All morning I walked through cloud and did not take my camera out.  The storms arrived and the rain and wind were cold.  During a break in the rain I put on my warmest clothes.

    I use a stop-watch to keep track of time.  At seven hours hiking, expecting ten hours total, with the weather turning cold, wet and windy, I started looking for possible spots to shelter.  However there are few flat spots and it is all boulders and rocks.  Putting up a tent was not possible.

    What a relief to see a sign indicating the hut was 30 minutes ahead.  I walked it in 8 1/4 hours.

    I was put in one of the “winter” shelters.  These are left unlocked all winter for hikers and skiers.  There I met a young man from Colorado who is studying biology and thinking of becoming a vet.  Two days earlier I had been chatting with a young man from Ohio who is studying biology and thinking of becoming a vet.  The contrast between the two men was stark.



  • Berliner Höhenweg day three: Friesenberghaus to Furtschaglhaus (7/19/2018)
  • Berliner Höhenweg day four: Furtschaglhaus to Berliner Hütte (7/20/2018)

    This hike crosses a saddle.  From the saddle it is a short climb to the peak, the Schönbichler Horns at 3,134 m.  I left my pack at the saddle and climbed to the peak.

    The view over the surrounding alps is beautiful as you are above most of the surrounding peaks.

    The descent is somewhat tricky, and I learnt what “via ferrate” is in German: “Klettersteig”.

    The Berliner Hütte was built by the Berlin section of the German Alpine Club in 1879 and is grandiose.  Early photos show it at the edge of a glacier, which is no longer there.




  • Berliner Höhenweg day five: Berliner Hütte to Griezer Hütte (7/21/2018)

    This was the toughest day.  Threatening weather meant an early start.  The climb to the pass was not too demanding, but we passed the beautiful, mirror-like Schwarz See.

    The black clouds beyond the pass meant we should not wait at the top.  So I started my descent down the cliff face holding the cable. 

    The rain started.

    It was a steeper via ferrate than the previous day.  The rain made the cable cold and wet, and my fingers started to get numb.  I was scared.

    My new-found friends, two families with four teenage girls, found it a giggle. 

    So what a wimp am I? 

    This hut was built by the Griezer section of the German Alpine Club.  A man working there played accordion in the evening.


  • Berliner Höhenweg day six: Griezer Hütte to Kasseler Hütte (7/22/2018)

    This was a reasonable pass, followed by a hike around the edge of the next valley, at about 2,000m.  The path was okay, though steep and narrow in parts, so you needed to pay attention because of the rain. 

    Again, my camera was in my bag to stay dry.

    Again, this hut was built by the Griezer section of the German Alpine Club.

    That evening the person responsible for the hut told us that the weather forecast for the next day was bad; that the usual nine-hours hike would probably take eleven hours; that the path would be slippery and dangerous; and that nobody should hike it alone. 

    The next morning, we all decided to go down to the valley.

    Along the way I have made some new friends, who all showed patience with my poor German.