Zugspitze

Picture of spitz The Zugspitz (the slightly taller one in this picture) is the highest point in Germany, although it's really just barely in Germany. More importantly than that, there's skiing on the plateau to the south of it, which is of particular interest when one visits Garmisch during unseasonably warm weather. There are many ways up to the plateau but only two ways up to the top of the Zugspitz.
Picture of cog_train The first way is slower, less exciting but more reliable since it's not affected by high winds and weather. That would be the cog train which starts in Partenkirchen and crosses Garmisch and several other small towns before ascending the Zugspitz. In terms of scenery this is about as high up as you can take a picture before you enter a tunnel that covers probably half the apparent height of the mountain. The train is relatively comfortable and they leave about every half hour during ski season.
Picture of cablecar The other way is the cablecar. It is highlighted in the yellow circle in this picture to show just how tiny it is compared to the mountain. After the second red and white support tower, the next linkage is all the way up at the top of Zugspitz. You can just see the building perched on top in this picture almost directly above the second tower. A ride in the car has truly spectacular views especially during the nearly vertical ascent of the top part of the mountain. It is really not for the acrophobic or for the claustrophobic since they cram in as many people as possible before leaving the station.
Picture of plateau The cog train goes directly to the main lodge in the center of the plateau. The cable car goes to the very top of the Zugspitz where there is an observation deck, a restaurant and another line connecting down to the plateau lodge. This view is roughly to the west along the German - Austrian border. A small section of the ski runs can be seen at the bottom right.
Picture of glacier This is the view down to the main lodge. That lodge sits in the center of the glacier and ski lifts leave the general vicinity up towards the Austrian side of the bowl. Other pistes lead further down the bowl. There is only one aerial (chair) lift on the plateau which can be seen pretty clearly in this picture. There is a t-bar behind that and another way off in the distance going up to the plateau wall.
Picture of transfer Here's the view from the lodge looking back up at the transfer station. Expert skiers can actually descend from the peak into the bowl without coming down the second cable car. On this particular day, there were probably 3 sets of ski tracks from people who had done so. The terrain up here is generally easy to intermediate. Nothing is particularly steep (unless you ski down from the Zugspitz peak) or demanding, but there is almost always snow and the views are amazing.
Picture of radler Here is Melanie relaxing with a radler. Radler is a combination of half Sprite (or other lemon-lime carbonated beverages) and half lager. The great mystery of it is that a radler is often less than half the price of a Sprite. Regardless, it's an excellent skiing beverage.
Picture of storm We spent two days skiing on this plateau. On the second afternoon, a much-anticipated storm arrived which had closed the cable cars (from Germany and from Austria) as well as the chair lift. We were approximately as far as possible from the main lodge when it arrived. The t-bar ride back up took about half an hour since the winds were so strong they closed the surface lifts periodically. This picture was taken before it arrived. Standing in the same spot, thirty minutes later, it was just barely possible to see to the first red pole. Due to the tiny rocks that were being hurled around by the wind, we didn't feel it was advisable to get the camera out. In fact we immediately returned to the train and went back down to Garmisch (where it was finally going to snow).

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