Watzmann Traverse 2015

Graphical representation of the Watzmann Traverse
Watzmann Traverse

Getting started…

The Traverse of the Watzmann has been on the to-do list for quite a long time and in August 2015 we finally ticked it off!

After we had to cancel two reservations at the Watzmann Hut due to bad weather earlier in 2015, we already thought there won`t be another chance to attempt the Traverse of the Watzmann in 2015. But as another good weather window came up and we were lucky enough to get a reservation on short notice at the Hut for the 29th of August, we finally were on our way to Ramsau on a friendly Saturday morning. A good friend of us was able to join us (well-known for a little touch of vertigo, which is very useful for a traverse where you cross sections with less than 20cm width at the narrowest points and no edges dropping for 300 meters to both sides…) which made the trip even more fun. 🙂

After parking our car at the Wimbach Bridge, the common starting point for the hiking in the Berchtedgadener Alps and especially the Watzmann Area, we got our equipment ready. For girls we are very quick in that and usually have to wait do the boys 🙂 We reached the Watzmann Hut after a merely 1.5 hours ascent and a lot faster than expected, so we were lucky to see the last rays of sunrise. The vibe was awesome and the hight meters went by really quickly. After chatting to a bunch of crazy and almost naked Russian guys (We never actually got to know why they were naked…) who intended to drink Vodka with us, we escaped them and got a quite good dinner. The hut was full and we were the last people arriving in the evening. As always we were the last (wo)men standing as well. 🙂 Our room was almost asleep when we stumbled in, but that was no problem at all because our intention was to leave as the last people in the morning too. This is something we can highly recommend: Either leave as the first or the last, depending on your speed and the distance you have to cover! As we are quite fast hikers, during our Alpcrossing we were always the last people leaving the hut in the morning and were rewarded with empty trails and empty breakfast rooms! 😉

The traverse

We started climbing up to Hocheck and Mittelspitze at around 10 am and after the first 500 hight meters we already knew this won`t be Maggy`s best day… Anja and Nici were heading in front with quite a good pace and had to stop a couple of times for her to close the lines. As the Mittelspitze 2713m) was quite crowded with all the people not doing the whole traverse but turning around at this point, we went straight to the just one meter lower Südspitze. The traverse is indeed breathtaking!!! We were once again (as almost every tour in 2015) blessed by the weathergod and had perfect conditions. The sky was clear blue, sun was strong and there was almost no wind. There are no really dangerous parts in the traverse and for experienced hikers even the wired parts are no problem, but you should always watch your step. We were lucky that there was not much traffic and we didn’t have to queue anywhere, except for one point where a group of very unexperienced people (at least accompanied by a guide) struggled at a B-part.

Once at the Südspitze, we sat down for quite a while and had a small lunch break. The view was awesome and we could even spot parts of the Dolomites and plenty of snow-covered peaks in the distance.

Descent with obstacles

One thing we underestimated, was the water amount we already used! It`s well-known that the descent is long and strenuous and usually we never have troubles with that, but this trip was a reminder that carrying enough water really IS essential (especially on hot summer days). From the top of Südspitze back to the car is another 5 hours and 2079hm! You can fill up and recharge at the Wimbachgries Hut after a merely 3.5 hours, but it is a long way and during afternoon hours the sun follows you every step… Maggy really struggled descending and slipped five (!) times ending up sitting on her ass – something that usually doesn`t happen too often. She didn’t feel very well too, maybe because our calorie intake was way to little for this quite strenuous day. As well we all three ran out of water halfway to the hut – so three grumpy girls griped their way sliding and running through loose gravel downwards… 8.) At least we brought hiking poles, which turned out to be the best decisions ever! Usually we don`t carry them with as we are strong in downhill running, they are additional weight and as well during Via Ferratas they are hindering your range of motion. But in conclusion we would recommend to use them whenever you have more than roughly 1500hm to descend. Your knees and your peace of soul (and also all you hiking buddies) will thank you! 🙂

Once more we learned that to fuel up your energy during all-day hikes and to carry enough water is essential! In the end we were happy that we didn`t do the full hike in one day. That may seems to be a challenge for the fit and is for sure doable, but you will definitely miss a lot of the beauty if you rush through it!