Ascent of Nebelhorn on 2008-07-15

Climber: Jonathan Stam

Date:Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:7297 ft / 2224 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Nebelhorn is a good peak to climb for beginners such as me. The route I took followed the cable car from the town of Oberstdorf all the way to the peak. The climb from Oberstdorf to the summit can be divided in 3 parts. The first part is from the town of Oberstdorf to a mountain lodge at about 1200 meters. The second part runs from this mountain lodge to a mountain pass just below the peak. The third part is from this upper station to the summit.

After two days of rain, the weather finally was good enough for a serious attempt on mountain hiking. I decided to climb the Nebelhorn, because of it's convenient location right next to Oberstdorf and the fact that the way up is quite easy (you need a decent condition though). From the youth hostel I was staying in I walked through town to the Ski Jumping arena where the actual climb starts. For the first part of the climb I had the choice of following a tarmac road to the mountain lodge or use a trail along the river. I chose the latter, because it gave me the opportunity to admire and photograph some waterfalls. This trail was good to follow, but featured some interesting steps over rocks and scrambles (for beginners that is). This trail followed the stream through the forests on the mountain sides. Due to my early start I could make some beautiful pictures of the stream in the morning sun. Also I had some nice views over the main valley where Oberstdorf is located in.

The second part (between the mountain lodge and the mountain pass) was a tarmac path running through the valley and up the head of the valley in a series of hairpins. From here on the forests become thinner and after a while disappear altogether. The first 2 kilometers of the path where easy, because the valley was relatively level, but when the path hit the head of the valley it went up steep and kept doing so until I reached the upper station.
Accompanied by a large herd of mountain cows (with the typical alpine bells around their neck) I followed this path while the morning lasted and went into early afternoon. When the path went up at the head of the valley I had to stop at almost every hairpin to catch my breath again. The view however became more beautiful with every meter I ascended. Soon I saw not only the valley I was walking in and the main valley of Oberstdorf, but peaks from mountains further away became visible as well.

The last part of the climb brought me from the mountain pass all the way to the summit. The tarmac path ends here and becomes a high mountain gravel trail, but still it is quite wide and rather easy to walk, with the only exception the patch of snow I had to cross on sloped terrain. The final 10 or 15 meters where quite steep, so I had to scramble a bit.

During my walk up to the pass I was accompanied by a handfull of other hikers and herds of alpine cows, but on the last leg and especcialy at the summit is was crowded, very crowded. There were parents and grandparents with children and even people in wheelchairs. What were they all doing up there...? From the town of Oberstdorf there is a cable car going up to the mountain pass and from there a smaller cable car goes all the way to the summit, so all the tourists take those cable cars up. Therefore at the top it is not exactly isolated. But at least I walked up... in less than 4 hours. (OK, I took the cable car down again, but I wanted to visit another place in Oberstdorf before it would close down at 5 PM).
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4380 ft / 1335 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9.9 mi / 16 km
    Trailhead:Oberstdorf  2917 ft / 889 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 0 Minutes

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