A Long Walk Home
A couple years ago, when I first climbed the ‚Jubiläumsgrat’ between the Zugspitze and Alpspitze above Garmisch-Partenkirchen, I promised myself I would never ever do that climb again – so long, so exhausting, so much up and down. Just like the cliché of the start of a good friendship.
This was long before I became a professional Mountain Guide and today, some 30 or so ascents later, I ask myself why I do it again and again.
The climb is not particularly difficult. Many of the difficult parts offer a Via Ferrata rope and are therefore not as difficult, as they would be without the Rope. The difficulty rather lies in the length of the climb. The almost never ending up and down. Between starting from the summit of the Zugspitze and arriving at the bottom of the Alpspitze, one will have conquered 5 named and many more unnamed summits. 8 kilometers of climbing. 1000 vertical descending meters and 1800 vertical ascending meters. After all a long and challenging day.
I have been there in the summer and the winter, in good weather and bad weather. I have seen people fail and accidents happen. But I also have seen people grow, succeed and fulfill their dreams.
And even today I find the time to do the climb with friends. And for sure not because I think the climb itself is so interesting to climb it another 30 times. I´d rather do it for the people I go with and the shared adventure. Maybe to introduce a ‚good friend’ to them. A friend I found over the years.
Of course, it is my job and to some this is the obvious reason but still, every time I do the climb, it feels like coming home.