Barbed wire, Alps near Tegernsee

Seeking out adventures in an era of comfort and pandemics (part 1): Bavarian Prealps

Prelude

Modern life in 1st world societies has removed hardship and danger from everyday human existence for the most part. Practically speaking, this is even more so during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

A great percentage of the office employees can (or have to) work from home, and the sole reason to leave your house is to buy food and other essentials in the grocery a few hundred meters (in the worst case) away.

So the temptation to immerse oneself entirely in alternate realities like movies, TV sports, soap operas, social media and especially video games (heck, how I loved video games as a teenager! Compared with what we have today they were more or less crude rendered imitations of real entertainment – nevertheless there had been not just only one weekend I spent behind a VGA screen playing primitive but enjoyable 8-bit games) on evenings and weekends is higher than it ever was in human history.

According to my observation and not very surprisingly there exists even a direct correlation between the rise in popularity of highly addictive computer games and the comfortable isolation of young people these days. The actual reality offers a lot of safety and predictability, but lacks any real world adventure.

But I don’t want to focus on video games right now. Let’s get back to the current pandemic. As you might have guessed, I am one of those office workers who lives in a kind of stasis due to the ordered quarantine.

Instead of having stayed at my apartment most of the time, I’d rather met new people or experienced some cool adventures in solitary mountain ranges in Eastern or Southern Europe. Or anything that at least resembles an adventure.

Sure enough, with all my electronic gadgets, supply stores virtually everywhere, the moderate climate in Europe and the lack of wild animals (not that I want to encounter an alligator or poisonous spiders at all costs) where could there be any real danger or outdoor adventure waiting for me?

Bavarian Prealps

Given those circumstances, this was more or less a logical step:

Making a try with long hiking tours in the German part of the Alps (Alpen).

But hands down, this is far off from a “real” adventure, given all the infrastructure available especially in this small part of the vast mountain range (the highest peaks are not to be found here anyway but in the Western Alps, i.e. in Italy, France and Switzerland).

Nevertheless I could expect an exhausting workout and a sense of accomplishment after such tours at least. And I can enjoy the blooming Alps nature in spring (apart from that, rock climbing seems a worthwhile activity as well and I might give that a try one day – good spots for climbing are numerous in this area).

I ascended three different (and quite typical Bavarian Alps) mountains in the last two weeks: the popular Wendelstein (1838 meters, starting point: Brannenburg on 473 meters) on May 24, the Roßstein (1698 meters, starting point: Lenggries on 679 meters) on May 31 and the Risserkogel (1826 meters, starting point: Tegernsee on 747 meters) on June 6, all of them located in the so-called Bavarian Prealps.

Like my grandfather (my father’s father) might have done too almost one hundred years ago here, since he was born and lived in this part of Bavaria his entire life (tragically he lost a leg in Russia during the 2nd World War).

Ascents in the Bavarian Prealps
Wendelstein (1838m), May 24
Roßstein (1698m), May 31
Risserkogel (1826m), June 6

On the whole, the hikes were an interesting experience nonetheless.

Trouble during my (solitary) hike tours did occur only once: as it was raining on my way to the Risserkogel there was a need for close attention because of the slippery rocks. Furthermore my water can was almost empty so I was close to quitting and return to the Wallberghaus cottage on 1500 meters.

This had been rather negligence or (more exactly) calculated risk, because the plan was to avoid carrying too much water respectively weight. I expected some water sources on the track which unfortunately didn’t appear (or I wasn’t able to identify those).

Ascending Wendelstein was easy (but exhausting), and climbing up the Roßstein1 peak demanded close attention as well due to the rocky and steep trail. But that was nothing really worth discussing in depth.

1 the described mountain consists more precisely of two adjacent peaks: Roßstein (1698m) und Buchstein (1701m)

Prospect

Good news have emerged during this week.

Most of the European borders get re-opened with the beginning of June, so I am looking forward for upcoming trips to Corsica, the Fatra mountains in Slovakia or perhaps some unknown places in Scandinavia.

Featured image: Barbed wire fence in an Alps valley