“Head for the Austrian border, traverse a world-class ravine, and scramble among freshly made Alp gravel.
— Kradak Thomas
Call ahead to the Schachenhutte for availability if you wish to stay the night. Traversing the Gorge is three euro, one way.
A relaxing out-of-town route becomes a nice ascent that is completed under the Austrian Alps and a rewarding beer at the Schachenhutte guest house.
Cave — Fall Colors — River/Creek — Spring — Views — Waterfall
As a visitor without car or bike and little knowledge of the area, this run was wonderful because everyone else took the easy way up to the Schachentor, leaving for uncrowded trails and a pleasant trip.
Starting at the Garmisch Ski Jump (Große Olympiaschanze), featured in the movie "Eddie the Eagle", follow the signs to the Partnach Gorge. This is an easy trail through a transition from an industrious German village through a quaint bedroom village. Tickets are sold at the end of the road, where you enter the Gorge, a sliver-thin cutout in the rock. It's best when the spring melt has raised the thrill of the raging water below, including glimpses of the pastures almost 200 feet above.
As my path wound out of the Partnach Gorge, a razor thin ravine partially carved into the hillside, other visitors veered off in multiple directions. This route goes straight up, along a steeply forested ridge for 2.5 miles at a 20% grade.
This is worth it as you get multiple peek-a-boo views of the Garmish-Partenkirchen valley below you, in a fine alpine forest. The final portion crosses a logging road, lessening the joy, but the climb is strenuous enough that your only focus will be on the ascent.
As you reach a tiny cut-out onto the Schachenhutte Road, I chose to go left down to the Wetterstein Alm (closed when I visited) for a quick change into boots for the final mile up around the back of the Schachentor (hill) through the shadow of the massive rock face of the Austrian border which towers 2000 feet above.
Tramping through some June snow and a somewhat frightening pile of fresh Alp gravel produced by rock falls, you crest the final pass and view the Schachenhutte in the distance. You still need to be careful on the rocks, as a tumble town a 200 foot pile of stones would not be entertaining. The end is well worth it, if only for the cool breeze, a hot wurst, dark bread, angel-hair fine sauerkraut, and a cold beer.
This is an entry point to the Via Alpina.
No animals seen or worried about.