When you’re going on a mountain hike in March, you are definitely aware, that there might be snow in the higher regions. Theoretically that sounds incredibly logical, practically that’s a whole different story, especially when you start your walk at 10° Celsius.
You only start to realize that this is in fact dead serious, when you find yourself in kneedeep snow.
This is how my mountain hike to the Jenner Mitterkaseralm started out. It began with thick fog with only 50 meters of sight distance. As I usually hike up a mountain for the views that wasn’t the most motivational situation to be honest.
Mountain hiking in Berchtesgaden to the Jenner, Mitterkaseralm
I started my trip around 10:30 anyway.
According to my hiking guide (that I got in my guesthouse) the mountain hike was supposed to take 3 hours up and another 2 hours back down. 9 km and a total of 1000 meters elevation climb. Well, again there was a significant gap between theory and praxis.
With time I learned to properly judge my own hiking speed. I know that I always need breaks for taking photos or simply enjoying the view. I’m not a speedy hiker, I revel in my surroundings and don’t want to rush. So I usually just add 1- 2 hours to the actual time that is needed for a hike.
For the hike to the Mitterkaseralm and back I needed not less than 9 hours in the end and I barely made it back down before dawn. This was due to a concatenation of several circumstances:
Yes, I was prepared for snow. Temperature wise at least. I had proper, warm shoes, brought a second warm jacket and even had a tuque in my bag. But to be all honest with you: That was not the problem. It wasn’t even too cold and I didn’t need any of the additional clothing. The snow on the other hand was quite nasty at least at some parts. Old, remaining snow from the winter, that had melted and froze over several times. The first 2 km that I encountered the first snow were extremely annoying. It was slippery and I often sank jerkily into the icy, clumpy snow.
At that point I wasn’t sure if I were ready to climb a mountain for the rest of the hike unter those circumstances, especially considering the foggy weather conditions.
The Mitterkaseralm is not a viewpoint
Had I researched my destination a little more accurately I would have found out that the Mitterkaseralm is surrounded by mountains. It surely is a lovely spot, especially in the summer, when the alpine pasture is actually open, but I wanted that blissful feeling of conquering the peak of a mountain. So I continued my hike for another 30 – 40 minutes up to one of the surrounding mountain peaks. It was the hardest part of my hike as I was walking – no fighting – my way up on a ski slope. At parts I was standing in snow reaching to my upper legs.
And suddenly the path was gone
As I got myself Brandon the Branch for the snowy passages I was actually doing quite good. Until I reached a snow blocked part of my path, which must have been caused by an avalanche or so. It wasn’t to hard to overcome but I felt a little unsure anyway thinking about the distance I yet had to master and in what condition I would find it. Fortunately the rest of my trail was not blocked.
The trail turned into a ski slope instead, which didn’t make it any better. It was quite intense and definitely the most straining part. But I got new motivation when I met skiers who fought the same fight as I did. Also from that point on my socks were doomed to utter wetness but that didn’t matter. I just wanted to reach my destination and enjoy the view.
Fog instead of views
The day started extremely foggy and it stayed like this very long. According to the weather forecast it was supposed to clear up around noon but in the mountains that was definitely not the case. I was still quite positive as I already saw little signs of a good day under the thick, white clouds. Around 2pm it all happened super fast and cleared up within 20 minutes. The formerly grey surrounding suddenly showed snow covered mountains and views all the way down to the valley. This transition was so magical and in retrospect I’m quite happy that I had the chance to capture two different moods with my camera.
Some basic information about the Mitterkaseralm Mountain Hike
Starting Point: The Jenner Talstation (valley station)
Distance: approx. 9km
Elevation climb: approx. 1000 m
Directions: Start vom the ‘Jenner Talstation’ (valley station) and follow the signs to the Jenner Gipfel (peak) or Königsbachalm. Once you’ve reached the Königsbachalm you continue towards the Jenner Mittelstation (middle station) up until there’s a trail branching off up to the right, signposting the Mitterkaseralm.
You might want to go further from the Mitterkaseralm, just like me. Add another 30 – 40 minutes to your schedule, depending on the weather conditions.
I was on the way from 10:30 until about 7 pm. I had lots of snack, photo and enjoying the view breaks. So if you’re hiking like me, do this hike as a day trip. However, I’m fairly certain that this hike can be managed in more or less 5 hours during the summer time.
You should be aware that this is not necessarily a beginner hike. Though the trail is easily accessible and not risky you need to be fit and have quite some endurance for the steep paths. Good shoes and optionally a hiking pole will suffice. Of course, when in the mountains you always want to make sure to bring warm clothes, water and food supplies.
I hope this little report was interesting and motivational for you to read. If you go or have been on this trail share you experiences in the comments below.