Quikie Tour up the Schönberg, near Lenggries, Germany
My buddy Martin, a part-time ski instructor, husband, father and stand-up guy has got time to run up mountains and see if its any fun to slide down them – it won’t stay that way, but for now, he’ll take it. He called me up to see if I’d like to join, and, seeing as how I am fairly certain sliding down snow-covered mountains is pretty close to a game of Go-Fish with Jesus in the fun department, but not one-hundred percent certain, I thought I might have to go and make sure.
Both Martin and I have to get the kids out of the house, and unlike Martin, I am (still) gainfully employed in a decidedly non-slavish arrangement. We started at eight-thirty in the city and rode out towards Lenggries – about an hour away and near Bad Tolz. The objective for the day was the Schönberg – an eight-hundred to nine-hundred meter climb on a small mountain heavily wooded at the bottom, but open near the top and well-frequented in general. Things looked pretty good – not a lot of snow down low – but much more than I would have expected at this time of the year. We started out.
The snow covered the road, mostly, and we followed for what seemed like quite a while, just happy to be out in the sun. It didn’t look like most of the surrounding forest was skiable…there was enough snow to run, but it hadn’t covered up the undergrowth and fallen logs. I was thinking that the only way back down this low would be the icy rutted road we were on, and, I was right.
After taking a left turn up a steeper and smaller road, with some encouraging uphill tracks on it, I thought we’d soon make the ridge. The road got smaller, the track got less “determined” and before long both of us were asking if the guys who set it knew where they were.
Of course – getting too upset wasn’t possible. Neither of us brought a map, and the last time I was touring here was more than five years ago. We blindly followed tracks. How stupid is that?
We stuck the meandering and unsteady course….and….it dumped us back out onto the main road that we had been following a felt hour later. All’s well that ends well, and we slogged onwards and upwards, finally breaking into to some high meadows that looked a dream to ski.
All in the shade and milky. By now – we’d come higher, and the snow was positively deep. What our unknown trailbreakers lacked in route-finding skills, they made up for with quality skin-tracking – so the way up was fairly easy, asthetic and appreciated.
While it was not a long way up – this tour was a long way around! I kept thinking that soon, very soon, we’d bust out onto a ridge or the peak in the sun and it would be all girls and cold-liquor drinks. Nope. Nope. and Nope. Still the ghost trees were cool and I was dreaming of the lines I would cut in the not-so-pristine but still baggable powder.
Eventually we made it. Meeting the three retirees who set that trail on the way off the peak. Nice guys.
Now – it occurs to me that people who do what they like to do, and do it into old age, don’t generally get curmudgeonly. These guys were smiling – and if I can keep doing this, perhaps I’ll not only be a smiling retiree, but a smiling husband, father and employee.
The peak was windy, but it was great to look over the clouds and imagine Munich in the soup. Martin and I ripped the fur off and made sweet euro-wiggle turns down the gut of the open glades, never hitting bottom and having quite a bit of fun. It wasn’t as light as we had hoped, but it was still great!
Things got dicey with a couple a creek crossings, which will be covered when the next snow hits, but we managed to pick our way through the lower, less-shacked woods without too much trouble, and hit the forest road which provided a long, easy and underbrush free route back to the car. Even got to make powder elevens over a big flat meadow near the bottom.
All in all – a great tour, and we were back in town for an appointment just after lunch! For anyone looking for a candidate for dawn runs – if you hit the trail at seven AM you could be back by 11 AM no sweat. Less if you are a spandex weirdo.
As always – I’d love to see you all on the trail sometime and hope you’ll subscribe to my blog for silly ramblings about this sport, tips on how to stop sucking at it, and reports about places you can go to do it!